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
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
Todesco, Marco Michael Smith Laboratories, Department of Botany Plant biology; Quantitative genetics (including disease and trait mapping genetics); Biological adaptation; Developmental genetics (including sex determination); Genomics; Population, ecological and evolutionary genetics; Paleogenomics; Genetics engineering; Plant-animal interactions; Genetic and molecular basis of adaptation; Plant genomics; Chromosomal structural variation; Crop improvement and bioengineering; Wild sunflowers ecology and evolution; Cannabis diversity and domestication
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; Urban biodiversity
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
Wang, Daochen Department of Computer Science
Wang, Yan Department of Chemistry Quantum chemistry, Chemical physics
Ward, Michael Jeffrey Department of Mathematics Applied analysis, singular perturbations, reaction-diffusion theory, mathematical modeling and scientific compution, nonlinear dynamics and applied partial differential equations


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
2022 Dr. Fan studied mathematical optimization techniques for large-scale data-driven applications. He explored how the duality theory can help to develop scalable optimization algorithms. His works provide state-of-the-art solutions to many challenging optimization problems arising from machine learning, signal processing and data mining. Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science (PhD)
2022 The prevailing theory of particle physics has been immensely successful but is known to be incomplete. Many of its extensions predict modifications to the rate at which Higgs bosons are produced in pairs. Dr. Gubbels analyzes data collected by the ATLAS detector to search for this process, placing strong constraints on any such new theories. Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)
2022 Dr. Pushak studied the recipes computers use to solve problems. Computational recipes, or algorithms, are similar to baking recipes, which can be adjusted by modifying parameters such as temperature. He showed that computer parameters contain simple, exploitable patterns that can substantially reduce the time needed to solve computational problems. Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science (PhD)
2022 Dr. Fu studied three kinds of numerical schemes for phase field models and proved that they preserve intrinsic properties including the maximum principle and the energy dissipation law. This research offers high-order structure-preserving numerical solutions for phase field models and other gradient flows with special structures. Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematics (PhD)
2022 Dr. Togunov developed statistical tools to study behaviour using tracking data for animals in moving environments. Using these tools, he identified temporal and environmental conditions that drive polar bear behaviour, which appeared to be tied to the behaviour of ringed and bearded seals, the main prey of polar bears. Doctor of Philosophy in Zoology (PhD)
2022 Dr. Moore-Maley showed how wind-driven ocean currents in the Strait of Georgia transport nutrients from deep water to the surface where photosynthesis occurs. This nutrient pathway is important for summer growth of phytoplankton and their zooplankton grazers, and may help explain observed ecosystem and fisheries trends such as salmon declines. Doctor of Philosophy in Oceanography (PhD)
2022 The motion of ions in a crystal lattice is described as phonons in quantum mechanics. The interaction, or coupling, between electrons and phonons is important in determining many properties of materials. In contrast to the oversimplified coupling customary used, we showed that some different Physics can be seen using the more detailed coupling. Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)
2022 Computer experiments are used as replacements for physical experiments in a wide variety of applications. Dr. Isberg's research addressed the analysis of large datasets arising from computer models, as well as the combination of multiple competing computer models. The work can be applied broadly in science and engineering, including climate models. Doctor of Philosophy in Statistics (PhD)
2022 Dr. Shen studied collision physics in the two body system and formulated the universal behavior of the quantum diffractive collisions. Based on the universal behavior, he realized the world's first cold atom based primary pressure standard. This new pressure standard will help redefine the pressure unit, Pascal, in the quantum scale. Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)
2022 Dr. Cooney produced molecular data for rare and understudied dinoflagellates, substantially expanding data availability for this important group. She identified several new species along the way and revealed new insights about dinoflagellate biology and evolution. Doctor of Philosophy in Botany (PhD)