Research

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In the Faculty of Land and Food Systems, our  researchers are addressing critical global issues around human health, a sustainable food supply, and land and water resources.

Our researchers have attracted millions of dollars in research funding from sources including Genome Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Michael Smith Scholar, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

Our experts are conducting groundbreaking research in areas related to:

  • animal biology, health, and welfare;
  • food technology, genomics, and safety;
  • plant and soil health;
  • watershed management;
  • food security and sovereignty;
  • community health and nutrition;
  • agricultural land use and impact;
  • and so much more.

Research Chairs

The Faculty of Land and Food Systems currently has three Endowed Chairs and each are fully funded by endowment, which provides an annual generation of funds from a base of untouched capital.

These Chairs support UBC’s research strategy and enhance the Faculty’s research reputation both locally and globally.

Eagles Chair in Food Biotechnology 

Chair: Hennie J.J. van Vuuren, Professor, UBC Wine Research Centre

Biotechnology is rapidly transforming the food industry through new approaches to bioprocessing, preservation, and analysis with consequent impact on food quality, safety and composition. The establishment of this Chair enables the Faculty to build on existing strengths to become a leading centre for research and teaching in the biotechnology field.

These federally sponsored Chairs enhance Canada’s competitiveness in the global, knowledge-based economy by helping Canadian universities and their affiliated research institutes become world-class centres of research and research training, The Faculty of Land and Food Systems currently has three Canada Research Chairs.

Canada Research Chair (Tier I) in Fish Physiology, Culture and Conservation

Chair: Tony P. Farrell, Professor, Zoology and Aquaculture

The Chair’s research studies the mechanisms that limit or enhance the survival of fish at high temperatures or with limited oxygen.

There is a growing need to farm fish for human consumption and to conserve wild fish challenged by population growth, environmental degradation and climate change. Confronting these problems will require new knowledge about how fish survive under environmental extremes. This research will advance knowledge of how fish survive under harsh conditions and will lead to improved fish farming and fish conservation practices.

Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Trade and Environment

Chair: Carol McAusland, Associate Professor, Food and Resource Economics

The Chair’s research focuses on identifying ways in which international trade affects environmental quality.

Many environmentalists have long argued that because of the concentration of environmentally unsustainable industries and the pollution associated with the transportation of goods, international trade is harmful to the environment. But recent evidence suggests that trade can also be good for the environment. This research will identify sectors of the Canadian economy where increased trade will positively affect environmental quality and resource conservation.

Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Human Nutrition and Vitamin Metabolism

Chair: Yvonne Lamers, Assistant Professor, Human Nutrition

The chairs research focuses on investigating B-vitamin adequacy among Canadians and determining underlying connections between nutrition and disease. The research involves kinetic studies and human intervention trials to assess the metabolic consequences of less than optimal vitamin B-12 intake and high folic acid intake in humans.

NSERC’s role is to make investments in people, discovery and innovation for the benefit of all Canadians by supporting more than 20,000 university students and postdoctoral fellows in their advanced studies, and funding more than 10,000 university professors every year. The Faculty of Land and Food Systems currently has three NSERC Chairs.

NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Animal Welfare

This broadly focused program of research, education, and public outreach seeks practical improvements in animal welfare, plus knowledge-based consensus-building on contentious issues of animal use. The program, which has a strong emphasis on cattle, is supported by industry contributions from the Dairy Farmers of Canada (Ottawa, ON, Canada), Westgen Endowment Fund (Milner, BC, Canada), Pfizer Animal Health (Kirkland, QC, Canada), BC Cattle Industry Development Fund (Kamloops, BC, Canada), the BC Milk Producers (Burnaby, BC, Canada), BC Dairy Foundation (Burnaby, BC, Canada), BC Dairy Education and Research Association (Abbotsford, BC, Canada), and Alberta Milk (Edmonton, AB, Canada).

The Faculty has two Senior Chairs and one Associate Chair in Animal Welfare:

David Fraser, Ph.D., Professor, in a Senior Chair. After more than 25 years of research on the behaviour and welfare of farm, wild, and laboratory animals, Dr. Fraser actively continues his outreach work by serving as an animal welfare standard advisor to such organizations as the Royal Society of Canada (Ottawa), Canada’s National Farmed Animal Health and Welfare Council, the National Council of Chain Restaurants and Food Marketing Institute (Washington), the Burger King Corporation (Miami), and the World Organization for Animal Health (Paris).

Dan Weary, Ph.D., Professor, in a Senoir Chair. Dan’s research profile includes animal welfare, animal ethics, animal welfare standards, farm animals, laboratory animals, companion animals and wildlife.

Marina von Keyserlingk, PhD., Professor in an Associate Chair. Marina (Nina) has an active research program in farm animals, and is recognized internationally for her work on the care of cattle.  Her students are also actively engaged in on farm research projects that involve working closely with producers in North America interested in improving animal welfare of their farms.  In addition to work on farm animals, Nina has contributed to the development of guidelines on the care and use of laboratory animals used in research, teaching and testing.  She is also particularly interested in understanding the role of the public in ethical oversight systems used in animal research.  Her outreach work includes serving as the Canadian Faculties of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine representative on the Canadian Council on Animal Care where she is currently Chair of Council, animal welfare advisor to a committee stewarded by the United States Department of Agriculture looking at the sustainability of the North American dairy industry and the British Columbia Farm Animal Care Council.