Food Science Group

Assistant Professor Xiaonan Lu

The Food Science program focuses on the biochemistry, microbiology, safety, processing, engineering, and biotechnology of novel and traditional food systems. Foods Science research activities focus on ensuring food security at the local, national, and international level through improving availability, wholesomeness, safety, and nutritional quality of food.  Our graduates from the undergraduate and graduate programs fill the demand for food scientists in the food industry, government, and academic institutions.

Tenure-Stream Faculty in the Food Science Group

Kevin Allen

I am interested in studying the fundamental reasons why foodborne pathogens continue to be a significant issue in our food chain. I am interested in how stress response physiology is affected by food chain-relevant stress events and in antimicrobial resistance of zoonotic foodborne pathogens.

John Frostad

My group develops and employs new experimental techniques for quantifying the effects of interfacial phenomena in multiphase liquids including foams and emulsions. One target of this research is improving formulation of food products and developing new functional foods.

David Kitts

My research discipline is Food Chemistry and Toxicology, with a particular focus on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of both nutrient and food toxicant action in living organisms. I also examine the mechanisms of antioxidant and prooxidant activity for naturally occurring animal and plant constituents.

Eunice C.Y. Li-Chan

The long-term objective of my research program is to gain a basic understanding of the molecular properties of food components, which will enable a systematic approach to food quality control, process improvement and new product development.

Xiaonan Lu

I work on developing innovative and rapid sensing, instrumentation systems and detection methods for ensuring food safety and preventing food bioterrorism. Novel biophotonic, nano-biosensing and nano-optical imaging techniques are applied to systems related to food chemical and microbiological safety.

Vivien Measday              

My current research is the study of chromosome segregation in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae (S. cerevisiae) using molecular biology and genomic tools.  I am interested in understanding how chromosomes attach to spindle microtubules and segregate equally in mitosis.

Christine Scaman

I am interested in enzymes that can be effective therapeutic agents to treat disease states (e.g., alpha-Glucosidase I) and enzymes that have considerable industrial potential (e.g., Tyrosine/Phenylalanine Ammonia Lyase). I am also interested in Tinamou egg proteins and microfluidics in food analysis.

Hennie van Vuuren

Dr. van Vuuren (Blythe and Violet Eagles Chair in Food Biotechnology) is a wine biotechnologist . The first two genetically engineered wine yeasts to receive Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS) status from the US FDA were constructed in his laboratory.

Siyun Wang

I am interested in the virulence factors, stress response, and pathogenesis of microorganisms that post major threats to food safety and public health. I use molecular biology and genomic approaches to develop novel, rapid and reliable detection methods for foodborne pathogens.

Rickey Y. Yada

I am interested in the structure-function relationships of food and non-food related enzymes using molecular biology and various physico-chemical techniques, carbohydrate metabolism in potatoes as related to process quality, and applications of food-related nanoscale science and technology.

Adjunct Professors

  • Margaret Cliff, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
  • Pascal Delaquis, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
  • Moussa Diarra, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
  • Michael Lyon
  • Gary Sandberg, British Columbia Institute of Technology

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Food Science has research laboratories with a wide complement of analytical instrumentation, including: electrophoretic analysis and imaging instrumentation, chromatography systems including FPLC, HPLC, GC, GC-MS, spectrometers including UV-visible, fluorescence, FTIR, and circular dichroism, microtitre plate readers, porosity meter, ultra-centrifuge, PCR equipment, Gene Chip Fluidic station and hybridization oven, texture analyzer, and Hunterlab colorimeter. Specialized facilities available include those for tissue culture, biosafety level 2, sensory evaluation, and pilot plant equipment for food preparation and processing.  Labs are centrally located on campus at 2205 East Mall.

The Food Science Undergraduate program utilizes a number of campus facilities for teach purposes:

Room Description Photo
FNH Pilot Plant The pilot plant facility at the Food, Nutrition, and Health (FNH) Building includes equipment specifically for the Food Engineering/Processing experiments and is food-grade. This facility is used for teaching in FNH325/326 and for student projects in FNH425, FNH497, and FNH499.
FNH Research Labs The research labs on the second and third floor at the Food, Nutrition, and Health (FNH) Building are used year-round for Graduate research, and on a by permission basis for undergraduate students in FNH425, FNH497, and FNH499. These labs have a wide assortment of analytical equipment and reagents.
FNH 325/326, 425 Laboratories Undergraduate teaching laboratories for FNH325/326 and FNH 425 are located at the McMillan Building (2357 Main Mall, UBC Point Grey Campus).  These adjacent laboratory rooms are equipped specifically for Food Chemistry/Analysis and Food Microbiology experiments.
Sensory Facility The sensory laboratory at the Food, Nutrition, and Health (FNH) Building includes 14 individual booths with variable light capabilities and a large conference table used for sensory training. This room is adjacent to a separate kitchen for preparing food samples. The sensory laboratory is used for teaching in FNH325/326 and FNH302 and for product testing in FNH425, FNH497, and FNH499.
MICB 353 Laboratory This recently renovated laboratory is a fully equipped microbiology laboratory used for teaching and analysis in MICB353.
Other Facilities Students may also perform work for their FNH425, FNH497, or FNH499 projects at the laboratories of private company sponsors, the Wine Research Centre (FNH Building, UBC Point Grey Campus), Department of Fisheries and Oceans (West Vancouver Laboratory), Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada research stations (Summerland, BC and Agassiz, BC).  Work at these facilities is supervised and times are arranged on a student project basis.
Teaching Facilities Teaching is done in classrooms of varying sizes in the Food, Nutrition, and Health Building and in the MacMillan Building. All classrooms are equipped with computerized audio/visual equipment.
LFS Learning Centre The Land and Food Systems Learning Centre provides Information and Communication Technology within the Faculty. In addition to providing computers, network, lab, AV and web support, The Learning Centre supplies resources and infrastructure to provide the best in teaching and learning tools available.


Other research facilities are accessed through the Wine Research Centre, the Networks of Centres of Excellence, the Laboratory of Molecular Biophysics, the bioimaging facility, the Centre for Blood Research, the Michael Smith Laboratories, and through collaborations with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Food Industry Advisory Board

  • Margaret Daskis, President, Fresh Ideas and Solutions
  • David Eto, CEO and  Executive Director at BC Dairy Association
  • Karl Li, Quality Assurance and Research and Development Manager,Pace Processing
  • Thu Pham,  Director of Research and Development/Quality Control, Olympic Dairy
  • Musleh Uddin,  Director Corporate Quality Assurance, Albion Fisheries
  • Nilmini Wijewickreme, Director, Agriculture Laboratories, SGS Canada Inc.
  • Wendy Willis,  World Class Supply Chain Manager, Molson Coors Canada