ChemistryWestern Science

2011-2012 News Archive

July 2012: Let it Flow

After nearly a decade and a few unexpected hiccups, Western is proud to unveil its new safe and efficient Solvent Dispensing Facility. A ribbon cutting ceremony recently marked the opening of the new facility.


July 2012: Quirks and Quarks

On the June 2, 2012, episode of CBC Radio's popular Quirks and Quarks Professor Martin Stillman answers a "Science Fact, or Science Fiction" question on whether or not cooking in aluminum pans is bad for your health. To find out the answer and listen to the segment, scroll to the bottom of this page.


June 2012: Chemistry Convocation Award Winners

Congratulations to this year's Chemistry Convocation Award winners: Dan Mizzi, Keith Gunaratne and Brian Malbrecht! [Award & Winnter Details]


June 2012: Diamond Jubilee Medals Awarded

We are extremely pleased to announce that Professor Emeritus G. Michael Bancroft and Professor Dick Puddephatt have both been awarded Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medals.

The new commemorative medal was created to mark the 2012 celebrations of the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the Throne as Queen of Canada. The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal is a tangible way for Canada to honour Her Majesty for her service to this country. At the same time, it serves to honour significant contributions and achievements by Canadians. Both Mike and Dick have been honoured for their outstanding contributions to science in Canada.

For more information about the medal click here.

Congratulations Mike and Dick!


May 2012: Gillies Wins PetroCanada Award

We are pleased to announce that Professor Beth Gillies has been selected for a PetroCanada Young Investigator Award. These awards were established to recognize, promote and support outstanding new faculty researchers whose work is particularly innovative, impacts positively on the learning environment in the department in which they study, and has the potential to be of significance to society at large. The program is intended to help attract and retain bright young minds at Canadian Universities and institutes and to help young researchers launch their scholarly careers and enable them to carry their research forward. Congratulations, Beth!


May 2012: Hudson Wins Faculty of Science Teaching Award!

We are pleased to announce that Professor Robert Hudson has been awarded a Faculty of Science Award of Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. Robert has taught a wide selection of undergraduate chemistry courses from second to fourth year ranging from general organic to biological macromolecules. According to his students, his classes are engaging and exciting. He uses a variety of innovative methods, such as demonstrations, animations, and videos, to appease the diverse student audience. He has supervised over 68 (!) undergraduate students as fourth year honours project students, as scholars elective students or as summer research assistants since he joined Western in 1997. Professor Hudson is also an active contributor to outreach. Congratulations Robert!


May 2012: Research Highlighted in C&EN News

The work of Prof. Lars Konermann and his research group was highlighted in the April 23 cover story of "Chemical and Engineering News", published by the American Chemical Society. The article discusses recent advances in protein structural studies by mass spectrometry, an area that Konermann and his team have helped pioneer over the past fifteen years. Read the complete story here.

Recently Prof. Paul Ragogna was invited to present work from his group at the San Diego ACS during a special symposium in honour Professors Philip Power, Christopher Reed and Mitsuo Kira for their outstanding contributions to main group chemistry. The presentation detailed the chemistry completed by Jackie Price, which focuses on phosphenium cations supported by thiophene containing ligands. Jackie's work was identified as an example that underscores the versatility of carbenes and carbene analogues and how they provide a useful scaffold for broadening the use of these fundamentally interesting molecules to more applied chemistry. [Read the complete story].


April 2012: More Grant Success

We are proud to announce that Professors Mark Workentin and Paul Ragogna have been awarded a grant from the Western Innovation Fund for their work on a collaborative project entitled "Efficient Photochemical Approaches to Robust Hydrophobic Coatings with Spatial Control."

Congratulations on your successful grant applications.


April 2012: Lumsden Fellowship Awarded

This year there were four Robert and Ruth Lumsden Fellowships in Science awarded across the entire Faculty of Science this year, and we are pleased to announce that graduate student Andrew Stevens (Pagenkopf) was awarded a fellowship. Congratulations Andrew!


April 2012: "Faster Discovery"

We are very pleased to announce that Professor Yining Huang has been awarded an NSERC Discovery Accelerator Grant for his work on the Spectroscopic Characterization of Nanoporous Materials. The DAS Program provides substantial and timely resources to a small group of researchers whose research proposals suggest and explore high-risk, novel or potentially transformative concepts and lines of inquiry, and are likely to have impact by contributing to groundbreaking advances in the area. Congrats Yining!


April 2012: Welcome Professor Joe Gilroy

We are very pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Joe Gilroy to the Department of Chemistry as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry. Dr. Gilroy is currently an EU Marie Curie Fellow at the School of Chemistry, the University of Bristol, UK. Dr. Gilroy completed his PhD in 2008 at the University of Victoria under the supervision of Professor Robin Hicks. He then joined the School of Chemistry at the University of Bristol as an NSERC of Canada Postdoctoral Fellow working with the world-renowned inorganic polymer chemist, Professor Ian Manners. He continued in that position for two years. In 2010, he was awarded a prestigious EU Marie Curie Research Fellowship, also with Professor Manners. Dr. Gilroy’s research interests are diverse ranging from coordination chemistry to functional materials science. His research program is aimed at developing versatile synthetic strategies to produce well-defined metal-containing and radical-containing polymers as well as developing synthetic protocols towards functional coordination polymer nanoparticles with controlled size and shape. Welcome to Chemistry, Joe!


March 2012: 4491 Day!

On Saturday, March 31, our graduating undergraduates defend their honors theses. See the schedule here and a hearty thanks to everyone, especially the parents, that showed up in support of our students.


March 2012: Konermann Wins USC Award!

We are pleased to announce that Professor Lars Konermann of the Department of Chemistry has been awarded an USC Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. The Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching is co-presented by The University Student's Council, The Bank of Nova Scotia and the UWO Alumni Association, to recognize, celebrate and reward excellence in undergraduate teaching. Nominations for this award come directly from the students and are followed by a rigorous selection process. I am also very pleased to add that this is the third year in a row that a faculty member from Chemistry has been given recognition in this way (R.H. Hudson in 2010 and F.S. Lee in 2011) and the 6th time a faculty member from chemistry has won it in the last 10 years (M. Workentin (2002), R. Haines (2004), M. Usselman (2005)).


March 2012: de Mayo Award

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Hossein Ismaili has been selected as the recipient of the 2011 Paul de Mayo Award for Excellence in Chemical Research. While at Western, Hossein worked with Prof. Mark Workentin. Currently, he is a Vision 2020 Postdoctoral Fellow with Prof. Tito Scaiano at the University of Ottawa. The Paul de Mayo Award is the most prestigious graduate student recognition our Department has to offer. Each award consists of a medal, a plaque, a cash prize, and an award lecture.

We look forward to hosting Hossein later this year, tentatively, in September 2012. Congratulations Hossein!


March 2012: 40th Annual SOUSCC

On Saturday, March 24th, 125 undergraduate students from all over Ontario attended the 40th SOUSCC Meeting held at Guelph. Almost our entire 4491 class participated, and all the talks were very well presented. We are proud to report our department did exceedingly well at the awards ceremony:

Congratuations to all the participants, the award winners, and their supervisors!


March 2012: A Chemistry Faculty Scholar

We are pleased to announce that Professor Paul Ragogna has been selected as a Faculty Scholar. Faculty Scholars are recognized for recent significant achievements in their profession. In Paul's case, he was recognized for his outstanding research accomplishments in the synthesis of main group polycations and the synthesis of superhydrophobic molecules.

Please join us in congratulating Paul!


March 2012: Prof. Wren

Professor Clara Wren has been awarded a significant grant co-funded by NSERC, the Natural Resources of Canada (NRCan) Office of Energy Research and Development (OERD), and in collaboration with Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL). The program is designed to support the development of Canada’s Generation IV Energy Technology—the Super-Critical Water-Cooled Reactor (SCWR). Clara will investigate "Long-term radiolysis under sub- and supercritical water conditions". Congrats Clara.


March 2012: Another freshly minted professor

Dr. Betty Galarreta, a former graduate student of the chemistry department at Western (2007-2011), obtained her PhD in August 2011 under the supervision of Prof. F.Lagugné-Labarthet. Recently, she has accepted an Assistant Professor position in the Department of Chemistry of The Pontifical Catholic University of Peru in Lima, a leading Peru Univerisity. She is presently a postdoctoral fellow at Boston University and will be starting her new position in July 2013. Well done Betty!


March 2012: Chemistry website gets a makeover!

The main Western Chemistry website, established by Prof. Robert Hudson, was replaced by Prof. Brian Pagenkopf and Ihsan Raman, in 2006. The undergraduate and graduate parts of the site were substantially updated by Felix Lee, and then again the entire site was swapped out by Brian for its third major transition today, March 9, 2012. We really need to thank Felix for putting in some of the artistic content that is retained. Our departmental website has grown so massive that one faculty member in their part time could not possibly have rewritten it. So, we are all indebted to Judy Steward (ITS), Susan Barschel (ITS), and Matt Dumouchel (Information Systems), and others (sorry for not listing you!), for helping out in this important upgrade and transition process – it took over a year and hundreds of hours of work to make this transition possible. We have high expectations for the new website increasing internal efficiency, flashier and clearer external publicity and greater convenience for all Western Chemistry visitors. Enjoy our new Chemistry presence at Western!


March 2012: Go NSERC!

As many of you know, Prof. Mike Kerr is a member of the Chemistry Evaluation Group at NSERC. He just recently completed his first competition evaluations. He must have done something right as he was asked to serve as Section Chair for the remainder of his term! A Section Chair plays a very important role in the evaluation of Discovery grants at NSERC. They

We are fortunate to have someone on the Chemistry Executive Committee from our department. Congratulations Mike!


2012 March 15: Open House

Last Saturday, at the March Open House for the entire University, our department put on, perhaps, its finest show. The preparations were very extensive, careful and hugely time-consuming. Quite remarkably over very few hours an operating 1st year lab (in the MSA) was converted into an operating demo and display space for hundreds of visitors. The new demo experiments, the Bangs, the liquid nitrogen demos, slime, all went off (pardon) flawlessly.

The Chemistry with a Bang show was crowded with visitors, and Hudson's final 'bang' was spectacular. Of course, we started with class, Clara's welcome for the whole day was a class act. The blue shirts of the ChemClub students and our graduates were everywhere right to the end and led to many questions "exactly what did Heisenberg have to do with this demo?”.

The staff in the department make this show work - without the contributions of the whole department - there would be no show. Thanks in particular go to Staff: Sandra Zakaria Holtslag (Ring Master), Susan England, Ron L Maslen, Clara Fernandes (Chief Greeter), Jamie Noël, Rob Harbottle, Sherrie McPhee, Warren Lindsay, John Vanstone, Jon Aukema, Sandy McCaw, and Jan Mathers. Graduate Students: Pam Yakabuskie, Jackie Price, Donghan Chen, Ming Huang, Ting Li, Yu Sun, Eleanor Magdzinski, Shannon Hill, Anthony Accettone, Liang Zhou, and Ryan Guterman. Undergraduate Students: Taylor Martino, Seowoo Kim, Sheneth Fernando, Timothy Bruce Wright, Nicole Maione, Matthew Richard Vriesen, Kyle Jeffs, Emily Cook, Bryan Robertson, Gyeongsu Park, Kelly Firth and Connor Kadwell. Faculty: Kay Calvin, Kim Baines, Robert H.E. Hudson, Zhifeng Ding, Ken Yeung, Viktor Staroverov, Felix Lee and Martin Stillman. We also thank Mitch Zimmer for taking a number of photos and videos of the 'Bangs' shows. Apologies to anyone not listed. All these volunteers were necessary to make this event a success!


March 2012: Prof. Wren

Professor Clara Wren has been awarded a significant grant co-funded by NSERC, the Natural Resources of Canada (NRCan) Office of Energy Research and Development (OERD), and in collaboration with Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL). The program is designed to support the development of Canada’s Generation IV Energy Technology—the Super-Critical Water-Cooled Reactor (SCWR). Clara will investigate "Long-term radiolysis under sub- and supercritical water conditions". Congrats Clara.


February 2012

We are pleased to announce the winners of the latest Graduate Thesis Research Award Competition. The funds are used to cover travel expenses or major national or international conferences. Congratulations go to Joshua Byers, Alex Gaiduk, Jenna Liu, Andrew Stevens and Matthew Ward. Happy Travels!


February 2012

We are pleased to announce that Professor Zhifeng Ding has been awarded a significant NSERC Strategic Project Grant for Enhancing Efficiency of Photovoltaic Cells by Optimizations of their Thin Films. Congratulations Ding on this important research achievement!


February 2012

We are pleased to announce the winners of the latest Graduate Thesis Research Award Competition. The funds are used to cover travel expenses or major national or international conferences. Congratulations go to Joshua Byers, Alex Gaiduk, Jenna Liu, Andrew Stevens and Matthew Ward. Happy Travels!