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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
Wasteneys, Geoff Department of Botany Plant biology; Cell signaling; Hormones and Growth Factors; Molecular Genetics; Cellulose Biosynthesis; Microtubule Dynamics and Organization; Plant Cell Walls in Cell Shape and Tissue Function; Plant Growth and Development; Plant Responses to Abiotic Stress; Trafficking of Membrane Receptors and Transporters
Waterman, Stephanie Department of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences Atmospheric sciences; Oceanography; Arctic oceanography; geophysical fluid dynamics; Jets, eddies & scale interactions; Ocean dynamics; Oceanic processes; Scale interactions; Southern ocean dynamics; Western boundary current jets
Watson, Liam Department of Mathematics Topology; Low-dimensional topology; Khovanov homology; Heegaard Floer homology
Wei, Juncheng Department of Mathematics Differential equations and integral equations in pure mathematics; Partial and ordinary differential equations; Mathematics; Geometric analysis; Mathematical biology; Nonlinear partial differential equations; reaction-diffusion systems; singular perturbations and concentration phenomena; singularity formations in fluids; Nonlinear Analysis
Wei, Kevin Department of Zoology Cell and Developmental Biology; evolution
Weis, Dominique Department of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences Isotope geochemistry; Environmental geochemistry; Earth Structure and Composition; Geodynamics; Chemical Pollutants; Earth Sciences; Geochemistry; High-precision/sensitivity geochemical analyses; Indigenous studies; Oceanic islands and mantle plumes
Welch, William Department of Statistics Computational methods in statistics; Computer experiments; Design and analysis of experiments; Statistical machine learning; Environmental modellign
Wetton, Brian Department of Mathematics Scientific computing, fluid mechanics
White, Rachel Department of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences Atmospheric dynamics and thermodynamics; Climate modelling; Atmospheric dynamics; climate change; Extreme weather events; Climate impacts
Whitehead, Lorne Department of Physics & Astronomy Atomic, molecular, and optical physics; Education; Economics and business administration; Applied optics; Applied physics, especially novel geometrical approaches; Illuminating engineering and display technology; Optimizing innovation and enhancing learning within higher education
Whitlock, Michael Department of Zoology Evolution, forces which control the nature and distribution of genotypes in subdivided populations and how does this affect the outcome of other evolutionary processes
Whitton, Jeannette Department of Botany Speciation (evolutionary processes); Plant developmental and reproductive biology; Plant evolutionary ecology; Evolution of asexuality; Evolution and consequences of polyploidy; Speciation/ diversification; Species at risk in Canada; Conservation policy
Williams, Ben Department of Mathematics Topology; Algebra; Algebraic topology; Motivic homotopy theory; A1 homotopy theory
Wolf, Michael Department of Chemistry Synthesis of materials; Physical inorganic chemistry; Materials Chemistry; Inorganic Chemistry; Polymer chemistry; Photochemistry
Wood, Frank Donald Department of Computer Science Computer and information sciences; Artificial Intelligence; Computational neuroscience; Machine Learning; Natural Language Processing; New models and inference algorithms; Probabilistic models; Probabilistic programming; Probabilistic programming systems; Reinforcement learning; Robotics; vision
Wu, Lang Department of Statistics Biostatistical methods; Longitudinal data analysis, mixed effects models, missing data, hypothesis testing, biostatistics
Xiao, Robert Department of Computer Science human-computer interaction; Virtual/augmented reality
Ye, Ziliang Department of Physics & Astronomy Physical sciences; Nanomaterials; Optics and Photonics
Yi, Kwang Moo Department of Computer Science Computer vision in artificial intelligence; Pattern recognition and artificial vision; Computer Vision; Machine Learning; Visual Geometry; Astronomy; Biomedical imaging
Yilmaz, Ozgur Department of Mathematics Mathematical problems related to analog-to-digital conversion, blind source separation, sparse approximations and compressed sensing, and applications in seismic signal processing
Yoon, Dongwook Department of Computer Science Computer and information sciences; Computer Science and Statistics; design; Educational Technologies; Augmented reality; computer supported cooperative work (CSCW); Educational technology; Human-computer interaction (HCI); Interaction and interface design; Multimodal interaction; Speech, touch, multitouch, stylus, gesture, mixed-reality, 3d interaction; Virtual Reality
Zahl, Joshua Department of Mathematics Combinatorics and discrete mathematics; Lie groups, harmonic and Fourier analysis; Harmonic Analysis; Combinatorics; Discrete and Combinatorial Geometry
Zhao, Jiaying Institute for Resources, Environment & Sustainability, Department of Psychology Natural environment sciences; Psychology and cognitive sciences
Zhitnitsky, Ariel Department of Physics & Astronomy Particle theory, cosmology, quantum chromodymics, hadrons, axion physics, physcs of neutron stars, inflation models, dark matter problem
Zhou, Fei Department of Physics & Astronomy Condensed matter and theoretical physics, Ultra Cold Atoms Near Resonances


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
2022 Dr. Blain tested for predicted effects of competitive interactions among co-occurring fish phenotypes in post-glacial lakes. She demonstrated weak or no evidence for predictions from theory for selection and evolution in solitary stickleback populations and some evidence for habitat and trait repeatability in assemblages of sympatric salmonids. Doctor of Philosophy in Zoology (PhD)
2022 Dr. Jung investigated the regulation of respiratory gases within the gastrointestinal tract and cardiovascular system in teleost. She also studied the potential implications associated with osmoregulation and digestion. Her research illuminates maintenance of blood homeostasis despite the extreme extracorporeal environment in the tract. Doctor of Philosophy in Zoology (PhD)
2022 Dr. DeLisle used quantum information theory to study electromagnetic and gravitational fields. His work argued that upcoming laboratory experiments should be capable of observing quantum superpositions of space-time, and resulted in the discovery of a new kind of electric current, responsible for emitting the longest wavelengths of light in Nature. Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)
2022 Dr. Christidis developed a new class of statistical algorithms designed to analyze data in high dimensions. He made theoretical and computational contributions to support his work. His methods were applied to study the relationship between genetic patterns and different types of diseases. Doctor of Philosophy in Statistics (PhD)
2022 Dr. Bruns examined the mechanisms of heat transport in carbon nanotubes at the atomic level. He showed that the small spatial dimensions of these materials require a rethinking of some fundamental laws of thermal science. His research improves our understanding of the thermal performance of some technologically important materials. Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)
2022 What happens when you fall into a black hole? Gravity predicts one answer, quantum mechanics another. Dr. Wakeham explored this problem, using an approach which combines quantum and gravitational effects, and in particular exploited surfaces called end-of-the-world branes to peer inside black holes and understand the fate of someone who falls in. Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)
2022 Number-theoretical approach to geometric objects and their transformations has applications ranging from quantum physics to cryptography. Dr. Rüd obtained results on invariants related to local and global properties of tori, developed algorithms to study them numerically, and established a more general framework to study similar properties. Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematics (PhD)
2022 Harder, better, faster, stronger-autonomous robots can plan and execute chemistry experiments faster than Dr. Parlane. That's why he built an AI-powered robot to do his solar cell research for him. As we speak, his robot is discovering the green materials of tomorrow. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2022 Dr. Fandino developed methods to detect radiation emitted by neutral hydrogen on cosmological scales. His contributions to the construction and analysis of a new instrument led directly to the first detection of its kind. This work represents a significant development in the technique of hydrogen intensity mapping and the study of dark energy. Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)
2022 Dr. Mayder examined the influence of molecular rigidity on the enhancement of photostability for light-emitting organic materials. By incorporating these materials into synthetic polymers, they were applied as nanoscale in vitro biological imaging probes. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)