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
Johnson, Catherine Department of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences Lunar geophysics, Evolution of Mars' Magnetic Field and Atmosphere
Johnson, Pauline Department of Microbiology & Immunology Diseases of the Immune System, Immunology, Inflammation, Immune-cancer interactions, Innate immunity, Macrophages and myeloid cells
Jones, David Department of Physics & Astronomy Atomic, optical and molecular physics,Ultrafast Optics, Spectroscopy
Karczmarek, Joanna Department of Physics & Astronomy String theory, Matrix models, Emergent spacetime and gravity, Noncommutative geometry
Karu, Kalle Department of Mathematics Algebraic geometry, toric varieties, log geometry, combinatorics of fans and posets
Kastrup, Christian Michael Smith Laboratories, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology drug delivery, coagulation, biomaterials, atherosclerosis, in-vivo imaging, microfluidics
Keeling, Patrick John Department of Botany Molecular evolution and cell biology of eukaryotes
Kennedy, Lori Department of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences Geological science, structural geology, development of large-scale fault systems and shear zones, displacements, fluid-rock interactions, strain localization, confining pressure
Kiczales, Gregor Department of Computer Science MOOCs, Blended Learning, Flexible Learning, University Strategy for Flexible and Blended Learning, Computer Science Education, Programming Languages, Programming languages, aspect-oriented programming, foundations, reflections and meta programming, software design
Kiefl, Robert Department of Physics & Astronomy Quantum Phenomena, condensed matter physics, polarons, multiferroics, superconductivity, magnetism
Kim, Young-Heon Department of Mathematics Partial Differential Equations and Geometry
Kopylova, Maya Department of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences diamond ore deposits, Diamond exploration, petrology and volcanology
Korthauer, Keegan Department of Statistics Statistical genomics, Epigenomics, Single-cell analysis
Kremen, Claire Institute for Resources, Environment & Sustainability, Department of Zoology Reconciliation of agricultural land use with biodiversity conservation, agroecological farming systems, sustainable landscapes
Krems, Roman Department of Chemistry Theoretical chemistry, Molecular Spectroscopy, Dynamics of few- and many-body molecular systems in electromagnetic fields
Kronstad, James Michael Smith Laboratories, Department of Microbiology & Immunology Microbiology, Molecular Genetics, Genomics and Proteomics, Pathogenesis of infectious diseases, Medical Mycology, Plant-Microbe Interactions, Fungal diseases of plants
Kruecken, Reiner Department of Physics & Astronomy Elementary Particles, Universe Structure, Nuclear Physics, Nuclear Astrophysics, Neutrino Physics
Kunst, Ljerka Department of Botany Seed storage oil production, biosynthesis
Laba, Izabella Department of Mathematics Harmonic analysis, geometric measure theory and additive combinatorics
Lakshmanan, Laks Department of Computer Science data management and data cleaning, data warehousing and OLAP, data and text mining, analytics on big graphs and news, social networks and media, recommender systems
Leander, Brian Department of Botany, Department of Zoology Evolutionary morphology, Marine invertebrate zoology, Evolutionary protistology, Species discovery, Phylogenetic biology, Comparative organismal biology, Marine biodiversity
Lee, Jae-Hyeok Department of Botany Molecular Genetics, Evolutionary Genetics, molecular genetics of microalgae for robust biomass production, evolution of developmental mechanisms, cell and molecular biology of cellular differentiation
Leitch, Duncan Department of Zoology understanding sensory system adaptations in diverse organisms, contributions of nervous system properties to natural behaviours
Leyton-Brown, Kevin Department of Computer Science Artificial Intelligence, Algorithms, Theoretical Computer Science, Resource Allocation, Computer Science and Statistics, Machine Learning, game theory, Auction theory
Li, Yue-Xian Department of Mathematics Calcium signalling in neuroendocrine cells Fertilization calcium waves in oocytes


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. Lorzadeh developed a sensitive method to study how the composition of chromatin in normal blood cell precursors changes during blood cell production and how it is altered in certain types of leukemia. His research advances our understanding of the molecular processes that regulate the production of normal and malignant blood cells. Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology and Immunology (PhD)
2019 Using numerical simulations, Dr. Chen demonstrated the emergence of high-energy physics phenomena in topological quantum matter. She proposed the creation of Majorana particles, chiral anomalies, and black hole holograms in mesoscopic quantum systems. Her proposals allow us to probe these elusive physics concepts in cost-effective table-top experiments. Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)
2019 Dr. Zimmerman designed and synthesized a new ligand scaffold for nickel and palladium complexes. The resulting metal complexes and and their reactivity patterns were studied and what emerged was that the ligand can participate in chemistry at the metal center. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2019 Dr. Liu studied a special type of quantum materials called Dirac materials. He proved that the response of Dirac materials to elastic deformation highly mimics that to electromagnetic fields. This unique feature makes Dirac materials stand out from other quantum materials and renders them useful for the future application in quantum technologies. Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)
2019 Dr. Cox studied models of the loss of information in quantum systems. He developed a way of understanding how the information stored in a quantum system can be divided into its constituent parts and how this information can be transferred to the environment. Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)
2019 Dr. Ben Bouchta developed a method of measuring how much radiation healthy tissues receive during radiotherapy. He subsequently applied this method to compare different radiotherapy techniques and found that it is possible to reduce the risk of radiation-induced thyroid cancer by up to 10% in patients who receive whole-lung irradiation. Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)
2019 If automation is inevitable, one must either fear it or embrace it; Dr. Christy believes the latter. His research focuses on bringing automation to the pulp and paper industry. He developed a spectroscopic method to predict product quality based on in-process pulp, and deployed it in a pilot plant. His goal is a full-scale mill implementation. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2019 Dr. Chang studied vine copulas, a hierarchical graphic tool used in statistics and probability distributions. He found that vine copulas relax the restrictive assumptions in classical multivariate Gaussian elliptical dependence. This work can be applied to machine learning and used in real-world data sets such as stock indices and weather. Doctor of Philosophy in Statistics (PhD)
2019 A controlled CD4+ T cell response is essential for protective immunity against influenza. Dr. Fonseca showed that CD4+ T cells are modulated by the infection-induced cytokine IL-27 and dynamic histone modifications during infection. Her work provides insight into the mechanisms that balance effective immunity and immunopathology during disease. Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology and Immunology (PhD)
2019 Dr. Arman made several contributions to the area of compressed sensing. He proposed a new class of matrices, generalized a method of quantization, and showed the classical bounds on one of the main features of deterministic matrices in compressed sensing can be improved. Compressed sensing is used in signal processing, statistics and computer science. Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematics (PhD)