Robert Hilts

Professor, Chemistry

PhD (Victoria)

5-123, City Centre Campus
10700 – 104 Avenue
Edmonton, AB


Dr. Robert Hilts obtained his PhD in inorganic chemistry from the University of Victoria in the Fall of 1988. He worked as a post-doctoral fellow with Dr. Martin Cowie at the University of Alberta from 1988 to 1991 on bisphosphine complexes of transition-metals. Subsequently, from 1991 to 1995, he conducted research on PNS rings systems with Dr. Tris Chivers at the University of Calgary. After teaching first-year chemistry at Red Deer College from 1995 to 1996, he joined the instructor ranks at Grant MacEwan Community College in the Fall of 1996, and he has been teaching and conducting research at MacEwan ever since.

Dr. Hilts is currently involved in a collaborative analysis of the Tagish Lake meteorite, which is presently housed in a cold curation and handling facility at the U of A. The goal of the research on the meteorite is to shed light on the conditions that existed very shortly after our solar system was formed and provide some insight into how life began on the Earth some 3.5 billion years ago.

Available to supervise senior students' independent study.

Cosmochemistry, transition-metal chemistry, main-group chemistry, meteorites

Teaching and Research Interests

  • CHEM 101
  • CHEM 102
  • CHME 103
  • CHME 105
  • EASC 219
  • CHEM 211   

My research, which is being conducted in collaboration with Dr. Chris Herd at the U of A, involves the detection, quantification and determination of the origins of the soluble organic compounds in the Tagish Lake meteortie.

Selected Publications / Presentations / Conference Papers

  • Glavin, D.P., Elsila, J.E., Burton, A.S., Callahan, M.P., Dworkin, J.P., Hilts, R.W., & Herd, C.D.K. (2012). Unusual nonterrestrial L-proteinogenic amino acid excesses in the Tagish Lake meteorite. Meteoritics and Planetary Science, 47(8), pp. 1347-1364.
  • Herd, C.D.K., Blinova, A., Simkus, D.N., Huang, Y., Tarozo, R., Alexander, C.M.O, Gyngard, F., Nittler, L.R., Cody, G.D., Fogel, M.L., Kebukawa, Y., Kilcoyne, A.L.D., Hilts, R.W., Slater, G.F., Glavin, D.P., Dworkin, J.P., Callahan, M.P., Elsila,J.E., De Gregorio, B.T.,& Stroud, R.M. (2011, June 10). Origin and evolution of prebiotic organic matter as inferred from the Tagish Lake meteorite. Science 332, pp. 1304-1307.
  • Xing, C., Hilts, R.W, & Shaw, J.M. (2010). Sorption of Athabasca Vacuum Residue Constituents on Synthetic Mineral and Process Equipment Surfaces from Mixtures with Pentane. Energy and Fuels 24, 2500-2513.
  • Chivers, T., Hilts, R.W., Jin, P., Chen, Z., &  Xin, L. (2010). Synthesis, Properties and Bisaromaticity of the First Tetrahalogenated Derivative of a 1,5-Diphosphadithiatetrazocine: A Combined Experimental and Computational Investigation. Inorganic Chemistry 49, 3810-3815.

Professional Associations / Memberships

  • Member of the Meteoritical Society