At UBC Science, outstanding scientists and students strive to unravel the principles that underlie our universe - from the subatomic to the macroscopic, from pure mathematics to biotechnology, from ecosystems to galactic systems. Through the breadth and depth of our academic endeavours and the calibre of the people who make up our community, we take pride in discovering new scientific knowledge and preparing Canada’s and the world’s next generation of scientists.

A diverse range of highly ranked programs

With access to master’s and doctoral degrees through nine departments and 350 research groups, our graduate students work with world-class faculty to explore the basic sciences, and to pursue interdisciplinary and applied research across departments and units. UBC’s research excellence in environmental science, math, physics, plant and animal science, computer science, geology and biology is consistently rated best in Canada by international and national ranking agencies.

Committed to outstanding graduate training

UBC Science houses a wide range of prestigious NSERC Collaborative Research and Training Experience and related industry programs: from atmospheric aerosols to high-throughput biology, from biodiversity research and ecosystems services to plant cell wall biosynthesis, from quantum science and new materials to applied geochemistry. The options for enriched graduate training in industry related fields are almost endless.

World-class research infrastructure

Our affiliated institutes and centres include UBC's Michael Smith Laboratories, Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute, Biodiversity Research Centre, Life Sciences Institute, Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences, Mineral Deposit Research Unit, and TRIUMF, Canada’s national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics.

Top research talent

UBC Science boasts more than 50 Canada Research Chairs, 12 fellows of the Royal Society of London, and has been home to two Nobel Laureates. Our graduate students have won 15 prestigious Vanier Scholarships.

A diverse, supportive community of scholars

UBC Science is committed to excellence, collaboration and inclusion. Women account for 41 per cent of the Faculty's graduate enrollments, and the percentage of international students has increased to 50 per cent over the past decade.

To nurture an exceptional scientific learning and research environment for the people of British Columbia, Canada, and the world.

Research Centres

Biodiversity, Evolution and Ecology

Computational Sciences and Mathematics

Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences

Genomics and Biological Sciences

Human-Computer Interaction

Life Sciences

Chemistry and Materials Science



Research Facilities

Designed to inspire collaboration and creativity across disciplines, the new Earth Sciences Building (ESB) lies at the heart of the science precinct on UBC’s Vancouver Campus. The $75 million facility is home to Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, Statistics, the Pacific Institute of the Mathematical Sciences, and the dean’s office of the Faculty of Science. ESB’s updated teaching facilities will help Canada meet the challenges of a transforming and growing resource sector. Just as importantly, the researchers and students working and learning in the new facility will offer a valuable flow of well-trained talent, new ideas, and fresh professional perspectives to industry.

Research Highlights

Receiving more than $120 million in annual research funding, UBC Science faculty members conduct top-tier research in the life, physical, earth and computational sciences. Their discoveries help build our understanding of natural laws—driving insights into sustainability, biodiversity, human health, nanoscience and new materials, probability, artificial intelligence, exoplanets and a wide range of other areas.

UBC Science boasts 50 Canada Research Chairs and 10 fellows of the Royal Society of London, and has been home to two Nobel Laureates. 

Graduate Degree Programs

Research Supervisors in Faculty

or browse the list of faculty members in various academic units. You may click each unit to view faculty members appointed in that unit. View the full faculty member directory for more search and filter options.
Name Academic Unit(s) Research Interests
Suttle, Curtis Department of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences, Department of Botany, Department of Microbiology & Immunology Bioinformatics; Fisheries sciences; Immunology; Microbiology; Oceanography; Plant biology; Biological Oceanography; Environmental Virology; Marine Environment; Marine Microbiology; Microbial Diversity; Phage; Viral Discovery; Viruses
Tanner, Martin Department of Chemistry Enzymes responsible for the biosynthesis of the sialic acids in mammals
Taylor, Eric Department of Zoology Genomics; Evolutionary Genetics; biodiversity; speciation; fishes; conservation; biogeography
Tetzlaff, Wolfram Department of Zoology Neural development and regeneration
Thachuk, Mark Department of Chemistry Reaction dynamics, mathematical techniques, Chemical physics
Tocheva, Elitza Department of Microbiology & Immunology Microbiology; Biological and Biochemical Mechanisms; Functional and Structural Proteomics; Microbial Ultrastructure; Cryo-electron tomography and Structural Biology; bacterial physiology; Microbial Diversity; Secretion systems and Mechanisms of pathogenesis; Novel bacterial phyla
Tokuriki, Nobuhiko Michael Smith Laboratories, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Experimental evolution of proteins and molecular networks.
Tokuyama, Maria Department of Microbiology & Immunology Endogenous retroviruses (ERVs), Chronic interaction between viruses and the immune system
Tortell, Philippe Department of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences, Department of Botany Biological / Chemical Oceanography, Climate-active Trace Gases, Primary Productvity, Polar Marine Ecosystems
Trites, Andrew Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries marine mammals, seals, sea lions, whales, dolphins, fisheries competition, population biology, ecology, Marine mamals research centre, biology of marine mammals, population dynamics, bioenergetics, fisheries
Tropini, Carolina Department of Microbiology & Immunology, School of Biomedical Engineering Immunology; Medical and biomedical engineering; Microbiology; Bacteria; Bacteriophages; Bioengineering; Bioinformatics; Biological and Biochemical Mechanisms; Biophysics; Gut microbiota; Inflammatory bowel disease
Tsai, Tai-Peng Department of Mathematics Differential equations and integral equations in pure mathematics; Partial Differential Equations; Mathematical physics
Tseng, Michelle Department of Botany, Department of Zoology Population ecology; Community ecology (except invasive species ecology); Evolutionary impacts of climate change; Biological adaptation; Ecological impacts of climate change; Insect & plankton ecology; Community and evolutionary ecology; Community responses to warming
Unruh, William Department of Physics & Astronomy black holes; cosmology; quantum computers; theory of gravity
Van de Panne, Michiel Department of Computer Science Computer Science and Statistics; Computer Sciences and Mathematical Tools; Robotics and Automation; simulation of human movement; computer animation; Robotics; deep reinforcement learning; motor control; computer graphics
Van Raamsdonk, Mark Department of Physics & Astronomy elementary particle theory, high energy theory.  , String theory, quantum field theory, quantum gravity
Van Waerbeke, Ludovic Department of Physics & Astronomy astrophysics, cosmology, dark energy, universe, gravitational lensing, galaxy, galaxies, Cosmology, dark matter, galaxy formation, structure formation
van Willigenburg, Stephanie Department of Mathematics Combinatorics and discrete mathematics; algebraic combinatorics; Coxeter group; quasisymmetric function; Schur functions and generalizations; chromatic symmetric function
Vatsal, Vinayak Department of Mathematics Canonical periods, congruence formula, elliptic curve, Iwasawa invariants, Heegner points, L-functions
Vincent, Amanda Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries Ecological applications, n.e.c.; Marine ecology (including marine ichthyology); Biodiversity; Natural environment sustainability studies; Natural resource management; Wildlife and habitat management; marine conservation; threatened marine species, especially seahorses and their relatives; bottom trawling and other nonselective fisheries; wildlife trade; marine protected areas; Small-scale fisheries; community-based conservation; citizen/community science; multilateral environmental agreements; .
Wabnitz, Colette Ecosystem (Aquatic and Terrestrial); Protected Areas; Vulnerable and Threatened Species; Biodiversity and Biocomplexity; Resources Management; Marine Environment; Telemetry (Remote Sensing, Radar); Biogeography; Ecological and Ecophysiological Processes; Socio-Economic Conditions; Fishery Resources; Sustainable Development; Marine Aquarium Trade; Marine Spatial Planning; Sustainable Natural Resource Use; marine conservation; Food Security and Well-Being; Ecotourism; Vulnerability; Climate change and anthropogenic stressors; Governance; Small-scale fisheries; Developing countries; Small Island States; Nutrition; Seagrass; fish ecology; population dynamics; life history; Ecosystem services; social-ecological systems
Wachs, Anthony Department of Mathematics, Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering Fluidization and fluid mechanics; Process control and simulation in chemical engineering; Numerical computation; Fluid mechanics; Particle-laden flows; Non Newtonian flows; Heat and mass transfer; Numerical simulation; High performance computing; Multi-scale modelling
Wagner, Alan Department of Computer Science Parallel computation, interconnection networks, parallel programming environments
Walji, Nahid
Waltham, Christopher Department of Physics & Astronomy Physical sciences; Musical Acoustics


Graduate Student Stories

Recent Publications

This is an incomplete sample of recent publications in chronological order by UBC faculty members with a primary appointment in the Faculty of Science.


Recent Thesis Submissions

Doctoral Citations

A doctoral citation summarizes the nature of the independent research, provides a high-level overview of the study, states the significance of the work and says who will benefit from the findings in clear, non-specialized language, so that members of a lay audience will understand it.
Year Citation Program
2021 Poor data collection protocols can severely bias statistical methods. Dr. Watson developed elementary space-time statistical methodologies for detecting and mitigating sampling bias. He applied his work to tackle issues in the fields of public health and endangered species conservation. Doctor of Philosophy in Statistics (PhD)
2021 Nowadays, there is a growing concern over the potentially catastrophic effects of climate change. Dr. Rodriguez-Arelis' research has used statistical computer experiments to simulate complex natural phenomena and engineering processes. These tools have improved the prediction accuracy of different systemic responses such as hurricane hazards. Doctor of Philosophy in Statistics (PhD)
2021 Dr. Montenegro Alonso studied a specific small protein that is secreted by the smut fungus when it infects barley. She revealed its timing of expression, localization in the plant and the role it plays in weakening the plant defenses. These findings can be used to better understand plant-fungal interactions and to develop resistant crop varieties. Doctor of Philosophy in Botany (PhD)
2021 Dr. Horianopoulos characterized the roles of heat shock proteins in the disease-causing fungus Cryptococcus neoformans, focusing on the family of co-chaperone proteins containing the J domain. She identified proteins that allow this fungus to grow at human body temperature and adapt to the human host environment in order to establish infection. Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology and Immunology (PhD)
2021 Dr. Chun studied deadly paediatric cancers called rhabdoid tumours using sophisticated DNA sequencing and computational tools. She revealed diverse molecular characteristics of these cancers and discovered that a subset of tumours had more immune activities than others, thus revealing the potential use of immunotherapy for rhabdoid tumour patients. Doctor of Philosophy in Bioinformatics (PhD)
2021 Many of the artificial-intelligence-powered products that we use daily rely on a family of methods called "deep learning"'. Dr. Shafaei presented solutions that enable a broader and safer application of these techniques. He also introduced a new application of deep learning for automated portrait editing that produces high-quality images. Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science (PhD)
2021 Dr. Mora studied how DNA is taken up from the environment by two bacteria that are characterized as Gram-negative based on the characteristics of their cellular walls. His analysis was able to predict DNA uptake and explain several factors that influence this process. Doctor of Philosophy in Zoology (PhD)
2021 Dr. Verhaven studied the surface of DNA biosensors. She examined the relationship between applied electrical voltage and DNA melting. Her findings could contribute to the improved fabrication of future biosensors. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2021 Dr. Lan developed an ion trap to separate and identify atoms through their mass and light emission. His research contributes to understanding whether one of the most mysterious fundamental subatomic particles known as neutrinos behave as their own anti-particles. Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)
2021 Dr. Hoffarth explored the catalytic potential of the biosynthetic pathway of an antibiotic called indolmycin for contributions to natural product and antibiotic development. This exploration provided mechanistic insights for rare types of oxygen-dependent enzymes and produced novel derivatives of indolmycin using bacteria. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)