NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Undergraduate Student Research Award (NSERC USRA) program provides an opportunity for undergraduate students in the natural sciences and engineering to get research experience by working with professors on their research projects.

Value of award

The NSERC USRA has a base value of $6,000. In addition, universities are required to supplement the award amount by at least 25% of its value using other sources such as university funds, NSERC grants, or any other research funds. The minimum pay for the tenure of your award is based on the June 1, 2023 BC minimum wage increase from $15.65/hr to $16.75/hr. The duration of the award is 14-16 weeks.

Are you eligible?

To be eligible for an award, you must:

  • have completed all course requirements of at least the first year of university study with a cumulative average of at least 76% (B+ at UBC) on all courses taken,
  • be registered as a full-time student, according to the UBC Vancouver definition (registered in 3 courses/9 credits) at the time of application,
  • be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada, as of the deadline date for applications at the university­­

During the course of your undergraduate degree, you may hold a maximum of three NSERC USRAs, with only one being held per fiscal year (April 1 – March 31).

Deadlines and procedures

You can apply to work with any tenured or tenure-track Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science faculty member. Supervisors are no longer required to hold an eligible and active NSERC grant. However, they must be authorized, by the institution, to be able to independently supervise students.

Prior to applying for the NSERC-USRA, all students must complete the TCPS Research Ethics course. Submit a copy of your certificate of completion to fosawards.ubco@ubc.ca.

The deadline for applications is Wednesday, January 31, 2024.

Additional Information


Email: fosawards.ubco@ubc.ca

Recent NSERC USRA Recipients

Name Department Project Title Supervisor
Seth Akins CMPS An Embedded Sensor Database for Environmental and Agriculture Applications Ramon Lawrence
Mitchell Beckedorf Chemistry Homogeneous photocatalysts for the valorization of insoluble waste biomass Robert Godin
Olivia Boven Biology Genetic assessment of kokanee-sockeye salmon hybridization Michael Russello
Olivia Carlson Chemistry Hormonomics: Mass Spectrometry tools to Understand Plant Growth Susan Murch
Tia Der CMPS Shape-constrained data sharpening for change-point estimation John Thompson
Alex Heffernan Biology Community dynamics of woodpeckers after wildfire Karen Hodges
Talia Houston EEGS Identifying source water in BC interior wetlands using natural geochemical tracers Edward Hornibrook
Ainsley Lirondelle EEGS Wildfire risk monitoring and cultural fire Mathieu Bourbonnais
George Morgan CMPS Faraday synthesis in the DVA2 northern sky survey Alex Hill
Shiv Patel CMPS Determining the Optimal Text Input Modality During Autonomous Driving Poorang Irani
Ryan Riopel Chemistry Optimization of molecular beacon for super-resolution tension imaging Isaac Li
Jill Shillito Biology Role of exogenous ovarian sex hormones on appetite and dietary intake in premenopausal females Sarah Purcell
Justin Schoenit CMPS Field Evaluation of Wireless Sensor Systems for Agriculture Ramon Lawrence
Megan Schroeder Chemistry Synthesis of an imaging probe for Cav channels Frederic Menard
Amelia Mae Walker Chemistry Boron-based catalysts for sustainable chemistry Conor Pranckevicius
Name Department Project Title Supervisor
Olivia Boven Biology Sex Ratios of American Pika​ (Ochotona princeps) in Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park Michael Russello
Olivia Ireland Biology Investigating the role of ProBDNF on phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate levels and caspase-3 cleavage in cortical neurons and PC12 cells Julien Gibon
Clara Letef Biology Investigating factors controlling the impact of oxidized linoleic acid metabolites in cardiac fibroblasts Sanjoy Ghosh
Alyssa McElhinney Biology Molecular mechanisms regulating astrocyte phagocytic activity Andis Klegeris
Madeleine Agostino Chemistry Multifunctional borylenes for catalytic reactions Conor Pranckevicius
Liam Bystrom Chemistry Investigating the Novel Complex Formation of B12-dependent Enzyme 5,6-LAM and Proposed Chaperone KamBC Kirsten Wolthers
Shi Long Pan Chemistry Single exosome sizing and surface receptor profiling Isaac Li
Elise Phelan Chemistry Probing molecular force regulating cell-cell interactions Isaac Li
Kristyn Tamelin Chemistry The Preparation and Purification of Mucins for Bacterial Utilization Wesley Zandberg
Kadie Wert Chemistry Functional carbon nitride for photocatalytic water purification Robert Godin
Micah Yang Chemistry Development of DNA-based artificial adhesion bonds Isaac Li
Kalli Van Stone Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and Statistics Sqilxwcawt calendar mobile application design Ifeoma Adaji
Nasser Mohammed Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and Statistics Calibration of the CHIME (Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment) Telescope’s all-sky radioastronomical polarization angle Alex Hill
Miles DeBoer Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and Statistics Creating Novel Adversarial Defences for AI Systems Apurva Narayan
Name Title Supervisor
Anna Bernath Classifying activation states of brain microglia Andis Klegeris
Erica Packard Fire severity: effects on soil fungal communites Melanie Jones
Owen Partrick Genomics of plant responses to pathogenic and beneficial fungi Michael Deyholos
Ryland Giebelhaus Metabolomics of Mitragyna speciosa and Commerical Kratom Products Susan Murch
Evan Keenan Covalent attachment of carbon nitrides on solid substrates Robert Godin
Matthew McConnachie Combinatorial biochemistry for alkaloid pathway elucidation Thuy Dang
Emily Knudson-Goerner Determination of the structures and digestibility of CD57-like milk oligosaccharides Wesley Zandberg
Gillian Godden Cooling of the turbulent intersteller medium Alex Hill
Zixiao (Shawn) Zhao Investigation of the measurement error in Raman spectroscopy Jeffrey Andrews
Emily Mellors Adaptive MRI coil development Rebecca Feldman
Bryce Dyck P-tipping in the forest tent caterpillar host-parasitoid system Rebecca Tyson
David (Phillip) Shifflet Computational Tools for Modelling Biological and Cultural Evolutionary Processes Liane Gabora
Name Title Supervisor

Maya Bandy

Examining the effects of Glyphosate exposure on the gut bacterica

Deanna Gibson

Seamus McRae

Regulation of brain support cell activity by exracellular proteins

Andis Klegeris

James Sader

Designer probiotics and immunometabolism

Deanna Gibson

Matthew Stewart

CRISPR Cas9 knockout of OCTs increased larval mortality to TEA in fruit flies

Mark Rheault

Matthew McConnachie

Investigation of the camptothecin biosynthesis pathway in Fusarium solanii

Thuy Dang

Abigail Law

Directed self-assembly of nanosheets to control the morphology of carbon nitride photocataly

Robert Godin

Marisa Aviani

Developing a cellular assay to study new ligands for voltage-gated calcium channels (CaV’s)

Frederic Menard

Allison Leam

Characterization of kinetics of serial adhesion bonds and their regulation in cell division

Isaac Li

Nicholas Rieske

Characterize Algebraic Monogenic Number Fields

Javad Tavakoli

Kendra Scarrott (Hunka)

Raman spectroscopic analysis for monitoring radiation induced damage in biological systems

Andrew Jirasek

Nicholas Kayban

Proximal-Like Algorithms for Non-Convex Functions

Shawn Wang

Stephanie Hamilton

Discrete Optimization Solutions for Exam Scheduling

Donovan Hare

David Shifflett

A Toolkit for Modelling Biological and Cultural Evolutionary Processes

Liane Gabora

Ella Block

Methane uptake kinetics in arid grassland and upland forest soils

Ed Hornibrook

Name Title Supervisor
Ryan Bonnie The effect of migration on the gut microbiome Deanna Gibson
Stephanie McCann Differences between S. cerevisiae and S. uvarum of non-volatiles produced during fermentation Daniel Durall
Erica Packard Effect of fire severity on mycorrhiza formation Melanie Jones
Tushar Dave Dissecting Roles for Drosophila TNF and TNF Receptors in Regulating Neuronal Morphology Philip Barker
Alexander Corbett Multimodal Exosome Characterization by Single-Molecule Localization Microscopy Isaac Li
Ryland Giebelhaus Analysis of Glyphosate in Food and Environmental Samples Susan Murch
Victoria Lange Construct and characterize a split-GFP library for super-resolution imaging probes Isaac Li
Ieva Zigg Evaluation of pine-derived terpenes as possible predictive markers of smoke-tainted wines Wesley Zandberg
Ahmed Ibrahim Terminal group modification for the development of high photoactivity carbon nitrides Robert Godin
Jonathan Gresl Improving Sustainability in Agriculture using Sensor Networks Ramon Lawrence
Jakob Marshall Cone Beam polymer gel dosimetry Andrew Jirasek
Noah Marshall Modelling the effects of roadside mortality on western toad populations Rebecca Tyson
Sarah Wyse Solution of a GI/G/I Queue with Unbounded Inter-arrival and/or Service Times Javad Tavakoli
Name Supervisor Title
Stephanie McCann Daniel Durall Yeast Genotypes of Saccharomyces spp. In Native and Commercial Trees
Thea Miles Adam Ford Assessing non-invasive methods to monitor wolves (Canis lupus) in the East Kootenays, B.C.
Athena Ranger Andis Klegeris Neuroimmune effects of host defense peptides
Sophia Russo Melanie Jones Effects of agricultural practices on soil carbon in the Okanagan Valley
Nicole Skidmore Andis Klegeris Interaction between cardiolipin and microglia
Nicholas Tochor Jason Pither Regional species pools and freshwater diatom diversity patterns
Alexander Corbett Isaac Li Tracking Exosome Biogenesis with Super-Resolution Microscop
Grady Hewlett Kevin Smith Chromium complexes for directed C-H functionalization
Marta Macdonald Kristen Wolthers Characterization of flavodoxin from F. nucleatum
Brandon Whitmore Wesley Zandberg Investigation of the metabolism milk glycoprotein-borne oligosaccharides by gut microbes
Stephanie Hamilton Rebecca Tyson Opinion Dynamics and Tipping Points for Change
Daniel Herman Shawn Wang The Moore-Penrose generalized inverse of linear relations
Nicholas Mantella Jesse Tanguay Theoretical Modelling of Next-generation X-ray Imaging Detectors
Liam Welsh Jeffrey Andrews Addressing overfitting in evolutionary algorithms for mixture models
Name Supervisor Title
Jacqueline Barnett Deanna Gibson Effects of stool nucleic acid preservative on human gut mircobiome data
Emma Corbett Jason Pither Mycorrhizal status and co-occurrence patterns of forest understory plants
Celine Edwards Andis Klegeris Cardiolipin as a brain signaling molecule
Alexander Garner Michael Deyholos Biochemical analysis of complex polysaccharides from plants
Maria Guenter Ramon Lawrence Data analytics and data fusion of sensor and public data sets
Michelle Hawkins Soheil Mahmoud Regulation of isoprenoid precursor partitioning in lavenders
Robert Lalonde Jesse Tanguay Next-generation x-ray imaging of breast cancer
Nicholas Mantella Andrew Jirasek Iterative reconstruction in optical computed tomography
Dakota McKeown Jesse Tanguay Next-generation x-ray imaging of breast cancer
Shanika Rajapakshe John Braun Existing point process cross-intensities with covariates
Victoria Scotney Liane Gabora Toward a science of cultural evolution: Cross-domain influences on innovation
Aaron Wylie Wesley Zandberg Analysis of prebiotic glycans in infant formulas by uHPLC-MS
Name Supervisor Title
Dana Klamut Ramon Lawrence Building databases for the internet of things
Jordan McKenzie Andis Klegaris Identification of novel intercellular signalling molecules of the brain
McCall Milligan Rebecca Tyson Modeling dispersal of the mountain pine beetle in an urban landscape
Deanna Pasquale Deanna Gibson The effect of nutrition on the breast milk microbiome
Shaqil Rahemtulla Gino DiLabio Elucidation of the role of quantum coulomic effects in mediating vitamin B12 Co-C bond
Leona Shum Wesley Zandberg Investigating the impact of fiet on the sialic acids presented in the mouse digestive tract
Samantha Thomson Liane Gabora Test of quantum model of humour: violation of law of total probability
Eliana Wardle Ramon Lawrence Developing high-performance caching database connectors
Rebecca Wells Soheil Mahmoud Cloning of geraniol acetate isomerase