UWO Chemistry - News

for the

2001 / 2002 Academic Year


Current News | 2002-2003 | 2001-2002 | 2000-2001

June 25: Current and past members of the Department, as well as members of the Kidd family were invited to a reception in honour of Professor Garth Kidd who retired after 39 years of service to the Department of Chemistry. We wish Garth all the best and thank him for all the work that he has done for our Department over the years.

Garth with his grandson Liam.

June 24: We are pleased to announce that Russ Viirre (working with Professor Hudson) and Aaron Kinsman (working with Professor Kerr) won Organic Division Student Award Prizes for their presentations at the 2002 CSC Conference in Vancouver. Russ Viirre also received an award for his poster presentation in the Biological/Medicinal Chemistry Division. Congratulations!

June 20: The Annual Department of Chemistry Golf Tournament was a great success. The weather was perfect and everybody had a good time. The picture below shows three of our pro golfers "in action".


June 11: Professor Alan Weedon, Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies at The University of Western Ontario, has been appointed the University's first Vice-Provost (Policy, Planning and Faculty) for a five-year term, effective July 1, 2002.

Alan Weedon

As Vice-Provost (Policy, Planning and Faculty), Dr. Weedon will report to the Provost and Vice-President (Academic) and will be responsible for developing and implementing University budgetary and operational policy and consolidating the University's academic planning. He will also supervise the Office of Faculty Relations and support the Faculties in their efforts to attract outstanding faculty members to Western.

"I am delighted that Dr. Weedon has agreed to take on this new and important role at Western," says Dr. Paul Davenport, Western's President. "Alan's profound knowledge of the University, along with his stature as a distinguished researcher, will allow him to provide strong leadership across all of our Faculties."

"Alan Weedon has an enviable reputation as a researcher and administrator and his commitment to Western is tremendous," says Dr. Greg Moran, Provost and Vice-President (Academic). "His vision and dedication will be vital to the University in the years ahead."

Born in Oxford, England, Weedon obtained his Bachelor of Science and PhD degrees, both in chemistry, from Imperial College in London, England. He joined Western's Department of Chemistry in 1976 as a research associate, became a full professor in 1991, and was acting chair of the department from 1991 to 1992. He was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies in 1996 for a seven-year term. In 2000, he was chair of the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies and in 2001, was Acting Vice-President (Research) at Western. Earlier this year, he was appointed President of the Canadian Association for Graduate Studies for a two-year term.

Weedon, whose academic specialty is organic photochemistry, has been honored several times for his research into light-induced chemical reactions and has received more than $2.6 million in competitive research grant funding since 1980. In addition, he has held research grant funding from a number of large industrial partners. Weedon has also served as a member and chair of various Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) selection committees.

June 10: We are delighted to announce that Dr. Oleg Semenikhin has accepted our offer to take up the position of Assistant Professor of Physical Chemistry. His field of research is in the area of photo-electrochemistry of conducting polymers, and as such, he will provide complementary expertise to the work done and to be done in the Department by Professors Shoesmith, Ding, Yeung and Leaist.

June 7: We are delighted to announce (unofficially) that Professor Peter Guthrie has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. This is indeed a prestigious accomplishment Peter, and well deserved. Congratulations!

June 6: Two of our recent graduates, Bryan Demko and Kiran Atwal, presented the results of their Chem490 research projects at the Undergraduate Student Poster Competition of the 2002 CSC Conference at Vancouver. Bryan and Kiran were working with Profs. Huang and Yeung, respectively. Bryan was the winner of the travel award sponsored by the Chemclub.

Out of the thirty-two high quality posters presented by students from all over the country, a total of eight awards were given out. Bryan and Kiran did exceptionally well and both received a poster award (from the inorganic and analytical sections, respectively). Congratulations !!!

June 4: Darlene Hagen will be joining our Department on Monday, June 17th. Darlene is currently working at Westervelt College. She will be replacing Diana Timmermans in the Chemistry main office Diana took up the position of graduate secretary in the Department of Medical Biophysics in May.

May 25: It was an honour for our Department to host Secretary of State for Science Research and Development Maurizio Bevilacqua, Dr. Nigel Lloyd, Executive Vice-President, NSERC, and Joe Fontana, MP London. The Honourable Maurizio Bevilacqua officially announced the results of the 2001/2002 NSERC grant competition that will provide $ 361 million of research funds for 3000 faculty all over Canada during the next five years. Western's share of this amount is an impressive $ 12.2 million. The speakers were introduced by Nils Petersen, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and VP (Research) at Western.

Two NSERC grantees gave a brief summary of their work at Western: Lila Kari, Associate Professor of Computer Sciences, and Norm Huner, Professor of Plant Sciences. Both Lila and Norm are Canada Research Chair recipients.

The event took place in the Chemistry lounge (ChB105). It was followed by a tour of the NMR facility and Nils Petersen's lab, and a luncheon at Michael's Restaurant.

May 24: The following Chemistry students are this year's winners of Ontario Graduate Scholarships in Science and Technology (OGSST): Christopher Fraser, Helga Halvorsen, Collin Kowalchuk, David Magri, Maria Salgado, and Lan Sum (Nancy) Yue. Congratulations, OGSST winners!

May 23: Morey Najman (supervised by Mike Bancroft) won the Carette Prize for best poster at the recent Biannual Surface Canada 2002 meeting in Ottawa, held at Ottawa U. This is the premier surface science meeting in Canada, with over 120 delegates. There were over 90 posters at the meeting and the presentations from UWO were uniformly excellent, with Morey's outstanding poster on his work with Mike Bancroft, winning the top prize. Fantastic work Morey! Two students from Chemistry, Kathy DeJong and Michelle Grandin (both supervised by Peter Norton) were among 8 students pre-selected to compete for the Hobson Prize for best oral presentation. It is unusual to have 2 of the 8 competing for the Hobson Prize from the same group. They both gave brilliant talks but were pipped at the post by Paul Piva, a former student of Ian Mitchell in Physics at UWO, so UWO dominated the awards. All the other UWO students brought great credit to our department and University and deserve our congratulations. We are proud of you all !!!

May 22

Dr. Robert L. Donkers (formerly supervised by Prof. Mark Workentin) presented



“Gold Nanoelectrodes of Varied Size: The Transition from Bulk to Molecular Properties”.

Each year, the Paul de Mayo Award is given to a recent Ph.D. from the Dept of Chemistry who has been nominated by his supervisor and chosen by a committee of faculty members to receive the award in recognition of achievement in research and potential in future research.

Robert is currently working on an NSERC post-doctoral fellowship at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, under the direction of Prof. Royce W. Murray.


May 22: The annual Science Olympics was held at Althouse College today. Once again, the UWO Chemistry Department put on the MYSTERY SOLUTIONS event. Six high school teams responded to the challenge.

This event could not be staged without the help of various members of the department. We would like to thank ROBIN HALL for his help in making up the "mystery solutions". The fact that the event took place without any hitches attests to the care he takes in preparing the materials for this event.

I would also like to thank Sandy Zakaria-Holtslag, Kaarina Milnes, Paul Rupar, Tina Grant, Steve Gottschling, and Duncan Hunter for their help in making the event a success. I believe a lot of fun was had by all participants in this event!

May 16: Congratulations to all Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) winners: Kiran Atwal, Scott Banfield, Tara Burchell, Bryan Demko, Dylan England, Karen Gagnon, Stephen Gottschling, Tina Grant, Xihua He, Mustafa Janabi, Grace Kim, Amy Lloyd, Kaarina Milnes, Nicholas Mosey, Andrew Wallbank, Miranda Wozniak, Chris Yost, Peng Zhang.

May 6: Lesley Tchorek received an Occupational Health and Safety Award, presented by UWO President Paul Davenport. This award is in recognition of the time, effort and ideas that Lesley has made towards improving health and safety at Western. Congratulations on this well deserved recognition!

May 2: Professor Roland Haines has accepted his reappointment as Associate Dean (Administration) in the Faculty of Science for the period July 1, 2002 to June 30, 2004.

May 2: Russ Viirre, Jayna Chan and Andrew Wallbank have received a 2002 Graduate Student Teaching Assistant Award. Congratulations!

April 29 - May 1:

The Pattison Lecturer for 2001-2002

Prof. Anthony G.M. Barrett, FRS


For more information on this year's Pattison Lectureship please click here.

April 22: We are proud to announce that Charmaine Lee was the runner-up for the Marcel Pourbaix student poster award for Corrosion Science at the annual International Corrosion Engineers Meeting held in Denver. The title of her poster was "Corrosion of Carbon Steel in Neutral Carbonate Solutions". To win this award she competed against all the top Materials Science and Engineering Departments in North America and one or two from Europe. Congratulations Charmaine!

April 17: Diana Timmermans has accepted a position in Bio/Medical Engineering as their Graduate Secretary. The exact date of her departure has not yet been formalized. Please extend your congratulations when you see her. This is a very exciting time for Diana and we wish her all the best.

April 11: Peter Norton has been selected as one of two Distinguished Research Professors in Science for the 2002-03 academic year. Congratulations Peter for this most deserved recognition!

Bryan Demko has been awarded the Chem Club Travel Award valued at up to $500.00 to present his 490 findings at this year's CSC national meeting at the University of British Columbia. Bryan will be participating in the undergraduate poster competition. Congratulations and Good Luck in Vancouver!

April 6: The students of this year's 4th year Honors class presented the results of their undergraduate research projects at our annual "Chemistry 490 day". The quality of the presentations was excellent. Congratulations to all of you: Miranda Wozniak, Kiranjit Atwal, Faikah Ogeer, Kelly Rigby, Emilia Perna, Khaled Atieh, Matt Parrott, Allan Siderius, Richard Au, Kwesi Kwofie, Tina Grant, Shae Sartori, Andrew Akelaitis, Ken Vassall, Bryan Demko, David Dam.

The Chemistry B.Sc. Honors Class of 2002.

Click here fore more pictures

The presentations were followed by a luncheon in the grad club where Professor Rob Lipson announced the winners of our Fall Awards based on performance in last year's undergraduate courses. In order to receive one of these awards, an undergraduate student must remain enrolled in a Chemistry program in Fall 2001, as well as satisfying the criteria of one or more of the awards.

*** *** The winners are: *** ***

Jesse Popov: the Albert E. Wells Scholarship

Brian Demko: the AstraZeneca Scholarship, the Chemistry Alumni Scholarship, the James D. McNabb Scholarship in Chemistry, and one of the two Varian Canada Prizes for Analytical Chemistry

Kwesi Kwofie: the UWO Scholarship for Honors Biochemistry and Chemistry (for 3rd year)

Heather Macleod: the UWO Scholarship for Honors Biochemistry and Chemistry (for 2nd year)

Kiran Atwal: one of the two Varian Canada Prizes for Analytical Chemistry


April 1: Professor Mark Workentin has been awarded the Award of Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching from the University Student Council. Professors Keith Griffiths, Duncan Hunter, Bill Meath and Mel Usselman were named to this years USC Teaching Honour Roll Certificate.

March 27: Professors Kim Baines and Duncan Hunter have been named Fellows of the Chemical Institute of Canada. Congratulations Kim and Duncan on this well earned distinction!

In addition, one of our students, Eli Stoffman, has been awarded a 2002 Pfizer Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship to work with Professor Mike Kerr in organic synthesis.

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March 23: This year's Southern Ontario Undergraduate Student Chemistry Conference (SOUSCC) was held on Saturday at Ryerson University of Toronto. Our department had a strong showing with 11 of our students presenting the results of their CHEM 490 undergraduate research projects. Congratulations to all of them for a job well done. With a total of 49 student presentations from various universities, we did exceptionally well by scooping up many presentation awards. Here are the award winners (divided into divisions).

  • Kelly Rigby - 1st prize Biochemistry division
  • Miranda Wozniak - 3rd prize Organic Division
  • Emilia Perna - Honourable Mention Organic Division
  • Kiran Atwal - 3rd prize Environmental/Analytical Division

For more pictures from this year's SOUSCC please visit the web site of the Chem Club.

March 16: Congratulations to Stella Constas for winning a Premier's Research Excellence Award (PREA)!

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March 15: Congratulations to the following students who have won NSERC scholarships for graduate studies: Scott Banfield, Marty DeGroot, Brian Demko, Dylan England, Karen Gagnon, Tina Grant, Grace Kim, Kwesi Kwofie, Nicholas Mosey, and Derek Wilson. Congratulations also to William Hunks and Hong Piao for winning NSERC postdoctoral fellowships.

March 11-13:

Robert R. Birge

(Syracuse University/University of Connecticut)

University Lecturer in Chemistry for 2001/2002

presented three fascinating lectures entitled

"Protein-Based Three-Dimensional Memories"

"Large-scale Associative Memories and Artificial Intelligence"

"The Nature of the Chromophore Binding Sites of Cone Pigments"

Click here for more information.

We thank 3M Canada for their financial support of this lecture series.


March 5, 2002: Congratulations to Peng Zhang who has been awarded a Robert and Ruth Lumsden Fellowship, and to Amy Lloyd who has been awarded a Robert and Ruth Lumsden Graduate Award in Science.

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February 6, 2002: Zhifeng Ding has accepted our offer to join the chemistry faculty. His research expertise is in analytical chemistry (electrochemical scanning microscopy with an emphasis on biological, optoelectronic and pharmaceutical applications). He will arrive from Alan Bard's group at U. Texas at Austin July 1, 2002.

February 5, 2002: The Department of Chemistry has been awarded $ 20,000 towards the purchase of a new FTIR Spectrophotometer by the Science Student Levy Allocation Committee. This instrument will be used in the 2nd and 3rd year undergraduate labs. Many thanks to Yining Huang for suggesting this item, and to the Science Student Council for their generous allocation.

February 1, 2002: The Christian Sivertz Scholarships in Physical Chemistry for 2001 have been awarded to Jayna Chan, Jon Goldik, and Grace Kim! These graduate student scholarships were established in memory of Christian Sivertz, a former Professor of Physical Chemistry here at Western. Congratulations to all three winners!

January 31, 2002: Our annual blood donor clinic (organized by the Undergraduate ChemClub) was again successful. This year we managed to get 19 pints of blood.

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January 16, 2002: The "Quaff with your Prof Night" was a HUGE SUCCESS!!!! All 3rd and 4th Year Chemistry Students were invited to meet with their Profs in a less formal setting! Free pizza, chips, and beverages were served. This year's "Quaff" was sponsored by ACD labs. Many thanks to the ChemClub for organizing this event.

Quaff with your Prof Night on January 16, 2002. Click here for more pictures.


January 15, 2002: Rob Donkers, from Mark Workentin's group, has won the Paul de Mayo Award for Excellence in Chemical Research for 2002! This award is given to a recent Ph.D. from the Dept of Chemistry who has been nominated by his supervisor and chosen by a committee of faculty members to receive the award in recognition of achievement in research and potential in future research.

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