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.


Positions Held

Since 2018

Since 2016

Director, NSERC CREATE Advanced Protein Engineering Training, Internships, Courses, and Exhibition (APRENTICE) program
Visiting Scholar, Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Science, UC San Francisco
Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of Ottawa
Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of Ottawa



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


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


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


Honours & Awards

Melanie O'Neill Young Investigator Award in Biological Chemistry, Canadian Society for Chemistry (2019)
Young Investigator Award, Biophysical Society of Canada (2019)
Scientific Advisory Board, ProtaBank, the Protein Engineering Database (since 2016)
Editorial Advisory Board, Protein Science (since 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

2020/05/05. 14th Girona Seminar Conference, Girona, Spain
2019/09/18. Protein Engineering & Design Symposium, Bayreuth, Germany
2019/07/24. Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology Annual Meeting, Washington, DC
2019/06/03. 102nd Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition, Quebec City, QC
2019/05/28. 5th Annual Meeting of the Biophysical Society of Canada, Mississauga, ON
2019/03/05. New York University Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
2018/09/29. XLIII Congress of the Brazilian Biophysics Society, Santos, Sao Paulo, Brazil
2018/05/16. Université Laval, Quebec City, QC
2018/03/01. Atum (formerly DNA 2.0), Newark,CA
2018/02/26. University of California - San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
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