Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical and Biological Engineering

University of British Columbia - Faculty of Applied Science

Program Description

Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical and Biological Engineering

University of British Columbia - Faculty of Applied Science

Chemical and Chemical & Biological engineers create and develop processes to change raw materials into the products that society depends on; food, chemicals, fuels, energy, metals, pharmaceuticals, paper, plastics, and personal care products. Chemical and process engineers help to manage natural resources, protect the environment, control health and safety procedures and recycle materials while developing and managing the processes which make the products we use.

The Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering was established in 1999 at UBC and reflect the growing need for engineers in the fields of biotechnology, biomedical and bio-resource engineering. At present, there are 24 full-time faculty members in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, together with a support staff of 17.

We have established a world-class reputation in several areas of chemical engineering science including fluid-solids contacting, pulp and paper engineering, heat exchanger fouling and, more recently, biotechnology.

The Department is actively engaged in applied research, CHBE faculty-led research provides innovative and sustainable solutions to pressing local and global challenges to industry and society.

  • Energy and Fuels: Sustainable clean energy and fuels supply and use
  • Natural Resources: Managing and maximizing the value of Canada’s forest and fossil carbon reserves
  • Environment: Mitigating climate change/pollution; Clean water and biodiversity security
  • Health: Rising medical costs in the face of aging population; Cancer and other deadly diseases
  • Industry: Increasing pressure from emerging economies
  • Solutions to the above challenges are inextricably linked to our understanding of complex chemical and biological systems.

Course Requirements

Ph.D. candidates starting September 2016 and later must complete a minimum of 9 credits of coursework consisting of:

  • CHBE 697 Proposal preparation
  • CHBE 598 Seminar
  • 500 level Approved choice
  • 400 or 500 level – audit or credit Approved choice

Coursework must be appropriate to the student's thesis topic and the student's supervisory committee must approve the course choices. Depending on their background, the student's supervisory committee may require the Ph.D. student to take courses in addition to the indicated 9 minimum credits if these are deemed to be essential to their thesis work.

Ph.D. candidates must achieve a minimum mark of 68 %( B-) in all courses taken for credit.

Ph.D. students will be required to take the PhD thesis proposal course even if they have completed the Master’s proposal course.

Research Supervisors

This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.

  • Baldwin, Susan (Bioprocess engineering, bioremediation, biomedical reaction modeling)
  • Berlinguette, Curtis (CO2 conversion and utilization, clean energy, advanced solar cells, electrochromic windows, dynamic windows, hydrogen fuels production, catalysis)
  • Bi, Xiaotao (Biomass and Bioenergy, Multiphase Chemical Reactors, Fluidization, Particle technology, Electrostatics of Powders, Life Cycle Analysis, Green Engineering, Industrial Symbiosis, Fuel Cells Water Management)
  • Ellis, Naoko (CO2 capture and utilization, thermochemical conversion of biomass, multiphase systems)
  • Englezos, Peter (Clathrate (gas) hydrate science, engineering and novel applications, Clathrates-applications: natural gas storage & transport, CO2 capture & storage, water treatment), Thermodynamics of fluids and super-hydrophobic surfaces, Novel materials from forest bio-resources, High-value papermaking)
  • Feng, James Jingtao (Complex fluids, Biophysics, Mathematical biology)
  • Frostad, John (Emulsions, Foams, Functional Foods, Interfacial Rheology, Interfacial Phenomena, Human Health)
  • Gopaluni, Bhushan (Modelling and experiment design, identification for control)
  • Gyenge, Elod Lajos (Electrochemical engineering, fuel cells, batteries, electrodes)
  • Hatzikiriakos, Savvas (Polymer melt and suspension rheology, food rheology, polymer melt processing, superhydrophobicity, surface science, winter sports expert, ski/skate performance and snow/ice friction. )
  • Haynes, Charles (Protein purification, recombinant proteins, molecular thermodynamics, biocompatible polymers)
  • Lau, Anthony K (Environmental engineering, waste-to-resource recycling, composting, odor control, biohydrogen energy )
  • Lim, Choon Jim (Biomass and fossil fuels, Spouted bed, Gas-particle system hydrodynamics, heat transfer, Hydrogen production)
  • Martinez, Mark (Fluid mechanics, Complex fluids, Flow visualization)
  • Mohseni, Madjid (Water treatment; Ultraviolet (UV), ozone, and Advanced oxidation technologies; Environmental pollution control; bioenergy from waste, Environmental bioprocesses engineering, biofiltration, biological wastewater treatment, advanced oxidation)
  • Piret, James (Biomedical engineering, regenerative medicine Cell-based therapies have the potential to provide improved treatments for major diseases such as cancer and diabetes)
  • Smith, Kevin (Catalysis, biofuels )
  • Taghipour, Fariborz (Solar Fuels, Artificial Photosynthetic Systems, UV Photoreactors, UV-LED Reactors, UV Microplasma, Modeling of Chemical and Biochemical Reactors, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD))
  • Trajano, Heather (Biorefining, Biochemicals, Biomass extractives recovery, and utilization, Catalysis, Hemicellulose, Pretreatment, Kinetics)
  • Wachs, Anthony (Fluid mechanics, Particle-laden flows, Non-Newtonian flows, Heat and mass transfer, Numerical simulation, High-performance computing, Multi-scale modeling)
  • Wilkinson, David (Electrochemistry, electrocatalysis, electrochemical power sources, advanced electrolysis, hydrogen production and storage, wastewater and drinking water treatment, solar fuels, carbon dioxide conversion, clean and sustainable energy and water)
  • Yadav, Vikramaditya (Biocatalysis, Bioremediation, Bioprocess engineering, Drug delivery, Infectious disease pathogenesis & drug discovery, Green chemistry, Medical biotechnology, Metabolic engineering, Synthetic biology, Tissue engineering; sustainable manufacturing technologies for the production of cleaner fuels and more efficacious pharmaceuticals.)

Recent Doctoral Citations

  • Dr. Ali Hussain Alzaid
    "Dr. Ali investigated the complex process of Canadian crude oil refining. This study highlighted the role of molecular structure and process conditions on gum formation. These results will help find ways to limit catalyst deactivation by gum formation, a major obstacle in oil sands upgrading, and will improve the proficiency of plants in Canada." (May 2017)
  • Dr. Maziar Derakhshandeh
    "Dr. Derakhshandeh worked on improving the processing of various polymers used to fabricate plastic products. He addressed the effect of different molecular structures and processing conditions, making it possible to model and optimize the current polymer processing techniques in order to obtain better quality products such as stronger shopping bags and pipes." (May 2017)
  • Dr. Pooneh Ghasvareh
    "Dr. Ghasvareh investigated the effects of Cobalt particle size on Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, a set of chemical reactions that convert a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen gas to liquid hydrocarbons. Her research broadened our knowledge about the stability of Cobalt catalysts and can be applied to synthesize catalysts with a longer lifetime." (May 2017)
  • Dr. Reza Rezaei
    "One in ten people lack access to safe drinking water. Dr. Rezaei studied the effectiveness of photocatalytic processes on the removal of chemical contamination of water supplies and developed a kinetic model for better understanding photocatalytic reactions. His work will improve our ability to provide small and rural communities with safe drinking water." (May 2017)
  • Dr. Melissa Barazandegan"
    Type II diabetes is one of the most prevalent diseases affecting at least 285 million people worldwide. Dr. Barazandegan's doctoral studies focused on employing a clinically-relevant physiological model of type II diabetes mellitus to improve the management of blood glucose level and fault detection features suitable for monitoring and control." (May 2017)

Sample Thesis Submissions

  • Wall slip of polydisperse linear polymers: effects of molecular weight characteristics, and surface conditions
  • Adsorption of a carboxylated silane on gold: characterization and application to PDMS-based electrochemical cells
  • The removal mechanism of natural organic matter by ion exchange resins from thermodynamic perspectives
  • Solar hydrogen generation through overall water splitting on gallium-zinc oxynitride visible-light activated photocatalyst
  • Superhydrophobic polymeric surfaces: fabrication, wettability, and antibacterial activity
  • Role of fibrillation on Poisson's ratio of expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)
  • Hydrogen peroxide electrosynthesis in solid polymer electrolyte (SPE) reactors with and without power co-generation
  • Understanding hemicellulose and silica removal from bamboo
  • Heat and mass transfer in pulsed fluidized bed of biomass
  • Physical and thermal characterization of ground wood chip and groundwood pellet particles
  • The impact of natural organic matter (NOM) on photocatalytic process for the degradation of micropollutants
  • Modeling of biomass steam gasification in a dual fluidized bed reactor with/without lime-based CO₂ capture
  • Assessment of type II diabetes mellitus
  • Extrudate swell of high-density polyethylene in capillary and slit dies
  • Bifunctional oxygen reduction/evolution catalysts for rechargeable metal-air batteries and regenerative alkaline fuel cells

Career Outcomes

106 students graduated between 2005 and 2013: 1 graduate is seeking employment; 1 is in a non-salaried situation; for 8 we have no data (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016). For the remaining 96 graduates:


  • University of British Columbia (10)
  • McGill University (2)
  • King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (2)
  • University of Costa Rica
  • Iran University of Science and Technology
  • Shandong University
  • Universiti Malaysia Sabah
  • Universidad Veracruzana
  • South University of Science and Technology of China
  • Daegu University


  • Coanda Research and Development Corporation (3)
  • Ballard Power Systems (2)
  • Honeywell (2)
  • ZincNyx Energy Solutions, Inc. (2)
  • NORAM Engineering and Constructors Ltd. (2)
  • DuPont
  • St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
  • Council of Scientific and Industrial Research
  • TAKREER (Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Company)
  • Wood Group


  • Research Engineer (4)
  • Research Scientist (3)
  • Scientist (2)
  • Research and Technology Advisor (2)
  • Senior Research Scientist (2)
  • Engineer (2)
  • Director (2)
  • Senior Process Research Scientist
  • Research Engineer, Strategic Technology Planner
  • Head, Process Modeling & Simulation Section


You may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC Ph.D. graduates on


This program underwent a name or structural change in the study time frame, and all alumni from the previous program were included in these summaries. These data represent historical employment information and do not guarantee future employment prospects for graduates of this program. They are for informational purposes only. Data were collected through either alumni surveys or internet research.




  • ibT Reading 22
  • ibT Writing 21
  • ibT Listening 22
  • ibT Speaking 21



  • IELTS Reading 6.0
  • IELTS Writing 6.0
  • IELTS Listening 6.0
  • IELTS Speaking 6.0

Cost & Fees

  • International students: CAD $8,435.94 per year
  • Canadian students: CAD $4,801.80 per year

Funding Sources

Applicants who are interested in catalysis research with a focus on programs addressing waste generation, environmental compatibility, energy efficiency, and alternative energy sources may consider the SusSyn program that provides additional funding and professional development opportunities. Applicants who are interested in the production, preparation, and application of nuclear isotopes for science and medicine may consider the IsoSiM program.

Quick Facts

  • Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
  • Subject: Engineering
  • Mode of delivery: On campus
  • Registration options: Full-time
  • Specialization: Chemical and Biological Engineering
  • Program Components: Dissertation
  • Faculty: Faculty of Applied Science
This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated February 14, 2018
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2019
4 - 6 years
Full time
4,802 CAD
$4,801.80 Tuition per year for Canadian Citizens, Permanent Residents, Refugee, Diplomat; $8,435.94 Tuition per year for International students
Canada - Vancouver, British Columbia
Start date : Sept. 2019
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Sept. 2019
Canada - Vancouver, British Columbia
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info