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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
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
Zou, Ke Department of Physics & Astronomy 2D crystals, molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) synthesis, heterostructures, gated field effect transistors (FETs)


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
2023 Dr. Nunez Bahena developed synthetic methodologies for accessing nitrogen-containing compounds by employing a catalyst based on an abundant metal, zirconium. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2023 Dr. Nguyen studied different roles of the nuclear localization signals in the life cycle of the Influenza A virus. She found these signals are important for the virus's nuclear import and nucleolus accumulation. Her findings deepen our knowledge of the influenza A virus's biology, which may lead to new pharmaceutical approaches for flu treatment. Doctor of Philosophy in Zoology (PhD)
2023 Dr. Xing has been developing bioinformatic algorithms and tools for the unexplored tandem mass spectrometry data in untargeted metabolomics. In revealing the structural information of the undiscovered metabolome, his works paved way for revealing biological mechanisms behind various health disorders and diseases from the perspective of small molecules. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2023 Dr. Tummuru studied quantum materials that can be assembled from simple building blocks to unveil novel emergent properties. Experimental realization of the proposed structures could find use in the development of quantum technology. Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)
2023 Dr. Natola studied the evolutionary process whereby 1 species splits into multiple different species using 3 hybridizing species of woodpeckers as a study system. She found the 3 species arose due to their environmental, behavioral, and genomic differences. Her study demonstrates evolutionary processes that have produced Canada's biodiversity. Doctor of Philosophy in Zoology (PhD)
2023 Dr. Aina developed new computer-based methods for engineering vaccines to treat brain diseases. He showed that the methods are effective for Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease in computer models, making them valuable in drug development. His findings benefit those with brain diseases, as well as researchers and the pharmaceutical industry. Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)
2023 Dr. Lawrence unified elements from reinforcement learning and control theory to solve industrially relevant problems. His framework enables learning stable control policies directly from data. This ensures that maintaining controllers in an industrial setting is efficient, safe, and automated. Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematics (PhD)
2023 Dr. Rowell studied explosive volcanic eruptions that interact with glaciers, lakes, and oceans, using both computer models and machine learning analysis of ash plumes in thermal camera imagery. He predicted how the behaviour, hazards, and climate impacts of eruptions evolve as they interact with increasingly greater volumes of water and ice. Doctor of Philosophy in Geophysics (PhD)
2023 Dr. Mowbray developed materials for electrochemical reactors that convert carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into chemicals and fuels. His thesis informs how to design and fabricate reactor materials that improve the efficiency of converting carbon dioxide into commodity chemicals using electricity. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2023 Dr. Zhuang developed the first inhibitors of tubulin glycylation initiase and elongase and developed inhibitors of type I isopentenyl diphosphate isomerase. These inhibitors will be very useful tools in studying the structure and mechanism of these enzymes. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)