Undergraduate Research Awards

The Undergraduate Research Awards (URA) is supported by the Irving K. Barber Endowment Fund to provide exceptional learning experiences for undergraduate science students at UBC’s Okanagan campus. Funding for the IURA comes from the ISI International Student Financial Assistance and Awards budget, which supports experiential learning opportunities for international students. The purpose of the URA/IURA program is to provide undergraduate students enrolled in the Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science with the opportunity to pursue innovative and original research as part of their learning experience.

You must be returning to undergraduate studies in September to qualify for an Undergraduate Research Award.

Value of the awards:

$11,000 salary (inclusive of benefits).


Salary TBD, but equivalent to at least minimum wage (inclusive of benefits; check with fosawards.ubco@ubc.ca in January 2023 for an updated salary amount), and up to $1500 for research expenses required to support the summer research (e.g. materials, lab supplies, field expenses, but NOT publication fees).

FoS Undergraduate Research Awards Symposium

The 18th annual Undergraduate Research Awards Symposium took place on Friday, September 8, 2023. The Symposium featured presentations from the 2023 recipients of the Undergraduate Research Awards (URA/IURA/USRA) Programs. View the abstracts.

Sponsored by the Irving K. Barber Endowment Fund, the International Student Initiative and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council.

2024 Applications


The application package must be received no later than 4 p.m. on January 31, 2024. Applicants should expect to hear back from the Dean’s Office if their application was successful or unsuccessful, by late March.

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

Please ensure you are applying for the Undergraduate Research Award in your Faculty. If you are a BSc Psychology or BSc Economics student and are working with a faculty member within your department, you must apply to the FASS URA. If you are a BA Math or BA Computer Science student and are working with a faculty member within your department, you must apply to the Faculty of Science.

All other BSc students must complete the forms below with the Faculty of Science letterhead. Ensure that you are completing the correct form. If you complete the incorrect form your application may not be considered.

It is recommended you open and complete the form using Adobe Acrobat

2024 URA/IURA Information Session

The 2024 Undergraduate Research Award Information Session will be held in-person on Monday, October 30, 2023. To register for the information session, please click the link below:

Register for the URA/IURA Information Session – Monday, October 30, 2023

The location of the Information Session will be sent to registered participants before October 30th, 2023.


Jessica Lowry from the Centre for Scholarly Communication will hold a writing workshop on Monday, November 27, 2023. Space is limited, so be sure to register early.

Register for the URA/IURA Proposal Writing Workshop – Monday, November 27, 2023


For information regarding the URA application, contact:

URA Advisor

For all other questions, contact:


recent Recipients


Student Name Department Project Title Supervisor
Sofia Andreassi * Biology Molecular validation of dmorct gene knockout/knockdown using CRISPR-Cas9 in insect renal tubes Mark Rheault
Anastasia Bernaz* Chemistry Identifying Alcohol Dehydrogenases in Camptotheca Acuminata Thu Thuy Dang
Dhruv Bihani* CMPS Exploring Position-Based Pointing Performance on a Large Curved Display Khalad Hasan
Juan Brussow Biology Bioprinted 3D vascularized model of fibroblast-embedded connective tissue to study defective mlticellular interactions in lung disease Emmanuel Osei
Alexis Gauvin Chemistry Stealing Iron from Blood: Binding Analysis of HmuF and Mutants Kirsten Wolthers
Ben Goldberg Biology The Pathological Role of Heme in Alzheimer’s Disease Andis Klegeris
Meghan Grossman EEGS Water Use and Soil Characteristics in Different Aged Forest Stands: A Preliminary Assessment Sheena Spencer
Erika Lin Biology Analytical pipeline to assess microplastic effects on soil microbes: A new frontier in conservation Michael Noonan
Rekha Marcus Biology Predicting the Unpredictable: Incorporating changing conditions into protected area planning Michael Noonan
Nasser Mohammed CMPS A Polarimetric Study of G137+7: “The Tadpole” Alex Hill
Riya Naik* Biology Development and refinement of an energy metabolism knowledge assessment questionnaire
Tien Nguyen* Biology Characterization of Cannabis CsSEP-like Genes in Relation to Flower Initiation Soheil Mahmoud
Joelle Regier Chemistry Kynurenines and Their Impact on a Plant’s Reaction to Stress Susan Murch
Manjot Singh* CMPS Preserving privacy of the blind in images Khalad Hasan
Kennedy Wiens Biology Psilocin Inhibits Pro-Inflammatory Activity of Brain Immune Cells Andis Klegeris
* Indicates winners of the International Undergraduate Research Awards (IURA) 

URA 2022 Recipients

Student Name Department Project Title Supervisor
Helen Chiang* Biology Can brain chemicals impact your gut? The investigation of kynurenine and serotonin on colitis and anxiety/depression Deanna Gibson
Dylan DaSilva Biology Histone-Induced Neuroinflammation as a Novel Mechanism for Alzheimer’s Disease Andis Klegeris
Jordan Katchen Biology Mycorrhizal Fungi and Plant Diversity within BC Forests Jason Pither
Melanie Lemaire Biology The effects of long-term dietary TEA exposure on fruit fly morphology Mark Rheault
Gustavo M. Marchani* Biology Life Bulb – Light production in cyanobacteria with fungal genes Soheil Mahmoud
Spencer Ursel Biology Combating intestinal diseases with mucus producing organoids Kirk Bergstrom
Sofia Ventosa* Biology Characterization of Alcohol Dehydrogenases from Rauwolfia serpentina Thuy Dang
Krista Fulton Chemistry Evaluation of O-Glycan Extraction Methods for Gastrointestinal Mucin Characterization Wesley Zandberg
Simona Mastroianni Chemistry Analysis of Kratom Susan Murch
Megan Schroeder Chemistry Functional Characterization of Heme binding Flavodoxins in F. nucleatum Kirsten Wolthers
Greta Tödtmann* Chemistry Computational Study of the PINOylation Mechanism at Benzylic C-H Bonds Gino DiLabio
Carolina Tomiyama* Chemistry Characterization of Novel Milk Oligosaccharides: A Qualitative Analysis Wesley Zandberg
Lilian Ton Nu Chemistry Using a DNA-based probe to quantify cell adhesion at the molecular level Isaac Li
Amaury De Burgos Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and Statistics Packings & Transversals in Tripartite Graphs Wayne Broughton
Emily Mellors Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and Statistics Design and Assessment of a Low-Field Tabletop MRI System Rebecca Feldman
Jordan Sawchuk Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and Statistics Cation ordering on a lattice of corner-sharing tetrahedra: Investigation of a simple Ising-like model John Hopkinson
Paula Wong-Chung* Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and Statistics Deep Learning-Based Digitization of Plains Cree Documents Patricia Lasserre
Samantha Kole Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and Statistics Faraday tomography: features in simulated space Alex Hill

* Indicates winners of the International Undergraduate Research Awards (IURA)

Student Name Department Project Title Supervisor(s)
Christy Richards Biology Brain-derived signalling molecules regulate debris engulfment by astrocytes Andis Klegeris
Seamus McRae Biology DNA-binding proteins as mediators of neurodegeneration Andis Klegeris
Selina Spence Biology Spread of biofertilizer into natural landscapes Miranda Hart
Bandy Maya Biology Effect of peri-natal maternal toxin exposure on their offstring’s gut-brain axis Deanna Gibson
Allison Leam Chemistry Probing molecular force regulating cell-cell interactions Isaac Li
Dyuti Raghu* Chemistry Conformational dynamics of DNA Holliday Junctions using Optical Tweezers Isaac Li
Durvan Zandamela* Chemistry Structural elucidation of lichen exopolysaccharide by CE-LC-MS Wesley Zandberg
Jasper Pankratz Chemistry Soluble 2D Nanosheets as Versatile Precursors to Photcatalysts with Different Morphologies Robert Godin
Brooke Kwan Chemistry Genes associated with camptothecin biosynthesis in Ophiorrhiza pumila Thuy Dang
Vivien Nagy Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and Statistics Modelling the spread of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi through soil Rebecca Tyson
Joan Brewer Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and Statistics Investigation of perivascular spaces through high-field MRI Rebecca Feldman
Livia Tan (Jonnatan)* Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and Statistics Exploring Users’ Smartphone Usage Behavior during the COVID-19 Pandemic Khalad Hasan
 * Indicates winners of the International Undergraduate Research Awards (IURA) 
Student Name Department Project Title Supervisor(s)

Sydney Bosetti


The role of O-acetylated sialic acid on intestinal mucus in regulating host-microbe symbiosis in the gut

Kirk Bergstrom

Sakshi Khanna


Studying transcription factor genes regulating flower initiation in Cannabis sativa

Soheil Mahmoud

Taryn Murray


Extracellular cardiolipin regulates select immune functions of astrocytes

Andis Klegeris

Anusha Shivram


Co-operative Behaviours of Otters (Lutrogale perspicillata) in Urban Singapore

Karen Hodges

Arantxa Da Fonseca


Electrophysical response to astrocytes exposed to kainic acid-based agonists of receptors in a2q pro

Frederic Menard

Destiny Ellenor


The Functionalization of Carbon Nitride for a Greater Understanding of its Photocatalytic Activity

Robert Godin

Ryland Todd Giebelhaus


Sifting Through the Weed:  Untargeted metabolomics to discover new terpenes in Cannabis sativa L.

Susan Murch

Kaede Hirabayashi


Melatonin and Serotonin Perceive Environmental Cues in Arctic Plants

Susan Murch

Allison Leam


Characterization of serial adhesion bond kinetics and their regulation in cell adhesion

Isaac Li

Kamal Narayana


Assessment of the digestion of milk oligosaccharides by human gut bacteria

Wesley Zandberg

Amir Sardari Romina


The Role of Quantum Effects in Stability of Ribonucleotide Reductase

Gino DiLabio

Darina Vekhova


Investigation of the NOX2 enzyme inhibitor (VAS2870) – via protein labeling

Frederic Menard

Matthew Currie

Computer Science

Matching People in Historical Metis Records

Ramon Lawrence

Meng Tian

Computer Science

Improving crowd counting accuracy for deep learning architectures

Mohamed Shehata

Sarah Wyse


Modeling the effect of stochasticity on a mathematical predator-prey system

Rebecca Tyson

Jasmine Lamoureux

Process Geomorphology

Spatial Analysis of the Effects of Forest Roads on Water Quality in Streams

Bernard Bauer

Luke Williams

Earth Science

Methane transport through floodplain trees

Ed Hornibrook

Delator Hini


Female and Homless:  Exploring the Barriers and Coping Strategies of Homeless Women in Kelowna

Carlos Teixeira

Hanna Paul


Unpacking Cultural Relativism of Menstruation and Moon Time for Women in the Okanagan

Fiona McDonald

Lydia Wood


A Canadian Update to Neuropsychological Normative Data

Maya Libben

Reagan Zinck


Shaping opinions:  An analysis of Canadian press coverage of climate change

Carolyn Szostak

Camille Morissette


Support Systems in Athletes that have Suffered Traumatic Brain Injuries

Deana Simonetto

Jonathan Gilbert Romaniuk


Faith and Works:  A History of Canadian Community Service in the Diocese of Kootenay During WWI & WWII

Ben Nilson

Shao Yuan Chong

Political Science

Evaluating Trauma from Protests in the Hong Kong Community Since 1997

Manfred Elfstrom

Paige Kinniburgh

Political Science

Analysis of the Relative Effectiveness of Mobile Versus Fixed Injection Sites

Adam Jones

 * Indicates winners of the International Undergraduate Research Awards (IURA) 
Student Name Department Project Title Supervisor(s)
Elinor Binson* Biology Study of transcription factor genes that control flower development in lavender Soheil Mahmoud
Athena Ranger Biology The role of histone deacetylases in brain glial cell signaling Andis Klegeris
Sophia Russo Biology Effects of Nicotine Transport on insect renal transcriptome profiles: qPCR validation of mRNA-mRNA Mark Rheault
Lucas Starchuk Biology Effects of SAMe in omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids induced toxicity in the heart Sanjoy Ghosh
Taylor Gray Chemistry Investigating milk glycoprotein digestion in order to create more human-like infant formulas Wesley Zandberg
Yuen Yee Leung* Chemistry Oxidation of camptothecin (CPT) backbone through the use of oxidative enzymes Thuy Dang
Nina Mohtarundin* Chemistry Developing a screening tool for identifying methods to block the growth of gut pathogens Wesley Zandberg
Sydney Neumeier Chemistry A novel elctrophoresis assay to quantify single moelcule interactions Isaac Li
David, Theo Hallinen* Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and Statistics Student Response to Various Teaching Methods in Frist Year Physics at UBCO John Hopkinson
Matthew Saurette Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and Statistics Modeling Urban Dispersal of Mountain Pine Beetles Influenced by Low-Level Wind Currents Rebecca Tyson
Tianhao Wang* Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and Statistics Mobile-Based Solution for Senior Citizens to Improve Their Technological Skill Khalad Hasan
Marcus Savery Earth, Environmental and Geographic Sciences Quantifying fugitive emission of methane from the Glenmore Landfill Edward Hornibrook
Nicholas Tochor Earth, Environmental and Geographic Sciences Spatial-temporal sampling approaches for wildlife occupancy modeling Mathieu Bourbonnais
Shaniya Anand* Community, Culture and Global Studies Vile Biimo Le’shaha (We Share The Same Understanding): Inspiring Healing Through a Conlang Christine Schreyer
Eric Douglas Community, Culture and Global Studies North Okanagan Analysis of Consumer Food Behavior Mary Stockdale (Eric Li – MGMT)
Madelaine Lekei Community, Culture and Global Studies The Enabled Environment: Understanding Bathrooms as Sensory Inclusive Public Spaces in the Okanagan Fiona McDonald
Keeley Lainchbury Psychology Bias in the Legal System: How Race and Confessions Impact a Verdict Paul Davies
Ross St. George Psychology Utilizing Smartwatch Technology to Prevent Substance Use Disorder Relapses Marvin Krank
David Shifflett Psychology The Space-definedness of the Blind, Blindfolded, and Sighted Paul Gabias
Maxine Van Zyl Psychology Comparison of WCST and ToH in Assessing Executive Function and Predicting MPAI Scores Harry Miller
Joanne Scofield History and Sociology To Help or Harm: Optimizing International Support of Pro-Choice Activism in El Salvador Jasmin Hristov
Daniyal Mirza* Economics, Philosophy and Political Science Decriminalization Model for Canada Carey Doberstein
Michaela Sullivan-Paul Economics, Philosophy and Political Science Are Canadian Provinces Drunk on Power? A Look into the Effects of the Interprovincial Trade Barrier Carey Doberstein
 * Indicates winners of the International Undergraduate Research Awards (IURA) 
Student Name Department Project Title Supervisor(s)
Mitchell Figura Biology How Specific Fatty Acids Impact the Inflammation and Disease Processes in the Mammalian Heart Sanjoy Ghosh
Clerissa Heck (Copeland) Biology Allopregnanolene’s effect on the progression of neurogensis Bruce Mathieson
Makoto Kishida* Biology The effects of organic cation transporter CRISPR gene knockdown on xenobiotic excretion in insects Mark Rheault
Emily Manzer Biology Detection of Reactive Oxygen Species in Sensory Neurons Undergoing Trophic Deprivation Philip Barker
Nora Melisa Perea Garcia* Biology Detection of Caspase Activity using Genetically Encoded Sensors Philip Barker
Gabriel Zavala* Biology Determining expression of lavender transcription factors through qPCR Soheil Mahmoud
Simon Edelmann Chemistry Synthesis of a fluorescent dye with application for Kainite Receptor Imaging Frederic Menard
Sydney Fearnley Chemistry Traction force microscopy and fluorescent live cell imaging to quantify cell adhesion forces Isaac Li
Alexander Garner Chemistry Development of chemical tools to sequence plant pectin to understand plant fungal reistance Wes Zandberg
Sylvain Gretchko Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and Statistics The Effects of Climate Change on Spatial Predator-Prey Dynamics Rebecca Tyson
Georgia Taylor McRae Earth, Environmental and Geographic Sciences Influence of Flow Regulation on Stream Temperature: Mission Creek, BC Bernard Bauer
Amy Doricic Community, Culture and Global Studies Nesolat Kijinosi Tiholat (To Learn Thus to Understand:) Constructing Compassion through Dothraki Christine Schreyer
Karen Coppock Psychology Investigating Gender Bias with Relation to the Sentencing Gap in Homicidal Sentencing Michael Woodworth
Timothy Nemet Psychology Relationship between intimate partner violence and cannabis use Zachery Walsh
Victoria Scotney Psychology Creative Influences and Smile Diffusion Liane Gabora
Diya Wala* Psychology Gratitude and Well-Being: A Mediator Analysis Derrick Wirtz
Zoe Howell History and Sociology The Social Experience of Low Income Single Mother’s in Kelowna’s Changing Economic Market Luis Aguiar
Danielle Tataryn History and Sociology Impact of Technological Changes on the Canning Industry in BC’s Southern Interior James Hull
An-Noura-Zen-Nab Compaore Economics, Philosophy and Political Science Do you prefer foreign aid or direct foreign investment for tomorrow Madame? Ross Hickey
Shamarthi Ghosh* Economics, Philosophy and Political Science Night Lights and First Nation’s Governance Ross Hickey
Daniel Kandie* Economics, Philosophy and Political Science Municipal Amalgamation in the Okanagan: Greater Vernon Carey Doberstein
Adam Newton-Blows Economics, Philosophy and Political Science The Period That Time Forgot: Exploring Consumer Demand In The Very Short Run Julien Picault
 * Indicates winners of the International Undergraduate Research Awards (IURA) 
Student Name Major Project Title Supervisor(s)
Morgan Ashley Alford Biology Cathepsin B as a regulator of microglial immune responses Andis Klegeris
Megan Amy Buers Biology How the use of biosolids affect American kestrel nest site selection and foraging behavior Karen Hodges
Mackenzie Campbell Biology Modeling wildlife habitat in the Canadian environmental assessment process Adam Ford
Norbert Eke Statistics What a customers really saying? A modern approach to feature-based customer review mining Jeff Andrews
Michael Gauld Sociology An oral history of organized labour & activism in the Okanagan Valley Luis Aguiar
An Goto* Chemistry Making beets blue: A multi-disciplinary approach to the chemical modification of betanin Gino DiLabio
Anton Hsu* Biology Mycorrhizal fungi species involved in nitrogen distribution in lodgepole pine germinants Melanie Jones
Margaret Kate Ingram Psychology Assessment of psychopathy expression by gender Brian O’Connor
Hogun Kang Biology The expression of an insect organic cation transporter in an Sf9 insect cell line Mark Rheault
Brianne Newman Microbiology Evaluation of wine yeast viability in chemically defined grape juice medium Dan Durall
Adriane Peak Anthropology The Royal Canadian Legion: A community and organization at a crossroads David Geary
Jaclyn Salter History Voluntary organisations, municipal governments, and their relationship to the provincial government James Hull
Shaharyar Syed Statistics Novel statistical approaches in the analysis of environmental impacts Jeff Andrews
Adam Bryce Yasunaga Chemistry The effects of molecular tension on integrins and cell spreading Isaac Li
Sara Vicaretti Chemistry Improving infant formula through addition of complex carbohydrates found in human milk Wesley Zandberg
 * Indicates winners of the International Undergraduate Research Awards (IURA) 
Student Name Major Project Title Supervisor(s)
Louise Araujo Chemistry Synthesis of a compound to identify the binding site of calcium channels in the brain Fred Menard
Guiseppe (Jesse) Crescenzo Chemistry Green chromium catalysts: Using bipyridine to stabilize mixed-aryl complexes Kevin Smith
Anthony Culos Computer Science/Math Data mining a large health database Jeff Andrews
Brody James Geoghegen Biochemistry Characterization of a novel enzyme from an opportunistic pathogen Kirstin Wolthers
Lauren Hotchkiss Psychology Predictors of Hope: An experimental study of the relationship between gratitude and hope
Tracy Marie Janzen Psychology Investigating mental health care services for rural older adults Carolyn Szostak
Andrew Kennedy Chemistry Development of mass spectrometry techniques for the relative quantification of mucin-type glycans Wesley Zandberg
Justin King Biochemistry How do neurosteroids control the “birth” of new neurons in the adult brain? Bruce Mathieson
Trina Kushnerik Psychology Impact of directional implicit theories on well-being and intervention efficacy
Carolyn Lee Biology Analyzing the neuroprotective properties of oleamide on astrocytes Andis Klegeris
Tiah Lee Chemistry Comparison of chemical compounds in a medicinal plant and its loose-leaf commercial tea Susan Murch
Heather Joanne McIntyre Anthropology Expression of social identity through grave and tombstone analysis at the Vernon Municipal Cemetery Diana French
Benjamin Drew Noyovitz Biochemistry Breadfruit latex biopolymer as a replacement of petroleum-based polymers Susan Murch
Ashleigh Parker Psychology The New Normal: Developing an updated corpus of normative data for five neuropschological measures Maya Libben
Christopher John Paterson Chemistry Synthesis of sugar-bearing cobalt complexes for use as anti-tumor agents Stephen McNeil
Dakshitha Ranatunga Biochemistry Regulation of monoterpene synthesis in lavender through RNA interference Soheil Mahmoud