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
McDonald, Daniel Department of Statistics Estimation and quantification of prediction risk, Evaluating the predictive abilities of complex dependent data, Application of statistical learning techniques to time series prediction problems, Investigations of cross-validation and the bootstrap for risk estimation
McDougall, Scott Department of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences Landslides, natural and man-made geological hazards, geohazards, rock avalanches, debris flows / floods, tailings dam breaches, shoreline erosion, landslide-generated waves
McGrenere, Joanna Department of Computer Science human-computer interaction, personalized user interfaces, universal usability, interactive technologies for older users and people with cognitive disorders, computer supported cooperative work (CSCW), computer science
McIver, Jess Department of Physics & Astronomy Gravitational wave astrophysics, Multi-messenger astronomy, Characterization of large-scale instrumentation, Discovering the cosmos with gravitational waves
McKenna, Janis Department of Physics & Astronomy Experimental Particle Physics, Instrumentation
Mehrkhodavandi, Parisa Department of Chemistry Inorganic and Organometallic Compounds, Polymers, Chemical Synthesis and Catalysis, Inorganic and Organometallic Chemistry, Polymer Chemistry and Characterization, catalysis, Green Chemistry, Bioproducts, Bio-based polymers
Michal, Carl Department of Physics & Astronomy Nuclear magnetic resonance, biological and energy storage materials
Michaletz, Sean Department of Botany Plant physiological ecology, macroecology, fire behavior and effects
Milner, Valery Department of Physics & Astronomy Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics; Ultrafast Quantum Coherent Control; Ultrafast Spectroscopy
Mitchell, Ian Department of Computer Science safety critical systems, assistive technology (mobility), robotics, scientific computing, cyber-physical systems, Mathematical software, computational science and engineering, hybrid and cyber-physical systems, verification and validation, reproducible research, level set methods, robotic path, planning
Mizumoto, Kota Department of Zoology Cell and Developmental Biology
Mohn, William Department of Microbiology & Immunology pollutant biodegradation, pollutant bioremediation, biological treatment of forest industry effluents and wastes, microbial ecology, environmental biotechnology, forest soil microbial ecology, tuberculosis, microbial genomics, Microbial ecology
Momose, Takamasa Department of Chemistry Spectroscopy, Chemical physics
Mostafavi, Sara Department of Statistics, Department of Medical Genetics machine/statistical learning applied to disease genetics
Munzner, Tamara Department of Computer Science Computer Systems, visualization, information visualization, visual analytics, data science
Murphy, Gail Department of Computer Science Software Development, software engineering, software evolution, software design, knowledge worker productivity
Murphy, Michael Department of Microbiology & Immunology Microbiology, Functional and Structural Proteomics, Biological and Biochemical Mechanisms, Microbial metal metabolism, Bacterial pathogenesis, Alternatives to antibiotics
Murugan, Mathav Department of Mathematics probability theory and analysis, relationship between behavior of Markov processes and the geometry of the underlying state space, Sandpile models, boundary theory, potential theory, quasiconformal mappings, Metric geometry
Nagata, K Wayne Department of Mathematics Nonlinear dynamics and applied partial differential equations
Ng, Raymond Tak-yan Department of Computer Science Data mining and analysis, health informatics, text summarization, text mining
Nolde, Natalia Department of Statistics Statistics and Probabilities, Multivariate extreme value theory, Risk assessment, Applications in finance, insurance, geosciences
O'Connor, Mary Department of Zoology climate change, ocean, seafood, seagrass, eelgrass, invertebrate, ecology, environment,
Oberg, Gunilla Institute for Resources, Environment & Sustainability Science and Knowledge, Chemical Pollutants, Risk Management, Social and Cultural Factors of Environmental Protection, Environmental Health, Sustainable Development, Environment and Society, Language, Knowledge, Significance and Thought Building, Urban and Rural Planning Policies, Learning and Development Approaches
Ollivier, Rachel Department of Mathematics Langlands Programme, a central theme in pure mathematics which predicts deep connections between number theory and representation theory;
Orians, Kristin Department of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences, Department of Chemistry Chemical Oceanography, Trace metals in seawater


Graduate Student Profiles

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
2019 Dr. Toker's research on user-adaptive information visualizations is at the intersection of Artificial Intelligence and Human Computer Interaction. His work leveraged eye tracking to show how adaptive interventions could be devised to support users according to their individual needs and differences. Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science (PhD)
2019 Dr. McGee studied the outer protective coat of the seed. He developed the tools and system to be able to modify specific components of the cell wall in the model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana. This work increased our understanding of cell wall structure and function. Doctor of Philosophy in Botany (PhD)
2019 Dr. Leistenschneider studied how neutrons form shell structures in the nucleus of titanium and vanadium atoms. The imprints that nuclear shells leave on the mass of the atom were investigated in several isotopes of these elements using high precision mass spectrometry techniques. The results served as stringent tests for modern nuclear theories. Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)
2019 Dr. Cantin studied quantum systems. He showed that certain quasiparticles can be localized by disorder and modeled a tool to study material surfaces. His work improves our understanding of energy transport in materials and gives a foundation for machine learning to solve the inverse scattering problem for surface-sensitive molecular interferometers. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2019 Dr. Altiere developed an ultraviolet laser system to probe the atomic energy levels in xenon gas. Her work also included precision optical measurements of atomic constants in xenon 129. These results are essential to neutron electric dipole moment experiments at TRIUMF and to the broader scientific community. Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)
2019 Dr. Zhao developed a practical and accurate dosimetry method to achieve optimized cancer therapy with radionuclides. His research demonstrated the feasibility of personalizing cancer treatment in routine clinics. His work contributes significantly to the safe and effective usage of radionuclides in cancer therapy. Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)
2019 Nuclear medicine is an important field of medicine, shining a light within the human body to facilitate diagnosis and therapy. Dr. Wang developed a new group of chelators based on "oxine" arms which showed a marked improvement from its previous counterpart. This work has significant potential for radiophamaceuticals in nuclear medicine. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2019 There is much that we still do not understand about the world around us. Dr. Forestell focused on creating mathematical models of how new types of physics may interact with the known Universe throughout the course of our cosmological history. Her research contributes to the set of tools that are used to limit and probe new models of physics. Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)
2019 Dr. Cuen-Rochin participated in precise measurements of rare pion decays. His analysis of an extensive data set recorded by the PIENU experiment at TRIUMF, and evaluation of experimental systematic effects allowed high precision measurements to be obtained. This work will lead to stringent tests of the Standard Model of particle physics. Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)
2019 Dr. Kar studied how and why millions of rural poor in Asia and Africa continue to use polluting cooking fuels like firewood even after adopting clean fuels like gas. He mapped the fuel transition process and its underlying behavioural determinants. He recommends that policymakers focus on behaviour change interventions for clean fuel adopters. Doctor of Philosophy in Resources, Environment and Sustainability (PhD)