McMaster University will continue to host undergraduate academic activities remotely for the Spring/Summer/Intersession term with only a few exceptions for courses that need student access to specialized equipment.

Governor General's Award to Rashik Ahmed, PhD student with Giuseppe Melacini

At this fall's convocation, two exceptional McMaster students received the Governor General’s Academic Medal, one of the most prestigious student awards in Canada. Established in 1873, the award recognizes exceptional academic achievement. Earning this accolade not only places this year’s recipients among the top students to graduate from McMaster; it places them among the top students in all of Canada.

One of this year's winners is familiar to our department, as he is studying with Dr. Giuseppe Melacini.


Ahmed received his Honours BSc in biochemistry from McMaster and is graduating with a PhD in the biochemistry and biomedical sciences program. His doctoral research focuses on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

He is passionate about advocating for patients and families suffering from neurodegenerative disorders and disseminating research in this area.

He has been supported by the Canada Institute of Health Research CGS-M and CGS-D fellowships and is a recipient of the Thomas Neilson scholarship.

He is grateful to his PhD supervisor, Giuseppe Melacini, for fostering in him a passion for scientific research and commitment to the dissemination of knowledge and mentorship of students.

Job Opportunity - Instructional Assistant - Chemical Biology Program

An Instructional Assistant (IA) is required to support Chemical Biology 2L03 and 3L03 to develop and refine both synthetic organic and biochemical experiments for these courses for the upcoming winter term, in additional to general IA duties noted below.

Job Summary: Responsible for providing teaching support to the instructor by contributing ideas and information to the development of course material, tests, and assignments. Ensures the proper functioning of teaching labs and tutorials by providing resources to teaching assistants and ensuring course material is being covered during lab and tutorial sessions.


  • Organize and coordinate teaching laboratories, computer-based instruction, and tutorial classes accordingly. Introduce and demonstrate labs or tutorial sessions to students.
  • Tutor students in programs and assist students with lab work.
  • Train others on proper lab techniques, operating laboratory equipment, and on running efficient and effective tutorial sessions.
  • Compose test questions and assignments, and prepare solution sheets for review by others.
  • Assist staff with the preparation and set up of equipment and supplies for laboratories and tutorial sessions. Organize and monitor the on-line learning environment for courses in an academic unit, department, or faculty by ensuring that the appropriate course content information is made available to students.
  • Write a variety of documents such as procedure manuals, correspondence, and reports. Prepare a variety of lecture materials including presentation slides and handouts.
  • Provide guidance, advice, and solutions to teaching assistants when resolving student inquiries. Provide teaching assistants with appropriate teaching material as specified by the instructor.
  • Ensure accurate grading of assignments is completed by teaching assistants and report discrepancies to the instructor. Correspond and meet with students to address concerns related to the course including, but not limited to, the resolution of contested grades.
  • Liaise with instructors, teaching assistants, and students to ensure information within the academic unit is understood by all parties.
  • Exchange technical and scientific information amongst colleagues. Operate, adjust, and maintain a variety of equipment and instruments.
  • Troubleshoot equipment and perform minor repairs. Ensure major repair requests are escalated to the appropriate area. Assign tutorials to teaching assistants and arrange teaching assistant office hours.
  • Section classes at the beginning of the year, dealing with all scheduling changes, room reservations, and scheduling conflicts.
  • Assess the need for laboratory equipment and provide recommendations for the acquisition of materials and equipment.
  • Calibrate laboratory equipment according to established calibration standards. Collect, track, and safeguard student marks and tests.
  • Calculate student marks and submit final grades to appropriate areas.
  • Input, maintain, and verify information in a variety of databases and spreadsheets. Pipette a variety of reagents and media.
  • Prepare chemical reagents and biomedical media according to formulae and assume responsibility for accuracy in the preparation and standardization of solutions.
  • Ensure that all laboratory waste is disposed of according to established policies and procedures.
  • Provide direction to others in how to carry out work tasks.
  • Ensure adherence to quality standards and procedures for short-term staff and volunteers

Education: Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field of study

Experience: Requires 2 years of relevant experience

Assets: Experience with videography and/or digital editing; degree in Chemical Biology from McMaster University; graduate experience in chemical biology or equivelent; previous experience supporting these courses.

Additional Information: Degree in Chemical Biology or equivalent is required.

How to Apply:

To apply for this job, please submit your application online. Applications will be accepted until the end of November 11, 2020.

Employment Equity Statement

McMaster University is located on the traditional territories of the Haudenosaunee and Mississauga Nations and within the lands protected by the “Dish With One Spoon” wampum agreement.

The diversity of our workforce is at the core of our innovation and creativity and strengthens our research and teaching excellence. In keeping with its Statement on Building an Inclusive Community with a Shared Purpose, McMaster University strives to embody the values of respect, collaboration and diversity, and has a strong commitment to employment equity.

The University seeks qualified candidates who share our commitment to equity and inclusion, who will contribute to the diversification of ideas and perspectives, and especially welcomes applications from indigenous (First Nations, Métis or Inuit) peoples, members of racialized communities, persons with disabilities, women, and persons who identify as 2SLGBTQ+.

As part of McMaster’s commitment, all applicants are invited to complete a confidential Applicant Diversity Survey through the online application submission process. The Survey questionnaire requests voluntary self-identification in relation to equity-seeking groups that have historically faced and continue to face barriers in employment. Please refer to the Applicant Diversity Survey - Statement of Collection for additional information.

Job applicants requiring accommodation to participate in the hiring process should contact:

to communicate accommodation needs.


Meet New Faculty Member - Lydia Chen

Meet Lydia Chen, an Assistant Professor in the Department Of Chemistry & Chemical Biology. Lydia is joining us from Ryerson University.Lydia Chen

Who or what inspired you to become a scientist?
I could not recall a specific person or reason that inspired me to become a scientist, except that my curiosity, thirst for knowledge, and determination have driven me to pursue my career path. I am grateful for the opportunities and supports that my family and mentors have provided me over the years. Their guidance and encouragement have been fundamental to lead me to my new position at McMaster University.

What's the focus of your research?
Throughout my teaching experiences at various post-secondary institutions, I have learned that my true passion is for the development of educational programs to facilitate teaching and learning. My research is on chemical education with a focus on applying web-based tools to enhance the learner experience. I also have a keen interest in creating opportunities for learners to collaborate through projects and assessments. I am excited to explore and learn with my students in my new role as an assistant professor, teaching stream, at the Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology.

When you're not at work, what do you enjoy doing?
Outside of work, I enjoyed gardening and hiking. One of my favourite things is to spend time with my husband, Colin to try out new foods and recipes that are inspired by our childhood memories and travelling.

Lydia completed her undergraduate degree at the University of British Columbia. She received her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Alberta, in method development of arsenic speciation analysis in environmental and biological systems.

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