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
Eberhardt, Erik Department of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences landslides, rockslides, tunnelling, mining, rock mechanics, geotechnical engineering, Rock Mechanics & Rock Engineering
Edelstein-Keshet, Leah Department of Mathematics Mathematics, Modelization and Simulation, Cell Signaling, Cell Signaling and Cancer, Differential Equation, cell polarity, cell migration, developmental and cellular biology, swarming and aggregation, Rho GTPases
Eltis, Lindsay Department of Microbiology & Immunology Microbiology, Enzymes and Proteins, Metabolism (Living Organisms), Bacterial catabolism of steroids and lignin, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, biocatalyst development
Evans, William Department of Computer Science Algorithms, Theoretical Computer Science, Computer Sciences and Mathematical Tools, computational geometry, graph drawing, program compression
Fast, Naomi Department of Botany Genomics, single-celled organisms
Feeley, Michael Department of Computer Science Distributed systems, operating systems, workstation and pc clusters
Feldman, Joel Department of Mathematics Mathematical Analysis, Constructive Quantum Field Theory
Fernandez, Rachel Department of Microbiology & Immunology Bordetella pertusis, whooping cough, lipopolysaccharide
Finlay, B Brett Michael Smith Laboratories, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Department of Microbiology & Immunology Infectious agents, bacteria, microbial infections and how humans react to it
Folk, Joshua Department of Physics & Astronomy Quantum devices, Majorana fermions, Strongly correlated electronics, Topological phenomena, Fractional quantum Hall effect, Vanderwaals heterostructures
Francois, Roger Department of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences Marine Geochemistry, Climate Change
Franz, Marcel Department of Physics & Astronomy Condensed matter theory
Fraser, Ailana Department of Mathematics Differential Geometry, Geometric Analysis
Friedlander, Michael Department of Computer Science, Department of Mathematics numerical optimization, numerical linear algebra, scientific computing, Scientific computing
Friedman, Joel Department of Computer Science Computer Science Theory, Algebraic Graph Theory, Combinatorics
Froese, Richard Gerd Department of Mathematics Mathematics, Mathematical physics, quantum mechanics, spectral theory, scattering theory
Fryzuk, Michael Department of Chemistry energy; fuel cells; hydrogeny economy; nitrogen fixation, Metal, energy
Fu, Hu Department of Computer Science
Garcia, Ronald Department of Computer Science programming language semantics, design, and implementation, including language support for library-centric and modular software development, generic and generative programming, and domain specific languages and libraries.
Gates, Derek Department of Chemistry Inorganic chemistry, materials science, polymer chemistry, catalysis
Gay, Colin Department of Physics & Astronomy Experimental subatomic physics, Beyond Standard Model physics, Extra dimensions
Gaynor, Erin Department of Microbiology & Immunology Molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis, foodborne human pathogen, Campylobacter jejuni
Germain, Rachel Department of Zoology
Ghioca, Dragos Department of Mathematics Drinfeld modules, isotrivial semiabelian varieties, Lehmer inequality
Ghoussoub, Nassif Department of Mathematics Mathematical sciences, R&Ed policies, developing science in Africa, Non-linear analysis and partial differential equations


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. 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 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 Dr. Leigh considered two enumerative problems in geometry that are motivated by mathematical physics. In the first he developed a new theory for counting a special type of object. In the second he provided an explicit computation involving a string-theoretic space called the "banana threefold". Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematics (PhD)
2019 Dr. Michiels developed an integrated approach using biogeochemical in situ measurements, molecular tools, and flux-balance models to create new knowledge about the microbial processes recycling nitrogen under low oxygen conditions in the ancient and modern oceans. Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology and Immunology (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 Dr. Patton analyzed the concentration of rare earth elements in marine sediment and constructed a numerical model of those elements in pore water.This research explores how these elements are cycled between sediment and pore water and questions the validity of previous interpretations of these elements as a water mass tracer preserved through time. Doctor of Philosophy in Oceanography (PhD)
2019 Dr. Kovalchik developed computational tools for the analysis of high-resolution mass spectrometry data relating to oil sands process-affected water and cancer biology. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2019 Dr. Campbell examined how publication policy impacts the reliability of scientific research from a statistical perspective. He proposed novel policy prescriptions and modelled how adopting these could transform the incentives driving research. This work aims to address the reproducibility crisis and issues of publication bias. Doctor of Philosophy in Statistics (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)
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)