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 40 per cent of the Faculty's graduate enrollments, and the percentage of international students has increased to 48 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

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
Heckman, Nancy Department of Statistics Statistics and Probabilities, functional data analysis, smoothing, splines
Hein, Jason Department of Chemistry discovery, design and study of new organometallic and organocatalytic reactions; investigating complex systems where multiple pathways compete, partitioning the active catalyst among many possible pathways
Hepburn, John Department of Chemistry Chemical physics
Hermon, Jonathan Department of Mathematics probability theory, Markov chains and the cutoff phenomenon, particle systems, percolation
Heyl, Jeremy Department of Physics & Astronomy Quantum Phenomena, Stellar, Astrophysics, Stellar Physics, Quantum-Field Theory, Neutron Stars, Black Holes
Hickey, Kenneth Department of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences understand the processes involved in the genesis of mineral deposits from a multidisciplinary perspective; Post-mineralization weathering, denudation and subsequent burial of Carlin-type Au-mineralization at the Cortez Hills deposit: Implications for finding Au-deposits in bedrock under cover.
Hickson, Paul Department of Physics & Astronomy cosmology, galaxies, telescopes, adaptive optics., Astronomy, astrophysics, Galaxies, clusters, instrumentation, adaptive optics
Hieter, Philip Michael Smith Laboratories, Department of Medical Genetics Molecular biology of eukaryotic chromosome transmission
Hinshaw, Gary Department of Physics & Astronomy cosmology, cosmic background radiation, Cosmology, Measuring diffuse background radiations
Hirst, Martin Department of Microbiology & Immunology Carcinogenesis, Leukemia, Cellular Differentiation, Bioinformatics, Genomics, Molecular Genetics, Epigenomics
Holmes, Reid Department of Computer Science computer science, software engineering, software testing, software quality, open source software, software development tools, software comprehension, static analysis
Horwitz, Marc Department of Microbiology & Immunology Mechanisms of viral-induced immune disease in a variety of complex chronic disorders
Hu, Alan Department of Computer Science formal verification, formal methods, model checking, software analysis, post-silicon validation, security, nonce to detect automated mining of profiles
Huan, Tao Department of Chemistry Metabolic measurements, Metabolomics, Cellular Metabolism
Hudson, Zachary Department of Chemistry development of new materials to address issues of sustainability in chemistry and materials science
Hunt, Brian Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries plankton dynamics, British Columbia coastal ecosystems, structure and function of pelagic marine ecosystems, response of lower trophic levels to bottom-up forcing by climatic and oceanographic conditions, early life history of juvenile salmon and herring
Hutchinson, Norman Department of Computer Science Computer Systems, distributed systems, File Systems, Virtualization
Irwin, Darren Department of Zoology Evolutionary Genetics, speciation, hybridization, ornithology, seasonal migration, genomic differentiation
Jankowski, Jill Department of Zoology Ecology
Jean, Francois Department of Microbiology & Immunology Viral Infections, Virus, Virus (Living Organisms), Antivirals, Cell Therapy of Infectious and Immune Diseases, Bioactive Molecules, Infectious Diseases, Molecular virology, Host-virus interactions, Cellular proprotein convertases, Emerging human viruses, Mosquito-borne viruses, Dengue virus, Zika virus, West Nile virus, Influenza A virus, Antiviral agents, Natural products as antiviral agents, Broad-based antiviral therapeutics, Lipid-modulating drugs, Human microRNAs, Therapeutic microRNA, Viral and cellular biomarkers, Molecular diagnostics for detecting viral infection, Circulating exosomes, Exosomal microRNAs
Jefferies, Wilfred Arthur Michael Smith Laboratories, Department of Medical Genetics, Department of Microbiology & Immunology Iron transport molecules
Jellinek, Mark Department of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences Volcanology, Geodynamics, Planetary Science, Geological Fluid Mechanics
Jetter, Reinhard Department of Botany, Department of Chemistry Analytical Chemistry, Plant Ecophysiology, Plant Biochemistry, Molecular Genetics, Biological Chemistry
Joe, Harry Sue Wah Department of Statistics Statistics and Probabilities, dependence modelling, copula construction, non-normal time series, extreme value inference, parsimonous high-dimensional dependence
Johnson, Pauline Department of Microbiology & Immunology Diseases of the Immune System, Immunology, Inflammation, Immune-cancer interactions, Innate immunity, Macrophages and myeloid cells


Recent Publications

This is an incomplete sample of recent publications 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. McFadden studied the dynamics of lithium ions at ultra-dilute concentrations inside single crystalline materials. The results from these novel experiments will help to refine models of ion transport in solids, which can be applied in the operation of many practical devices, such as lithium-ion batteries. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2020 Dr. Brown studied the bacterium that causes Tuberculosis (TB), called Mycobacterium tuberculosis (or Mtb). She investigated how Mtb uses host-produced cholesterol as a source of nutrients during infection. She demonstrated the importance of cholesterol for the survival of Mtb within the lung and identified novel targets for TB drug development. Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology and Immunology (PhD)
2020 Dr. Moroz developed a method to rapidly measure the concentration of a contrast agent in the vein of a mouse tail. The measurement requires only one sample per time point, allowing for it to be acquired concurrently with an MR scan of a tumor. This provides a more accurate assessment of the tumor. Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)
2020 Turbulence in the ocean controls its ability to support life and modulate Earth's climate. It works to distribute heat, oxygen, and nutrients across the world's oceans. Dr. Scheifele used a robotic submarine to study marine turbulence in the Arctic Ocean, and studied the effects of ocean turbulence on the natural environment in the Beaufort Sea. Doctor of Philosophy in Oceanography (PhD)
2020 Dr. Crowley investigated the role of the intestinal mucosal inflammasome in restricting the early infection of the pathogen Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. Her research uncovers the dual role that epithelial cells play as both active defenders and coordinators of the immune response. Doctor of Philosophy in Genome Science and Technology (PhD)
2020 Dr. Chatzichristos developed a novel experimental technique that uses nuclear physics to study the diffusion of lithium ions in solid materials. Using this technique, he was able to resolve several questions about lithium diffusion in materials such as rutile titanium dioxide (a crystal), which may be used in a next generation lithium-ion battery. Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)
2020 Dr. Dai developed nanostructured catalysts for methane combustion. The main component of natural gas, methane, is a potent greenhouse gas, and the removal of unburned methane from natural gas exhaust requires catalysts that operate at low temperatures. The developed catalysts may help to decrease methane emissions from natural gas vehicles. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2020 Dr. Moosvi did his research at the intersection of physics and medicine. He developed new techniques to probe the tumour microenvironments in mice. The most promising technique is oxygen-enhanced MRI, which supports the delivery of cancer therapies targeted at tumours whose lack of oxygen makes them particularly difficult to treat. Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)
2020 Dr. McDowell examined how people living in the Nepal Himalayas and Peruvian Andes are adapting to changes in glacial hydrology. His work makes substantive contributions to how adaptation is studied in mountain areas, as well as what we know about and can do to address adaptation needs in mountain communities at the frontlines of climate change. Doctor of Philosophy in Resources, Environment and Sustainability (PhD)
2020 Dr. Forde investigated the behaviour of fugitive gas, which occurs when damaged oil and gas wells leak natural gas into the surrounding environment. Fugitive gas poses environmental risks for groundwater contamination and greenhouse gas emissions. Her findings will improve oil and gas well site monitoring to identify and assess gas migration. Doctor of Philosophy in Geological Sciences (PhD)