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, the water we drink, the food we eat, the cars we drive, and even our bodies - are made from these elements.
Biochemistry is the study of all living systems at the molecular level. It looks at the chemical and physical basis of life and how these living systems interact with their environments.


Chemistry is often called the central science as it deals specifically with the 112 elements that comprise all matter. There are five 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 Departments of Chemistry & Biochemistry and Biological Sciences jointly offer a multi-disciplinary major in biochemistry for the 40-course Bachelor of Science (BSc). You can also select a general major in the sciences and choose biochemistry courses as options. Biochemistry will help you develop a strong background in the basic sciences and extensive laboratory skills. Thereby, it provides background for a diverse range of careers in the life sciences, including professional programs such as medicine and veterinary medicine. 

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

2023 iGEM Grand Jamboree

Last weekend, the ULethbridge iGEM and high school iGEM teams achieved impressive results at the Grand Jamboree in Paris, France. Congratulations to them for their success!

The university team, supervised by Vineet Rathod, won a gold medal for their innovative project "Club Squared," which focused on developing a rapid-detection system to help farmers combat the clubroot disease that affects brassica crops. You can check out their project on their iGEM page.

The high school iGEM team also did an outstanding job and won a silver medal. Their project was featured on CBC's Calgary Eyeopener and CBC evening newscast.(Scroll to the 10:14 mark) Dr. Laura Keffer-Wilkes was their supervisor and one of the team members who shared their ideas on the show.

The competition witnessed the participation of over 400 teams from around the world, including 15 university teams and a single high school team from Lethbridge. The University of Lethbridge team earned a gold medal, along with the University of Toronto and McGill, as the three university teams to earn this gold medal. The high school team made a remarkable contribution to the field and earned a silver medal.

Celebrating Pride in STEM: ACID:BASE Interviews Prominent Canadian Chemists from the 2SLGBTQIA+ Community

Pride in STEM is an international event that celebrates the achievements and contributions of members from the 2SLGBTQIA+ community across diverse scientific fields. This movement advocates for equality and visibility for professionals and students within the 2SLGBTQIA+ communities in STEM. It encourages the celebration of achievements, contributions, and talents of 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals in STEM, highlighting that diversity strengthens scientific and technological progress by fostering an inclusive environment as well as innovative thinking. In celebration of Pride in STEM this month, ACID:BASE (the Lethbridge chapter of Canadians Working for Inclusivity in the Chemical Sciences, Engineering and Technology Network (CWIC)) conducted interviews with two prominent Canadian chemists from the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. These chemists shared their personal journeys, the barriers they faced as a 2SLGBTQIA+ individual, and their advice for aspiring STEM students from the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, as well as highlighted necessary changes to create a more supportive environment within STEM.

Three University of Lethbridge researchers appointed Canada Research Chairs

Dr. Stacey Wetmore, a professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry with expertise in computational chemistry, has been appointed a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair while Dr. Julie Young, a professor in the Department of Geography and Environment, and Dr. Trushar Patel, a professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, have had their Tier 2 Canada Research Chairs renewed for another term.

Wetmore, Canada Research Chair in Computational Chemistry, will receive $1.4 million over seven years. Young, Canada Research Chair in Critical Border Studies, and Patel, Canada Research Chair in RNA and Protein Biophysics, will each receive $500,000 over five years. These chairs were part of a larger federal announcement on August 29 by the Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages, on behalf of the Honourable Francois-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, and the Honourable Mark Holland, Minister of Health. The announcement included investments of over $960 million to support over 4,700 researchers and research projects in Canada. The $133.7 million in funding for the Canada Research Chairs Program includes 82 new and 75 renewed Chairs.

Shining Student Uvindu Abeysekara: A journey of academic excellence, research, and community engagement at ULethbridge

With unwavering determination, creativity, and an outgoing nature, Uvindu Abeysekara's ULethbridge journey serves as an inspiration, urging us to seize opportunities and push beyond our comfort zones for a transformative university experience.

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From iGEM to innovating antibiotics: Sydnee Calhoun's inspiring journey at ULethbridge

From her early involvement in the iGEM competition to her research in the field of biochemistry, Sydnee Calhoun (MSc '23 (BSc Co-op '19)) has left an indelible mark on the University and …

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Shining Student Ty Dudas

Third-year neuroscience student Ty Dudas embraces ULethbridge’s liberal education philosophy and takes courses outside his major. This discovery led him to organic chemistry and research he hopes will be used to make …

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Career Bridge: Centre for Work-Integrated Learning and Career Development

Career Bridge


Put Your Knowledge to Work 

Whether you’re looking for a more in-depth learning experience by assisting with research projects on campus or by testing your knowledge in a real-life work setting, we can help! The University of Lethbridge is proud to offer you an exceptional opportunity to explore professional development through academic programs and services designed to give you a competitive edge in a fast-changing world.

You have a bright future — experience it via Career Bridge at uLethbridge!

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