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
Wood, Frank Donald Department of Computer Science Probabilistic programming; Probabilistic programming systems; New models and inference algorithms; Computational neuroscience; Artificial Intelligence; Machine Learning; Probabilistic models; vision; Natural Language Processing; Robotics; Reinforcement learning
Wu, Lang Department of Statistics Biostatistics
Xiao, Robert Department of Computer Science human-computer interaction; Virtual/augmented reality
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 Combinatorics and discrete mathematics; Lie groups, harmonic and Fourier analysis; Harmonic Analysis; Combinatorics; Discrete and Combinatorial Geometry
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 Plant biology; Plant immunity; Salicylic acid signaling; 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 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 Oleaginous bacteria have considerable potential for the sustainable production of lipid-based chemicals. Dr. Round's research characterized and exploited lipid biosynthesis enzymes to create a biocatalyst. The work provides insight into bacterial lipid biosynthesis and facilitates the development of processes to sustainably produce oleochemicals. Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology and Immunology (PhD)
2019 Dr. Nitta studied the regulation of signal transduction that occurs during plant immunity. Her work contributes to help uncover mechanisms which plants use to control the magnitude of defense responses. Doctor of Philosophy in Botany (PhD)
2019 Dr. Bernier investigated the nuclear structure of neutron-rich cadmium isotopes relevant to nuclear astrophysics using gamma-ray spectroscopy. Her work contributed to explain how the nuclear force holds atomic nuclei together and how heavy elements are created in stars. Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)
2019 Dr. Edwards developed new methods for using air and water sensitive catalysts for the synthesis of amines with minimal generation of waste. He has also used these methods to create new molecules that could have potential uses in the development of new pharmaceuticals. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2019 Dr. Brown studied the interaction between tumours and the immune system in thousands of cancer patients. He used computational genomics methods to make predictions about how immune cells may recognize and attack these tumours, relating this to patient outcomes. This work identified patients most likely to benefit from immunotherapies. Doctor of Philosophy in Genome Science and Technology (PhD)
2019 New understanding of space and time arises in the fundamental realization of the Universe. Dr. Yeh studied space as a pixel picture encoded in a set of matrices. He found how matrices reconstruct smooth spaces. His research contributes to revealing the origin of the Universe. Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)
2019 Dr. Starko explored how environmental conditions have shaped the evolutionary dynamics and ecological strategies of an important group of marine primary producers. His work spanned multiple spatial and temporal scales from large-scale patterns of evolution through deep time to the development of individual species. Doctor of Philosophy in Botany (PhD)
2019 Dr. Belliveau developed algorithms that produce three-dimensional images of the interior of the earth from remotely collected electrical and magnetic measurements. These images help scientists understand the Earth's interior. Doctor of Philosophy in Geophysics (PhD)
2019 Dr. Khazraie studied the electronic structure of bismuth oxides. He showed that holes form on oxygen ions in contradiction to the ideas of charge fluctuations in Bismuths. His work can create a new class of materials that can host coexisting electron and hole gasses and lead to the realization of excitonic insulators. Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)
2019 Dr. Sadek demonstrated novel uses of organofluoroborates as sources of fluorine for chemical reactions, and synthesized boron and fluorine containing fluorescent molecules with novel structures and properties. These works serve to expand the chemical reactivity of organofluoroborates as well as the development of potential tools for medical imaging. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)