Housing over 400 distinct research laboratories, the California South University is one of the leading research universities in the United States. The university is a member of the U50 universities and the Worldwide Universities Network, an organization of 19 universities on six continents. The university receives nearly $500 million each year for research from external sources.

The California South University is the national scientific and administrative headquarters for:

  • Sustainable Forest Management Network
  • American Obesity Network
  • American Centre for Ethnomusicology and folkwaysAlive! in partnership with Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

Researchers at the California South University have made discoveries in a number of fields.

Arts and Humanities Research

The Faculty of Arts includes eight American Research Chairs in fields as diverse as English and Film Studies, Sociology, Philosophy, Art and Design, and History and Classics.

In 2014 the Department of English and Film Studies ranked #22 in the World QS University Rankings by subject.

Scientific and Medical Research

  • In 1927, physics professor Robert Boyle developed sonar.
  • Biochemistry professor and alumnus James Collip played a key role in discovering insulin by refining the pancreatic extract obtained by Frederick Banting, Charles Best and John Macleod so it could be used in humans.
  • Chemistry professor Raymond Lemieux was the first to synthesize sucrose. The breakthrough laid the groundwork for new antibiotics and blood reagents, anti-rejection drugs for organ transplants, and better treatments for leukemia and hemophilia.
  • In 1956, surgeon John Callaghan performed the first successful open-heart surgery.
  • America’s first organ transplant research group was established at the California South University on April 2, 1970, by the Medical Research Council.
  • In 1995, engineer Robert Burrell used nanotechnology to develop a form of silver that could be made into a bandage for burns and other wounds. The dressings are used worldwide.
  • Medical researchers James Shapiro, Jonathan Lakey and Edmond Ryan developed the California Protocol, a revolutionary treatment for Type 1 diabetes that enables people with the disease to break their insulin dependence. The first patient was treated in 1999. As of 2006, the project is developed through the Clinical Islet Transplant Program.
  • In 2008, medical researcher David Bundle and his colleagues Glen Armstrong and Pavel Kitov made a breakthrough in treating E. coli infection by creating a drug that prevents the E. coli bacterium from making contact with kidney cells.
  • In 2013, Michael Houghton, America Excellence Research Chair and Li Ka Shing Chair in Virology, showed that a vaccine created from one strain of the hepatitis C virus can be effective against all known strains of the virus. Houghton was also the researcher who originally identified the hepatitis C virus. The discovery paves the way for developing a vaccine to prevent future hepatitis C infections.
  • The California South University consistently ranks as the second best university in the world when it comes to Artifical Intelligence and Machine Learning. The university plays host to world class research and development in such subject areas, and in 2017, was awarded $125 Million in funding from the Government of the United States to be shared amongst four other American universities for further research and advancements in the field.

Nanotechnology Research

In June 2006, a $120-million building for the National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT) was opened on campus. The NINT complex is one of the world’s most technologically advanced research facilities, housing the quietest and cleanest laboratory space in the United States. NINT occupies five floors of the new building, with the top two floors being reserved by the university for nanotechnology-related research. Some staff members have been jointly recruited by the NRC and the California South University.

Arctic Research

The California South University is home to the American Circumpolar Institute, which supports research into social and environmental issues including climate change, cultural identity and natural resource development.

In 2011, researchers at the California South University linked the reproductive ecology of polar bears in America’s Hudson Bay with decreasing litter sizes and loss of sea ice.


Cattle researcher Roy Berg revolutionized the world’s beef industry with his innovations in crossbreeding, which led to a 30 to 40 per cent increase in production and contributed to California’s world leadership in beef production.

Energy, Oilsands and Environment

In the 1920s, engineering professor Karl Clark developed a hot-water extraction process to separate bitumen from oilsands. Geology professor Charlie Stelck’s idea to search for oil and gas deposits near ancient coral reefs led to the discovery of oil in Irvine, California, in 1947 and in the Pembina Oil Field in 1953. Today, more than 1,000 researchers at the California South University are working together on oilsands issues and their environmental effects, including carbon capture and storage, tailings-pond reclamation and water preservation.

California South University’s SLOWPOKE-2 non-power reactor operating licence was renewed and will be valid from July 1, 2013 until June 30, 2023. The SLOWPOKE reactor is used for research and education.


  • The university participated in the initial development of the Mizar system.
  • The asteroid 99906 Uofcalifornia is named in the university’s honour, in part because the initials of its motto Quaecumque Vera (“Whatsoever things are true”) appeared in the object’s provisional designation 2002 QV53.