Past Lectures



Speaker: Nicole Goodwin

Date: Thursday, February 14th, 2019

Location: Lash Miller Chemical Laboratories, Davenport East Seminar Room

Abstract: Rational drug design, simply stated, is the process of identifying a new drug that elicits a desired pharmacology against a biological target.   While the word “rational” can elicit a lengthy discussion in itself, the context as described here will be from the perspective of a synthetic medicinal chemist where a particular challenge and goal were presented and rational design was used to progress a small molecule to the finish line.  These two case studies will showcase very different approaches to rational design and highlight the strategic thinking within each. 

The first will illustrate the power of structure-based drug design integrated with a fragment-based discovery strategy to ultimately identify small molecule KI-696 as an extremely potent activator of the Nrf2 pathway. 

The second example will illustrate a knowledge-based approach to xylose-based selective SGLT1 inhibitors designed to be restricted to the gastrointestinal tract.  A chemical instability that would have hampered development of these compounds was observed and the origin and solution to this instability will be discussed. 

Speaker: Prof. Mita Dasog

Date: Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Location: Lash Miller Chemical Laboratories, Davenport East Seminar Room

Abstract: Hydrogen produced by splitting water is an attractive clean fuel source and a chemical feedstock. Inexpensive and stable catalysts are required to generate hydrogen from water on a large scale at low cost. Furthermore, the catalyst synthesis should be feasible and scalable to make it commercially viable. This presentation will highlight solid-state synthetic methods developed in our lab to prepare inexpensive, nanostructured, photo- and electro-catalysts for water-splitting reactions. The influence of synthesis conditions on the physical properties of the nanostructures and their catalytic performance will also be discussed.


Speaker: Prof. Trisha Andrew

Date: Friday March 16, 2018

Location: Lash Miller Chemical Laboratories, LM158

Abstract: Commonly-available, mass-produced fabrics, yarns and threads can be transformed into a plethora of wearable, skin-mountable and/or biocompatible electronic devices upon being coated with films of intrinsically conducting polymers, such as poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene). Tremendous variation in the surface morphology of conjugated polymer-coated fibres can be observed with different coating or processing conditions. In turn, the morphology of the conjugated polymer active layer determines electrical performance and, most importantly, device ruggedness. I will discuss our lab’s efforts in using reactive vapour deposition methods to create electronically-active textiles. Vapour coating methods allow for a conjugated polymer to be
directly formed on any textile or fibre substrate in the vapour phase, without the need for detergents, fixing agents or surface pretreatments, which can reduce the overall number of steps involved in current textile manufacturing routines and curtail the significant solvent use associated with textile production. Further, vapour coating yields uniform and conformal films on fibre/fabric surfaces and produces conductive materials without any insulating moieties. Selected technologies will be described, including touch-sensitive textiles for interactive electronics; smart elbow braces for movement sensing; textile triboelectric generators that convert small body motions into stored energy; wear-, wash- and ironing-resistant conductive
cloths that generate heat with a small applied voltage; and thread/yarn supercapacitors that can be sewed or knitted into garments for wearable and portable energy storage.

Speaker: Prof. Hind Al-Abadleh

Date: Wednesday November 22, 2017

Location: Lash Miller Chemical Laboratories, Davenport Seminar Rooms (3rd floor)

Abstract: Most environmental processes occur at the interface between the different phases of matter present in natural and industrial systems. In each of these processes, surfaces, mainly oxides and hydroxides of transition metals, are present under very different ambient conditions. This talk will present an overview of research activities in Al-Abadleh’s lab at Laurier in the area of environmental surface chemistry. Specifically, projects on the fate of arsenic compounds in simulated geochemical environments in the absence and presence of organic matter will be presented. Also, recent results will be shown on the atmospheric chemistry of iron in secondary organic particle formation from aliphatic and aromatic precursors. The significance of this research will be highlighted in relation to the cycling of arsenic in water and soil, and potentially new pathways for metal-driven atmospheric brown carbon formation and aging of mineral dust aerosols.

Speaker: Prof. Polly Arnold

Date: Monday March 13, 2017

Location: Bahen Centre, Adel S. Sedra Seminar Room (BA1160)

Abstract: A fundamental understanding is needed to develop safe, long-term handling of our nuclear waste legacies and for cleaner ways to extract technology-critical rare earth metals. The subtleties of structure and bonding in compounds of uranium, the heaviest naturally occurring element, and its neighbours in the f-block are still poorly-understood. Drawing on our research to make exotic new molecules from these metals, this lecture will explore what chemistry can teach us about these complicated but important metals.

Speaker: Dr. Renee Hlozek

Date: Monday March 13, 2017

Location: Lash Miller Chemical Laboratories, Davenport Seminar Rooms (3rd floor)

Abstract: After a brief introduction to cosmology and how looking into the cosmic past can teach us about our future, I’ll discuss the diversity of the STEM disciplines. I’ll highlight how we can shape and frame our understanding of who participates in STEM discourse in a rigorous way, with some concrete advice for improving the diversity on the axes of race, ethinicity, gender, sexual orientation, physical and neurological ability.

Speaker: Dr. Malika Jeffries-EL

Date: Friday February 3, 2017

Location: Lash Miller Chemical Laboratories, LM158

Abstract: Since their discovery over 40 years ago conjugated polymers have been of tremendous scientific and technological interest. These materials posses many exceptional electronic, optical and thermal properties and thus are well suited for organic semiconducting applications, such as solar cells and light emitting diodes. Unfortunately, there are several issues that have to be addressed before real-life products can be developed. Our group focuses on the design and synthesis of new types of conjugated polymers based from low cost and/or easily prepared starting materials. Since the properties of organic semiconductors can be readily modified through chemical synthesis, we have turned our attention towards the design and synthesis of novel building blocks. Our system of choice, polybenzobisazoles possess many exceptional electronic, optical and thermal properties and thus are ideally suited for diverse organic semiconducting applications. However, these materials have found limited utility due their lack of solubility in organic solvents and the harsh conditions required for their synthesis. The resolve this issue, our group has developed a mild approach for the synthesis of benzobisoxazoles resulting in several building blocks suitable for designing new polymers. As a result we have been able to prepare wide band gap materials for use in organic light-emitting diodes and narrow band gap materials for use in photovoltaic cells. We have also pioneered the synthesis of benzodifuran, the oxygen analog of the popular electron rich building block benzodithiophene and are developing narrow band gap conjugated polymers based on it. Our work on the synthesis and properties
and utility of these polymers will be presented.


Speaker: Dr. Miriam Diamond

Date: Thursday December 15, 2016

Location: Lash Miller Chemical Laboratories, Davenport East Seminar Room (3rd floor)

Abstract: Most women experience no or minimal gender bias as they move through undergraduate and graduate school. At University of Toronto, most faculty candidates and early career faculty will have an experience free of gender bias. Have we been successful in creating an atmosphere free of gender bias at the University? Is an atmosphere free of gender-bias widespread at other universities? What do the statistics and the literature tell us about overt and subtle gender bias at universities and beyond? University of Toronto has been a leader amongst institutions in minimizing gender bias. Current statistics show 7 out of 18 divisions employ more than 40% female faculty and 9 of the remaining divisions have increased the numbers of women hired over the past 10 years. However, although women are more likely than men to be chosen for an interview, women are less likely to receive an offer. These statistics fit the “scissor” effect of attrition of women through the ranks. Recent research shows subtle gender bias by both men and women in terms of hiring and evaluation. Finally, we will explore what the future might hold. Although we have made great strides to reduce gender bias in many universities and in many parts of Canadian society, will women be able to continue to exercise self-determination in the future?


Speaker: Dr. Shana Kelley

Date: Tuesday November 22, 2016

Location: Lash Miller Chemical Laboratories, Davenport East Seminar Room (3rd floor)

Abstract: Our research group uses a foundation in Chemistry to develop devices and molecules that allow
biology to be studied in new ways. We exploit the interfaces of Chemistry with Materials Science, Engineering and Biology to maximize the impact of our effort, and we constantly fold new approaches into our research projects to take them in exciting directions. We use the unique properties of nanomaterials to develop ultrasensitive approaches to the detection of biomolecular analytes and rare cells, eventually turning these sensors into devices that can be used in the clinic. We also develop molecular delivery systems that can specifically bring molecular cargo to a particular part of the cells. I’ll provide an overview of these research areas, and also discuss the experience of running a research group as a female scientist.


Speaker: Tracy Primeau

Date: Thursday October 20, 2016

Location: Lash Miller Chemical Laboratories, Davenport East Seminar Room (3rd floor)

Abstract: Tracy, winner of the 2015 Women of Distinction Award, is an Authorized Nuclear Operator at Bruce Power, where she is responsible for the overall safe operation of her assigned unit at the Bruce ‘A’ Nuclear Generating Station.Tracy has also held other titles including Captain of the Emergency Response Team, Assistant Operations Manager and Human Performance Recovery Manager. Tracy chairs the industry led COG Reactivity Management Group and is involved in the Nuclear Safety Culture Panel at Bruce Power. In addition to her full-time job at Bruce Power, Tracy is an active member of Women in Nuclear (WiN). WiN is a world-wide association of women working professionally in various fields of nuclear energy and radiation applications aimed to make the public aware of the benefits of nuclear and radiation applications and of the safety that ensures protection of the public and the environment. In this seminar, Tracy will discuss the nuclear industry and its impact on climate change; chemistry and environmental information regarding Bruce Power; opportunities for graduate students and; her journey the last 26 years in a male dominated world.

Rebecca Ruck Lecture

Speaker: Dr. Rebecca Ruck

Date: Thursday April 14, 2016

Location: Lash Miller Chemical Laboratories, Davenport East Seminar Room (3rd floor)

Abstract: There is tremendous interest paid to increasing diversity and inclusion across STEM subjects. This emphasis has resulted in diverse career opportunities for talented female chemists across the pharmaceutical industry. This presentation will focus on my personal career progression within the Merck Process Chemistry organization. It will include scientific highlights from my time in the lab and from team members under my supervision. It will highlight the accomplishments of women and demonstrate my passion to recruit and retain women in chemistry. This has been achieved by building relationships with female graduate students and providing mentorship and sponsorship for these women as they enter the organization and grow into roles of increasing responsibilities.

For more information on Dr. Ruck, please click here.

Cathleen Crudden lecture

Speaker: Dr. Cathleen Crudden

Date: Wedensday, Feb. 10, 2016

Location: Lash Miller Chemical Laboratories, Davenport East Seminar Room (3rd floor)

Biography: Cathleen Crudden graduated from the University of Toronto with Mark Lautens, and obtained her Ph.D. with Howard Alper at the University of Ottawa. After an NSERC-PDF with Scott Denmark, she became Assistant Professor at the University of New Brunswick, where she held the first University Research Professorship (2001). In 2002, she moved to Queen’s University as Queen’s National Scholar. In 2012, she was cross-appointed as Research Professor at ITbM in Japan as one of four international PIs and runs a satellite lab there.

Crudden’s research centers on catalysis and materials. She described the first enantiospecific Suzuki-Miyaura cross-coupling reaction of chiral boranes in a very highly recognized paper. In 2014, she reported N-heterocyclic carbene-based self-assembled monolayers in work called “game changing” by experts in the field. Her work is highly cited with one paper being among the top 10 cited papers in Canada in all areas of science.

She has won numerous awards including a Premier’s Research Excellence Award, a Chancellor’s Research Award, the 2010 Catalysis Lectureship award, a 2010 NSERC Accelerator Award and the Clara Benson award. In 2015, she led a successful $8.8M CFI Innovation Fund application.

More information on Cathleen Crudden (click here).

Stephanie MacQuarrie banner

 Speaker: Dr. Stephanie MacQuarrie

Date & Location: Tuesday, Jan. 19th, 2016, Lash Miller Rm 158 (University of Toronto, St. George Campus)

Time: 10 a.m.

Title: How Homogeneous Are These Heterogeneous Organic Catalysts?

Abstract: The development of an efficient, convenient and recyclable catalytic system based on a supported organocatalyst is still a major challenge. The search for a green catalyst, and our interest in the synthesis of porous silica based materials prompted us to explore an alternative immobilization method, in which a chiral imidazolium salt derived from trans-L-hydroxyproline, is immobilized on the surface of mesoporous silica so that the imidazolium cation is covalently linked to the silica, but the proline anion is bound via electrostatic interactions. We suspect this allows the proline more freedom to react in the solution state, making it more available to participate in catalysis resulting in higher activity then past heterogeneous proline catalysts have shown.  We report excellent isolated yields in the aldol condensation reaction (up to 99%), as well as modest selectivities (ee up to 85%).  The stability and sustained activity of the catalyst were investigated and the results show that no loss of catalyst activity was found, even after five recoveries (washing & drying) and recycles. The NHC-based material demonstrated intriguing carbon dioxide capture ability

More Information on Stephanie MacQuarrie (Click here)

WICTO Molly Shoichet

“My Top 10 List of Things to do to be Successful in your Career”

Speaker: Dr. Molly Shoichet

Women pursuing research careers in academia or industry are faced with a series of challenges and balancing acts. Having a partner who values your career as much as you do is key to success, as is having a support system. Life can be a struggle, but with more people on your team, life can be more of an adventure. I will describe my life’s adventure in science in the context of my top 10 list of things to do to be successful (at least in North America) and highlight some of our recent findings in research.

More Information on Molly Shoichet (Click here)

WICTO Sophie Rousseaux

“Supramolecular Chemistry of Porphyrin Nanorings”

Speaker: Dr. Sophie Rousseaux

Fully pi-conjugated macrocycles have attracted significant attention due to their interesting optical and electronic properties. The Anderson group at the University of Oxford has recently prepared conjugated porphyrin nanorings using strategies that rely on molecular recognition and cooperative self-assembly. Notably, these macrocycles resemble the chlorophyll arrays in the light-harvesting antennae of natural photosynthetic systems.

More Information on Sophie Rousseaux (click here)

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