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
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
Zamar, Ruben Department of Statistics Data mining and text mining, Modeling data quality, Development of new robust procedures, Statistical computing, Bioinformatics
Zengin, Enes ,
Zhang, Yuelin Department of Botany Plant biology; Plant immunity; Salicylic acid signaling; Systemic acquired resistance; ROS signaling; MAPK signaling; plant immune receptors
Zhao, Jiaying Institute for Resources, Environment & Sustainability, Department of Psychology Natural environment sciences; Psychology and cognitive sciences; Behavior Change; Cognitive Science; Environment and Society; Poverty; Psychology - Biological Aspects; Public Policy; Socio-Economic Conditions; sustainability
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
2020 Dr. Qiu used computer simulations to explain the motion of drops made from a magnetic liquid, and developed a general computational method to study liquid crystals with a free surface. His research helps understand the physics of complex fluids under surface tension, and design new materials for many possible applications, such as medical care. Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematics (PhD)
2020 Dr. Martinez-Dibene laid the foundations for the uniform spanning forest model with uniform drift in one coordinate. He studied basic statistics such as the number of visits to a point as well as the geometry of the resulting forest. This helps understanding better the models of random forests in graphs which have applications in the design of networks. Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematics (PhD)
2020 Dr. Zhang identified two protein kinases that are critical for plant defense against pathogens. She found that these two kinases are involved in a conserved signalling transduction process in plant immunity. This research contributes to our understanding of plant immunity and will potentially help with sustainable agriculture. Doctor of Philosophy in Botany (PhD)
2020 Dr. Bauer explored the influence of gut microbes on early-life malnutrition. This work revealed key gut microbiota-brain interactions linked to cognitive function and glial biology. In addition, Dr. Bauer assessed how dietary intervention impacts the malnourished microbiome and improves fatty liver pathology. Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology and Immunology (PhD)
2020 By analysing the gravitational response to quantum matter, Dr. Arderucio Costa has shown that a hybrid classical and quantum-mechanical formulation of general relativity is sufficient for accounting for the laws of black hole thermodynamics. This work unifies the understanding of the thermodynamics of black holes and ordinary systems Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)
2020 Dr. Grewal developed machine learning tools for cancer diagnosis and analysis. She found that when given large-scale genomic data, these methods can diagnose rare cancers and learn individual cancer biology. Her research shows that automated machine learning methods can enhance diagnostic and treatment decisions in precision oncology. Doctor of Philosophy in Bioinformatics (PhD)
2020 Dr. Jain's work in carbohydrate chemistry involved the development of several molecular tools that facilitate the discovery of industrially applicable enzymes that can break down carbohydrates. Such enzymes have applications in biofuel production from renewable sources and in understanding mechanisms of carbohydrate digestion in humans. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2020 Dr. Raheem investigated the antibacterial and antibiofilm functions of antimicrobial peptides, with activity against both free-swimming and biofilm bacteria. Her research provides better understanding of the multifaceted nature of these peptides and helps towards the future development of therapeutic alternatives to combat antimicrobial resistance. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2020 Dr. Li's research focused on nuclear medicine in cancer treatments, particularly metal-based radiopharmaceuticals. She developed several metal-binding agents which demonstrated promising chemical and biological properties upon binding with important medical radiometal ions. Her discoveries impact medicinal inorganic chemistry and nuclear medicine. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2020 Dr. Shukla's research explored the complicated nature of algebraic structures, focusing on two measures of complexity: essential dimension and the number of generators of an algebra. This research contributes to our understanding of objects with highly complex symmetries that frequently arise in mathematics. Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematics (PhD)