From all around the world, our graduate students study a diverse range of topics. Learn more about some of the research conducted by our students below.

Claire Armour, PhD student
Supervisor: Nicholas Coops
Start year: 2020

My research is in Predictive Ecosystem Mapping using LiDAR. After completing my Master’s of Geomatics for Environmental Management (MGEM), I was interested in diving deeper into research in a lab, the Integrated Remote Sensing Studio (IRSS). Before starting MGEM in fall 2019, I was living in the mountain town of Canmore, AB where I worked for Parks Canada and a local ski resort called Sunshine Village within Banff National Park. I enjoy visiting trails with my dog Otto or skiing at Whistler. I also live in a part of the city with a multitude of breweries, restaurants, and coffee shops and love to try beer or three while reading my book or trying to beat my own personal record on the NYT crosswords.

Jen Baron, PhD Student
Supervisor: Lori Daniels & Sarah Gergel

Start year: 2020

My research interests are landscape change and wildfire vulnerability. I investigate global change impacts on forest structure and function through multiple lenses, applying a systems approach across spatio-temporal scales. I investigate landscape change and wildfire vulnerability since 1950 in southeastern BC using historic aerial imagery. I assess the relative importance of topographic, climatic, and anthropogenic factors in driving these transitions, and use this information to build models of wildfire on the landscape. These findings will inform wildfire management, conservation, and land-use planning in the context of the Anthropocene. In my free time I enjoy rock climbing, camping, and solo travel (especially in Latin America)!

Lucy Binfield, PhD Student, Department of Wood Science
Supervisors: Chunping Dai & John Innes
Start year: 2020

Lucy Binfield

Originally from the UK, I began my PhD studies at UBC in September, 2020. I am interested in the socio-economic impact of specific instances of bamboo industry development initiatives in the Global South. My studies are jointly supervised by Professor Chunping Dai and Professor John Innes and I am interested in collaborations and conversations on any aspect of forestry and sustainable development. In my spare time I work in the mental health non-profit world and enjoy rock climbing and walking my dog.    

Roy Bidhan Bhuson

Roy Bidhan Bhuson, PhD student
Supervisor: Dr. Qingshi Tu
Start year: 2020

My research is in Sustainable Bioeconomy.

Johanna Bock

Johanna Bock, PhD
Supervisor: Lorien Nesbitt
Start year: 2020

I am thrilled to have come across the urban forestry program and I am amazed by the hands-on approaches, the incorporation of up-to-date topics like implications of climate change to our cities or inequity in accessibility of green spaces as well as how easily different disciplines are combined to make for very interesting research teams. I have played field hockey most of my life and I plan to keep it up for as long as I can manage to hold a hockey stick! Apart from that fresh air always relaxes me, I’m a fan of walking either in my city/village or on hikes, I bike and jog, and I can’t wait to go skiing in winter.

Yue Diao

Yue Diao, PhD Student
Supervisor: Cristiano Loss
Start year: 2020

I’m a Beijinger who was born and raised in Beijing, China. Before I come to UBC Forestry, I was a student at Beijing Forestry University. When I was in the third year of my undergraduate program, I got a chance to study at UBC Forestry as an exchange student. I had a really good experience on living aboard and studying in the wood products department. Therefore, when I noticed that Dr. Cristiano Loss was recruiting student who was interested in CLT structures, I thought it was a good opportunity to come back and learn more. I’m a fan of sports. I started strength training since 2019 and then doing exercises became one of the most important part of my daily life. I get energy and spirit from training. And I know more excellent people through training. I’m willing to embrace differences and be more positive. Sports changed my attitude towards life. 

Gonzalo Gavilan-Acuna, PhD student
Supervisor: Nicholas Coops

Start year: 2020

My research focuses on predicting forest productivity from single tree LiDAR metrics, for both Eucalyptus globulus and Pinus radiata plantations in south-central Chile. I have worked as a researcher for a forest company in Chile, mainly focused on sustainable forest management and soil nutrition. I am interested in acquiring new knowledge about remote sensing and am fascinated about how these technologies provide a new tool for precision silviculture management. I also love jogging when I have the time, swimming, traveling, and especially meeting people from different places. 


Tazarve Gharajehdaghipoor, PhD Student
Supervisor: Cole Burton
Start year: 2020

My research interests are wildlife coexistence, conservation biology, wildlife ecology, biodiversity monitoring and assessment.

Hannah Griebling

Hannah Griebling, PhD Student, Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences
Supervisor: Sarah Benson-Amram
Start year: 2020

Research interests: animal cognition, animal behaviour, and urban carnivores.

Bleriot Kemda

Bleriot Feujofack Kemda, PhD student
Supervisor: Dr. Cristiano Loss
Start year: 2020

My research mainly focuses on the development of robust and reliable connections for mass timber structures. I pursued a master’s of applied science in laser and resistance spot welding at the University of Québec in Rimouski, QC, Canada, before attending UBC Forestry. I am really looking forward to bring my contribution in the field of timber engineering in order to expand the limits of what is possible in timber construction; what will lead to a higher utilization of timber, and ultimately, to a more sustainable development of our cities. I am passionate about reading; and I enjoy practicing soccer, tennis, and cycling.

Sofie McComb

Sofie McComb, PhD Student
Supervisor: Tara Martin
Start year: 2020

I decided to pursue a graduate degree as I wish to further develop my field and analytical research skills, as well as my ability to communicate scientific research effectively to academic and public audiences. Long-term, I am interested in working in an academic capacity to establish conservation priorities and develop forest management plans, and believe a graduate degree at UBC will help me achieve these goals. Before coming to UBC, I was living in Santa Barbara, California. I obtained my Master of Environmental Science from the Bren School at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2019, and then worked for Drs. Ashley Larsen and Andy MacDonald at the Bren School as a Junior Specialist in Ecology for the next year. I am really looking forward to being able to delve into my PhD research, and learn new tools and analytical techniques in conservation management. I am also very excited to be able to work and collaborate with all of the fantastic people in my lab and across the forestry school. In my free time, I enjoy being outdoors, cooking and baking new recipes, playing cello, sketching, reading, and crafting. I love yoga, hiking, and swimming, and going to museums, parks, theaters, and bar trivia.

Camilla Moioli

Camilla Moioli, PhD Student
Supervisor: Dominik Roeser
Start year: 2020

I decided to pursue a graduate degree because I want to be part of the research community and give my contribution to addressing issues that are relevant to me. From a personal point of view, I chose to pursue a Ph.D. because I wished I could increase my knowledge and my technical skills. I graduated in Economics in Milan in 2017, after that I have worked for a while at the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany for a while before decided to travel for almost 6 months around South-Eastern Asia. Finally, in November 2019, I decided to move to Vancouver and to start a Ph.D. The reason why I want to pursue my research goals through the UBC program is that’s international and interdisciplinary. What attracted me the most is the high level of cooperation in place through the different faculties at UBC. The interconnection between the forestry, land and food system and economic department is an incredible feature that allows students to develop a wider knowledge of the topics. In addition to that, the international opportunities that the program offers are thrilling. I am looking forward to being in such an international and stimulating environment, research on topics with high importance to me, and have the opportunity to learn from all the professors and fellow students that I will meet. I am a big fan of outdoor activities, such as camping, hiking, skiing and in summer I enjoy playing beach volleyball.  I am also a book lover, in particular, I love to read stories of outstanding personalities that inspire me.

Mohammad Khajouei Nezhad

Mohammad Khajouei Nezhad, PhD student
Supervisor: Chunping Dai
Start year: 2020

My research is in modelling of bamboo, wood-based composite materials, bamboo scrimber, mechanical properties, microstructure. I have always been enthusiastic about conducting scientific research, and this is why being a university professor has been my dream job. Going for a PhD can give me an opportunity to undertake further research in fields which I am passionate about. I was living in Shiraz which is called the ancient city of love and literature. My city is close to Persepolis (ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire) and hosts many historical monuments such as Hafez Tomb and Pink Mosque. Before joining the UBC and after obtaining my MSc degree from Shiraz University, I was working as a research and development expert in a prestigious company in my home country. My main hobbies are reading, hiking, traveling, and discovering new places.

Amanullah Parsa, PhD Student
Supervisor: Cristiano Loss

Start year: 2020

My research interest is timber engineering. I enjoy watching movies and listening to music.

Debbie Pierce

Debbie Pierce, PhD student
Supervisor: Terry Sunderland
Start year: 2020

My research is in tropical forestry, land tenure, non-timber forest products and gender. I have considered pursuing a PhD since my time in college because I really enjoy the research process, and I feel that there is always more to discover. Forestry has also become an area that I feel very passionately about. I lived in Washington, DC for almost five years before attending UBC. I worked on forests, gender, and indigenous peoples at the World Bank for most of that time. I am really looking forward to getting to know everyone and meeting in person.  I am looking forward to moving to Vancouver for all the very accessible and beautiful hiking and camping. But I also really enjoy exploring cities by biking or running.

Kaitlyn Pike

Kaitlyn Pike, PhD Student
Supervisor: Lorien Nesbitt
Start year: 2020

My research is in urban forest governance, green equity, community perceptions, social-ecological systems. I stumbled into urban forestry as a field of study and very quickly felt at home with its unique blend of both natural and social sciences. I was living in Chicago, IL, USA, where I completed my B.A. in Environmental Studies and my M.S. in Environmental Science. Having met a few UBC students while at ISA conferences in 2018 and 2019, it became a dream of mine to study at this world-class institution. I am looking forward to networking and collaborating with others. Having come from a university without a formal forestry department, I am excited to be surrounded by fellow tree-people. I like to exercise, hike, read, and play videogames!

Hugo Pineda

Hugo Pineda, PhD student
Supervisor: Chunping Dai
Start year: 2020

I lived in Bogota, Colombia, and I was a patent examiner before I came to UBC. I would like to do research and innovate in wood and bamboo composite materials. I chose UBC as it’s one of the best forestry faculties in the world. It has great advisors and is located in Vancouver. My hobbies include playing sports, especially rugby, trekking and biking.

Jessica Quinton

Jessica Quinton, PhD student
Supervisor: Lorien Nesbitt
Start year: 2020

My research will examine whether urban greening efforts in Canadian cities have contributed to the gentrification of areas and the displacement of residents. I decided to pursue my PhD in forestry because I am fascinated by urban forestry and urban greening and the impact they have on cities and their residents. I love asking questions and conducting research, which made pursuing a PhD a natural choice for me. Prior to attending UBC Forestry, I completed a Master of Environmental Studies at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. After graduating from my Master’s program, I moved to London (UK) where I spent a year working in science publishing and wishing I was traveling Europe instead of being in lockdown. I decided to study at UBC Forestry because of the impact this institution has had an urban forestry research. There are many brilliant researchers (both students and professors) in this field at UBC, and I look forward to being able to collaborate with them. Additionally, I was particularly interested in my supervisor’s research on green equity and wanted to work with her on a similar project. I am most looking forward to conducting my research, as I am very curious to see what results it yields. I enjoy hiking, reading, traveling, writing, jigsaw puzzles, and baking.

Baifei Ren, PhD Student Supervisor: Guangyu Wang 
Start year: 2020

My research interests are national parks, ecological planning, and urban planning.

For relaxation, I like painting & watching movies

Mike Stefanuk

Mike Stefanuk, PhD student
Supervisor: Lori Daniels
Start year: 2020

My research will be in forest-climate relationships and forest fire history. I like research! Doing a PhD seemed like a good way to keep asking the questions that I am interested in. I just came off of a year of traveling across North America in an RV. Before that I got my Master’s of Environmental Studies at Queen’s, where I examined forest-climate relationships across the Algonquin-to-Adirondacks Conservation Corridor. I’m looking forward to getting to know the forests of BC. They’re very different from back home! My hobbies include MTB, hiking, camping & general outdoors activities.

Lili Wang, PhD Student
Supervisor: Feng Jiang
Start year: 2020

Research interests: cellulose nano fiber used in textiles.

Shiva Zargar

Shiva Zargar, PhD student
Supervisor: Qingshi Tu
Start year: 2020

My research is developing database and models for evaluating the role of forest biorefineries in achieving a sustainable bioeconomy. Pursuing a graduate program allows me to advance my understanding in my research area, and to potentially discover new scientific information and dive deeper into the areas of interest. It fulfills my hunger to learn more. Eventually, I will be able to train others to follow the path of science in forestry. Prior to UBC, I was living in the beautiful Okanagan Valley and working on my MSc degree at UBC Okanagan. I enjoy sports activities (e.g. rollerblading, skating and biking) as well as watching startup pitches and Ted Talk. Watching the sunset and listening to rain are my relaxation therapy.

Huaiyu Zhang, PhD Student
Supervisor: Scott Renneckar
Start year: 2020

My research interest is advanced renewable materials. I love photography. Photography allows me to focus on observing the world, and I use pictures to record the stories happening around me. I also play tennis from time to time with friends.