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
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
Ortner, Christoph Department of Mathematics Numerical analysis; Mathematical modelling and simulation; Partial and ordinary differential equations; Computational chemistry; Condensed matter modelling and density functional theory; Numerical modelling and mechanical characterisation; Numerical Analysis & Scientific Computing; Applied Analysis; Multi-scale Modelling and Coarse-graining; Molecular Simulation; Scientific Machine-learning, in particular for applications in multi-scale modelling
Orvig, Christopher E Department of Chemistry Chemical Synthesis and Catalysis; Imaging; Inorganic and Organometallic Compounds; Nuclear medicine; Chemical Processes; Chemotherapy; medicinal inorganic chemistry; coordination chemistry; radiopharmaceutical chemistry; bioinorganic chemistry; ligand design and synthesis
Osborne, Lisa Department of Microbiology & Immunology influence that the bacteria that live on and in our intestines, lungs and skin have on human health; understanding how the host recognizes the diverse species that reside in the gut - from microscopic viruses to large, multicellular helminthic worms - and tailors an immune response of the appropriate scope and magnitude necessary to achieve homeostasis
Oser, Scott Department of Physics & Astronomy Elementary Particles; particle physics; neutrinos; dark matter; statistical methods for physics
Otto, Sarah Department of Zoology evolution, mathematical modeling, population genetics, genomic evolution, evolution of sex, yeast experimental evolution, Population genetics and evolutionary biology, yeast
Pai, Dinesh Department of Computer Science Robotics, computer graphics, medical imaging, neuroscience, sensorimotor computation
Pakhomov, Yevhenii Department of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences, Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries Feeding ecophysiology of aquatic invertebrates and fishes, Antarctic ecology, Antarctic krill biology, Tunicate biology, Fishery ecology, Stable isotope ecology
Palomares, Maria
Pante, Nelly Department of Zoology Molecular trafficking pathways within the cell
Parfrey, Laura Department of Botany, Department of Zoology Microbial ecology, microbial diversity, microbiome, protists
Patey, Grenfell Department of Chemistry Liquid dynamics, chemical physics
Pauly, Daniel Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, Department of Zoology World fisheries; Marine life; Global catch; Management of fisheries; Fish growth and ecophysiology
Pawlowicz, Richard Department of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences Oceans and Inland Waters; ocean physics; properties of seawater; geophysical fluid dynamics; Nonlinear waves
Peacock, Simon Department of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences understanding the thermal, petrologic, and seismological structure of subduction zones
Peirce, Anthony Department of Mathematics Scientific computing, nonlinear dynamics and applied partial differential equations
Pennell, Matthew Department of Zoology evolution; Bioinformatics; Computational Biology; Biodiversity Theory and Informatics; Evolutionary change across different time scales; Ecological and evolutionary processes operating in "deep time"; Ecological models for adaptive radiation; Long-term dynamics of evolutionary change; Phylogenetics; Macroevolution; evolutionary genetics
Perrin, David Department of Chemistry Bioorganic Chemistry, Combinatorial Chemistry Enzyme Mimics Antisense Therapies, Radiopharmaceuticals
Picard, Sebastien Department of Mathematics Differential geometry
Piret, James Michael Smith Laboratories, Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering Biomedical engineering, regenerative medicine Cell-based therapies have the potential to provide improved treatments for major diseases such as cancer and diabetes
Pitcher, Tony Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, Department of Zoology Evaluation of the impacts of fishing on marine ecosystems with special emphasis on restoration ecology, development of a predictive understanding of how fish shoaling behavior impacts fisheries
Plan, Yaniv Department of Mathematics applied probability, high-dimensional inference, random matrix theory, compressive sensing, and matrix completion.
Plotkin, Steven Department of Physics & Astronomy Biophysics theory and computation
Poole, David Department of Computer Science Artificial Intelligence; Machine Learning; Knowledge Representation; Decision Analysis; Preference Elicitation; Reasoning under Uncertainty; Probabilistic Graphical Models; Relational Learning


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.


Publication: BMC Medical Research Methodology
UBC Author(s): Paul Gustafson (Statistics / Faculty of Science)
Volume: 20
Publication Date: 24 June 2020

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Publication: Langmuir
UBC Author(s): Dan Bizzotto (Chemistry / Faculty of Science)
ISSN: 07437463
Volume: 36
Page Range: 6837-6847
Publication Date: 23 June 2020

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Publication: Frontiers in Marine Science
UBC Author(s): Yevhenii Pakhomov (Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences / Faculty of Science)
Volume: 7
Publication Date: 23 June 2020

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Publication: Bioinformatics (Oxford, England)
UBC Author(s): Raymond Tak-yan Ng (Computer Science / Faculty of Science)
Publication Date: 23 June 2020

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Publication: Chemistry of Materials
UBC Author(s): Walter Algar (Chemistry / Faculty of Science)
ISSN: 08974756
Volume: 32
Page Range: 4863-4883
Publication Date: 23 June 2020

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Publication: Macromolecules
UBC Author(s): Hongbin Li (Chemistry / Faculty of Science)
ISSN: 00249297
Volume: 53
Page Range: 4704-4710
Publication Date: 23 June 2020

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Publication: Angewandte Chemie - International Edition
UBC Author(s): Mark MacLachlan (Chemistry / Faculty of Science)
ISSN: 14337851
Volume: 59
Page Range: 10348-10352
Publication Date: 22 June 2020

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Publication: Protein science : a publication of the Protein Society
UBC Author(s): Nobuhiko Tokuriki (Michael Smith Labs / Faculty of Science)
Publication Date: 19 June 2020

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Publication: ACS Earth and Space Chemistry
UBC Author(s): Allan Bertram (Chemistry / Faculty of Science)
Volume: 4
Page Range: 873-881
Publication Date: 18 June 2020

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Publication: Blood
UBC Author(s): Martin Hirst (Microbiology & Immunology / Faculty of Science)
Volume: 135
Page Range: 2235-2251
Publication Date: 18 June 2020

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Publication: Nature
UBC Author(s): Ingrid Stairs (Physics & Astronomy / Faculty of Science), Mark Halpern (Physics & Astronomy / Faculty of Science)
ISSN: 00280836
Volume: 582
Page Range: 351-355
Publication Date: 18 June 2020

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Publication: ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
UBC Author(s): Robert E Hancock (Microbiology & Immunology / Faculty of Science)
ISSN: 19448244
Volume: 12
Page Range: 26852-26867
Publication Date: 17 June 2020

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Publication: Analytical Chemistry
UBC Author(s): Tao Huan (Chemistry / Faculty of Science)
ISSN: 00032700
Volume: 92
Page Range: 8072-8080
Publication Date: 16 June 2020

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Publication: Precambrian Research
UBC Author(s): Matthijs Smit (Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences / Faculty of Science)
ISSN: 03019268
Volume: 342
Publication Date: 15 June 2020

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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. Zhang developed new and efficient synthetic technologies using radical reactions for the production of pharmaceutically relevant molecules, which have either fluorine atoms or nitrogen rings. These technologies are able to address some of the long standing challenges that are present in chemical synthesis for drug discovery. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2019 Dr. Held studied the interaction process between two fundamental particles, the Higgs boson and the top quark. He contributed to the observation of this rare process by analyzing proton-proton collisions recorded by the ATLAS detector. The measurement experimentally confirms an important prediction by the Standard Model of particle physics. Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)
2019 Dr. Leung used applied voltages to deposit chemically modified DNA molecules onto gold surfaces. Using electrochemical fluorescence microscopy, she investigated the effect of the gold surface morphology and other conditions on this process. Her research could be used to optimize DNA biosensors that are to be used as medical diagnostic devices. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2019 Dr. Peters developed mathematical tools and software to merge measurements and prior knowledge to improve the quality of imaging methods. His work focussed on imaging applications in the earth sciences. Doctor of Philosophy in Geophysics (PhD)
2019 Dr. Nigge studied the design of novel quantum phenomena. He used the two-dimensional, atomically thin material of graphene as a platform. His research paves the way towards the on demand engineering of quantum materials. Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)
2019 Dr. Kwon examined the existence and ill-posedness for partial differential equations describing the motion of fluid when the given data is rough. The construction of the various type of flows with desired properties gives a deeper understanding of the behavior of fluid flows. Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematics (PhD)
2019 Dr. Chiykowski worked to improve the stability of next generation solar cells by designing new materials that withstand the stresses of use. She designed novel materials that do not: dissolve in water, or change shape in heat; and that conduct charge efficiently without the use of additives leading to more robust components. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2019 Dr. Abdelmagid conducted his research in the field of chemistry, and his doctoral studies focused on the isoprenoid biosynthetic pathway enzymes. He developed an inhibition strategy for enzymes that are considered potential drug targets for cancer therapy. His novel work may lead to the development of a new class of anti-cancer drugs. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2019 Dr. Sachdeva designed techniques for biomechanical simulation of the human hand. He modelled the dynamics of tendons wrapped on bones. He developed anatomical simulation software capable of modelling human hand function driven by muscles. Such a model may be used to explain the role of different muscles and ligaments in coordinating movement. Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science (PhD)
2019 Dr. Guzman studied how food webs change when species have different body sizes or when they move different distances. These studies help us understand how food webs can persist through time. She also complemented her scientific research with a study aimed at improving undergraduate science student learning. Doctor of Philosophy in Zoology (PhD)