WilsonLab 2020

Photo - Mark WB WilsonMark uses spectroscopy to explore, understand, and develop excitonic materials for optoelectronic devices. He joined the faculty of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Toronto in 2016 and leads the team in the Wilson Lab.

Proudly hailing from Port Colborne, Ontario, he studied at Queen’s University, receiving a B.Sc. (2006, Engineering Physics), a B.A. (2008, History), and an M.Sc. (2008, Eng. Phys.) under the supervision of Prof. James Fraser. He then earned his Ph.D. (2012, Physics) at the University of Cambridge with Prof. Sir Richard Friend, before working as a postdoctoral associate in the Center for Excitonics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with Professors Moungi Bawendi (Chemistry) and Marc Baldo (Electrical Engineering).

When not doing science, Mark can usually be found cooking, canoe tripping, swing dancing, or arguing about politics…


Philippe grew up near Montréal, Québec, where he also completed his B.Sc. at McGill University while working on assembling photonic metamaterials using viral templates under the supervision of Prof. Amy Blum. Now pursuing his Ph.D. here in Toronto, he is currently working on nanocrystal synthesis, upconversion devices, and electron/exciton transport in films containing quantum dots. Philippe enjoys playing hockey and watching the Montréal Canadiens.

Minhal earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemical physics here at the University of Toronto and is now pursuing his doctorate.  His present research interests include the study of the fundamental dynamics of emission and electron transfer in individual semiconductor nanocrystals, with a view to applying these insights to further their use in larger devices for photovoltaics or upconversion.  A secondary, recently budding interest has been in coherent control—wherein lasers can be used to control chemical reactions.  In his free time, Minhal enjoys playing rugby, biking, time-series forecasting, and live music.

Born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario, Christian received his B.Sc. in Biochemistry with a minor in Chemistry from the University of Ottawa. He has previously researched the synthesis and characterization of polymer materials for organic thin film transistors (Prof. Benoît Lessard), as well as the synthesis of thienoanthracene derivatives for functionalization as polymer pendant groups (Prof. Jaclyn Brusso). Christian is a lover of all sports, most notably soccer and hockey (like any good Italian-Canadian). When he’s not using spectroscopy to study the energy transfer processes underlying upconversion in molecular and nanomaterial frameworks, he can be found crying over his favourite soccer team not qualifying for the Champions League. Again.

Rees is undergraduate student currently pursuing a specialist B.Sc. in chemical physics at the University of Toronto. He joined the lab in the summer of 2019 as a USRA to investigate the reported photon multiplication in ytterbium-doped perovskite films. He is continuing this research via both sample fabrication and photon correlation spectroscopy as part of his honours thesis. Outside of the lab, Rees enjoys biking, singing karaoke, and pretending to know how to play piano.

Forever a Pacific Northwest American at heart, Kelly graduated with her BS with Honors in Chemistry from Western Washington University, where she did computational work studying physical properties of photoswitches under Prof. Tim Kowalczyk in addition to work optimizing electrochemical dealloying techniques of bimetallic nanoparticles under UofT alum, Prof. David Rider. She begins her PhD studying upconversion in quantum dot thin films and exciton fission in co-deposited acenes. Kelly grew up a musician and enjoys crafting musical arrangements in her down time, though you would more likely find her using PowerPoint to make original memes, joking with friends, or just struggling to use the metric system in everyday life.

Francisco comes from the charming city of Santiago, Chile. He completed his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in chemistry at Concordia University in Montreal, where he worked to develop a heavy metal sensor technology using carbon dots (Prof. Rafik Naccache) and on the heterogeneous photocatalysis of organic reactions employing zinc oxide nanowires functionalized with carbon dots (Prof. Marek Majewski). His current research focuses on the synthesis of quantum dots and the investigation of their optical properties for applications in optoelectronic devices. Francisco calmly enjoys playing rugby and attending heavy metal festivals.

Maxine escaped from exile in Toronto’s suburbia to study at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she earned her B.Sc. (Chem. Honours; Bio) and M.Sc. (Chem., Prof. Mita Dasog). Like any good ADHD child (or supposed adult), Maxine has jumped around research fields, with notable experience in carbohydrate synthesis (Dr. Bruce T. Grindley), nanomaterial synthesis, and electrocatalysis. In the WilsonLab, Maxine joins our effort to spectroscopically investigate the energy transfer processes at play in hybrid triplet-fusion upconversion systems. When she is not accidentally swamping the detectors or frantically trying to submit a computational job to Niagara, Maxine can be found talking to her dog, talking to strangers’ dogs, and generally overthinking any potential human interaction.

Join the lab! Research positions are available for motivated students, both graduate and undergraduate.

General information for graduate students can be found on the Departmental Website, including the Online Application Form.

WilsonLab 2019: The Summer of Basketball

WilsonLab 2019

WilsonLab 2018: Undergraduate strength!

WilsonLab 2018-1

WilsonLab 2017: Part Deux

WilsonLab 2017

WilsonLab 2016: The Originators


WilsonLab Alumni:

David was raised in Ajax, Ontario and is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Chemistry. He joined the lab in summer 2019 as an undergraduate summer research assistant working on determining the triplet energies of polyacene molecules and derivatives. He continues to explore Dexter-mediated energy transfer as part of CHM 499, our Departmental Introduction to Research in Chemistry. Outside of lab work, David enjoys playing chess and reading about history.

Photo - Reynolds Dziobek-Garrett Reynolds grew up in Washington, DC and came to the University of Toronto to pursue an undergraduate degree in Chemistry. Now starting his fourth year in the Chemical Physics Specialist program, he joined the lab in summer 2018 as thermal deposition system commissioning assistant and looks forward to future research in thin-film upconversion devices. When not in the lab or in class, Reynolds enjoys playing basketball, listening to 90’s hip hop, and telling people that no, Reynolds is not his last name.

Pournima was raised in Bangalore, India and is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Chemistry at the University of Toronto. She joined the lab in Fall 2018 as a volunteer research assistant working on the synthesis of CdSe nanoplatelets and novel exciton-extracting organic ligands. Her previous research includes work on organic synthesis with Prof. Robert Batey, and palladium catalysis with Prof. Mark Lautens. Her hobbies include badminton, running, and being terrible at cooking.

Ziqi was born and raised in Shanghai, China and is pursuing an undergraduate degree in chemistry here in Toronto. She joined the lab in Fall 2018 as an honours thesis research assistant, and is working to understand the surface of the PbS nanocrystals that she is synthesizing via the PbCl (Cademartiri/Weidman) route. In her free time, Ziqi enjoys watching movies and reading novels.

Karen completed her B.Sc. in Chemistry and Math at the University of Toronto. Her main interest is in photochemistry, and she has experience both in nanostructured photocatalysts as well as atmospheric chemistry, though she is now beginning to work on exciton dynamics in her doctorate. Outside of formal studies in chemistry, she has worked with the University of Toronto Aerospace Team to build a three-litre satellite to study the effect of microgravity on C. albicans, and undertaken research at the NASA Astrobiology Institute at the University of Hawaii into the water content of asteroids and comets thought to have been involved in the formation of the solar system. In her spare time, Karen loves to play hockey, and is an avid whitewater canoeist/kayaker and rock climber.

Picture of Philip Sohn with an elephant Team member Philip (the non-French one) was born in Jasper, Alberta but grew up in Toronto. He enjoys all branches of chemistry and completed a Master’s in 2018 on the Synthesis of Lead Sulfide Quantum Dots and their Ligands for Photon Upconversion Applications after working with us as an undergraduate. As he stated at the time “When he was not on the computer in the office, he could be found on the computer at home!” Philip also led our outreach efforts with the Chemistry Olympiad, and makes a mean macaroon.

Photo - Titania Yan Titania joined the Wilson group in September 2017 after she obtained her BSc from the University of British Columbia, where she interned at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), and took part in industrial research towards the development of water-based friction modifiers for train and rail systems. Here at UofT, she completed a M.Sc. thesis in 2018 on the use of Gold Nanoclusters as Upconversion Sensitizers via Triplet–Triplet Annihilation. Beyond some recreational label-making, when she is not engrossed by physics/chemistry and trying to understand quantum mechanics, she tends to take long, existential walks.