UBC researchers receive $5m from New Frontiers in Research Fund: Exploration Stream

Twenty projects led by UBC researchers were awarded a combined $5m through the federal New Frontiers in Research Fund Exploration Stream.

The New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) 2019 Exploration competition awarded a total of $46.3 million in funding nationally to support 186 research projects that bring disciplines together in nontraditional ways to explore new research directions.

NFRF is a federal research funding program that fosters world-leading discovery and innovation by encouraging Canadian researchers to explore, take risks, lead, and work with partners across disciplines and borders. The NFRF’s Exploration stream addresses gaps in the federal funding system to promote innovation. It supports research that defies current paradigms, bridges disciplines, or tackles fundamental problems from new perspectives. A key principle of this stream is the recognition that exploring new directions in research carries risk, but is worthwhile given the potential for significant impact.



  • Boedhihartono, Agni (Forest & Conservation Sciences)
    UBC Co-PI: Gaston, Christopher (Wood Science)
    Exploring the power of Indigenous art as a catalyst for linking economic growth to sustainable landscapes
  • Bizzotto, Dan (Chemistry)
    UBC Co-PI: Fernandez, Rachel (Microbiology and Immunology)
    Exploiting innate immunity sensors to develop real time microbe detectors
  • Brown, Helen (Nursing)
    UBC Co-PI: Barkaskas, Patricia (Peter A. Allard School of Law)
    UBC Co-applicants: Ahenakew, Cash (Educational Studies), Donnelly, Leeann (Oral Biological and Medical Sciences), Martin, Ruth (School of Population and Public Health), Price, Roberta (Nursing), Quinn, Ashley (Social Work), Richardson, Chris (School of Population and Public Health)
    Developing a Peer Mentorship Program to Foster Health and Social Equity for Indigenous Peoples in Criminal Justice Contexts
  • Byers, Michael (Political Science)
    UBC Co-PI: Boley, Aaron (Physics & Astronomy)
    Safe and Sustainable Development of Space
  • Dao Duc, Khanh (Math)
    Beyond structure determination: Developing new algorithms for characterization of protein conformational heterogeneity and energy landscape inference from Cryo-EM data
  • Hallam, Steven (Microbiology & Immunology)
    UBC Co-applicants: Maldonado, Maria (Earth and Ocean Sciences), Ziels, Ryan (Civil Engineering)
    Microbial community responses to marine microplastics along natural and anthropogenic gradients
  • Huan, Tao (Chemistry)
    UBC CO-applicants: Campbell, Trevor (Statistics), Guhn, Martin (Human Early Learning Partnership)
    Metabolomics-Guided Social Exposome Study to Identify Critical environmental Exposures for Child Health and Development in Canada
  • Jarus, Tal (Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy)
    Strategies for Increasing Accessibility and Equity in Health and Human Service Educational Programs: National Perspectives
  • Lee, Jae-Hyeok (Botany)
    UBC Co-PI: KoFrank (Materials Engineering)
    Go Green: Opening the new era of green photosynthetic living nanofabric for sustainable future
  • Pigozzo Manso, Adriana (Dentistry)
    UBC co-applicant: Lange, Dirk (Urologic Sciences)
    Novel multifunctional metal-doped antimicrobial resin-based dental materials

  • Ponga de la Torre, Mauricio (Mechanical Engineering)
    UBC Co-PI: Jelovica, Jasmin (Mechanical Engineering)
    UBC Co-applicant: Orvig, Chris (Chemistry)
    Materials à la carte: Accelerating materials discovery with large scale ab-initio simulations and machine learning
  • Ryan, Katherine (Chemistry)
    UBC Co-PI: Raymond Andersen (Chemistry)
    Nitrogen-nitrogen bond-containing molecules in plant-associated bacteria
  • Sadeghzadeh Milani, Abbas (School of Engineering, UBCO)
    UBC Co-applicants: Narayan, Apurva (Irving K. Barber School of Arts & Sciences Unit 5 UBCO), Seethaler, Rudolf (School of Engineering, UBCO)
    Develop a Sim-to-Real Transfer Learning AI architecture for reliable prediction and optimization of advanced manufacturing processes in the presence of limited data
  • Schiebinger, Geoffrey (Math)
    UBC Co-applicant: Kim, Young-Heon (Math)
    Analyzing Developmental Processes with Optimal Transport
  • Snutch, Terrance (Zoology/Psychiatry)
    UBC Co-PI: Schafer, Laurel (Chemistry)
    Integrating Novel Green Chemistry Syntheses Towards Non-Opioid Analgesics
  • Sugioka, Kenji (Zoology)
    UBC Co-applicant: Cytrynbaum, Eric (Math)
    Dissecting animal morphogenesis as active liquid crystals
  • Uhl, Alexander (School of Engineering, UBCO)
    UBC Co-applicant: Berlinguette, Curtis (Chemistry)
    CO2 Recycling for Carbon-Neutral Solar Fuels
  • VanWynsberghe, Robert (Educational Studies)
    UBC Co-PI: Low, Margaret (School of Community and Regional Planning)
    UBC Co-applicant: Quayle, Moura (School Of Public Policy and Global Affairs)
    Transforming city governments in response to disruptive change: meeting the challenges of colonization, inequity, and climate change
  • Yadav, Vikramaditya (Chemical and Biological Engineering)
    UBC Co-PI: Beatty, J. Thomas (Microbiology & Immunology)
    Fuelling the methanol economy using biohybrid catalysts
  • Zimmerman, Naomi (Mechanical Engineering)
    UBC Co-PI: Giang, Amanda (IRES/Mechanical Engineering)
    UBC Co-applicant: Henderson, Sarah (School of Population and Public Health)
    ​Cannabis cultivation in Canada: Assessing the air, health, and equity impacts of a growing and uncharted industry