Roberto A. Chica, Ph. D.

Roberto A. Chica, Ph. D.
Associate Professor
Department of Chemistry
and Biomolecular Sciences
University of Ottawa
10 Marie Curie
Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5

rchica at uottawa dot ca
Phone: (613) 562-5800 x 1988
Fax: (613) 562-5170


Dr. Chica was born in San Salvador, El Salvador. When he was one year old, he moved with his family to Montréal, Canada, where he was raised. He received a B. Sc. degree in Biochemistry from the Université de Montréal. It was at this time that he became fascinated by proteins, in particular by the relationships that exist between protein structure and function. To learn more about this topic, Dr. Chica completed a Ph. D. degree in Chemistry at the Université de Montréal where he worked on enzyme engineering under the supervision of Dr. Joelle Pelletier and Dr. Jeffrey Keillor. He then undertook a postdoctoral fellowship in computational protein design working under Dr. Stephen L. Mayo at the California Institute of Technology. Dr. Chica joined the Department of Chemistry at the University of Ottawa in 2010 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2016.




Postdoctoral Fellowship
California Institute of Technology
Supervisor: Prof. Stephen L. Mayo
Research project: Generation of longer emission wavelength red fluorescent proteins using computationally designed libraries.


Ph. D. Chemistry
Université de Montréal
Supervisors: Profs. Joelle N. Pelletier & Jeffrey W. Keillor
Research project: Substrate specificity engineering of TG2 transglutaminase.


B.Sc. Biochemistry
Université de Montréal
Supervisor: Prof. Claude Dupont (INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier)
Research project: Structure/function studies of S. lividans xylanase A


Honours & Awards

Scientific Advisory Board, ProtaBank, the Protein Engineering Database (since 2016)
Editorial Advisory Board, Protein Science (2016)
Early Researcher Award from the Ministry of Research and Innovation of Ontario (2015)
CNC-IUPAC Travel Award
FRQNT Postdoctoral Fellowship (2007-2009)
Ocean Nutrition Canada Prize for best oral presentation at the 89th CSC (2006)
Merck-Frosst Scholarship (2006)
Merck Frosst Scholarship (2005)
Poster prize at the 5th Annual Symposium of PROTEO (2005)
NSERC Ph. D. Scholarship (2004-2006)
Boehringer-Ingelheim Award (2003)
Graduate Student Award, Université de Montréal (2002)
FRQNT M.Sc. Scholarship (2002)
NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award (2000)
NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award (1999)



Center for Catalysis Research and Innovation, University of Ottawa
PROTEO, the Quebec Network for Research on Protein Function, Structure, and Engineering
Institute for Science, Society and Policy, University of Ottawa


Invited lectures

2017/12/05. Protabit, Pasadena, CA
2017/07/25. 31st Symposium of The Protein Society, Montreal, QC
2017/06/21. Gordon Research Conference on Proteins, Holderness, NH
2017/05/29. 100th Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition, Toronto, ON
2017/05/19. Biomolecular Machines Conference, Banff, AB
2016/11/18. Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH
2016/10/27. University of California - San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
2016/09/22. Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA
2016/05/20. Abbott Point of Care, Ottawa, ON
2016/02/19. University of California - Davis, Biophysics Graduate Group, Davis, CA
2016/02/18. University of California - Berkeley, Department of Molecular & Cell Biology, Berkeley, CA
2016/02/15. Caltech, Division of Biology, Pasadena, CA
2015/11/25. Université de Montréal, Department of Chemistry, Montreal, QC
2015/11/06. Wilfrid Laurier University, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Waterloo, ON
2015/07/29. Rosetta Conference, Leavenworth, WA
2015/04/29. Yale University, Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, New Haven, CT
2015/04/01. Emory University, Department of Chemistry, Atlanta, GA
2015/03/31. Georgia Tech, School of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Atlanta, GA
2015/02/26. Carleton University, Bioinformatics Group, Ottawa, ON
2014/11/28. Université de Sherbrooke, Department of Biochemistry, Sherbrooke, QC
2014/11/21. University of Alberta, Department of Chemistry, Edmonton, AB
2014/06/01. 97th Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition, Vancouver, BC
2014/04/11. SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Department of Chemistry, Syracuse, NY
2013/12/11. Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Department of Chemistry-Biology, Trois-Rivières, QC
2013/05/16. PROTEO Annual Meeting, Laval, QC
2012/11/13. University of Ottawa, Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, Ottawa, ON
2012/08/28. Syracuse University, Department of Chemistry, Syracuse, NY
2012/06/25. 2nd China-Canada Systems Biology Symposium, Ottawa, ON
2012/04/19. La Cité Collégiale, Ottawa, ON
2011/06/06. 94th Canadian Chemistry Conference & Exhibition, Montreal, QC
2011/05/20. OCCI Day, Ottawa-Carleton Chemistry Institute, Ottawa, ON
2011/04/08. Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM), Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Montreal, QC
2011/02/28. Concordia University, Centre for Research in Molecular Modeling (CERMM), Montreal, QC
2010/11/30. INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier, Laval, QC
2010/10/01. Iogen Corporation, Ottawa, ON
2010/04/13. University of Ottawa, New Professor Lecture, Ottawa, ON