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
Xiao, Robert Department of Computer Science
Ye, Ziliang Department of Physics & Astronomy Optics and Photonics, Nanomaterials
Yilmaz, Ozgur Department of Mathematics Mathematical problems related to analog-to-digital conversion, blind source separation, sparse approximations and compressed sensing, and applications in seismic signal processing
Yoon, Dongwook Department of Computer Science Computer Science and Statistics, Design, Educational Technologies, Human-computer interaction (HCI), Multimodal interaction, Interaction and interface design, computer supported cooperative work (CSCW), Educational technology, Virtual Reality, Augmented reality, Speech, touch, multitouch, stylus, gesture, mixed-reality, 3d interaction
Young, Jeff Department of Physics & Astronomy Photonics, condensed matter physics, atomic, molecular, and optical physics, photonic crystals, nonlinear optics, spintronics
Zahl, Joshua Department of Mathematics classical harmonic analysis, discrete geometry, Kakeya-type maximal functions
Zamar, Ruben Department of Statistics Data mining and text mining, Modeling data quality, Development of new robust procedures, Statistical computing, Bioinformatics
Zhang, Yuelin Department of Botany Plants, Immune Reactions, Plant immunity, Systemic acquired resistance, ROS signaling, MAPK signaling, plant immune receptors
Zhao, Jiaying Institute for Resources, Environment & Sustainability, Department of Psychology Psychology - Biological Aspects, Environment and Society, Socio-Economic Conditions, Cognitive Science, Poverty, sustainability, Behavior Change, Public Policy
Zhitnitsky, Ariel Department of Physics & Astronomy Particle theory, cosmology, quantum chromodymics, hadrons, axion physics, physcs of neutron stars, inflation models, dark matter problem
Zhou, Fei Department of Physics & Astronomy Condensed matter and theoretical physics, Ultra Cold Atoms Near Resonances
Zou, Ke Department of Physics & Astronomy 2D crystals, molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) synthesis, heterostructures, gated field effect transistors (FETs)


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
2018 Dr. Marshall developed a technique to study how human mitochondria trigger cell death. Using this technique, she found new events implicated in cell death as well as unique events triggered during bacterial infection. This work addresses a technical gap in studying the 'powerhouse of the cell' and its control over human cell death. Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology and Immunology (PhD)
2018 Dr. Chen's doctoral studies focused on the automatic broadcasting of team sports, like basketball and soccer. He developed several methods of learning knowledge from human operators. His research contributes to camera calibration, camera angle prediction and camera location prediction, using computer vision and machine learning techniques. Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science (PhD)
2018 Dr. Tran studied the genetic factors that contribute to the complex process of wood formation in trees. Understanding the influence of different genes on wood formation will enable the improvement of wood quality for various applications, including the potential for bioethanol production. Doctor of Philosophy in Botany (PhD)
2018 Dr. Contreras investigated claims of a hemispheric asymmetry of power in the cosmic microwave background (CMB), showing some models can be ruled out with the current data, but very sensitive polarization data are required for many others. He also showed that the CMB is consistent with no parity violation at the tightest precision available with current data. Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)
2018 Dr. Polovy presented the creation, using a specialized sequence of laser pulses, and preliminary lifetime measurements of Lithium-6 molecules that are 1,000,000 times colder than outer space, in several quantum configurations. Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)
2018 Dr. Bernhardt addressed longstanding questions about the abundance and distribution of life on Earth. She showed that the temperature-dependence of population dynamics can be predicted from the temperature-dependence of individual metabolism, lending strong support for the role of energetic constraints in governing population growth and abundance. Doctor of Philosophy in Zoology (PhD)
2018 Dr. Fagan investigated the ruby and pink sapphire deposits of southwest Greenland. He found that gem corundum forms in unusual mafic-ultramafic rocks that have metamorphosed at high pressure and temperature. This study illuminates the role of recrystallization and hydrous-halide fluids in the formation of coloured gemstone deposits. Doctor of Philosophy in Geological Sciences (PhD)
2018 Dr. Osmond created and analyzed mathematical models of evolution to ask how genetic adaptation is expected to overcome two challenges: (1) intermediate genotypes are deleterious and (2) rapid environmental change threatens extinction. Both are difficult problems but can be overcome by genetic drift and rapid evolution, respectively. Doctor of Philosophy in Zoology (PhD)
2018 Dr. Heinkel investigated a novel biophysical mechanism of membrane protein clustering in the pathogen causing tuberculosis. His work helps to understand the physiology of these clinically important bacteria and might lead to a route for therapeutics against the disease. Doctor of Philosophy in Genome Science and Technology (PhD)
2018 Dr. Kumar developed novel antimicrobial peptides, which are effective against antibiotic resistant bacteria such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. He also investigated different strategies to deliver the peptides in a skin infection model. These studies pave the way to combat superbugs in the future. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)