More than $20m in NSERC Funding Awarded to new projects led by UBC researchers

June 15, 2021

A total of 85 new projects led by UBC researchers were awarded $17.3 million through the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council's Discovery Grants and Discovery Accelerator Supplements programs. A further $2.7 million was awarded to 22 UBC researchers through NSERC's Research Tools and Instruments program.

These awards were announced as part of the Government of Canada's investment of more than $635 million for research, which also included funding through the Canada Research Chairs Program and SSHRC Insight Grants, Insight Development Grants, Partnership Grants and Partnership Development Grants programs. New projects led by UBC researchers and new and renewed UBC Canada Research Chairs were awarded approximately $48 million of this announced investment.


Read the NSERC announcement

Discovery GraNts program

The NSERC Discovery Grants program assists in:

  • promoting and maintaining a diversified base of high-quality research capability in the natural sciences and engineering in Canadian universities
  • fostering research excellence
  • providing a stimulating environment for research training

The Discovery Grants program supports ongoing programs of research with long-term goals rather than a single short-term project or collection of projects. These grants recognize the creativity and innovation that are at the heart of all research advances. Discovery Grants are considered “grants in aid” of research, as they provide long-term operating funds and can facilitate access to funding from other programs but are not meant to support the full costs of a research program.

The Discovery Accelerator Supplements (DAS) program provides substantial and timely additional resources to accelerate progress and maximize the impact of established, superior research programs.

New UBC-led Projects

A total of 85 projects led by UBC researchers were awarded $16.9m. Three of these projects were awarded a combined additional $360,000 through the Discovery Accelerator Supplements program.

  1. Adams, Keith (Botany)
    Alternative Splicing of Duplicated Genes in Polyploid Brassica napus
    $ 325,000  (5 years)
  2. Altshuler, Douglas (Zoology)
    Physiological and biomechanical mechanisms of animal maneuverability
    $ 275,000  (5 years)
  3. Ardestanijaafari, Amir (Faculty of Management, UBCO)
    Adjustable Robust Optimization and its Applications
    $ 155,000  (5 years)
  4. Beck, Sara (Civil Engineering)
    Pathogen Reduction in Decentralized Water and Wastewater Treatment Technologies
    $ 205,000  (5 years) + Discovery Accelerator Grant $120,000 (3 years)
  5. Benoit, Michael (School of Engineering, UBCO)
    Design of novel crack-resistant aluminium alloys for additive manufacturing
    $ 140,000  (5 years)
  6. Bichler, Lukas (School of Engineering, UBCO)
    A multi-process approach towards the development of novel Mg alloys
    $ 195,000  (5 years)
  7. Black, Alexis (School of Audiology and Speech Sciences)
    Using machine learning to reveal neural mechanisms of word-learning across development
    $ 140,000  (5 years)
  8. Blakney, Anna (Michael Smith Laboratories / School of Biomedical Engineering)
    Determining the Effects of Composition and Microfluidic Fabrication Parameters on Lipid Nanoparticle Structure and Function
    $ 165,000  (5 years)
  9. Borduas-Dedekind, Nadine (Chemistry)
    Shining light on the sources, sinks and concentrations of singlet oxygen in the atmosphere
    $ 170,000  (5 years)
  10. Bostock, Michael (Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences)
    Seismotectonics of Canada's West Coast
    $ 180,000  (5 years)
  11. Brar, Gurcharn Singh (Faculty of Land and Food Systems)
    Exploring effectors in Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici and identifying new sources of host resistance
    $ 165,000  (5 years)
  12. Brinkerhoff, Joshua (School of Engineering, UBCO)
    Cryogenic Flow Physics to Advance Liquid Hydrogen-Based Aviation
    $ 195,000  (5 years)
  13. Castellarin, Simone (Faculty of Land and Food Systems)
    Metabolic responses of the grape (Vitis vinifera L.) berry to environmental stimuli
    $ 275,000  (5 years)
  14. Chau, Kenneth (School of Engineering, UBCO)
    Multi-scale computational nanophotonics
    $ 140,000  (5 years)
  15. Chritz, Kendra (Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences)
    Novel geochemical methods for assessing trophic ecology in modern and ancient ecosystems
    $ 140,000  (5 years)
  16. Chrostowski, Lukas (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
    Silicon Photonics for Quantum Computing
    $ 380,000  (5 years)
  17. Dawson, Samantha (Psychology)
    Attentional Mechanisms Underlying Gendered Sexual Response
    $ 190,000  (5 years)
  18. Day, Susan (Forest Resources Management)
    Making Sense of Urban Soil Heterogeneity for Urban Forest Ecosystem Service Provision in a Changing Climate
    $ 150,000  (5 years)
  19. DiLabio, Gino (Chemistry)
    Development of Fast and Accurate Computational Chemistry Methods based on Atom-Centred Potentials and their Application to Crystal Structure Prediction
    $ 145,000  (5 years)
  20. Foster, Johan (Chemical and Biological Engineering)
    Graphitic carbon from cellulosic materials: development and use
    $ 320,000  (5 years)
  21. Gibon, Julien (Biology, UBCO)
    Signaling mechanisms of the pro Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (proBDNF) and the prodomain BDNF (pBDNF) in neurons
    $ 150,000  (5 years)
  22. Gick, Bryan (Linguistics)
    Posture in oromotor control
    $ 165,000  (5 years)
  23. Görges, Matthias (Anesthesiology, Pharmacology and Therapeutics)
    A bi-directional data sharing platform for researchers and citizen science
    $ 180,000  (5 years)
  24. Green, Sheldon (Mechanical Engineering)
    Application of Liquid Coating to a High-speed Moving Surface
    $ 275,000  (5 years)
  25. Haney, Cara (Microbiology and Immunology)
    Maintaining plant immune homeostasis in the rhizosphere microbiome
    $ 325,000  (5 years) + Discovery Accelerator Grant $120,000 (3 years)
  26. Hauert, Christoph (Mathematics)
    Evolving associations: cooperation and conflict within and between species
    $ 200,000  (5 years)
  27. Hein, Jason (Chemistry)
    Integrating automated experimentation with process analytical technology
    $ 395,000  (5 years) + Discovery Accelerator Grant $120,000 (3 years)
  28. Hill, Jane (Chemical and Biological Engineering)
    Development of next generation of breath collection systems
    $ 195,000  (5 years)
  29. Hilts, Michelle (Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and Statistics, UBCO)
    The development of advanced imaging and dosimetry for permanent breast seed implant radiation therapy
    $ 205,000  (5 years)
  30. Hobbs, Tiegan (Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences)
    Identifying potentially active faults in mainland British Columbia using available datasets
    $ 125,000  (5 years)
  31. Holuszko, Maria (Mining Engineering)
    Recovery of Rare Earth Elements from coal tailings from British Columbia coalfields by nano-flotation
    $ 165,000  (5 years)
  32. Hunt, Michael (Physical Therapy)
    Expanding our ability to assess and modify movement in real-world settings
    $ 165,000  (5 years)
  33. Joe, Harry (Statistics)
    Multivariate models and inference
    $ 135,000  (5 years)
  34. Johnson, Catherine (Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences)
    Geophysical Investigations of Mars and Mercury
    $ 475,000  (5 years)
  35. Knipfer, Thorsten (Faculty of Land and Food Systems)
    The sequence of drought-induced physiological and anatomical events in woody perennial crops
    $ 190,000  (5 years)
  36. Kramer, John (Anesthesiology, Pharmacology and Therapeutics)
    The neuroaxis of pain: Peripheral transduction to central integration
    $ 200,000  (5 years)
  37. Kroc, Edward (Educational and Counselling Psychology, and Special Education)
    Essential and incidental measurement error: Bayesian estimation and inference when sample measurements are random-variable-valued
    $ 90,000  (5 years)
  38. Larson, Kyle (Earth, Environmental and Geographic Sciences, UBCO)
    Orogen parallel flow in convergent systems
    $ 305,000  (5 years)
  39. Leitch, Duncan (Zoology)
    The molecular basis of electroreception across diverse organisms
    $ 190,000  (5 years)
  40. Lorincz, Matthew (Medical Genetics)
    Using PGCLCs as a model system for early germ cell development to characterize the roles of histone marks and their readers in DNA methylation homeostasis and transcriptional regulation
    $ 345,000  (5 years)
  41. Mahmoud, Soheil (Biology, UBCO)
    Regulation of terpenoid metabolism in lavender
    $ 165,000  (5 years)
  42. Man, Allison (Physics and Astronomy)
    The Rise and Fall of Star Formation in Galaxies
    $ 195,000  (5 years)
  43. McDonald, Daniel (Statistics)
    Regularization and approximation: statistical inference, model selection, and large data
    $ 135,000  (5 years)
  44. Mehta, Aastha (Computer Science)
    Mitigating Side-Channel Leaks in Next-Generation Cloud Systems
    $ 145,000  (5 years)
  45. Mitchell, Cameron (Kinesiology)
    Understanding the Matrix: Regulation of the Human Muscle Extra Cellular Matrix
    $ 140,000  (5 years)
  46. Mizumoto, Kota (Zoology)
    Elucidating the mechanisms of gradient dependent and independent Wnt signaling in neuronal development
    $ 180,000  (5 years)
  47. Mohamadpour Tosarkani, Babak (School of Engineering, UBCO)
    Design and optimization of sustainable closed-loop supply chain networks under uncertainty
    $ 130,000  (5 years)
  48. Montwé, David (Forest Resources Management)
    Resilience of western Canadian forests to climatic extremes
    $ 140,000  (5 years)
  49. Nichols, Eva (Chemistry)
    Tuning Peripheral Functionality of Molecular and Interfacial Electrocatalysts to Influence Reaction Pathways
    $ 120,000  (5 years)
  50. Noonan, Michael (Biology, UBCO)
    Statistically efficient integration of animal tracking data into ecological theory and evidence-based conservation
    $ 140,000  (5 years)
  51. Odic, Darko (Psychology)
    The role of long-term experience in the development and use of the visual number sense
    $ 200,000  (5 years)
  52. Ordonez, Martin (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
    Flexible Power for Future Zero-Emissions Shipping and Delivery
    $ 320,000  (5 years)
  53. Orsi, Anais (Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences)
    Towards a better understanding of polar climate variability
    $ 330,000  (5 years)
  54. Ortner, Christoph (Mathematics)
    Mathematical Aspects of Atomistic and Multiscale Modelling
    $ 240,000  (5 years)
  55. Paat, Joseph (Sauder School of Business)
    Dimension reduction techniques for mixed integer programs
    $ 180,000  (5 years)
  56. Parfrey, Laura (Botany)
    Testing the role of microbial distribution and functional traits in the ecology and evolution of symbiosis
    $ 200,000  (5 years)
  57. Parker, Seth (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology)
    Interrogating amino acid transport and organelle exchange
    $ 150,000  (5 years)
  58. Picard, Sebastien (Mathematics)
    Nonlinear PDEs in Complex Geometry and Physics
    $ 130,000  (5 years)
  59. Pranckevicius, Conor (Chemistry, UBCO)
    Multifunctional Borylenes for Metal- and Boron-Mediated Reactions
    $ 145,000  (5 years)
  60. Protopopova, Alexandra (Faculty of Land and Food Systems)
    Intra-species variation in dogs (Canis lupus familiaris): Testing the Pace-of-Life Syndrome hypothesis
    $ 140,000  (5 years)
  61. Rauscher, Alexander (Pediatrics)
    Quantitative Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Anisotropic Biological Tissues
    $ 205,000  (5 years)
  62. Reid, Jolene (Chemistry)
    A Data Science Approach to Organic Reaction Discovery and Development
    $ 145,000  (5 years)
  63. Ryan, Katherine (Chemistry)
    Heteroatoms in natural products: Enzymes, pathways, and chemistry
    $ 320,000  (5 years)
  64. Sadiq, Rehan (School of Engineering, UBCO)
    ‘Digital Water’ Paving a Way towards Resilient Urban Water Systems
    $ 260,000  (5 years)
  65. Savalei, Victoria (Psychology)
    Improving Fit Assessment and Incomplete Data Diagnostics in Structural Equation Modeling
    $ 90,000  (5 years)
  66. Schafer, Laurel (Chemistry)
    Green Chemistry using Early Transition Metal Catalysts for the Synthesis of Small Molecules and Materials
    $ 395,000  (5 years)
  67. Schluter, Dolph (Zoology)
    Evolution of species interactions in adaptive radiation
    $ 475,000  (5 years)
  68. Shahrad, Mohammad (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
    From Serverless to Seamless: Building the Next-Generation of Cloud Systems by Eliminating Service Integration and Resource Heterogeneity Limitations
    $ 120,000  (5 years)
  69. Stefanska, Barbara (Faculty of Land and Food Systems)
    Diet and the epigenome: Investigating the impact of the environment on cell biology
    $ 205,000  (5 years)
  70. Sutherland, Dougal (Computer Science)
    Learning Better Representations With Kernels
    $ 145,000  (5 years)
  71. Thachuk, Mark (Chemistry)
    Theory and Application of Coarse Graining
    $ 120,000  (5 years)
  72. Thorogood, Miles (Creative Studies, UBCO)
    Echo - A New Set of High-level Audio Features for Computational Sound Design Systems
    $ 120,000  (5 years)
  73. Thrampoulidis, Christos (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
    Fundamentals of Modern Machine Learning: A Precise High-dimensional Approach
    $ 220,000  (5 years)
  74. Tokuyama, Maria (Microbiology and Immunology)
    Specialized functions of endogenous retroviruses in innate immune cells
    $ 205,000  (5 years)
  75. Tu, Qingshi (Wood Science)
    Quantifying synergy and tradeoff between resource efficiency and climate change: Filling the fundamental knowledge gap in systems analysis and uncertainty treatment
    $ 130,000  (5 years)
  76. Uribe, Carlos (Radiology)
    Towards personalized medicine with theranostics: quantitative molecular imaging and artificial intelligence
    $ 120,000  (5 years)
  77. von Keyserlingk, Marina (Faculty of Land and Food Systems)
    Mood states in animals, exploring individual and external factors that promote resilience
    $ 275,000  (5 years)
  78. Walji, Nahid (Mathematics)
    Distribution of Hecke eigenvalues for automorphic representations
    $ 90,000  (5 years)
  79. Wang, Zehua (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
    Next Generation Secure and Collaborative Internet of Things (IoT) System - Leveraging Blockchain for Decentralized Control and Privacy Preserving Machine Learning
    $ 140,000  (5 years)
  80. Wei, Xiaohua (Earth, Environmental and Geographic Sciences, UBCO)
    Determining forest disturbance thresholds for managing cumulative hydrological impacts
    $ 180,000  (5 years)
  81. Williams, Ben (Thomas) (Mathematics)
    Classical and A1-homotopy theory of linear algebraic groups
    $ 105,000  (5 years)
  82. Wilson, Scott (Forest and Conservation Sciences)
    Spatial and temporal variation in the response of migratory species to anthropogenic land use
    $ 124,500  (5 years)
  83. Wolf, Michael (Chemistry)
    Development of Photoactive Materials: Synthesis, Photochemistry and Photophysics
    $ 320,000  (5 years)
  84. Wong, Judy (Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences)
    Structure-Function Relationship Study of Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase's Non-Canonical Activities
    $ 160,000  (5 years)
  85. Yang, T.Y. (Civil Engineering)
    Smart infrastructures and technologies for sustainable development of resilient megacities
    $ 180,000  (5 years)

ALL New Discovery Grant RECIPIENTS

Research Tools and Instruments Grants

The NSERC Research Tools and Instruments grants foster and enhance the discovery, innovation and training capability of university researchers in the natural sciences and engineering by supporting the purchase of research equipment.

UBC-led Projects

A total of 22 projects led by UBC researchers were awarded $2.7m.

  1. Altshuler, Douglas (Zoology)
    An advanced surgical microscope for novel studies of sensorimotor integration for flight control
  2. Beristain, Alexander (Obstetrics and Gynecology)
    Hypoxia Culture Suite
  3. Burke, Sarah (Physics and Astronomy)
    Low-temperature Scanning Probe Microscope Controller upgrade for multimodal 2D materials investigation
  4. Ciernia, Annie (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology)
    Advanced Expansion Microscopy Imaging System for Brain Microglia
  5. Damascelli, Andrea (Physics and Astronomy)
    Cost-effective continuous operation of the CLS-QMSC Beamline at cryogenic temperatures
  6. de Boer, Carl (School of  Biomedical Engineering)
    Ultracentrifugation system for purification of synthetic biology constructs
  7. Eberhardt, Erik (Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences )
    Fiber Optic Distributed Acoustic Sensing for Stress Measurement and Mitigation of High Stress Hazards at Depth
  8. Floresco, Stan (Psychology)
    Imaging neurochemical and neural signalling with fiber photometry
  9. Folk, Joshua (Physics and Astronomy)
    Variable temperature measurement system for quantum devices from strongly correlated and topological materials
  10. Foster, Johan (Chemical and Biological Engineering)
    Filtration efficiency and breathability testing for permeability mask and filter technologies
  11. Frankel, Adam (Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences)
    Biomolecular Imaging System for Nanomedicine and Chemical Biology Applications in Pharmaceutical Sciences
  12. Grecov, Dana (Mechanical Engineering)
    Replacement of a research grade rheometer
  13. Hallam, Steven (Microbiology and Immunology)
    High-throughput nanoscale culture and screening applications for microbiome research
  14. Koehle, Michael (Kinesiology)
    Upgrade to the UBC Environmental Physiology Laboratory to include Ozone Exposure Capacity
  15. Liu, Jian (School of Engineering, UBCO)
    Differential Electrochemical Mass Spectrometry for Online Detection and Quantification of Gas Evolution in Energy Storage and Conversion Systems
  16. Martone, Patrick (Botany)
    Microscope Imaging PAM Fluorometer
  17. Pai, Dinesh (Computer Science)
    High Accuracy Non-Optical Motion Capture
  18. Salfi, Joseph (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
    Reactive Ion Etcher for Commercially Relevant Quantum Devices
  19. Tortell, Philippe (Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences)
    Field-portable volatile trapping system for marine and atmospheric research
  20. Wang, Liwei (School of Engineering, UBCO)
    Advanced rapid control prototyping testbench for the development of high power converters, battery chargers, mechatronic systems, and AC-DC microgrids
  21. Wood, Frank (Computer Science)
    UBC ML Computational Cluster
  22. Ye, Ziliang (Physics and Astronomy)
    A Zero-loop Sagnac Interferometer for Probing Spontaneous Time Reversal Symmetry Breaking in Topological Superconductors