Faculty of Science


UBC Science brings together a community of students and scholars internationally recognized for their commitment to discovery and innovation - both in the lab and in the classroom.

Our researchers conduct world-leading work in the life, physical, earth and computational sciences, and the Faculty delivers top-ranked programs across 18 disciplines and four interdisciplinary tracks.

The 2018 program will offer packages consisting of two courses. Each course will have 39 hours of class time, taught by UBC instructors. Classes are interactive and may include group work, class discussion, guest lecturers and field trips. Course credit may be granted by the participating universities.

July 15 - August 15, 2018 Course Packages

Pharmaceutical Sciences

The Discovery of New Medicines
“What does it take to find a new drug?” The objective of the course will be to answer this question by introducing the participants to the drug discovery and development process. Specifically, the role of the Pharmaceutical Sciences in the discovery of new medicines will be described. Case studies will be presented by experienced scientists that illustrate challenges that interdisciplinary drug discovery teams must overcome. In addition, participants will have an opportunity to visit the laboratories of a local research organization involved in supporting drug discovery efforts. By taking this course, participants will gain an appreciation of the collaborative work that is required in the search for new therapies.
Personalizing Medicines with Genomics and Biotechnology
For millennia, we have sought to understand how to treat disease using potions, teas, pills and most recently, genetically engineered cells. Indeed, the use of cutting-edge technology in drug discovery is not new- for example, the most powerful anti-malaria drug was re-discovered in the writings of Ge Hong, a physician who practiced 1700 years ago. Today when one thinks of drug discovery and development, large multibillion dollar pharmaceutical companies come to mind, with their remarkable medications for infections, heart disease and cancer. Despite their effectiveness, these medicines tend to treat all patients as members of one homogeneous population. Recently, next generation DNA sequencing is making the possibility of medicine tailored to an individual a reality. Cancer treatments can now be designed to match your specific DNA, eliminating the trial-and-error approach to treatment. Similarly, DNA sequencing can match your prescriptions to your genome. The integration of DNA sequencing with drug therapy has been a disruptive innovation, bringing the science of “big data” to medicine and pharmacy. In this course we will explore how these and other innovations are revolutionizing healthcare and wellness. Students will have the opportunity to explore these innovations first hand in the laboratory.
Mechanisms of Drug Interactions
Drug interactions may lead to an increase or decrease in the beneficial or the adverse effects of the given drugs. When a drug interaction increases the benefit of the administered drugs without increasing side effects, both drugs may be combined to increase the control of the condition that is being treated.
Adverse Drug-Related Events: Opportunities for Pharmacists
In the era of increased attention to overall patient safety, several interventions have been implemented to attempt to reduce medication misadventure in both the community and hospital setting. However, patients continue to experience adverse drug-related events (ADREs) which are associated with significant morbidity and mortality and result in many hospital visits. As pharmacists, we must identify, treat, and prevent drug-related problems. This session will outline the impact of ADREs in Canada and discuss the overall burden on our health-care system.

Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science

In this package we will examine the origin and formation of our planet and its economic resources. From its early beginnings our planet has evolved dramatically, with an ever changing surface subject to vast plate movements and billions of years of weathering and erosion. Students will discover how volcanoes, meteor impacts, earthquakes, moving water, glaciers during ice ages and the relentless grind and recycling of rocks by plate tectonics shape our planet, and explain our geological resources. Both courses emphasize experiential learning where concepts are discovered through active learning in the classroom, innovative laboratory experiments and field trips to collect and interpret observations in and around Vancouver. No background knowledge of geology is required for this package.
The Dynamic Planet
In this course you will discover how our active and evolving Earth system has created the planet we know today, one that supports diverse life and is rich in natural resources. Using international and Canadian examples, we will examine the Earth and its composition, structure and geological processes. From mountains to glaciers, earthquakes to volcanoes, ancient rocks and mighty dinosaurs, Canada is a wonderful natural laboratory that we will use to investigate our active and dynamic planet.
Earth Treasures
Canada is also known for its spectacular precious metals and gems, some of them housed in our departmental museum, The Pacific Museum of Earth. This course investigates the formation, exploration, mining and aspects of marketing of gemstones and precious metals. We touch on topics such as fundamental scientific concepts, natural and synthetic gems and explore the world of fine jewelry. The origin, valuation and exploration strategies for gems such as diamonds and precious metals such as gold and platinum will be investigated here and placed into a fascinating international and Canadian geological context.
Our emphasis is on active learning teaching methods where students are inspired to explore the subject matter through field trips, labs, discussions and in class activities.
No background knowledge of geology is required for Science Package A.
In this package we explore the dominant processes that control the atmosphere and the oceans, and investigate the diversity of life found in marine ecosystems. Students will discover how energy flows through these systems and how the energy flow controls winds and ocean currents. We will discover how the winds and currents influence the climate and movement of pollution, and the effect these fluid movements have on the ocean biosphere and make up of marine ecosystems. Both courses emphasize experiential learning where concepts are discovered through active learning in the classroom, innovative laboratory experiments and field trips to collect and interpret observations in the diverse ocean and atmospheric environments near Vancouver. Escape the classroom and discover with us! No background knowledge of oceanography or biology is required for Science Package B.
Ocean and Atmosphere Systems
In this course you will assess and quantify the principal components of the global energy balance, how the energy balance affects the structure of the ocean and atmosphere and produces the winds and currents that control weather, air pollution and the biosphere. You will examine ocean productivity and the important geochemical cycles of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous. You will also examine how, over geologic time, ocean and atmospheric processes coupled with the evolution of life regulate climate and climate change.
Marine Biodiversity
Students will explore the incredible diversity of marine ecosystems, and identify the factors that regulate ocean habitats and how marine ecosystems develop in response. Ecosystems’ properties, including diversity, resilience (or lack of resilience) to environmental change and its impact on neighboring ecosystems will be considered. Many fascinating and important marine ecosystems and habitats will be studied including the following: rocky intertidal zones, soft bottom communities, coral reefs, estuaries, and epipelagic and mesopelagic ecosystems. A particular emphasis will be placed on the beautiful and diverse marine ecosystems of British Columbia. Students will be given the opportunity to study such diverse topics as the effect of ecosystems disturbances, the evolution of ocean plankton, the effects of invasive species and the changes that occur due to climate change.
Our emphasis is on active learning teaching methods where students are inspired to explore the subject matter through field trips, labs, discussions and in class activities.
No background knowledge of oceanography or biology is required for Science Package B.

Integrated Sciences

Game theory
Game theory is the study of mathematical models of conflict and cooperation between intelligent rational decision-makers. As such it is applicable to a wide range of behavioral relations, and is now an umbrella term for the science of logical decision making in computers and organisms. Game theory has been widely recognized as an important tool in many fields including computer science, biology, economics, political science and psychology. In this course we will consider representations of games (normal, extensive, and characteristic-function forms), game types (cooperative/non-cooperative, symmetric/asymmetric, zero-sum/non zero-sum, simultaneous/sequential, etc.), history, awards, and game theory in popular culture.
The mathematic definition of symmetry is that an object is invariant to various transformations; including reflection, rotation, or scaling. Mathematical symmetry may be observed with respect to spatial relationships, through geometric transformations and other kinds of functional transformations, with respect to the passage of time, as an aspect of abstract objects, theoretic models, music, and language. Symmetry in everyday language refers to a sense of harmonious proportion and balance. In this course we investigate symmetry and asymmetry in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology, and in the arts, specifically architecture, fine art, and music.
Evolutionary Medicine
Evolutionary or Darwinian medicine is the application of modern evolutionary theory to understanding health and disease and focuses on the question of why evolution has shaped molecular and physiological mechanisms in ways that may leave us susceptible to disease. The evolutionary approach has driven important advances in our understanding of cancer, autoimmune disease, and anatomy. In this course we will use the Darwinian theory of natural selection to explore explanations of cancer, allergies, infectious diseases, mental illness, and other human diseases.
Scale and Measurement in Science and Medicine
Measurement is fundamental to science. In medicine measurement underpins most clinical decisions. In this course we will use the unifying theme of size to study a number of systems. We will see that “size matters” whether we measure a tangible object or an abstract phenomenon, and that the geometry, kinematics, and dynamics of phenomena are largely determined by the relative reliability and validity of the size of the underlying factors and processes. Examples will be taken from the instructor’s research in neurology and psychiatry. In addition, we will explore a set of general scaling laws using conceptual, graphical, and mathematical tools.

For academic inquiry about EOAS Packages, please contact:

Earth and Ocean Sciences, 2018 Vancouver Summer Program
Lucy Porritt: lporritt@eos.ubc.ca

For academic inquiry about Integrated Sciences packages, please contact:
Integrated Sciences, 2018 Vancouver Summer Program

Mary Anne Lyons: lyons@science.ubc.ca