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

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 Dr. Vashishta demonstrated the trapping of polyatomic free radicals using solenoid coils and permanent magnets. This work showed for the first time the possibility of trapping polyatomic radicals, which can now be used to enhance our understanding of fundamental processes. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2021 Dr. Huang explores the genomic mechanisms of adaptation. He identified structural changes in the chromosomes of dune-adapted sunflowers and revealed the importance of these changes to facilitating ecological divergence. These discoveries advance our understanding of species' adaptation to different environments and the formation of biodiversity. Doctor of Philosophy in Botany (PhD)
2021 Dr. Nelson showed that predation by marine mammals may have a significant impact on the survival of young salmon in the Salish Sea. He then evaluated several management actions that could promote the recovery of salmon, which is critical information for various stakeholders in Canada and the United States. Doctor of Philosophy in Zoology (PhD)
2021 Dr. Contasti is a statistical ecologist who developed tools to assess biodiversity in human-modified areas. Her work identified strategies to protect mammals and enhance plant regeneration in a rainforest reserve and its surrounding mixed-farmland in Indonesia. She showed that ecosystems can be managed to support biodiversity and human livelihoods. Doctor of Philosophy in Zoology (PhD)
2021 Dr. Kapos used a mix of genetic and molecular biology techniques to examine the mechanisms of plant immunity. His work determined roles of several novel proteins in the regulation of immune signalling and added to our understanding of how protein degradation helps to modulate defence responses in plants. Doctor of Philosophy in Botany (PhD)
2021 Dr. Tonge worked to develop a series of organic semiconductor polymers and small molecules. These materials were then used in the assembly of larger, organized nanomaterials. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2021 Dr. Paquin-Lefebvre became an expert in dynamical systems theory during his PhD. He analyzed the pattern-forming dynamics of novel mathematical models motivated by the compartmentalization of cellular proteins. His thesis contains the first systematic derivation of amplitude equations near a variety of spatio-temporal instabilities in such models. Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematics (PhD)
2021 Dr. Marchant demonstrated the respective roles of the calcium and membrane clocks in cardiac pacemaking of the zebrafish, and determined important genetic distinctions in pacemaking function between mammals and zebrafish. Doctor of Philosophy in Zoology (PhD)
2021 Dr. Pena studied the bacteria that causes tuberculosis and how it interacts with the human host cell, the macrophage, during infection. Her research resulted in the discovery of a group of compounds that help the macrophage eliminate the tuberculosis bacteria. These compounds could potentially be developed into a novel therapy for tuberculosis. Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology and Immunology (PhD)
2021 Dr. Aghigh investigated the response of specific excited molecular systems to different time-varying electric fields and showed experimentally that electrons in such systems approach an immobilized state. This research constructs the building blocks of many important future applications in areas such as Quantum Computing, and Astronomy. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)