WCUCC 2017 | Inspiring Research Innovation

31st Western Canadian Undergraduate Chemistry Conference
May 3 - 5, 2017 | University of Alberta | Edmonton, Alberta 

Chemistry lab - a woman using microscope

31st Western Canadian Undergraduate Chemistry Conference

The Western Canadian Undergraduate Chemistry Conference (WCUCC) is an annual event for and organized by undergraduate students in chemistry in Canada.

Held every year at a different university in Western Canada, the WCUCC is often the first opportunity for students to present their research and attend a formal conference event. This conference is also an excellent opportunity to develop future connections and meet new colleagues and interact with faculty members, as many of the attendees will continue onto graduate studies and industry jobs.

This year, the WCUCC will be held at the University of Alberta from May 3 to 6, 2017. Over $500 in awards are available for oral & poster presentations in each division. Register today!

On behalf of the Department of Chemistry and the University of Alberta, I am proud that we will host the 31st Western Canadian Undergraduate Chemistry Conference (WCUCC) May 3 - 6, 2017 on our campus. I know from first hand experience that the chance to participate in a research project is one the most exciting and important experiences as an undergraduate student. As part of this experience, the WCUCC offers a unique chance for undergraduate students to present their research, discuss their results with others, and to meet other researchers from across Western Canada. It also offers an opportunity to mingle with outstanding local and international researchers in an informal and relaxed setting. We are also honored to add a new feature to the WCUCC, ACS on Campus, an initiative of the American Chemical Society designed to help students advance their professional careers. By the end of these few days, I am confident that participants in the WCUCC will see this as an outstanding stepping-stone to their research careers.  I thank you for your support of this great event!

Letter from Rik Tykwinski

Chair of the Department of Chemistry, University of Alberta


Register now for early-bird rate!

Registration fee: $100.00
Early-bird rate: $85.00 (before April 14, 2017)

Register here!

Abstracts for oral and poster presentations are due April 28, 2017. You will be sent a reminder one week before the deadline if you have registered.
To submit an abstract, save a registration (no payment needed) and then access the submission form here.

University of Alberta aerial picture

Keynote Speakers

We are excited to announce our four keynote speakers at WCUCC 2017:

Prof. Robert Campbell

University of Alberta

Prof. Jillian Buriak

University of Alberta

Prof. Suzanne A. Blum

University of California, Irvine

Prof. Tom K. Woo

University of Ottawa

Professor Robert E. Campbell

Prof. Robert E. Campbell received his B.Sc. and Ph.D. at the University of British Columbia where he conducted graduate research with Professor Martin E. Tanner.

Upon graduating in 2000, he moved to the University of California, San Diego as a Postdoctoral Fellow to work with Professor Roger Y. Tsien in the design and biological application of novel fluorescent proteins for cell imaging. He joined the faculty at the University of Alberta in July 2003 and was promoted to Full Professor in July 2013.

His research is centered on creating new optogenetic reporters that will enable high-speed multicolour imaging of combinations of Ca2+, voltage, and countless other cellular activities in fish, rodents, and other model organisms.

Professor Jillian Buriak

Prof. Jillian Buriak received an A.B. from Harvard University in 1990, and a Ph.D. from the Université Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg, France, in 1995. After an NSERC postdoctoral appointment at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, Buriak started her independent faculty career at Purdue University in 1997, being promoted to associate professor, with tenure, in 2001. In 2003 she joined the University of Alberta and the National Institute for Nanotechnology as a full professor, Canada Research Chair, and Senior Research Officer. Buriak's research has resulted in over 9000 citations, and her interests range from materials for energy applications (solar energy conversion, water splitting), self-assembly on technologically relevant semiconductor surfaces, and mechanistic surface chemistry and functionalization on surfaces such as silicon and other semiconductors. She was on the Board of Reviewing Editors (BoRE) at Science from 2003 to 2008, was an Associate Editor at ACS Nano from 2009 to 2013, and in 2014, became the Editor-in-Chief of the American Chemical Society journal Chemistry of Materials. Awards include the Burghausen Chemistry Award, the Arthur Doolittle Award from the Polymer Materials Science and Engineering Division (PMSE) of the American Chemical Society (2015), a Killam Annual Professorship, and Fellowship in the AAAS and the Royal Society of Canada, and the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK). When she's not in the office you can find her road racing or climbing mountains.

Professor Suzanne A. Blum

Prof. Suzanne A. Blum completed her B.Sc with Highest Honors in Chemistry at the University of Michigan. She obtained her Ph.D. with Professor Robert G. Bergman at the University of California, Berkeley and was then an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow with Professor Christopher T. Walsh at Harvard Medical School. She joined the chemistry faculty at the University of California, Irvine in the fall of 2006 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2012. Her research interests include homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis directed towards organic synthesis and the development of new analytical tools to study catalytic reaction mechanisms.

Professor Tom K. Woo',

Prof. Tom K. Woo earned a Ph.D in Chemistry from the University of Calgary under the supervision of famed theoretical chemist Tom Ziegler in 1998. His Ph.D. thesis won the Canadian Association of Graduate Studies Distinguished Dissertation Award for Natural Sciences, Health Sciences and Engineering (only 1 awarded per year). He was then awarded a prestigious NSERC Post-doctoral fellowship where he worked at the ETH Zürich, Switzerland, with Prof. Röthlisberger and van Gunsteren 1998-1999. Following that Tom became an Assistant Professor at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario from 2000-2005 where he was awarded the Premier’s Research Excellence (early career) Award and various undergraduate Teaching honours. In late 2005, moved to the University of Ottawa as a Canada Research Chair in Catalyst Modelling and Computational Chemistry where he is currently a Full Professor of Chemistry. Tom is currently a member of the NSERC Chemistry grant selection committee and an Associate Editor of the Journal of Molecular Catalysis A: Chemical where he handles all computational manuscripts.

ACS on Campus

A new featured event at this year's WCUCC!

What is ACS on Campus?

ACS on Campus is an initiative of the American Chemical Society dedicated to helping students, post-docs, and faculty members advance in their careers. This outreach opportunity brings leaders in chemistry, publishing, research, science communication and career development to university campuses to present seminars and workshops focused on how to:

  • Publish in top journals
  • Find a job
  • Effectively use research tools like SciFinder® and ACS ChemWorx
  • Communicate your science
  • Write grant proposals
  • Build industry partnerships
  • Prepare for a changing employment landscape

Getting there

University of Alberta

Established in 1908, the University of Alberta has five campuses and is one of the top public universities in Canada and the world. WCUCC 2017 is held at the North Campus, located at the edge of the North Saskatchewan River valley. It can be easily accessed by LRT (University Station), bus (University Transit Centre) and bike and is within walking distance of Whyte Avenue and the historic Old Strathcona. Use Google Maps to plan your trip.

Edmonton Transit System (LRT and buses) is fully accessible.
All cyclists in Edmonton must have a helmet on and a bell at all times.


Lister Centre

The primary University of Alberta residence, Lister Centre, will be available for attendees to book for the duration of WCUCC. Lister Centre is approximately a ten-minute walk to the Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Sciences (CCIS), where the conference will be held.

Check-in and arrival at Lister Centre is after 4 pm on May 3, 2017 and check-out is before 11 am on May 6, 2017. Unfortunately, Lister Centre will not be available for accommodation beyond these dates. 

Single rooms with private bathroom are offered at $69 per night (plus applicable taxes). To secure a spot, please book early as only limited number of rooms are available. The deadline to book is April 11, 2017

Please download and fill the reservation form and send it by fax or email as instructed on the form. Any request after this date will not be accepted. You may also call 780-492-6056 to make a reservation. Please identify the group name of WCUCC when booking through telephone.

Schäffer Hall


We are grateful to our sponsors who make this conference possible.


Faculty of Science

Chemical Institute of Canada

Canadian Society for Chemistry


nanoFAB Fabrication & Characterization Centre


NOVA Chemicals Undergraduate Research Initiative Canadian Association of Theoretical Chemists Association of the Chemical Profession of Alberta Federation of Canada’s Professional Chemists



Mr. Jim Luong

Ms. Ronda Gras

Award sponsors

  • Canadian Association of Theoretical Chemists (CATC): Computational / Theoretical / Physical Awards
  • CIC Analytical Division: Analytical Awards
  • CIC Biological and Medicinal Division: Biochemistry / Chemical Biology Awards
  • CSC Inorganic Division: Inorganic Awards

Food sponsors