Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry


Welcome to the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry

Chemistry studies the elements that comprise all matter. Everything around us — the air we breathe, water we drink, food we eat, cars we drive, even our bodies — are made from these elements.

Chemistry is often called the central science as it deals specifically with the 112 elements that comprise all matter. Everything around us - the air we breathe, water we drink, food we eat, buildings we live in, cars we drive - our very bodies - are all made from these elements. There are five main branches of chemistry: analytical chemistry, organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry and theoretical chemistry.

The primary focus of the program is to provide you with extensive theoretical knowledge in all five branches of chemistry, while enhancing your technical and practical skills with hands-on experience and research opportunities.

The Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry is home to many advanced instruments which enable cutting-edge research. These tools include nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), infra-red, Raman, UVvisible, atomic absorption spectrometers, macromolecular x-ray diffractometer, isothermal titration calorimeter, and a surface plasmon resonance spectrometer.

Department Highlights

U of L scientists unveil a novel molecular mechanism underlying Alzheimer’s disease

University of Lethbridge genome scientists examining molecular changes in the brain of mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease have shed light on the mechanisms involved in this complex process — one of the first stages in understanding better the molecular basis of this debilitating disease. These preliminary findings can guide the way for future studies to look for new therapeutic targets.

This significant study, led by Dr. Athan Zovoilis, a Canada Research Chair in RNA Bioinformatics and Genomics, was recently published in eLife, a prestigious biomedical and life sciences journal. The study is the result of work within the recently established Southern Alberta Genome Sciences Center (SAGSC) at the U of L, as well as part of the continuing contributions of the Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience (CCBN) to the field of neurodegenerative diseases.

Canada Foundation for Innovation funding will help U of L researchers pursue a drug treatment for COVID-19

Two U of L researchers have received a $200,000 grant from the Exceptional Opportunities Fund of the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) for infrastructure to aid them in their search to find a drug to treat the SARS-CoV-2 virus that’s responsible for the COVID pandemic.

The funding is part of nearly $28 million in research infrastructure support announced by Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Baines. The funding will support 79 projects across the country and covers the urgent need for equipment for ongoing research related to COVID-19.

The CFI funding bolsters two grants received earlier this year by Drs. Trushar Patel and Borries Demeler (Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry). In July, they received a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Research Tools and Instruments (RTI) grant of $150,000. A short time later they received a MITACS Accelerate grant, in partnership with Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation (API), for $210,000 to develop a drug treatment for the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

UofL forges partnership with the South Alberta Light Horse Primary Reserve unit

Over the Sept. 18-20th weekend, UofL faculty members and students took part in observing a military training exercise conducted by the South Alberta Light Horse (SALH), a Primary Reserve unit within the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). Part of 41 Canadian Brigade Group, 3rd Canadian Division, the SALH is an armoured reconnaissance regiment operating squadrons throughout Alberta, and particularly in the City of Lethbridge. The Regiment is uniquely tasked with the detection, identification, and management of biochemical and nuclear weapon threats, a role the SALH plays principally in conjunction with regular force elements. The objective of the training, which occurred at Kipp Rifle Range, was to qualify soldiers on chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) defense to prepare them for future deployments both domestically and abroad. Attendance of UofL guests was critical in helping to bridge a relationship between the CAF, students, and the UofL community to help broaden applications and research into defense science including connecting resources for reservists and future career opportunities for students. In attendance were biochemistry researchers and professors within the Alberta RNA Research and Training Institute (ARRTI) with graduate students and post-doctoral fellows receiving training at the UofL.


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