Sponsored by the CSC Biological and Medicinal Chemistry Division of the CSC and Simon Fraser University


The Melanie O’Neill Young Investigator Award in Biological Chemistry is presented to a scientist residing in Canada who has made a distinguished contribution to biological chemistry while working in Canada.

View the Terms of Reference and list of Past Winners

The 2019 winner of the Melanie O’Neill Young Investigator Award in Biological Chemistry is:

Roberto Chica
University of Ottawa

Roberto Chica received his BSc in biochemistry from Université de Montréal in 2001 and his PhD from the same institution in 2007 under the mentorship of Joelle Pelletier and Jeffrey Keillor. After working at Caltech as postdoctoral fellow with Stephen Mayo, he joined the Department of Chemistry at the University of Ottawa in 2010, where is now an associate professor. In 2018, he was a visiting scholar at the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Science, University of California San Francisco. Since establishing his independent research program, Chica has been pushing the boundaries of protein engineering through his pioneering work in the development and experimental validation of multistate approaches to computational protein design. His outstanding contributions to research have been recognized by an Ontario Early Researcher Award (2015) and Young Investigator Award of the Biophysical Society of Canada (2019). He is a member of the editorial advisory board of Protein Science and scientific advisory board of ProtaBank, the open-access protein engineering database. Chica has also emerged as a leading figure in the protein engineering community. He created the Protein Engineering Canada Conference, and is currently building an innovative training program for the protein engineers of the future (funded by NSERC CREATE).

Past Winners


Ratmir Derda

University of Alberta
Society: CSC

Katherine Ryan

University of British Columbia
Society: CSC