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
Samuels, Anne Lacey Department of Botany plant cell biology; plant cell walls
Satterfield, Theresa Institute for Resources, Environment & Sustainability Sustainable development, environmental health, First Nation & land management, social and cultural consequences of contamination
Saylor, Joel Edward Department of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences Paleoaltimetry; Paleoclimatology; Tectonic Basin analysis; Quantitative sediment provenance analysis; Rivers; Tectonics; Sedimentary Basins; Structural Geology; Field Geology; Sedimentology; Stratigraphy; Sequence Stratigraphy; Sediments; Geology
Schafer, Laurel Department of Chemistry catalysis, chemical synthesis, heterocycles, titanium, zirconium, yttrium, tantalum, hydroamination, hydroaminoalkyltion, biodegraable polymers, sustainable synthesis, Green Chemistry, Organometallic and organic chemistry
Schiebinger, Geoffrey Department of Mathematics Applied & Theoretical Statistics; data science; Machine Learning; Theory of Statistics; Measurement technologies; Single-cell RNA sequencing; Genetics; Genome Sciences; Computational Genomics; Models Inference and Algorithms
Schleich, Kristin Department of Physics & Astronomy Theoretical physics, general relativity
Schluter, Dolph Department of Zoology Evolution of ecological diversity in groups of organisms that are multiplying rapidly
Schmidt, Mark Department of Computer Science Machine learning; Numerical Optimizaiton; Probabilistic Graphical Models; Causality
Schoof, Christian Department of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences Ice and Snow; Transformation and Evolution of the Earth Surface; Fluid Mechanics; Hydraulic; Asymptotic and Classical Applied Analysis; Differential Equation; Glaciology; ice sheet dynamics; glacier hydrology; applied mathematics
Schotzau, Dominik Department of Mathematics Numerical methods for partial defferential equations, finite element methods, discontinuous Galerkin methods, scientific computing
Schulte, Patricia Department of Zoology Molecular biology, biochemistry, physiology, genomics, population genetics, and evolutionary biology to address the question, what are the physiological adaptations that allow animals to live in particular environments?
Scoates, James Stewart Department of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences Origin and evolution of silicate magmas and mineralization potential; Applications of geochemistry and isotopic geochemistry to problems in petrology and mineral deposit geology; Physical volcanology and geochemical evolution of Large Igneous Provinces; Origin of igneous layering and the development of layered igneous intrusions; Petrologic, geochemical, isotopic, and geochronological aspects of Proterozoic anorthosite plutonic suites; Origin of magmatic Fe-Ti oxide, Cr, Ni, and PGE deposits
Scott, Douglas Department of Physics & Astronomy Science and Knowledge; Cosmology
Seltzer, Margo Department of Computer Science Computer Systems; Data Quality; Storage; Machine Learning & Systems; Systems for capturing and accessing data provenance; File Systems; databases; Transaction processing systems; Storage and analysis of graph-structured data; New architectures for parallelizing execution; Systems that apply technology to problems in healthcare.; Artificial Intelligence; Decision-making & Action; Software Practices; Networks, Systems and Security
Semenoff, Gordon Walter Department of Physics & Astronomy Theoretical and mathematical physics, the physics of elementary particles, condensed matter physics; String theory, quantum field theory, statistical mechanics; Moedal experiment, Large Hadron Collider, CERN
Shadwick, Robert Edward Department of Zoology Comparative Physiology Fish and whale swimming, Whale feeding and diving, Whale arteries and lungs
Sheffer, Alla Department of Computer Science Computer graphics, shape modeling and geometry processing
Shepherd, Frederick Department of Computer Science algorithms, optimization, convex geometry, and graph theory
Sherman, John Department of Chemistry Molecular structure of protein
Sigal, Leonid Department of Computer Science Artificial Intelligence; Computer Science and Statistics; Parametric and Non-Parametric Inference; Computer Vision; Machine Learning; Visual Recognition and Understanding; Vision + Natural Language Processing; Semantic Recognition
Sigurdson, Kris Department of Physics & Astronomy The Universe, Cosmology, Dark Matter, Dark Energy, Particle Physics, Astrophysics, Cosmic Microwave Background, Cosmic 21-cm Fluctuations, Radio Astronomy, CHIME
Silberman, Lior Department of Mathematics Mathematics; Metric geometry; Number theory; Automorphic forms; Analysis on manifolds; Topology; Homogenous dynamics; Representation Theory; Group Theory
Slade, Gordon Department of Mathematics Renormalisation, Lace explansion, self-avoiding walk, scaling limits
Smit, Matthijs Department of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences 1) timing and duration of
Snutch, Terrance Preston Michael Smith Laboratories, Department of Psychiatry, Department of Zoology Molecular and genetic analysis of the nervous system


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
2019 Dr. Sim studied biogeochemical cycling of trace metals in the world oceans. She evaluated the relative importance of input and removal mechanisms of trace metals in the Pacific and Arctic Oceans. Her research expands our knowledge about the cycling of trace metals and the role of particles in determining the distribution of dissolved metals in the ocean. Doctor of Philosophy in Oceanography (PhD)
2019 Dr. Liu studied plant immunity using the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Her studies provide new insights on how plants sense pathogens and regulate defense responses, which help us better understand the complicated plant immune system Doctor of Philosophy in Botany (PhD)
2019 Dr. Javadi studied the waste rock piles that mining companies pile up following excavation. She developed numerical models to investigate and understand flow rates, and the chemistry of the water that discharges from stockpiled waste. These models can help industry make more informed decisions to manage the potential effects of contaminated water. Doctor of Philosophy in Geological Engineering (PhD)
2019 Dr. Lee examined and developed human-computer interactive approaches, where clinical experts and computers collaboratively analyze genomic data for rare genetic disease diagnoses. This research will contribute to future genome analysis methods that empower experts to expedite critical diagnoses. Doctor of Philosophy in Genome Science and Technology (PhD)
2019 Dr. Berseth developed new methods for controlling the movement of simulated characters and robots. Using machine learning methods, he developed control structures that allow for more efficient learning as well as the integration of multiple motion skills. Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science (PhD)
2019 Dr. Carta studied macrocycles, defined as molecules with a cyclic structure. She developed new metal-containing macrocycles and investigated their change in properties when large molecules are hosted in their cavity. This new approach could make certain polymerization reactions accessible to a wider number of macrocycles. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2019 Dr. Zhao worked on improving probabilistic models for Continuous Time Markov Chains and developing Bayesian models and associated Monte Carlo methods for inference. Her modelling framework has been applied to build novel protein evolution models, where the model complexity can be controlled and good estimation is achieved. Doctor of Philosophy in Statistics (PhD)
2019 Dr. Huang studied how plant immunity is regulated in a small plant called Arabidopsis. He found out that plants use two sets of proteins to oppositely control the synthesis of salicylic acid, a hormone vital for plant immunity. Such knowledge will assist the development of eco-friendly strategies to protect agriculture from plant diseases. Doctor of Philosophy in Botany (PhD)
2019 Can artificial intelligence learn quantum physics? Dr. Vargas Hernandez's research shows that big data tools can reduce the computational resources needed to predict the properties of quantum systems and also help us discover new phases of matter. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2019 Dr. McAfee studied how honey bees fight off diseases and parasites by selectively removing sick brood from their colonies. She discovered odorants that interact with receptors in the antennae to stimulate this behaviour. Her results improve our understanding of bee behaviour and validate existing methods of selectively breeding disease-resistant stock. Doctor of Philosophy in Genome Science and Technology (PhD)