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2006

DI STI L LA T IO NS U

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T DEPARTMENT

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C HEMISTRY

ALUMNI MAGAZINE

HISTORICAL ENDEAVOURS HISTORICAL DISTILLATES TELLS A FAMILY STORY THAT’S CLOSE TO HOME

FUTURE PROOF SCIENTIST-ENTREPRENEURS ARE MAKING ACADEMIA SIT UP AND TAKE NOTICE

DISTILLATIONS LOOKS AT THE PATH FROM THE LAB TO THE BOARDROOM

LAURELS LOOKING BACK AT A STELLAR YEAR

Nicole Stogaitis, M.Sc. Candidate

INNOVATION • EDUCATION • EXCELLENCE


MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR Continued Renovations, Expansion, and Preparing for the Future 2006 was a particularly active year in the Department of Chemistry, highlighted by the hiring of new faculty and staff, further renewal of our physical space, significant expansion of our graduate student body, publication of Chemistry’s history (see back cover to order your copy), and successes by our faculty, staff, and students in multiple venues. This was also a year in which we responded to the needs of faculty-initiated spin-off companies by providing lab space as incubators. You can read about many of these highlights - and about two of our alumni who have excelled as chemistry entrepreneurs - in this edition of Distillations. We welcomed Prof. Vy Dong and Prof. Datong Song to the department in the summer of 2006, while Prof. Jennifer Murphy arrived in late autumn, after her summer field season in West Africa. We had two searches last year, both successful, with Prof. Dvira Segal joining the theory group in the summer of 2007 and Prof. Doug Stephan set to arrive to his senior Canada Research Chair in Inorganic and Polymer Materials in January 2008. The hiring over the past four years has proceeded at an astounding pace: 14 new faculty over the three campuses bring our research faculty complement to 45! We also recruited Dr. Mike Dymarski, from Ontario Power Generation, as our Technical and Administrative Manager. The Province of Ontario has responded positively to the needs to expand graduate training opportunities in response to demographic and aspirational changes in society, as well to enhance economic competitiveness. Ambitious, as always, in our goals, Chemistry exceeded even these by welcoming the largest incoming graduate class in our history: 75 new graduate students have raised our total to over 230 students across the three campuses. This growth has been the largest across Arts & Sciences and directly addresses the desire of Chemistry faculty for larger research groups and is testament to the efforts of the Associate Chair Graduate, Professor Gilbert Walker, and the graduate studies committee and Graduate Office, headed by Anna Liza Villavelez and Denise Ing. 2 • DISTILLATIONS 2006

In the 2003 Distillations, we reported on Phase I of our renovation to the undergraduate teaching labs. That project dramatically benefited the double cohort students who arrived that year and the labs have since been extensively utilized by 3,000 students annually taking first- and second-year organic chemistry courses. They have thus contributed significantly to a tripling of Chemistry majors and specialists - the largest overall enrolment increase across Arts & Science - and a substantial growth in the number of undergraduate students pursuing research opportunities in the department. This success, combined with the recognition that this teaching space should also benefit students in Engineering and Pharmacy, was the foundation upon which we raised a second $5 million from University sources for Phase II, which will encompass the remaining 24,000 square feet of available space and provide enhanced instructional labs in inorganic and materials, biological and analytical, physical and materials chemistry. These teaching labs will be completed for the Fall session in 2007. The rapid growth in student and faculty numbers has opened up some exciting challenges and opportunities. The most significant, for which we will be seeking external support over the coming year, concern graduate training and physical improvements to our research infrastructure. Under the leadership of Prof. Cynthia Goh, Chemistry is exploring the development of a professional masters program in scientific entrepreneurship. The effort, with the heavy involvement of the Institute for Optical Sciences and MaRS, is a response to strong demand from our students to be trained in the complexities of transferring discoveries in basic science to innovation and the marketplace. Currently, consultations are underway with a broad spectrum of the government, industrial, and academic, with particular emphasis on management and innovation programs, communities to develop a strong program. Our goal would be a program that would position graduates to contribute positively to economic prosperity.


Last year’s Distillations reported on the five named graduate awards, the donors to which had their $50,000 gifts double-matched by the Graduate Student Endowment Fund to create a $150,000 endowment for the benefit of our students in perpetuity. We are seeking to capitalize on this time-limited leveraging opportunity by raising a substantial endowment that would yield a number of awards to support the graduate enrolment expansion. The most compelling infrastructure need of our research faculty is the overhaul of the NMR facility, in order to ensure competitiveness with peer institutions. We hope to renovate ~4,000 square feet and acquire several high-field NMRs. This overhaul will leverage the department’s ability to raise additional research funds, facilitate recruitment of new faculty, enhance our researchers’ opportunities for making fundamental discoveries and engender the ferment for a truly exceptional learning experience. The department will invest its own resources into renovating the NMR facility, while fundraising for critical, cutting-edge, high-field instruments. Finally, our faculty and student growth has engendered a careful evaluation of the overall space utilization in the department and specifically in the Lash Miller portion of Chemistry’s domain. Top priorities for new space are: additional laboratories for graduate research activities, a graduate seminar room, space for TAs to meet with students and for our chemistry undergrads to study and network. We will seek private funds to build a new chemistry student centre. I hope you will enjoy this year’s Distillations with the inspirational stories of our students, faculty, and staff. You are always welcome to visit the department and see for yourself how the place has been transformed. We also have an announcements and profile screen in our newly renovated lobby where we hope to highlight many of our alumni and friends - so please send us your contact information and stories. Scott Mabury, Chair

UNDERGRADUATE POD UPDATE We are very pleased to announce that so far we have received donations totaling $65,000 in support of the George F. Wright Pod and $25,000 in support of the J. Bryan Jones Pod. These funds have been put into interest earning accounts and we are hopeful that we will eventually achieve our goal of $100,000 for each pod in the near future. This support would, once again, illustrate the outstanding dedication of the department’s friends. If you are interested in helping us reach our goal please complete the yellow Pod Donation Form which you will find in the middle of your copy of Distillations.

We thank you for your support!

NEWS

TO

SHARE?

Have you been featured in a newspaper, magazine, television report or website? Have you written an article you’d like to share? Let us know! Send the details to clerk@chem.utoronto.ca and we will work with you to feature this information in an upcoming issue of Distillations.

BE INFORMED Do you want to receive breaking news from the Department? If you’d like to find out the latest in Chemistry happenings, sign up for our Alumni Email Listserv. Send an email to clerk@chem.utoronto.ca to sign up and be the first to know!

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DISTILLATIONS

IN

THIS

ISSUE

is published by the University of Toronto Department of Chemistry 80 St. George St. Toronto, Ontario M5S 3H6 CANADA

Message from the Chair ............................................................................................2

E XECUTIVE EDITOR

Community Outreach ..............................................................................................14

Penny Ashcroft Moore

CONTRIBUTING EDITOR/ LAYOUT AND DESIGN Erin Pryde Helen Smith

P ROOFREADER Nina Lee

P HOTOGRAPHY Armando Marquez Others as credited

P RINTER General Printers

QUESTIONS? IDEAS ?

Contact the Department of Chemistry at 416-978-3564 or chair@chem.utoronto.ca.

Undergraduate Pod Update ......................................................................................3 Highlights in Innovation..............................................................................................5 Sofinnova Ventures, Michael Powell .......................................................................................6 Toronto Research Chemicals, David Dime .............................................................................7 StemSpec, Scott Tanner ..............................................................................................................8 Northern Nanotechnologies, Darren Anderson ...................................................................9 Axela Biosensors, Cynthia Goh ..............................................................................................10 An Introduction to Patent Filing for Chemists in Canada..................................................11 Canadian Chemistry and Physics Olympiads .....................................................................15 Fall Campus Day ......................................................................................................................18 Take Our Daughters & Sons to Work Day ...........................................................................18

Undergraduate News ...............................................................................................19 AstraZeneca Summer Research Poster Session....................................................................20 Southern Ontario Undergraduate Student Chemistry Conference ..................................20 Undergraduate Awards ..........................................................................................................21

Graduate News ........................................................................................................23 Environmental Chemistry Colloquium.................................................................................24 Inorganic Chemistry Conference ...........................................................................................25 Graduate Awards ....................................................................................................................25 Croft Hall of Fame Profile: Alistair Das ................................................................................29 Grad Profile: Nicole Stogaitis..................................................................................................30 Chem Club: For the Other Side of Your Brain .....................................................................31 September Grad Open House: Meet the Family! .................................................................32

Faculty News .............................................................................................................33 New Faculty Profiles: Vy Dong, Jennifer Murphy, Datong Song .....................................34 Change is Upon Us: The U of T Centre for Global Change Science..................................37 A Meeting of Mind and Matter: The Institute for Optical Sciences ..................................38 Celebrating Faculty Achievements ........................................................................................40 Love of a Lifetime: Adrian G. Brook......................................................................................41 Media Matters: Chemistry Faculty in the News .................................................................43 Faculty Publication Covers .....................................................................................................44

Colloquia & Special Lectures ..................................................................................45 A Legacy in Lecture: Gordon Lecture ..................................................................................46 Departmental Colloquia & Departmental Named Lectures ..............................................47

Staff News ..................................................................................................................50 Back Into the Fold: Mike Dymarski .......................................................................................51 Exercise in Excellence: John Ford ...........................................................................................52

Historical Endeavours ...............................................................................................53 Feature: Henry Holmes Croft: Collegiate Chemist..............................................................54

Alumni News .............................................................................................................56 All photographic and written material is © 2006 University of Toronto Department of Chemistry unless previously published in another format, in which case copyright remains with the original author/photographer. Fair usage rules apply. This publication shall not be distributed for any form of financial remuneration.

Spring Reunion ........................................................................................................................57 Alumni Profile: Yisroel Brumer ..............................................................................................58 Diffusion: Undergraduate and Graduate Profiles ...............................................................59 Special Events............................................................................................................................61 Chemistry Awards Reception Retrospective .......................................................................62

Weddings, Births, In Memoriam...............................................................................63 Weddings ...................................................................................................................................63 Births ..........................................................................................................................................64 In Memoriam.............................................................................................................................65

Alumni Contact Information Update Form.............................................................70 4 • DISTILLATIONS 2006


HIGHTLIGHTS IN INNOVATION

Numerous scientists are eschewing the traditional academic path to break entrepreneurial ground with their own R&D, manufacturing, and venture start-ups. What’s the attraction – and how is it financed? Distillations looks at some of the key players to emerge from U of T’s Chemistry Department.


SOFINNOVA VENTURES Michael Powell is a man of many talents — and one who wears many hats. The antithesis of the stereotypical “lab rat”, Powell is the Managing General Partner of Sofinnova Ventures, a San Francisco-based firm which invests venture capital in early-stage life science and information technology startup companies. His path to the top began at the University of Toronto, where he completed a specialist B.Sc. with honours in chemistry at the Scarborough campus. He then proceeded to complete a Ph.D. in physical chemistry at U of T in 1981 under the supervision of Jerry Kresge. Powell then turned his eyes south, where he did postdoctoral work in bio-organic chemistry at the University of California; he subsequently became a faculty member there. After serving as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Kansas, he made the leap from academia to the private sector, filling the position of Project Team Leader at Syntex Research. After his stint at Syntex, Powell became Director of Product Development at Cytel in 1987, a company based on the search for antagonists to the major histocompatibility complex to ameliorate autoimmune disease. Mike was part of this start-up’s early growth, which culminated with a successful IPO. Powell then moved to Genentech in 1990, where he remained as Group Leader for six years, heading up the delivery and development of several protein and peptide therapeutics. He was also involved in spinning out VaxGen, an AIDS vaccine company. Current interests for Powell in particular and Sofinnova in general include clinical-stage product companies, particularly in the oncology, endocrine and neurology fields. Powell’s Series A investments include: Actelion, Anesiva, Intermune, Seattle Genetics, and Threshold Pharmaceuticals (all now public companies), as well as numerous private companies (Orexigen, Ascenta Trius, and Diobex). His investment strategy is to invest in productfocused biotech companies headed up by management experienced in drug development. Powell’s interests are many and varied. In his 20 years of pharmaceutical development experience, he has worked on 20 clinical products and authored almost 100 papers and books, including a 1,100-page treatise on vaccine design. His R&D expertise is in drug delivery, vaccines, 6 • DISTILLATIONS 2006

Mike Powell, Managing General Director of Sofinnova Ventures Photo credit: Dr. Mike Powell

immunology, chemistry, and drug development of small molecules and protein therapeutics. He was the first scientist from the biotechnology industry to be elected a Fellow of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, and was also an Editorial Board Member of J. Pharm. Sci. and a Scientific Advisor to the Controlled Release Society. He is currently Board President of AVAC (AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition), a Vaccine Advisor to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and a Strategic Advisor to OneWorld Health. In his spare time (amazingly, he does have some), he is “the Indiana Jones” of Sofinnova. He doesn’t wear a fedora, but he does dive, climb, trapshoot, and ski. He is an avid fisherman and pilot, alternately swimming with sharks and cruising the skies. When he finally gets his feet on the ground, he’s been known to hunt dinosaur fossils. And how does Mike Powell, the man of many roles, see himself? Is he in essence a researcher? Savvy businessman? Corporate explorer? “I’m really a scientist/entrepreneur at heart,” he says. - Dr. Mike Powell, Helen Smith


SOFINNOVA FAST FACTS Thirty years ago, Sofinnova’s French parent firm, Sofinnova SA, was founded by a group of French financial institutions that believed in the potential of venture investing, making Sofinnova SA the first “American-style” venture capital firm in France. Peter Brook, the founder of T.A. Associates, was a board member of Sofinnova SA in the early years. Sofinnova SA quickly established a presence in the European market through the formation of the Sofinnova Partners venture firm in Paris. Sofinnova SA owned this firm from 1972 until its spin-off in 1997. Sofinnova SA launched U.S. investment funds in 1974, making it the first European venture company to enter the U.S. market. Based in San Francisco, with Jean Deleage as its first President and founder, Sofinnova SA was very successful and an early investor in stellar successes such as Tandem Computers and Genentech. In 1984, Sofinnova SA decided to leverage its unique trans-Atlantic positioning by creating a direct partnership presence in the U.S., creating independence from the Paris team. In 1997, the global Sofinnova organization restructured by creating two independent management teams: Sofinnova Ventures of San Francisco and Sofinnova Partners in Paris. Each firm became an independent venture capital firm with separate funds, teams, investment strategies and partnerships. As part of the restructuring and buyout, Mike Powell joined Sofinnova Ventures in the summer of 1997. Thus began a new phase in Sofinnova’s history, where the firm would be an early-stage, California-style VC firm that would use its unique French heritage and European contacts to bring value to its U.S. investments. - Courtesy of Sofinnova Ventures

TORONTO RESEARCH CHEMICALS The roots of David Dime’s interests in chemistry are close to home. “My interest in chemistry came initially from my father,” he says. Dime’s father, a pharmacist, operated one of the oldest pharmacies in Toronto until his retirement in 1986. It held an arcane appeal for the young Dime, who was fascinated by old bottles of chemicals, roots, barks, and elixirs. Dime’s father mentored his son, introducing him to his first experiments and employing him during the summers. He also gave Dime two pieces of business advice which Dime remembers to this day: “‘work for yourself’ and ‘don’t be a pharmacist’.” Dime studied chemistry at the University of Toronto, completing his Ph.D. in 1978 with Professor Stewart McLean in the area of alkaloid synthesis. He then headed to Columbus to join Professor Leo Paquette’s research group at Ohio State University, where he worked on synthetic methodology and the synthesis of marine natural products. During a stint with Sandoz, Inc. in Switzerland, Dime came to feel that research in industry was more interesting and better funded than in a conventional academic setting. He declined a job in New Jersey, deciding that this was not the type of position he wanted, and returned to Toronto. But the seed had been planted, and continued to grow. Dime then joined Jeremy Carver’s research group in the Medical Genetics department of U of T’s Faculty of Medicine to do carbohydrate synthesis. It seemed like a good way to pursue his interests in biological and medicinal chemistry while increasing his marketability.

Dr. David Dime

Photo credit: Dr. David Dime

The position was to be an interim one while Dime looked for a job. However, it opened his eyes to the breadth and depth of biomedical research that was going on at the University of Toronto and the affiliated teaching hospitals. He realized that there were a large number of scientists doing interesting work in a variety of areas, using a wide range of esoteric chemicals. Most of these researchers had neither the chemical expertise nor the financial resources to set up a laboratory to synthesize specialized reagents which were not commercially available. Historically, researchers would go to the university chemistry department and get someone to synthesize the required chemicals for them, in exchange for co-authorship on the ensuing paper. DISTILLATIONS 2006 • 7


Dime had other ideas. He realized that he could start a small company to supply researchers with chemicals which were not commercially available. “I was probably the right guy in the right place at the right time...The timing was good, also.” The early 1980s marked the beginning of an interdisciplinary mentality at the university which brought chemistry and biology close together; universities were also beginning to be interested in various types of academia/ business collaboration.

In 1982, David Dime registered Toronto Research Chemicals as a sole proprietorship, and TRC began to develop a small base of clientele: a mix of both U of T and external customers. “There was little advertising,” Dime recalls. “Most of our customers learned of us through word of mouth.” On October 26, 1983, the company was incorporated in Ontario as Toronto Research Chemicals Inc—and on July 1, 1986, TRC began production in its new premises at Downsview. TRC is now completing the construction of its eighth and ninth 1,500 sq. foot, six-person laboratories. TRC has grown at a rate of about 20–30% annually over the history of the company, selling in more than 60 countries around the world. Sales, which were initially one or two per week, have now increased to 50–70 per day. Its product line has expanded to more than 8,500 fine chemicals. Senior management now includes an operations manager, a production manager, a director of new products, and a customer service manager. Dime is still the Head of Science, and his brother Charles handles the financial aspects of the company. When asked about the success of his company, Dime is both practical and philosophical. “The take home lesson is that you can do this yourself. It is hard work but satisfying. I was well trained in Chemistry and I expanded that knowledge working in the biomedical fields. I saw an opportunity and I put together a viable business concept. I would say that our success is due to our flexibility and innovativeness in dealing with the problems that arise, and the opportunities that present themselves. We have also been lucky. I believe that all successful businesses have a component of luck mixed into their success. However, it is the luck that comes from hard work and watching the cash closely.” He also emphasizes the need for hiring excellent employees. “This is a challenge and requires a good feel for personalities, some compassion and some insight.” TRC is a far cry from the arcane pharmacy where Dime’s love of science was fostered. But he definitely shares the inventive, pioneering spirit of his father. It is this spirit, coupled with a profound knowledge of his field and a willingness to take necessary risks, which has brought TRC 8 • DISTILLATIONS 2006

from its lab-bench inception to become a major player in the chemical manufacturing field. “I have the perfect career, and why not?” he declares. “I designed it myself.” - Dr. David Dime, Helen Smith

STEMSPEC The StemSpec group, formally appointed in the Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering and operating out of the AIMS Laboratory in the Department of Chemistry, is focused on the development of an innovative instrument for massively multiplexed analysis of single cells and particles in a high Dr. Scott Tanner throughput format. The instrument combines a flow cytometer with an elemental mass spectrometer. The flow cytometer cell injector generates droplets containing individual cells at rates up to 100,000 per second, and sorts a subset of these, defined by a predetermined characteristic scatter of laser light, into the mass spectrometer for analysis. Prior to analysis, the cells are probed with affinity reagents (antibodies and oligonucleotides) that bind to target proteins and genes within and on the cell. The affinity probes carry a novel class of metal-labeled polymers, developed in collaboration with Prof. Mitch Winnik and Prof. Mark Nitz, both of Chemistry, such that each target is identified by a different stable element or isotope. The high resolution and sensitivity of the Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer allows many such tags to be identified simultaneously, at copy counts as low as 100 (and as many as 1,000,000) per cell. Thus, an unparalleled method of multivariate proteomic/ genomic assay, for up to 100 different targets simultaneously, for single cells is enabled. The technology has application in the research lab, for cell population characterization and the investigation of signal transduction pathways. It also has a future in clinical diagnostics, whereby a rare diseased (or otherwise distinguished) cell can be identified in a patient’s sample: for example, the first application being pursued is the subclassification of leukemia through proteomic identification of the stem cell progenitors of the disease.


The tagging reagents are also amenable to conventional elemental analysis of solutions, for the instance when the concentrations of many proteins averaged over a sample is of interest (e.g., a quantitative, high-throughput analog of a Western blot assay). The multidisciplinary group benefits from strong and complementary collaborations with faculty in Chemistry (Nitz and Winnik), Medicine (John Dick and Mark Minden) and Engineering (Javad Mostaghimi). Almost all of the team left long-term and successful (yes, with some serious scientific awards!) careers in industrial research (the team has more than 70 years combined experience in the development, commercialization and application of analytical instrumentation) to tackle this challenge in the University environment. Dmitry Bandura, Vladimir Baranov and Scott Tanner were previously research scientists with MDS Sciex, a developer and manufacturer of mass spectrometers and itself a UofT spin-out, and Olga Ornatsky was a cell biologist with MDS Proteomics. Alexei Antonov and Sergei Vorobiev have broad electrical and mechanical engineering experience, including for mass spectrometers; Robert Kinach brings biochemistry experience from MDS Proteomics and Invitrogen; Xudong Lou transferred from Prof. Winnik’s polymer chemistry group; Lavanya Nallapaneni provides software engineering support; and Adrienne Halupa is both a cell biologist and the project manager. With the development of both a research prototype and a Phase 0 engineering prototype of the instrument during their three year tenure at the University, the group is planning to spin-out a reagents and instrumentation company, DVS Sciences Inc., to bring the products to market. The group operates with support of Genome Canada via the Ontario Genomics Institute, through a grant to John Dick of the University Health Network, entitled “A Mass Spectrometer-based Flow Cytometer, Methods and Applications”, and with complementary support from the Ontario Cancer Research Network, the National Institutes of Health (US), the Ontario Centres of Excellence, the University of Toronto, DVS Sciences Inc. and several other corporate sponsors.

NORTHERN NANOTECHNOLOGIES Northern Nanotechnologies (NNT) is a University of Toronto spin-off company specializing in the production of nanomaterials, small particles of matter whose properties can improve many materials in use today. Dr. Darren Anderson, the Chief Technology Officer and a co-founder of NNT, explains that, “When materials become very small – on the scale of 1/10,000th the width of a human hair – they develop entirely new properties. When these nano-sized materials are added to plastic, glass, or metal, the results can be quite dramatic.” One potential use of this technology is a nanomaterial that breaks down smog. Adding this material to the outside of a building would enable the building to scrub pollutants from the air surrounding it. This is one of potentially hundreds of other applications for nanomaterials. NNT is based on technology developed in the lab of M. Cynthia Goh, Chemistry Professor at the University of Toronto and Associate Director of the Institute for Optical Sciences. Professor Goh is well known for studying the properties of surfaces and interfaces, and has encouraged the commercialization of university research through the creation of spin-off companies. NNT is her second Ontariobased spin-off company. Her first, Axela Biosensors Inc. (see page 10), launched an instrument platform in 2006 which has applications in drug discovery and diagnostics. NNT has benefited from the support of University of Toronto resources and the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE). ”The other co-founders and I never would have

For up-to-date information and details, visit our website at http://www.uhnres.utoronto.ca/studies/stemspec/UofT.html - Dr. Scott Tanner

The original team are, from left to right: Jordan Dinglasan, Darren Anderson, Peter Ko, Matthew Coulter and Gwynn Curran-Sills. Photo Credit: Dr. Darren Anderson

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started down this path without the information and encouragement we received from a course on Entrepreneurship offered jointly by the University of Toronto Department of Chemistry and Institute for Optical Sciences, and the MaRS Discovery District. The Ontario Centres of Excellence have also been critical to the successful development of our company,” states Dr. Anderson. In conjunction with the Centre for Materials and Manufacturing, OCE funded the development of NNT’s technology from proof-of-principle to a working prototype. NNT was awarded an additional $250,000 in 2006 by the OCE Accelerator program, which is seed-round financing devoted to funding Ontario-based university spin-off companies. The company launched its first product, Nano+ Dots, late in 2006. Nano+ Dots are designed for biotechnology researchers who want to understand how proteins, DNA, or other biomarkers interact with each other. These

biomarkers can be used to determine whether cancer cells, specific genes, or other disease-causing organisms are present. Unlike other current technologies, Nano+ Dots are useful for high sensitivity studies, and can be used to detect the presence of several different biomarkers at once. What’s next for NNT? The company is completing negotiations with a serial entrepreneur who will invest in the company in early 2007 and take a senior executive role. Meetings are taking place with a number of potential customers, and production plans are progressing well. “The NNT team is excited about the substantial number of potential applications for our technology,” reports Dr. Anderson. “The economic potential is considerable and many of the applications will dramatically improve the function and performance of a wide variety of commonly used materials. The ability to make such a significant difference is a fantastic motivator.” - Dr. Darren Anderson

AXELA BIOSENSORS Axela Biosensors, Inc. was founded by Prof. Cynthia Goh and three students (Richard Loo, Jane Goh and Richard McAloney) with funding from Primaxis Technology Ventures and Royal Bay Capital, to commercialize a novel detection platform that has potential applications in life and medical sciences. Today, Axela is a life science company with ~30 employees located in the heart of downtown Toronto. In the fall of 2006, Axela launched its flagship dotLab™ product line, which comprises the dotLab System and software, and a variety of dotLab Sensor Kits. The core of the product line is a proprietary Diffractive Optics Technology – or dot™ - which combines two proven technologies - the diffraction of light and immobilized capture surfaces - to provide a simple, sensitive, and cost-effective technique for the real-time detection of biomolecular interactions and immunoassays without the use of labels. Axela was named one of Canada’s

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top 10 life science companies, and the dotLabTM platform received the 2007 Frost and Sullivan Product Innovation of the Year Award. The company was originally incubated in LM504, next to the Goh labs. Axela continues to recognize the importance of world class research conducted at UofT, supporting research in the Goh labs, and continuing to rent LM504 in order to retain proximity to U of T researchers. In 2007, Axela partnered with the team of Professors Dwayne Miller, Cynthia Goh, David McMillen, John Sipe and Gilbert Walker for an Ontario Research Fund – Research Excellence project on “BioOptics – transformative technologies for life science”, a project that is meant to capitalize on leading edge fundamental science to create the next generation of instruments for medical applications. - Prof. Cynthia Goh


AN INTRODUCTION TO PATENT FILING FOR CHEMISTS IN CANADA Alumna Heather Hui Litwin guides us through an intricate process For chemists, the excitement of being able to contribute new knowledge to the academic world is what gives them the incentive to go to the lab everyday. However, there are also many instances when a discovery has led to a profitable venture. There are numerous success stories which feature the starting up of small companies based on new discoveries, such as University of Toronto’s Prof. Cynthia Goh, who started her own company called Axela Biosensors based on her research on diffraction optics applied to biosensors. Others have successfully licensed their inventions to larger companies. For inventive researchers, the first step is to secure patent protection for their inventions. They can then either license the invention, or even commercialize it. Even if the invention did not become commercialized, it is always beneficial to list patents in one’s professional biography. Other reasons for applying for patents may be purely strategic: by publishing your own patent application, regardless of whether a patent is granted, its publication will preclude others from claiming the invention. It is therefore important for researchers to understand what patents are, and the process of obtaining them. The purpose of this article is to provide a basic introduction to patents for researchers. What is a patent? An invention can be protected by a patent. In order to promote innovation and technological advances, governments grant temporary monopolies to inventors, in the form of patents, in exchange for full enabling disclosure of the invention itself. The Canadian Patent Act (s. 42) states that a patent grants “the exclusive right, privilege and liberty of making, constructing and using the inventions and selling it to others to be used…” Thus, a patent, or more formally referred to as “Letters Patent”, is a grant given by a jurisdiction to exclude others from making, using, selling, importing or exporting one’s invention for a fixed time period. In Canada, under the current law, this time period is 20 years from the filing date, (while for applications filed before Oct. 1989, patent protection is 17 years from the day it is issued. ). Most of us have an idea of what an invention is. However, there is a proper definition provided by the Canadian Patent Act (s. 2, and s. 28) for patentable inventions. Basically, an

invention must satisfy the following criteria: it must be new, useful, non-obvious “art, process, machine, manufacture or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement in any art, process, machine, manufacture or composition of matter”. Some examples of inventions in chemical research include the discovery of a new compound that has useful properties, new or improved methods of synthesis of useful compounds, and better methods or assay devices. However, mere discoveries are not patentable, nor are scientific principles and abstract theorems, such as scientific formulae. Indeed, even for non inventors, patents are valuable sources of information. In fact, a University of Waterloo report states that they are often the most current source for chemical information, only a subset (10-20%) of data reported in patent literature is published in other publications such as journals and books.1 A patent consists mainly of an abstract and a specification. The specification includes the description (or disclosure) and the claims. The description should include all important details about your invention that would allow someone who is in your field to carry out the invention. Often the specifications also include figures. The description must fully support the claims of the patent. The claims are the “boundaries” of your invention. They define the scope of the invention. They must cover subject matter that is new, useful and non-obvious. The claims should be broad enough to cover any variations of the invention yet be narrow enough to exclude prior art. It would also be wise to include a claim which covers the preferred embodiment of the invention. This is because if a broad claim is found to cover subject matter that was not found in prior art search, the narrow claim will still be valid. For example, you could have two claims for your invention: a broad claim which reads “Use of the compound R-[…]-X, where R could be hydrogen, hydroxyl, X is chlorine, bromine or iodine for purpose Z. ”, and a narrow claim which covers only the preferred embodiment as follows: “Use of the compound R-I for purpose Z” This way, if, during litigation, it is discovered that there was an old publication describing the use of R-[..]-Cl, the first broad claim would be found invalid. However, the invention would still be protected by the narrower claim. DISTILLATIONS 2006 • 11


Now that you have an invention, what should you do next? One should file a patent application as soon as one has a workable invention. This is because a competitor may beat you to obtaining patent rights. In Canada, and almost all other countries a patent will be granted to the first person who files for that invention with the patent office. It is very important to keep one’s invention confidential! In Canada, a patent is not granted if the subject matter has been disclosed to the public prior to your application date, because that would mean the invention is not new! If the inventor him/herself has disclosed the invention in a trade show, or a journal, he has within one year to file a patent application. Note that this grace period only exists for Canada and the US and a few select countries, and so it is the best policy to practice complete non disclosure, in order to allow one the chance to file in foreign countries. As there is a wide variation in policies regarding ownership, a researcher at a university should check with the university’s policy on inventions. Usually there is an agreement that indicates who has ownership of the invention. At some universities the professor owns the invention. Other universities own the inventions, but there are various ways of sharing the invention. Depending on how the arrangement is set up, if the inventor wishes to commercialize the invention and obtain patent rights him/herself, the inventor will request that the university assign its rights to the inventor. Otherwise, the inventor could assign his rights to the university, at which point the university will decide whether or not to commercialize it. The revenues generated from successful ventures are usually distributed so that the party owning the invention has the highest share. The details should all be stated in the policy. Alternatively, if an invention is made during one’s employment, the general rule is that the inventor owns the invention, unless there is an agreement which states that the company has a right to the invention, even in accidental discoveries, such as instances when one is assigned to do research on trying to find compounds for a specific use and then one discovers a different use instead. Once a decision has been made to file for a patent, one has to consider whether to do it him/herself, or obtain the services of a patent agent. A patent agent offers drafting (composing the claims in very precise language) and prosecution services (correspondence with the patent office in order to convince them to grant the patent). The CIPO (Canadian Intellectual Property Office) website has a list of registered patent agents in Canada. Although CIPO does not require you to use an agent, and it is less expensive to file on your own, it will usually be recommended that one does. This is because there are many details to master regarding patent 12 • DISTILLATIONS 2006

law and patent office practice procedures. Furthermore, one would also have to master the challenging skill of drafting claims. More often than not, an inventor tends to be so focused on the embodiment of their invention that the claims will be drafted too narrowly, which will make it easy for potential infringers to “work around” the patent to avoid infringement. A patent agent must pass a set of qualifying exams before he/she is allowed by the Patent Office to represent clients. He/she has the skill to draft the patent in such a way that it is neither too narrow nor too broad. He/she will also be able to keep track of the maintenance fees that are required during the application process as well as the maintenance of a granted patent. Another service offered by a patent agent is the “prosecution” of a patent. This refers to the process of persuading the Examiner to grant the patent. Examiners usually respond with so called “Office Actions”, in which they will indicate the reasons for their objections to your application. Typical reasons for initial rejection include poor choice of words in the claims leading to ambiguity, or novelty and obviousness arguments against your invention. A good patent is one which not only obtains the examiner’s approval during prosecution, but is also capable of withstanding intense scrutiny during patent infringement litigation. A well written patent is vital to protecting your invention. The application usually begins with a search of the patent database and technical literature to ensure that one’s invention is novel and non obvious. Once this is complete, the applicant can draft the patent application and apply to the patent office. The applicant has up to five years to request examination. It may take up to 3 years after the request of examination to receive the first Office Action. The patent office examines the patent application by analyzing the application in reference to “prior art”, the body of published materials that are relevant to the invention. The issues of novelty and obviousness are reviewed. If the application satisfies all the requirements of what is patentable by law, a patent is granted. If the application is rejected, one can request review by the Commissioner of Patents, who will review the application with the Patent Appeal Board. Rejection by the Commissioner can then be appealed to the Federal Court of Canada. How much will it all cost? The cost to file in Canada includes patent agent fees and maintenance fees. Cost of filing runs in the range of $7,000 to $15,000, depending on the detail and complexity of the invention. Although this seems costly, it is small when viewed in context of the returns you receive for a commercially successful product. Usually, the inventor does not pay the whole amount at once. Typically, one would pay the drafting and application costs first, to secure


the priority date. This is the date of when the application was first filed. This is important because Canada works on a first to file basis. One then has up to five years to test out the market to see whether it would be worthwhile to continue with the patent process. How to file internationally Patent rights are country specific, that is, one needs to file in each country to get protection within that particular country. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as one international patent which automatically grants protection worldwide. Fortunately, there are mechanisms which facilitate the filing of international applications such as the use of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), which is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). This organization is made up of over 125 countries. Under the PCT, one files an international application, which can then enter so called “national phases”, which is the phase when the application is actually prosecuted by the individual

country of choice. Here, one can defer the cost of patenting in foreign countries for up to 18 extra months than if one were to file under the Paris Convention. Another benefit of the extra time is that it allows you to research as to whether or not the commercialization of your invention will be successful in that country. As can be seen, the application process for a patent can be quite lengthy and involved. However for potentially profitable invention, a patent is certainly worthwhile to obtain. For further information, one can consult the CIPO website at www.cipo.gc.ca; IPIC website at www.ipic.ca and WIPO website at www.wipo.int/index.html.en. A list of patent agents can be found at the CIPO website. - Heather Hui Litwin, Mark Bennett References 1. University of Waterloo Library Website at http://www.lib.uwaterloo.ca/discipline/chem/patents.html

Heather Hui-Litwin was a former Scientific Consultant at Lang Michener LLP Toronto. She is now studying to be a Patent Agent. She completed her Ph.D. with Martin Moskovits and graduated in 1996.

Have you been featured in a newspaper, magazine, television report or website? Have you written an article you’d like to share?

Let us know! Send the details to clerk@chem.utoronto.ca and we will work with you to feature this information in an upcoming issue of Distillations. DISTILLATIONS 2006 • 13


COMMUNITY OUTREACH

Whether it’s assisting high school Olympians, showing elementary students the wonders of liquid nitrogen, or showing faculty offspring the “lab life”, Chemistry knows how to encourage upcoming generations of scientists...


CANADIAN CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS OLYMPIADS The annual Chemistry Olympiad Training Program produced the best provincial results Ontario students have ever achieved at the International Chemistry Olympiad competition in 2006! The Program ran throughout the academic year from October 2005 to May 2006 via the dedicated University of Toronto website (www.chem. utoronto.ca/IChO.Ontario/). Five challenging problem sets were posted monthly between October and February, which tested all aspects of chemical knowledge at a level encountered during first- and second-year undergraduate courses. Students were encouraged to liaise with their teachers and collaborate with each other to help solve the problems. The Program was heavily advertised at, amongst other events, the U of T Fall Campus Day on Saturday 29th October. All 122 students (from 38 schools across the province) who registered in the program were sent an electronic take-home examination in February, which was based on problems published by the organisers of the 2006 International Chemistry Olympiad. Students (154, from 34 schools) additionally sat the Canadian Institute of Chemistry (CIC) National High School Examination on 20th April. Based on performance in the take-home examination and primarily the CIC examination, the top twenty students within Ontario were invited to the Department of Chemistry on May 19th–21st for an all-expenses-paid Preparation Weekend. The weekend focused on teaching advanced chemical principles in a welcoming, informal atmosphere and exposed candidates to university surroundings. All students stayed in Victoria College residence to further enhance their campus experience. Everyone undertook

both a three-hour theoretical and practical examination (the latter involved synthesising ethanol and benzoic acid by hydrolysis of ethyl benzoate). The high candidate quality meant that seven students were chosen to attend the Canadian Chemistry Olympiad National Camp (held for the second time in three years at the University of Toronto) from May 28th to June 4th. (It is usually the case that four or five students are selected from Ontario). The students selected were as follows: • Graham Hendra, Northern Secondary School • Kent Huynh, University of Toronto Schools • Jooho Lee, Vaughan Secondary School • Peter Lu, University of Toronto Schools • Jong Park, University of Toronto Schools • Dmitry Pichugin, William Lyon MacKenzie Collegiate Institute • Charlie Wang, University of Toronto Schools Dmitry Pichugin and Charlie Wang had previously qualified for the National Camp in 2005. Kent Huynh and Peter Lu joined them as part of the four-person Canadian team competing at the International Chemistry Olympiad during July 2006 in Seoul, South Korea. The excellent results obtained by Dmitry, Charlie, Kent and Peter are described in Dr. Stanislaw Skonieczny’s Distillations article (see page 16). It has been a pleasure to coordinate the Program for the last four years; I could not have done so without the unwavering help of many volunteers (faculty, staff and students), who have been so generous with their time and efforts. My thanks go out to all of them! - Professor Andy Dicks Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies

Prof. Andy Dicks (far right) with a group of CCPO contenders. Photo credit: Prof. Andy Dicks

DISTILLATIONS 2006 • 15


2006 CCPO I was elected to be the National Director of the Canadian Chemistry and Physics Olympiads on December 1, 2005. My duties involved soliciting funds from government and private sources, organizing the National Finals, and sending the national teams to international competitions. Twenty-eight of Canada’s best high school chemistry and physics students from across Canada took part in the competitions on May 28 to June 4, 2006. Seventeen were from out-of-province, and all have proven themselves to be among the top high-school chemistry and physics students in the country via selection examinations issued by the Canadian Association of Physicists and the Chemical Institute of Canada. The students’ week at the University of Toronto was comprised of an intense program of lectures, labs and exams. Students preparing for the selection examination in chemistry on June 3 synthesized a complex organic molecule, determined the molecular weight of a gas, separated organic components present in spinach, determined the Na2CO3 content of washing soda, and studied the kinetics of reactions. Students preparing for the selection examination in physics on June 3 measured the polarization of light due to reflection and refraction, determined the temperature at which a coin loses its ferromagnetic ability, measured

the moment of inertia of an oscillating rigid body, and investigated the temperature dependence of black body radiation. At the end of the week, the top five physics students and top four chemistry students were selected to compete in international Olympiads in Singapore and Korea. I coordinated University of Toronto chemistry and physics professors to instruct the students during their time on campus. The students were younger than those the professors teach during regular sessions, although the work the students were given reflected their ability. Some of the participants were in Grades 10 and 11, yet they were handily digesting information that most physics and chemistry students will not encounter until their first year of university. These Olympiads foster a wider appreciation of chemistry and physics as careers for talented young pre-university Canadian students, and promote improved teaching standards in both disciplines. What was done differently? Both chemistry and physics teams met in Vancouver for additional training before their respective departures to Asia. Also, the teams were sent one day earlier than expected, staying in hotels in order to ease the effect of 13-hr jet lag. - Dr. Stanislaw Skonieczny National CCPO Director

Dr. Stanislaw Skonieczny (fourth from left) and Dr. David Stone (ninth from left) with CCPO contenders.

16 • DISTILLATIONS 2006


38th International Chemistry Olympiad Gyongsan (Korea), July 2-11, 2006 Team leaders at the 38th IChO were Jean Bouffard from MIC (Boston, Massachusetts, USA) and Jonathan Pellicelli from UBC (Vancouver, BC). The Canadian Team placed 8th overall out of 67 countries participating in the IChO 2006.

Canadian Results from the 38th IChO Student

Medal

School

City/Province

Peter Lu

Gold

University of Toronto Schools

Toronto, Ontario

Kent Huynh

Silver

University of Toronto Schools

Toronto, Ontario

Charlie Wang

Silver

University of Toronto Schools

Toronto, Ontario

Dmitry Pichugin

Bronze

William Lyon Mackenzie Collegiate Institute

Toronto, Ontario

37th International Physics Olympiad Singapore, July 8-17, 2006 Team leaders at the 37th IPhO were Andrzej Kotlicki of UBC (Vancouver, BC) and Guillaume Chabot-Couture from Stanford University (Palo Alto, California, USA). The Canadian Team placed 9th overall out of 93 countries participating in the IPhO 2006. Dr. Stanislaw Skonieczny (far left, kneeling) and Dr. Pierre Savard with CCPO contenders.

Canadian Results from the 37th IPhO Student

Medal

School

City/Province

Boris Braverman

Gold

Sir Winston Churchill High School

Calgary, AB

Lin Fei

Gold

Don Mills Collegiate Institute

Toronto, ON

Patrick Kaifosh

Bronze

University of Toronto Schools

Toronto, ON

Devin Trudeau

Honourable Mention

Dover Bay Secondary School

Nanaimo, BC

Lu Liu

Due to illness during the competition Lu was not able to write one of the exams

Waterloo Collegiate Institute

Waterloo, ON

DISTILLATIONS 2006 • 17


FALL CAMPUS DAY October 28th, 2006 saw the annual St. George campus high schools recruitment event, “Fall Campus Day”. This year, a record number of Grade 12 students and their families visited the campus to meet with representatives from all departments and faculties, as well as the colleges and professional programs. Chemistry was wellrepresented at this event with a team of faculty, graduate, and undergraduate volunteers. All were kept busy talking about the Department, its programs, undergraduate research opportunities, and the student experience in Chemistry.

Students speak with Prof. Stanislaw Skonieczny during Fall Campus Day.

Highlights of the day were a guided tour of the main undergraduate facilities and a competition to win one of several prizes (including a signed photograph of our own Nobel Laureate, Prof. John Polanyi). Special thanks go to the organizing committee and volunteers who made the Department’s activities run smoothly throughout a

long and busy day: Scott Browning, Andy Dicks, Joyce Dinglasan-Panlilio, Joe Leung, James Li, Doug McIntosh, Alanna Prassad, Stan Skonieczny, Aaron Wheeler, and Lema Yousif. - Dr. David Stone Chair, Chemistry Highschool & Community Relations Committee

TAKE OUR DAUGHTERS & SONS TO WORK DAY The Chemistry Department has always been one of the must-see tours for this special day. Even a few years ago when it was only “Take Our Daughters to Work Day”, our tours have filled up quickly, often including parents who are also interested in the tour and demos!

The kids then had the chance to visit with Scott Browning who gave them an exciting demo with liquid nitrogen and explosions. They seemed to especially like the shattering racquetball! They also got to make their own silly putty to take home.

Last year was no exception; we increased the number of students on the tour from 15 to 20, and the event consisted of an actual lab tour and then a chemistry demo. This year the host labs were Bob Morris and Mark Lautens. Sean Clapham and Nicole Stogaitis, both graduate students, volunteered to give these students a tour of both Morris’ and Lautens’ labs. The students set up small demos in the lab for the kids - sometimes too many, as this year we had a hard time getting them back out of the labs!

Our reviews are always good, and the kids obviously tell their friends, so our tour fills up again the next year.

18 • DISTILLATIONS 2006

If your group is interested in participating in this program next year, please let me know! - Patricia Meindl Chemistry Dept. Co-ordinator for TODASTWD


UNDERGRADUATE NEWS

2006 Undergraduate Graduands: standing (L to R): Akos Kokai, Wendell Quan Fun, Mark Fudor, Cory Mulvihill, Derek Jackson. Seated (L to R): Yi-Ting Chen, Meiko Matsuura.

The Chemistry Department’s undergrads have had a stellar year: competing in SOUSCC and AstraZeneca poster sessions, excelling in all facets of academia.


ASTRAZENECA UNDERGRADUATE SUMMER RESEARCH POSTER SESSION Twenty-seven undergraduate students from the Department of Chemistry attended the 2006 AstraZeneca Undergraduate Summer Research Poster Session on August 17th, with five taking home prizes. Congratulations to all who participated in this event!

Congratulations to the winners! Rodolfo Gomez Lila Kane Robert Karisch Amina Mulani Benjamin Wong

Thank you to all the participants:

Pedro Borkowski Anthony Chibba Egda Escorcia Abbas Ali Kassam Hsuan-Ju Ruby Huang Joe Cho Tak Leung Michelle Nagy Steven Rathgeber Andrew Sydor Alexander Weber Lema Yousif

Jane Wing Chi Cheung Joel Drewry Antonia De Jong Benson Albert Kua Vicki Lee Leo Mui Melissa Joanne Paulite Pragma Laboni Roy Pablo Jorge Tseng Tianjiang Ye Xiaoxi Zhao

Participants in the AstraZeneca Summer Research Poster Session.

SOUTHERN ONTARIO UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT CHEMISTRY CONFERENCE Nine undergraduate students from the Department of Chemistry attended the Southern Ontario Undergraduate Student Chemistry Conference at York University on Saturday, March 18, 2006. Our students diligently prepared themselves practicing their talks for weeks leading up to the event. They all performed well, and seven students won prizes for their excellent oral presentations. Congratulations to these winners! • • • • • • •

Back Row (L to R): Prof. Drew Woolley, Xiao Yue Ding, Cory Mulvihill, Derek Jackson, Yangwei Dai, Ralph Yeung. Front Row (L to R): Jess DiCiccio, Francine Liu, Nonik Zadikian, Carol Wang, Kim Chan Chung, Joseph Calarco, Enshiun (Annie) Lee.

20 • DISTILLATIONS 2006

Yu-chun Chen, 2nd Prize, Analytical Chemistry Cindy Chun, 1st Prize, Inorganic Chemistry Kim Chan Chung, 2nd Prize, Biochemistry Nipa Haque, 2nd Prize, Inorganic Chemistry Zhuo Li, 1st Prize, Materials & Polymer Chemistry Xinghan Li, 2nd Prize, Organic Synthesis Leo Mui, Chemical Education Division Undergraduate Chemistry Award - Armando Marquez


UNDERGRADUATE AWARDS Canadian Society for Chemistry Silver Medal Derek Tsang

Each year the CSChE awards a silver-plated medal to the student with the highest marks entering his or her final year of studies at each chemical engineering department in Canada. ChemClub Undergraduate Summer Research Scholarship Carla Rose

Awarded to 2nd and 3rd-year students; preference will be given to students who have never performed laboratory research, and who have a minimum 75% average. Daniel Wilson Scholarship in Science Andy Dicks with Derek Tsang.

Derek Tsang

Awarded to a 3rd-year Chemistry student. David L. Coffen Memorial Scholarship in Organic Chemistry Olga Lifchits

Awarded to a 3rd-year student enrolled in a program offered by the Department of Chemistry who has an emphasis in organic chemistry. Preference will be given to students who have applied to take CHM 449Y. David McLaren Scholarship in Chemistry Derek Tsang

Awarded to a 3rd-year student in the Specialist program in Chemistry or Biological Chemistry. Michelle Nagy and Leo Mui with Scott Mabury.

Dorothy Whiting Scholarships in Chemistry 2nd-Year Winner: Ing-Je Chen 3rd-Year Winner: Antonia De Jong

Awarded to 2nd and 3rd-year students in the Specialist program in Biological Chemistry. DuPont Canada Summer Research Scholarships Amina Mulani, Rodolfo Gomez

Awarded to 1st, 2nd, or 3rd-year students who will spend at least three months in the laboratory of the participating faculty member. Edward Blake Scholarship in Physical Sciences Xue Yu

Esther Pierce receives her award from Andy Dicks.

Awarded to a 2nd-year student with an A average and whose program includes three courses in chemistry and/or physics. DISTILLATIONS 2006 • 21


F.E. Beamish Scholarship in Chemistry

Robert and Jean Hadgraft Scholarship in Chemistry

Hui Hui Yao

Linyuan Wang

Awarded to a 3rd-year student whose program includes at least three full course equivalents in Chemistry at the 300 level or higher.

Awarded to a student enrolled in a Specialist program in Chemistry who has achieved a cumulative GPA in the range of B+/A-.

Frank B. Kenrick Scholarship in Chemistry

Sarah Cusick Gollop & William George Gollop Memorial Scholarships in Chemistry

Esther Pierce

Awarded to an outstanding student with an A average and who is enrolled in either the Chemical Physics or the Chemistry Specialist Program; the student must also enroll in the 4th year of either specialist program in order to be eligible. Henry Myron Marshack Memorial Prize in Chemistry or in Chemistry & Physics Xue Yu

Awarded to a 2nd-year student with an A average and whose program includes three courses in chemistry or three in physics and chemistry.

Year I: Daniel Hickie, Jane Ni, Philip Park Year II: Ing-Je Chen, Vincent Wu, Wen Li Zhou Year III: Derek Tsang, Esther Pierce, Kevin Yoong

Awarded to outstanding students in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year who are engaged in a Specialist Program in chemistry or chemistry combined with another discipline and who have obtained an A average in four courses (or their equivalent) in science or mathematics courses forming part of the program. Society of Chemical Industry Merit Award in Chemistry Derek Jackson

Hypercube Prize in Chemistry Derek Jackson

Awarded to an outstanding graduating student in a specialist program in chemistry who intends to pursue graduate work. Ivan Szak Prize in Chemistry Marina Djokic

Awarded to a 4th-year student who graduates with the highest standing in the Chemistry Specialist Program (a minimum average of A is required). The Ivan Szak Scholarships in Chemistry Esther Pierce, Linyuan Wang

Awarded to two outstanding 3rd-year students who have completed the required courses of the third year of the Specialist Program in Chemistry or Chemical Physics with a minimum A average in these courses. L.V. Redman Prizes in Chemistry Daniel Hickie, Jane Ni, Peter Sues, Philip Park

Awarded to the two students who rank highest in each of 137Y and 151Y. Richard Ivey Foundation Summer Research Experience Scholarships Egda Escorcia, Michelle Nagy

Awarded to 1st, 2nd, or 3rd-year students who will spend at least three months in the laboratory of the participating faculty member.

22 • DISTILLATIONS 2006

Awarded to an outstanding 4th-year full-time student with an A average and who is completing a specialist program in chemistry or chemistry combined with another discipline; the student must also have a cumulative average of B and have completed the program within four years. University of Toronto Chemistry Club 4th Year Research Prize in Chemistry Kim Chan Chung

The U of T Chem Club will award a prize of $100 to the best 4th-year research project. This competition is open to any 4th-year student enrolled in a research course at the St. George Campus. Xerox Research Centre of Canada Undergraduate Scholarship Xiaoxi Zhao

Awarded to students enrolled in a Specialist or Major program in Chemistry.


GRADUATE NEWS

Back row (L to R): Srimoyee Chaudhuri, Julia Bonin; Middle row (L to R): Ernest Lee, Andrew Chan; Seated: Qingyan Hu

Whether they’re researching, teaching, learning, or indulging in ChemClub outings, the Chemistry Department’s graduate students are truly a force to be reckoned with!


ENVIRONMENTAL CHEMISTRY COLLOQUIUM The 6th Annual Environmental Chemistry Colloquium was held on June 6, 2006 at the Hart House Farm near Caledon, Ontario. The farm, located on the Niagara Escarpment approximately 1 hour northwest of Toronto, provided the ideal escape from the urban jungles of Toronto and Scarborough. The day was pleasantly warm and sunny, but started very early to accommodate the 19 graduate student research presentations. This year was one of the largest ever, with 42 attendees comprised of faculty, post-docs, graduate students and undergraduate summer research students. Graduate student research presentations were divided into 5 broad categories, reflecting the diverse range of environmental chemistry research within the department. Session I (“Reactions”) featured presentations by Dan Clifford, Ingrid George, Nana Kwamena, Dan Aubin and Cora Young. Session II (“Applications”) saw presentations by Chuba Shunthirasingham, Bu Lam, Joyce DinglasanPanlilio and Michelle Chartrand. After the second session, attendees enjoyed a much-deserved lunch break. Following lunch, Amila De Silva, Jessica D’eon, Sarah

Brown and Craig Butt presented their research in Session III (“Biological”). Session IV (“Ice and Cloud Chemistry”) featured research by Rachel Chang, Tara Kahan and Zamin Kanji. In the final session of the day, Session V (“Contaminants in Air, Soil and Sediments”), Gillian Daly, Fiona Wong and Naomi Stock presented their research. After the presentations, students toured the farm grounds at their leisure. Our adventures were unfortunately limited by the dense clouds of mosquitoes that seemed to be ubiquitous within the forest. As is tradition for the ECC, a bountiful and tremendously diverse BBQ dinner was prepared by the faculty. At the conclusion of the ECC, Nana Kwamena (Abbatt group) and Gillian Daly (Wania group) received the best student presentation award. This award is sponsored by ANALEST. Financial support for the ECC was generously provided by the ChemClub. Many thanks to everyone for a wonderful day. - Craig Butt (Senior Student Organizer), Bu Lam (Junior Student Organizer) & Andre Simpson (Faculty Advisor)

Photo Credit: Craig Butt

24 • DISTILLATIONS 2006


INORGANIC CHEMISTRY CONFERENCE Four members of Prof. Bob Morris’ group won presentation awards at the Inorganic Chemistry Conference IDW2006 in Ottawa in November. Graduate student Alen Hadzovic won one of six oral presentation awards. Former undergraduate student (now graduate student) F. Nipa Haque and graduate students Marco Zimmer-De Iuliis and Dr. Christine Sui-Seng won poster awards (out of 10 awarded overall). Sean Clapham also presented a poster. Oral Presentation Award Runners-Up were Joanne Yu (Farrar group) and Anthony De Crisci (Fekl group). Congratulations to all who took part for their hard work and effort! The University of Toronto will be hosting the next IDW November 2 - 4, 2007. - Helen Smith, with information from Prof. Bob Morris

Chemistry poster winners. L to R: F. Nipa Haque, Marco Zimmer-De Iuliis, Sean Clapham, Alen Hadzovic, Christine Sui-Seng.

Ontario and Quebec poster award winners.

GRADUATE AWARDS Michael J. Dignam Graduate Travel Award Tieneke Dykstra

The award provides funds to attend a conference to present either a poster or paper. Awarded to the student who has demonstrated ability in research in the Physical/Theoretical Chemistry or Chemical Physical. Donald J. LeRoy Graduate Prize in Physical Chemistry

F.E. Beamish Prizes Awarded to students for outstanding graduate work, as evidenced by a seminar or performance on examinations. • Michael Watson, Analytical Chemistry • Keith Huynh, Inorganic Chemistry Seminar • Dan Harrison, Inorganic Chemistry Examinations • Andrew Cressman, Physical Chemistry Seminar

Darren Kraemer

Boehringer Ingelheim Prize in Organic Chemistry

The LeRoy Prize is awarded annually to a student in Physical Chemistry on the basis of demonstrated excellence in research and performance in at least two graduate courses, with particular emphasis on the former. Particular attention is paid to the student’s contribution to the writing of research papers, either submitted or published.

Mark Scott

The principal factor in determining the winner is excellence in research as demonstrated by publications in scientific journals and presentations at conferences on work carried out at the University of Toronto. Academic merit is also considered. DISTILLATIONS 2006 • 25


OSOTF 2006-2007

OGSST 2006-2007

The Ontario Student Opportunity Trust Funds (OSOTF) awards refer to a group of awards, which have resulted from Ontario government’s “matching” program. Under the program every dollar of donation received for student assistance has been matched by the government as well as the university on a dollar-for-dollar basis.

Ontario Graduate Scholarships in Science and Technology (OGSST) are awarded on the basis of academic excellence and demonstrated research ability and potential in their field of study, as specified. All recipients have maintained an overall average of A- over the last two years of study at the postsecondary level.

John Bunting Graduate Prize in Chemistry

Edwin Walter and Margery Warren Graduate Scholarship

Sheila Wang

CIBA Specialty Chemical Inc. Graduate Student Award Hong Zhang

Leslie Gladstone Cook Memorial Fellowship Miseok Seo

Dalton Chemical Laboratories Organic Chemistry Scholarship in Memory of Peter Yates Gregory Rosocha

Dalton Pharma Services Advanced Inorganic and Materials Laboratory Fellowship Arya Ghadimi

Robert & Jean Hadgraft Graduate Fellowship in Chemistry

Jessica D’eon Gary Iliev

Digital Specialty Chemicals Graduate Scholarship Daniel Harrison, studying in the area of phosphine chemistry. Dina Gordon Malkin Graduate Scholarship Yevgenia Kravtsova, studying in the area of biological/medicinal chemistry. Martin Moskovits Graduate Scholarship Lukas Jabowski and Toan Nguyen, both studying physical chemistry of materials. F.E. Beamish Graduate Scholarship Mallika Das Julie Lukkarila

Greg Chen Vanessa Huxter

OGS 2006-2007

The Merck Frosst Canada Inc. Graduate Award in Chemistry Yedi Sun

Dr. L. Bradley Pett Graduate Award in Biological Chemistry Svetlana Tzvetkova

Edwin Walter Warren Graduate Student Awards Stanislav Dubinsky Jennifer Lee

Xerox Research Centre of Canada Graduate Award David Rider

Relocation Assistance Award Harini Kaluarachchi

26 • DISTILLATIONS 2006

Awarded to Master’s or Ph.D. students who have demonstrated overall academic excellence and exhibit research ability or potential. They must also possess excellent communication skills and interpersonal and leadership abilities. Graduate students awarded OGS support • • • • • • • • • •

Yuri Bolshan Jennifer Chen Timothy Clark (J. Warren Flanagan OGS in Chemistry) Yuanqing Fang Karolina Fritz Aaron Kelly Melissa Massey Praew Thansandote Cathy Wong Cora Young


Lawrence Cheung

NSERC 2006-2007

Quebec Ontario Minisymposium Bioorganic Chemistry 2007

in

Synthetic

and

Alistair Dias

Canada Graduate Scholarship • • •

Praew Thansandote Cathy Wong Cora Young

Postgraduate Scholarship • • • • • •

Yuri Bolshan Sarah Brown Craig Butt Jennifer Chen Aaron Kelly Sheila Wang

CHEMISTRY-UT FELLOWSHIP CONFERENCE TRAVEL GRANT The Department sponsors a travel grant program designed to enable graduate students to attend and present research results at scientific conferences. The motivation for this program is two-fold. This program will provide graduate students with additional experience at presenting results in a scientific forum and an opportunity to put their own research into a broader context. From the Department’s perspective, this program will advertise the superb research being done by graduate students at the University of Toronto. Criteria are based on academic performance and quality of abstract.

Extended X-Ray Absorption Fine Spectroscopy (EXAFS) Analysis of HypB: An Accessory Protein Involved in Hydrogenase Biosynthesis 13th International Conference on Biological Inorganic Chemistry, Vienna, Austria Alexei Esmanski

Macroporous Silicon Inverse Opals as Electrodes for Lithium-Ion Secondary Batteries 2006 MRS Fall Meeting, Boston Arya Ghadimi

Quantum Dot Microrods Materials Research Society (MRS) Spring 2007 Meeting, San Francisco Anna Gudmundsdottir

New Methodologies for Modifying Glycosaminoglycans Carbohydrate Conference, Tilton, NH Ryan Hili

Aziridine Aldehydes as Linchpins in Complex Heterocycle Synthesis 234th ACS National Meeting & Exposition, Boston Dongxin Hu

A New Cross-Linked Dendrido Hemoglobin with Defined Structure Gordon Research Conference (Bioorganic Chemistry), Andover, NH Gerasim Iliev

Russ Algar

Considerations for a resonance energy transfer-based nucleic acid biosensor using quantum dots as energy donors: hybridization, selectivity and immobilization Bionanotechnology: from self-assembly to cell biology, Cambridge, UK Sangram Bagh

Noise in gene expression of an unregulated artificial gene system in Escherichia coli Cold Spring Harbour Biotechnology Conference on Systemsbiology: Global Regulation of Gene Expression, Cold Spring, NY

Models of polymers subject to a force American Physical Society, Denver Laurie Joyce

Palladium-Catalyzed Aryl C-H Activation/Intramolecular C-S Bond Formation Convenient Synthesis of 2-Aminobenzothiazoles 234th ACS National Meeting & Exposition, Boston Zamin Kanji

Laboratory Studies of Ice Formation via Deposition Mode Nucleation onto Dust and Solid Aerosol Samples American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, San Francisco

Jennifer Chen

Aaron Kelly

Amplified Photochemistry with Slow Photos Materials Research Society Spring 2006 Meeting, Boston

Suppression of decoherence in two-state quantum systems Canadian Symposium on Theoretical Chemistry, St. Johns DISTILLATIONS 2006 • 27


Carmen Leung

Ruby Sullan

4th ASM Conference on Biofilm, Quebec City

Spatially Resolved Studies of Polymer Film Dynamics Under Water Using Novel Scanning Probe Microscopies Marine Biofouling 2007 Conference, Baltimore

Geng Li

Calibration of Ion Effective Temperatures by CID in a Quadrupole Ion Trap Mass 55th ASMS Conference on Mass Spectrometry, Indianapolis James Li

Investigation of polystyrene-b-polyferrocenyl silane diblock copolymer thin films via conducting probe atomic force microcopy APS 2007 March Meeting, Denver

Nai-Wen Tseng

Rhodium-Catalyzed Tandem Addition/cyclization of Bifunctional Organoboronate Esters ACS 232nd National Meeting, San Francisco Svetlana Tzvetkova

Biomimetic Aminoacylation of tRNAs Gordon Research Conference (Bioorganic Chemistry), Andover, NH

Yanjie Li

DNA-Binding Properties of Helicobacter pylori NikR ICBIC-13, Vienna, Austria

Mingfeng Wang

Kun Liu

Highly Metallized Polymer Precursors for Soft Magnetic CoFe alloy NPs Thin Films and Spintronic Devices 234th ACS National Meeting & Exposition, Boston

Improving the interfacial compatibility between conjugated polymers and quantum dots using a polythiophene-based molecular brush Gordon Conference 2007: Renewable Energy: Solar Fuels, Ventura, CA Sheila Wang

Brian Mariampillai

Palladium-Catalyzed C-H Activation-Cyanation Reactions 14th IUPAC Organometallic Chemistry Directed Towards Organic Synthesis (OMCOS), Nara, Japan

The Second Metal-Binding Site of E. coli NikR 13th International Conference on Biological Inorganic Chemistry, Vienna, Austria Michael Watson

Catalytic Ring-Opening and One-Pot Functionalization Reactions of Bicyclic Hydrazines 234th ACS National Meeting & Exposition, Boston

Micro-Contact Printing-Based Fabrication of Digital Microfuidic Devices 56th Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference, Sherbrooke

Georgetta Masson

Yun Ye

Metalloplymer-Based Multilayer Photonic Crystals Fashioned with Nanometer Scale Precision by Layer-byLayer Electrostatic Self-Assembly 234th ACS National Meeting & Exposition, Boston

Light Induced Surface Corrosion of GaAs for DNA probe Immobilization Pittcon 2007, Chicago

Andrew Martins

Yaroslav Oleksenko

Funtionalized Polymers for the Development Nanoparticles with Novel Properties 90th Canadian Chemistry Conference, Winnipeg

of

Alena Rudolph

Palladium-Catalyzed Cascade Annulation of Unactivated Secondary Halides 232nd ACS National Meeting, San Francisco Chris Smith

Cationic Nazarov-Type Electrocyclization of Arylallyl Alcohols in the Formation of Indenes American Chemical Society National Meeting, Chicago 28 • DISTILLATIONS 2006


TEACHING REDUCTION UT FELLOWSHIP

CROFT HALL OF FAME PROFILE

Awarded on the basis of academic and research excellence. Particular attention is paid to the student’s contribution to the writing of research papers, either submitted or published. The award reduces TA obligation to enable students to concentrate in their research.

ALISTAIR DIAS

Sangram Bagh (McMillen) Gang Chen (Yudin) Lei Chi (Woolley) Ignacio Franco (Brumer) Yuliya Gavrilyuk (Batey) Robert Grunwald (Kapral) Shell Ip (Walker) Hyunwoo Kim (Chin) Buuan Lam (A. Simpson) Tingbin Lim (Polanyi) Brian Mariampillai (Lautens) Georgetta Masson (Manners) Joanna Poloczek (Nitz) Nai-Wen Tseng (Lautens) Yishan Wang (Winnik) Mingquan Zhang (Thompson)

Ludovico Cademartiri (Ozin) Lawrence Cheung (Yudin) Daniele Fava (Kumacheva) Jeffrey Dunford (Dhirani) Ingrid George (Abbatt) Vanessa Huxter (Scholes) Tara Kahan (Donaldson) Julianne Kitevski (Prosser) Yanjie Li (Zamble) Neil MacKinnon (Macdonald) Andrew Martins (Lautens) Scott Mundle (Kluger) Riyad Raghu (Schofield) Mingfeng Wang (Winnik) Amir Zabet Khosousi (Dhirani)

In order to take a place in the Croft TA Hall Of Fame, one must have won the TA Award multiple times. 2006 Croft winner Alistair Dias has amply fulfilled this requirement; he’s won it three times: in the Fall 2002, Fall 2004 and Fall 2006 terms. Alistair completed his undergraduate degree at U of T with a specialist in Biological Chemistry and obtained a Masters degree in Chemistry in 2004. He is now on his way to completing his graduate studies and obtaining his Doctoral degree. He is currently working with Prof. Deborah Zamble specifically in the fields of metalloprotein characterization and transition metal homeostasis. He enjoys teaching and in the future he would like to pursue a career in research at a successful biotech company or obtain a faculty position in an academic institution to continue educating students in chemistry and expanding upon his own research ideas.

CROFT TA AWARD WINNERS Each year, lab demonstrators and tutors vie for the coveted Croft TA Award, which is designed to recognize excellence in teaching. One demonstrator and tutor win for the Fall Session, while a corresponding pair is recognized in the Winter session. Students and faculty nominate the tutors and lab demonstrators by submitting persuasive and compelling letters of nomination which detail the nominee’s sterling qualities. Nominees are evaluated most importantly on TA evaluations as well as the strength of the nomination letter. Congratulations to this year’s winners! Tutors Winter 2006 - Mark Scott, CHM138H Fall 2006 - Alistair Dias, CHM138H (Hall of Fame Award) Lab Demonstrators Winter 2006 - Joanne Yu, CHM238Y Fall 2006 - Keith Huynh, CHM138H DISTILLATIONS 2006 • 29


GRAD PROFILE: NICOLE STOGAITIS It is not uncommon that stories come my way of individual effort in Chemistry going a bit beyond the routine. I find these entirely consistent with how the department and members operate generally. The last weekend of April generated one such story that is worthy of broader telling. Nicole Stogaitis, from the Lautens group, was in on Sunday to check on experiments and found a stranded student and family in front of the Lash Miller building. They had driven up from Massachusetts where the student attends Deerfield Academy, an institute where U of T likes to recruit new students. Somehow the prearranged tour guide was waylaid and Nicole stepped

30 • DISTILLATIONS 2006

in and gave the student and family a tour of Chemistry labs, library, and the new garden. Ultimately, she did such a good job at representing the University that the student has decided to enroll at U of T over multiple other options. I share this story not because it is unique but rather because it captures a bit of why this department routinely is so successful in so much of what it does.... and why I am proud of being associated with such an impressive group of people as make up the Chemistry community. - Prof. Scott Mabury, Chair


chem club

for the other side of your brain

Who makes sure members of the Chemistry Department get a snack (donuts or ethnic specialties) at 5 pm on Fridays? Who subsidizes tickets to all sorts of fun activities such as baseball, the Toronto Zoo, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, etc.? Who supports academic events such as colloquiums, student conferences and motivational talks for the Chemistry community? The answer to all of the above is Chem Club of course! We are pleased to help you get a balanced life and discover Toronto as you work hard everyday. - Chem Club Executive

free publicity... Chem Club threw a pub night for incoming grad students in October. New grad students were given the opportunity to meet with veteran grad students, post docs, faculty and staff in the department in an informal setting. “Beverages” of all sorts were available to new students. Thanks to everyone that came out making this such an upbeat event. See you next year! - Trisha Ang, Michael Watson, Marco Zimmer de Iuliis

hitting the sweet spot As every Valentine’s Day should include sweets, Chem Club provided a mid-afternoon treat of cinnamon hearts, chocolate hearts, and mini-cupcakes loaded with pink icing! The Department of Chemistry certainly has a sweet tooth; in a matter of minutes, the cupcakes were all gone! - Praew Thansandote

crème de la crème... In September, Chem Club hosted an Ice Cream Sundae Social for the Chemistry Department. Chem Club provided the ice cream along with a wide assortment of sundae toppings. Students, staff and faculty enjoyed their delicious sundaes outside on our patio on a bright sunny afternoon. - Yanjie Li, Ingrid George From top to bottom: Mike Watson getting cozy with the newcomers (L to R) Beth Miller, Tom Hsieh, and Vivienne Luk. Members of the department turned up to enjoy the Valentine’s Day sweets. Delicous ice cream sundaes in the making. Two of the night’s winners: David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson pumpkins.

frighteningly good! Chem Club was pleased to organize the annual pumpkin carving contest on October 27. With numerous carving teams and a few last minute entries, this year’s event was a tough competition! Four lucky teams received top honors and a small prize was given to everyone who participated. The Biohazard pumpkin was one of the night’s winners, along with other notable team efforts such as the Borat, Picasso, and David Hasselhoff & Pamela Anderson pumpkins! - Nicole Stogaitis, Praew Thansandote

DISTILLATIONS 2006 • 31


SEPTEMBER GRAD OPEN HOUSE: MEET THE FAMILY! On Saturday September 30th, Chemistry opened its doors to a host of 49 prospective graduate students. They were eager to learn about the program and the facilities, meet some faculty, and find out just what Department life had to offer. The day got under way with a morning Information Session, which was delivered by Prof. Gilbert Walker (Associate Chair of Graduate Studies). Students also heard from Prof. Mark Nitz, Prof. Dave McMillen from UTM, Bu Lam from UTSC, and a representative of the Chem Club. After the Session, Joyce Dinglasan-Panlilio, James Li, and Ruby Sullan guided the students through the Department on a series of informative and engaging tours. At noon, the students gathered for a Poster Session in the lobby of Lash Miller - and then were treated to a Chem Club-sponsored BBQ Lunch in the beautiful Davenport Lash Miller Courtyard Garden. After lunch, the Poster Session continued for a brief time - and then the students were able to enjoy some “down time”, with the Grad Dept scheduling social activities. A welcome ice cream break was arranged by the Chem Club at 3:00 pm, and then the students were whisked off for

a campus tour at 4:00 pm. Brian Mariampillai, Lawrence Cheung, and Matthew Coulter were their knowledgeable guides. An extremely action-packed day was brought to a close with dinner at Rol San Chinese Restaurant on Spadina Avenue, followed by an exploration of downtown! All in all, it was a very successful event; the student turnout was good, the programs were engaging, and the resulting student feedback was overwhelmingly positive. A heartfelt thank you goes out to the faculty, administrative staff, tour guides, and Chem Club for giving these up-and-coming students a warm welcome! - Anna Liza Villavelez, Helen Smith

What did the students think of their glimpse into Departmental life? “I’ve gained the impression that this department is capable of providing any student pursuing graduate studies with a first rate global education. There are not only a large number of research directions, but each area of the department interacts significantly with the others in approaching their questions…This says to me that the Chemistry Department at U of T provides a highly social environment in which it is possible for a person pursuing graduate studies to complete and do so with such a broad spectrum of knowledge as to be able to apply themselves in any aspect of a chemical field.” “I thought the Department is well-facilitated and the new renovations and additions of new laboratory space are further incentives to look forward to when I apply for graduate studies at U of T.” “I was thoroughly impressed by the facilities as well as the [personnel] in the Department. The Department seems to be set up [so] that there exists lots of room for collaboration as well it provides the opportunities for lots of independent learning. The University seems to be very research oriented, very multicultural and has lots of areas outside of academics for students to get involved in.” 32 • DISTILLATIONS 2006


FACULTY NEWS

Professors Robert Morris, Jik Chin, Mark Lautens and Rob Batey.

It was another busy year for Chemistry Faculty: welcoming new colleagues, achieving even more international recognition, and opening up exciting new areas of research.


NEW FACULTY PROFILES VY DONG HTTP://WWW.CHEM.UTORONTO.CA/STAFF/VDONG/

Torontonians love to boast of their city’s multifarious cuisines. Many inhabitants of the downtown core derive a gleeful pleasure from seeing the eyes of a newcomer widen with shock at the length of the response to “Do you know of a good place to eat?” The Department’s newest Professor in Organic Chemistry is one of those who will excitedly ask for Photo Credit: Wilmer Alkhas the entire list. Vy Dong is thus further proof that organic chemists seem to have a panache for the culinary arts matched only by – or perhaps as a result of – their prowess in the laboratory. Vy was always interested in science and math, with a curiosity about the natural world. Drawn to ecology for its mix of measurement and description, she enrolled in a corresponding program as an undergraduate at UC Irvine. Upon taking Larry Overman’s introductory organic chemistry course, Vy discovered the ideal subject for her interests in a field that combines both qualitative and quantitative perspectives. Switching her major, she landed herself a job in the Overman laboratory. Despite the initial perfunctory task of glassware washing, Vy avidly observed the business of organic synthesis firsthand and knew she had found her science. In graduate school, Vy experienced a rare amount of training for her present career. She started working in the newly-minted group of David MacMillan at UC Berkeley in 1998. After her Master’s, she moved with her advisor to Caltech, and thus helped set up the laboratory for a second time! After honing her skills as a PDF again at Berkeley, Vy came to Toronto to assemble her own group in July 2006. If the third time’s a charm, then her current facilities can only be first-rate.

chemists are faced with the double-edged challenge of developing catalysts that exhibit selectivity similar to nature’s enzymes, yet exhibit reactivity that is broadly applicable. Her chosen modus operandi is to create novel organometallic intermediates and investigate their reaction behaviour(s). At present, her group is investigating, among other species, nickel-CO2 complexes, rhodiumsiloxycarbenes, and palladium-nitrene intermediates. Her students aim to transform simple and readily available reagents (e.g. carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons, nitroalkenes) into more valuable products in fewer steps, while generating fewer waste products. Vy strongly believes that research in organic synthesis will have a significant impact on our ability to tackle a range of important challenges, from finding life-saving therapeutics to creating novel and environmentally-friendly materials. She asserts that these tasks will only be achieved by ensuring that industry and academia are leavened with talented and adroit synthetic chemists. Thus, by confronting the synthesis of complex molecules and developing new catalysts, her research program ensures that her students will emerge as highly trained scientists. Although she is new to Toronto specifically and Canada generally, as a lover of travel Vy delights in the cosmopolitan atmosphere of her new urban digs. Her saying “Toronto feels like home,” shows that she has found a place reminiscent of where she spent her formative years and acquired her academic training. It is clear that whether the context is the journey of a traveller, the arc of a student’s academic career, a chemical synthesis, or the preparation of a meal, intermediate states are centrally important to Vy. Her profound joy at being an academic researcher, coupled with the twin tasks of tackling the “riskier [and complex] reactions of organic synthesis” and training “the best possible synthetic organic chemists,” ensures that she and her newfound home will mutually benefit.

JENNIFER MURPHY HTTP://WWW.CHEM.UTORONTO.CA/STAFF/JGM/

In terms of personnel and structural material, 80 St. George St. has undergone several addition and isomerisation reactions over the last decade. The generous space of the Davenport Building has catalysed the rate of discovery, and the newly finished garden provides a new reaction chamber for the cross-linking

Vy’s goal as a researcher is to realise what she strongly believes is the duty of university-based researchers — to train students to become independent scientists and to address fundamental questions. She notes that synthetic 34 • DISTILLATIONS 2006

Photo credit: Jennifer Murphy


of ideas. Additionally, the older research wing has undergone various internal metamorphoses, in both theory and empirical (groups). Yet perhaps one of the oddest additions to date, as of January 2007, is the sudden protuberance of pipes through windows on the western end of the 2nd floor. No, the 7th floor hasn’t overgrown itself — rather the Department is home to a new chemist, with a penchant to determine just what nitrogen does in the atmosphere. Jennifer Murphy has come back to Canada, thrilled to have landed her self-described “dream job” as the Department’s newest Professor of Environmental Chemistry. Like a bottled gas under pressure, Jennifer is raring to get outside, though not before she completes her lab set up. The sampling pipes will soon be accompanied by state-of-theart analysis tools, requisite office supplies, and graduate students as expectant for field measurement as their avid advisor. The field of atmospheric monitoring has changed a great deal since Jennifer first started her undergraduate work at McGill (graduated 2000), given our improved ability to acquire, store and process data, and a greater impetus to determine both baselines and changing patterns in the environment. Through doctoral work completed at UC Berkeley in 2005 and a postdoctoral fellow at East Anglia in the UK, Jennifer has combined her zeal for exploring nature with an inquisitive and analytical mind. She looks forward to extending these skills to students to ensure the public’s need to know is met with rigour and quantitative results. Her immediate work will concern monitoring NH3 and NOx concentrations in southwestern Ontario’s air, as part of an Environment Canada effort to determine the source and degree of trans-border pollution. As her group evolves, she hopes to improve the sensitivity and accuracy of atmospheric monitoring techniques while developing a better sense of how exactly species in the nitrogen cycle are distributed. A long-term goal is to set up a permanent monitoring station somewhere in the country that is located and equipped to collect meaningful pollution data. Jennifer is drawn to academic research because she will be freer to pursue issues that concern society and pique her interest. “What uncertainty means to a scientist versus the same for the public [is not the same],” she says. To best assist the public in determining the most proactive or useful course of action requires pure research and careful monitoring with a problem-based focus. Through solid research, she can better understand the underlying chemistry of the issue, thereby assisting in the determination of the most effective mitigation strategies. An additional attraction of university

culture, she says, is that the sharing of information through collaboration is encouraged, which is imperative in the study of atmospheric chemistry, as in any other field. Also excited to teach, Jennifer is readying coursework for students who are increasingly expected to hit the ground running upon graduation. She plans to have her students begin early by giving oral presentations in CHM415, so these future consultants can practice their mettle. She well notes that as public issues change from acid rain to CFCs to CO2, students will be expected to assertively remind society of past transgressions while recommending proactive solutions. Speaking to Jennifer is to know she is thrilled to be part of this Chemistry department. Its status and excellence in environmental chemistry research has provided a network of colleagues with whom Jennifer is glad to intermix. The facilities will allow her both to study fundamentals and tinker with her field-worthy instruments. And any place that lets her poke holes in the window has got to be a great fit.

DATONG SONG HTTP://WWW.CHEM.UTORONTO.CA/STAFF/DSONG/HOME.HTML

When queried as to what childhood activities inspired one to follow science, many chemists recall playing with an off-the-shelf chemistry set. Datong Song is no different in this regard, though the “shelf” in question was not typical of what one would find at Woolworth’s or Toys ‘Я’ Us. This son, nephew, brother, and cousin of Photo Credit: Prof. Datong Song chemists fondly remembers discovering chemistry early in his father’s university laboratory. His mouth curls into the hint of a mischievous smile when he says, “Yes, I remember lots of fire.” It is thus no small wonder that Datong is now hotly pursuing the fundamentals behind one of the most common reactions in nature: the oxidation of H2O to O2. The ubiquity of this reaction on the Earth is obvious, since it plays a central role in photosynthesis. The “waste product” of O2 forever benefits us and other obligate aerobes, but Datong is interested for another reason. Given that such oxygen production is logically accompanied by the generation of two H2 molecules, fully understanding the overall DISTILLATIONS 2006 • 35


mechanism should pay large dividends in the alternative energy marketplace.

at new processes to convert crude oil into petrochemicals more directly and thus less wastefully.

Despite these lofty goals, Datong is a well-grounded researcher dedicated to a persistent and meticulous work ethic. His undergraduate years were spent at Nankai University in Tianjin, China. Upon graduation in 2000, he first moved to Canada for graduate work under Suning Wang at Queen’s University in Kingston. After finishing his Ph.D. in 2003, Datong wanted to hone his skills with Stephen Lippard at MIT. However, while waiting for his NSERC PDF to start in 2004, Datong worked with Prof. Robert Morris in the Department. Datong was happy to spend a year in Toronto, since his then-girlfriend, now wife, was then a student at the University of Toronto. In 2006, Datong returned from Massachusetts as the newest Professor in Inorganic Chemistry.

In addition to investigating solutions to alter society’s dependence on petroleum, Datong is also creating materials for analytical techniques. His lab is synthesising porous metal-organic frameworks which change their luminescent properties upon adsorption of gaseous molecules. With a selectivity control that can even be chiral, such materials are of use in myriad applications, from “sniffer” scanners to airborne pollution monitoring.

Datong’s newly formed group is probing the mechanism by which the aptly named Oxygen Evolving Protein culls four electrons from two water molecules upon photoactivation, rendering a single O2 molecule. The structure of the active site was determined with 3.5 Ǻ resolution recently, so it is known to garner its catalytic abilities from a Ca and four Mn ions. What is particularly compelling is that each Mn ion loses a separate electron, making for a smoothly efficient and highly selective reaction gradient. Datong hopes that the meticulous synthetic recreation of the active site’s structure will unveil its secrets. Not only should such insight render H2 more efficiently, but it should also hint

Datong says he has been inspired by his father and hopes to be as helpful an advisor as all who have taught him from childhood through graduate school. In his spare time, he enjoys playing volleyball with the Department intramural team or challenging someone to a friendly game of table tennis. In his first term as a Professor, he co-taught CHM238 with Dr. Scott Browning, aspiring to ensure that the students received a solid grounding in main group chemistry. Anyone speaking to Datong will be infected with his excitement to discover, and can well imagine his younger self preparing for a future in chemistry. The coupling of Datong’s interests in selective catalysis with the other ongoing Departmental research will ensure that both glow with energies anew. New faculty profiles written by Darcy Gentleman

G e t t o k n ow y o u r n e w e st fac u lt y me mbe rs! What problem in science is the most compelling to you? Datong: Harnessing an alternative energy source to relinquish our dependence on petroleum. Jennifer: Ensuring the collection and reliability of quantitative results, both in environmental and health sciences. Vy: Making pharmaceutical agents for the diseases that affect the most, despite the lack of profitability. What is your favourite molecule? Datong: Oxygen evolving protein (!) Jennifer: NO2 Vy: Erythromycin (but “They’re all so cool!”) Who is your scientific role model? Datong: My Ph.D. advisor, Suning Wang, for teaching me how to best encourage and inspire a scientist in their advanced training. Jennifer: Mario Molina – for epitomising the dedication to solving a problem from its characterisation to advocating societal change to combat it (specifically ending the use of CFCs so as to save the Ozone Layer). Vy: Linus Pauling – for making innumerable contributions to chemistry and demonstrating the obligations of a scientist in educating the world. If you were trapped on a desert island with nothing but a tool box, what scientific instrument would you most like? (engines and fully functional communication devices aren’t allowed) Datong: Something to render an efficient combustible fuel with which to cook. Jennifer: As close to a kitchen as one can get without breaking the rules. Vy: An LC-MS to find some interesting never-before-known molecules.

36 • DISTILLATIONS 2006


CHANGE

IS

UPON US

THE U OF T CENTRE FOR GLOBAL CHANGE SCIENCE

Through its Academic Initiative Fund program, the University of Toronto recently funded the Centre for Global Change Science (CGCS). The goal of the centre is to promote research and educational activities at the university in the area of global environmental change, a discipline that has emerged as one of the defining scientific and societal challenges of our time. The field is highly interdisciplinary, encompassing our understanding of the atmosphere, the ocean, the biosphere, and portions of the crust, and of how these different components interact with each other. Science questions that are relevant to global change science include global and regional climate change, environmental pollution, and large-scale ecological change. The focus of the Centre is upon the earth science, and not upon the political, economic and mitigation sides of the subject. Its Director is Dick Peltier in the Department of Physics, and its two associate directors are myself and Roland Sage in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Faculty involved in the Centre come from a wide range of Departments and Faculties, including physics, chemistry, ecology and evolutionary biology, geology, geography, forestry and chemical engineering. Environmental science of this type is extremely strong at the University of Toronto, with a tradition of being rooted in the fundamental disciplines within a number of departments. The goal of CGCS is to build upon these strengths by facilitating interactions across departments and disciplines. These interactions occur in a number of ways. A major part of the program is a seminar series in which world-leading scholars present their research in a manner suitable for a general global change science audience. In addition, educational programs are directed at both undergraduate and graduate students. In the former, undergraduates from both U of T and elsewhere are funded for a summer to join research groups across the University. No background in environmental science is required, and we hope that many of these students will join the global change science field for later studies. On the graduate student front, the Centre funds projects that enhance a student’s graduate program but would not habitually occur, such as specialized field work, participation in a specialized summer school, or visiting a research group elsewhere in the world. These graduate students present informal seminars on their research activities to the CGCS community, where

Prof. John Abbatt

emphasis is placed on learning to communicate their research activities to a highly diverse audience. Finally, a postdoctoral program will soon commence where topnotch scientists will be funded to work collaboratively with scientists from different departments at the University. Our environmental chemistry group in the Department of Chemistry continues to grow, with our latest addition – Jennifer Murphy – assuming her faculty position in January 2007. Together, we conduct research in a number of issues that have direct impact on our understanding of global environmental change, including atmospheric trace gas abundances, aerosol chemistry, degradation of organic contaminants, persistent organic pollutants, groundwater pollution, and soil chemistry. In this context, we view ourselves as one of the major players in CGCS. Participation in the Centre’s activities is open to all interested students and faculty at U of T. Please visit our website for more information: http://www.cgcs.utoronto.ca - Prof. Jonathan Abbatt

DISTILLATIONS 2006 • 37


A MEETING

OF

MIND

AND

MATTER

THE INSTITUTE FOR OPTICAL SCIENCES

The Institute for Optical Sciences (IOS) represents a new model for fostering the highest level of scholarship while providing important new conduits for the University to play a leadership role in the knowledge-based economy. The primary intellectual focus is on light-matter interactions. This theme provides a unifying force to bring together faculty from Chemistry, Physics, Electrical Engineering, Material Science, and the University Health Network. It is truly a multidisciplinary environment. The objective of the IOS is to be recognized as one of the world leading research centres in optical sciences and to serve as a magnet to bring the top minds in this field to Toronto. By achieving critical mass and international recognition, the IOS will help bring in additional research support to maintain a world-class fundamental research program in light-matter interactions. The most unique feature of the IOS is the research is supplemented by a core of dedicated staff scientists to facilitate knowledge transfer. The role of the staff scientist is critical in that it enables the IOS to commercialize University IP in all its forms without undermining the basic research program. The staff scientists are responsible for spearheading development efforts in concert with industrial partners. Industries are openly engaged in

the process and are encouraged to present problems that represent current bottlenecks to their market access. Teams are formed comprising faculty, postdocs and students, who work with IOS staff scientists to define and overcome any technical challenges. The IOS provides services, facilities, and programs designed for both industrial partners and academic members. The staff scientists manage the process to ensure objectives are met on the time scale important to industry without diverting University faculty time away from what they do best - teaching. The IOS represents a truly unique interface between the University and the business community. The IOS also serves its faculty members by providing them and their students with professional and technical training programs and the expertise of the IOS staff scientists, as well as access to the ~$5 million worth of equipment in 6 laboratories, which are located on the 3rd floor of the McLennan Physical Labs building. They provide laser spectroscopy, optical characterization, photonics processing, and optical modeling. The IOS also liaises with instrument manufacturers to showcase newly introduced equipment, giving students and faculty a chance to try out and test state-of-the-art equipment. The IOS delivers targeted programs to students through initiatives such as Professional Skills Development, Entrepreneurship 101, and the Distinguished Visiting Scientist Program; these exciting events provide unique opportunities to network with the world’s top scientists, industry partners, and top-tier investors. Included in these unique initiatives are education, hands-on training and exciting events to help academic members and students stay up-to-date with current research and explore career opportunities. For example, the Distinguished Visiting Scientist Program brings world-renowned scientists to the University of Toronto for internal and public lectures, as well as intimate one-on-one meetings about their research. These worldleading scientists, including two Nobel laureates, stay at the University for two weeks, available and accessible to students and faculty alike.

Profs. R. J. Dwayne Miller and Cynthia Goh, respectively Director and Associate Director of the Institute for Optical Sciences. They are also two of the Institute’s founding faculty members. Photo Credit: Sadia Khan

38 • DISTILLATIONS 2006

The IOS complements these events with the Boris P. Stoicheff Annual Lecture; a public lecture given in


December that encourages an understanding of science and research and is typically attended by an audience of approximately 400. An inter-departmental faculty committee selects and invites these guests a year in advance with the end result being an impressive roster of speakers. The IOS has also developed and delivers focused training seminars for students to augment students’ knowledge. The Research Skills Program offers interactive weekly seminars that teach basic research skills. Corresponding assignments include writing a scientific paper, doing several 15-minute presentations, and interactive critiques of each others’ work.

Professor David Philips conducts experiments at the 2006 Stoicheff Lecture, held December 10, 2006. Photo Credit: Emanuel Istrate

The Engineering Research Program for 2nd and 3rd year engineers gives undergraduate engineering students - in any discipline - the opportunity to do groundbreaking, fundamental research in IOS faculty laboratories. During the summer term (20 hours/week) or during the fall/ winter year (10 hours/week), students work with faculty and graduate student mentors to develop valuable scientific and design skills.

coming from Prof. Dwayne Miller’s research group. Both companies have been awarded commercialization funding from government sources, and both have been introduced to experienced entrepreneurs and investors with startup experience who are willing to take operational roles to help the companies launch. Both companies are also being moved forward by PhD graduates from the principal investigator’s research group.

IOS has also focused on helping its faculty members’ students gain the professional skills they need to be successful, whether they decide to pursue an academic or industrial career. It started in the fall of 2006 when a seminar entitled, “Where are they now?” had two PhDs from industry talk about their very different career paths. One of them is currently managing a venture capital fund, while the other became an officer of a very large and successful corporation. The next event was an etiquette dinner conducted at the Faculty Club, where the 32 attending students learned about customs and tips for gracious social interaction during networking and formal dinners. The IOS has collaborated with the U of T Career Centre to deliver an interactive seminar on resumé creation and the latest in employer expectations. Working with the Faculty of Arts and Science Advancement Office, IOS plans to organize mock job interviews with alumni and a Dress for Success seminar, culminating with a Career Fair in August 2007.

The IOS contributes to the University of Toronto by developing, growing and delivering its three key programs: Academic Programs, Industry Outreach and Commercialization. It represents a new model for harvesting university intellectual property, which maximizes the socio-economic impact of the university while reinforcing the importance of scholarship. - Prof. R. J. Dwayne Miller, Shell Ip.

The third offering from IOS is support and assistance for the commercialization of IOS faculty members’ research. The IOS staff is presently working with two newly-formed companies, Northern Nanotechnologies Inc. (NNT) and AttoDyne Inc. (ADI). Each company has been formed to take technology to market which evolved from research conducted by IOS faculty members: NNT as a result of work done in Prof. Cynthia Goh’s laboratory, and ADI DISTILLATIONS 2006 • 39


CELEBRATING FACULTY ACHIEVEMENTS Each year, Chemistry Faculty are consistently recognized for their significant contributions to research, teaching, scholarship, and contributing to the community at large. Congratulations to this year’s winners! CIC Macromolecular Science & Engineering Award Eugenia Kumacheva was awarded the Chemical Institute of Canada’s Macromolecular Science and Engineering Award for distinguished contribution to macromolecular science or engineering. CSC Keith Laidler Award Professor Greg Scholes was awarded the Canadian Society of Chemistry’s 2006 Keith Laidler Award for his distinguished contribution to the field of physical chemistry. ISI Highly-Cited Researchers Both Professor Geoffrey Ozin and Professor Mitch Winnik received the honor of being named “Highly Cited Researchers” by the Institute for Scientific Information. They are to be commended for their respective contributions to the propagation and dissemination of quality scholarship. Royal Society Of Canada Fellowship Professor Lewis Kay was elected as a Fellow to the Royal Society of Canada. Election to Fellowship is the highest academic accolade in Canada that is available to scientists and scholars. Royal Society Of Canada Rutherford Memorial Medal Professor Molly Shoichet was awarded the Royal Society of Canada Rutherford Memorial Medal. The medals are presented for outstanding research in any branch of physics and chemistry and in recognition of Lord Rutherford’s own research carried out in Canada at a relatively young age.

Chair Kicks Competition to the Curb On the morning of Thursday, September 21st, 2006, University of Toronto President David Naylor and Provost Vivek Goel challenged the Principals, Deans, Academic Directors and Chairs to a shoe kick to mark the launch of U of T’s Active U campaign. The participants each unlaced one shoe, took their place at the starting line, and kicked their loose shoe off as hard as possible. Chemistry Chair Scott Mabury did the department proud. His shoe flew 26.6 metres for the win. Congratulations, Scott! For more information on the Active U campaign, visit http://www.activeu.ca 40 • DISTILLATIONS 2006

Chair Scott Mabury demonstrating the winning field goal... er, kick. Photo Credit: Caz


LOVE

OF A

University Professor Emeritus Adrian G. Brook is recognized internationally for his scientific contributions to the field of chemistry, in particular his numerous publications on organosilicon chemistry. He earned a B.A. in physics and chemistry and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry here at U of T, and has been a valued faculty member of the Chemistry Dept. since 1953. On Friday June 9th, 2006, the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa, was conferred on him by the University of Toronto. Here are some of Prof. Brook’s recollections and words of wisdom from his Convocation address to the newly minted graduates: This is indeed an overwhelming once-in-a-lifetime occasion full of emotion. I want to express my gratitude to my Alma Mater the University of Toronto for conferring on me this incredible honour, which I accept with great pride and pleasure. I also want to thank Professor Lautens for his very generous and exceedingly flattering citation. I am also very pleased that my son Michael Brook (B.Sc. Toronto), a Professor of Chemistry at McMaster University, is able to take part in this ceremony, and for the presence of five of

LIFETIME

our grandchildren and their parents, as well as many of my Chemistry colleagues. It has been said that being a speaker at Convocation is like being the corpse at an Irish wake—they need you in order to throw the party, but they don’t expect you to say very much. I’ll bear that in mind. I have had a marvelous life at the University over the years and I’m really grateful to the Department and the University for their continued support for the past 17 years since my required retirement. Having an office and amenities after retirement has provided the opportunity to continue my chemical research for several years, and currently the completion of a book on the History of the Chemistry Department. To the Doctoral and Masters graduates of 2006 my heartiest congratulations! You have made it! You have worked long and hard, and we salute you as you become members of the Alumni of a great university. You are our hopes for the country’s intellectual future.

Adrian Brook and family celebrate following his Convocation address. From left to right: Adriana (granddaughter), Adrian, Tina (daughter-in-law), Peg (wife), Michael (son, Prof. of Chemistry at McMaster University), Mia (granddaughter) and Lise (granddaughter). Four other Brooks (son, his wife and two children) were also present at the Convocation ceremony.

DISTILLATIONS 2006 • 41


Many of you are now about to seek employment and a career. Our hopes are that you will find satisfying, challenging, and fulfilling positions, and that the knowledge and skills you have gained in your university experience will be put to full use. There are meaningful opportunities out there awaiting you, although you may not find them where you expect to. You may have to be flexible in your expectations in the fast-changing world that you are about to face. Some of you in the future may have careers involving research, or may even have positions of importance to the support of research. These days it is mission-oriented research, that is research where an objective can be specified, which gets a large share of the financial support, because of the appealing claims made of potential benefits to come soon to society. I want to put in a pitch for the support of curiosity-oriented research, namely that research which seeks knowledge in previously unexplored areas where, because what will be found cannot be known in advance it is impossible to specify what benefits may be derived. Yet it is curiosity-oriented research which has resulted in many important developments in our lifestyle and society; for example, the laser with its many applications. I admit I am biased – had the funding agencies not supported my curiosity about what would happen to the properties of organic molecules if an atom of silicon was inserted into their framework in place of a carbon atom, I would not be here today.

Prof. Brook during his Convocation address.

Dept. Chair Scott Mabury prepares to hood Prof. Brook, while Chancellor Vivienne Poy confers the degree.

Finally, on this first day of the rest of your lives I want to congratulate you again on your achievements. We at the university, your families and friends, are truly proud of you! May you have good health, much satisfaction, and great success in your future endeavours! You are young, you have dreams, you have an education second to none, you are prepared – now, go for it! - Prof. Em. Adrian G. Brook

Dept. Chair Scott Mabury, Adrian Brook, Prof. Mark Lautens.

42 • DISTILLATIONS 2006


MEDIA MATTERS CHEMISTRY FACULTY IN THE NEWS

Prof. Michael Georges EDGE Magazine: Winter 2006, Vol 7, No 1 A profile of Prof. Georges’ motivations and work with polymers was featured in EDGE Magazine’s Winter edition. “People who do well in research are those who can be creative. And you have to have passion,” Georges says. - from Paul Fraumeni Prof. Ulrich Krull University of Toronto at Missisauga News: Jan 6, 2006 The collaboration between Prof. Krull and Lisa Studnicki, a grad student, was featured in UTM News. Studnicki’s company, GL Chemtech International, is involved in the construction of complex molecular structures for clients in various industries. Says Studnicki, “We benefit tremendously from Prof. Krull’s support and knowledge in the field.” - from Adam Giles Prof. Scott Mabury The Toronto Star: Dec 31, 2006 The Dept. Chair was listed as one of the Star’s “10 to Watch”, a profile of 10 movers and shakers in fields as varied as the sciences, social activism, the arts, and sports. Mabury’s work on the structure of PFCAs, environmental chemical contaminants, has been getting a lot of press lately in very public circles. “I wouldn’t say I’m a crusader, unless it’s crusading to know,” he says. - from Peter Calamai U of T Bulletin: Feb 1, 2006 Mabury’s research was also profiled in the Feb 1st issue of the Bulletin, further underscoring the need for and the public interest in a resolution to this particular environmental dilemma. - from Sonnet L’Abbé

Prof. Molly Shoichet The Globe and Mail: Oct 30, 2006 Professor Shoichet’s work with tissue engineering, on the interface between medicine and engineering, was profiled as part of the “Celebrating Engineering: From Nuclear to Life Sciences” feature. “This is a very exciting field for engineers to get into - there is so much promise,” says Shoichet. - from OSPE sources Prof. Myrna Simpson Spectroscopy Now: June 1, 2006 Prof. Simpson’s NMR work to solve the problem of how problematic contaminants interact with soil organic matter is the subject of the “Digging Deep” feature. “It is important to study how problematic environmental contaminants interact with the soil so that remedial methods can be improved and more environmentally friendly methods for the clean up of contaminated sites can be developed,” Simpson says. - from David Bradley Prof. Frank Wania La Nación: Dec 11, 2006 Elevated levels of pesticides in mountainous regions of Costa Rica are leading to potentially alarming consequences for the populace. Prof. Wania’s explorations into this issue were profiled in the Argentine daily newspaper. - from Marisa González

Every year we include a section on “Faculty in the News”. Have you been featured in a newspaper, magazine, television report or website? Let us know! We will include a short summary of the article and a link to any electronic version of the article.

DISTILLATIONS 2006 • 43


GETTING

THE

WORD OUT

PROF. BOB MORRIS RELATES RESEARCH TO REAL-WORLD APPLICATIONS Prof. Bob Morris has been in the media spotlight a great deal lately. The current thrust of his research is in organo-transition metal chemistry - and it’s proving increasingly popular in terms of the general public’s interest. Prof. Morris spoke to Global News crews twice in 2006, once on June 9 and once on February 15, 2007. The June interview with reporter Christina Stevens discussed the chemistry of ammonium nitrate in view of its potential use by terrorists as an explosive. The February session examined how salt works in clearing ice from roadways and why rock salt is not effective below about -15 degrees C. This was related to accidents on the road in Toronto when the temperature dropped below this value. The public is taking a serious interest in the practical applications of Morris’ work, and it’s unlikely that these two Global News interviews will be Morris’ last. - Helen Smith with Prof. Bob Morris

2006 FACULTY PUBLICATION COVERS

Paul Brumer Physical Review Letters, July 28, 2006 American Physical Society Scott Mabury Environmental Science & Technology, February 1, 2006 American Chemical Society Dwayne Miller Science, September 1, 2006 American Association for the Advancement of Science Geoffrey Ozin Advanced Materials, September 18, 2006 Greg Scholes The Journal of Physical Chemistry, December 14, 2006

Check out our website for recent publications:

http://www.chem.utoronto.ca/department/coversarchive.htm

44 • DISTILLATIONS 2006

Thomas Tidwell Ketenes, Second Edition, 2006


COLLOQUIA &

SPECIAL LECTURES

Every year Chemistry presents a series of Colloquia and Special Lectures. These popular events bring scientists from across the globe to the department as they share their theories and research with our faculty and students.


A LEGACY IN LECTURE

GORDON LECTURE Prof. W.E. Moerner, Harry S. Mosher Professor in Chemistry at Stanford University In January 2006, Prof. W. E. Moerner, the Harry S. Mosher Professor of Chemistry at Stanford University, gave a series of stimulating lectures on the ultimate limit in spectroscopy— the detection of single molecules. The three lectures were entitled: “Single Molecule Spectroscopy at High Resolution and Low Temperature: The Early Years”, “Single Molecule Biophysics: From Proteins to Cells” and “Novel Approaches to Single-Molecule Studies: Nanoantennas and Trapping”. The lectures gave the chronological history of the various advances which led to the development of single molecule spectroscopy, and explored the explosion of applications that have arisen from this effort. Interestingly enough, the quest for single molecule detection limits came from a highly applied objective with respect to high density optical memory. While at IBM Almaden, W.E. Moerner headed up an effort to approach single molecule limits in storing information. At low temperatures, it was discovered by Alex Szabo at NRC labs in Ottawa that it was possible to “burn” a spectral hole in the absorption line of molecular doped glasses and disordered crystals. The mechanism involved photochemical and photophysical processes which shifted the nascent absorption band and left behind a “hole”. This observation led to the immediate realization that one could store enormous amounts of information in an absorption band with each “hole” representing a bit. This realization led to a rather heated race to achieve ultrahigh density optical memory. At low temperatures, the linewidths are extremely narrow; such that, within a 1 micron spot, it was conceivable that it would be possible to store over 10,000 bits of information in a single absorption band. The question then was: what was the ultimate limit to the amount of information one could store this way? The answer of course is one bit per single molecule, a staggering prospect when one thinks of the number density of single molecules in condensed phase samples. Would it be even possible to achieve this limit? In the late 1980s, W.E. Moerner and his colleagues at IBM developed new spectroscopic methods using side band frequency modulation that are still the most sensitive direct absorption methods. With this approach, they were able to tune well off the absorption band of pentacene molecules doped in p- terphenyl crystals to observe what looked to be noise, but which was in fact the effects of absorption of different molecules in slightly different environments that gave a statistical fine structure to the spectrum. 46 • DISTILLATIONS 2006

This advance in spectroscopy was pushed further to include a double modulation method using the Stark effect to further increase the sensitivity. The first observation of a single molecule was recorded by Moerner and his group in 1989. This was a watershed event. Since then, the methodology for detecting single molecules has rapidly advanced with the advent of fluorescence detection by Orrit and Bernard in 1990. It is now possible to study molecules at the single molecule level of detection in such diverse environments as heterogeneous catalysts or the inner workings of a living cell. There are literally thousands of researchers around the world using this approach. The power of the method stems from its ability to go beyond ensemble averaged effects. A typical absorption band of molecules at room temperature in the condensed phase is very broad, on the order of 10– 100 nm in width (a significant fraction of the entire visible spectrum). This width is related to the different physical environments surrounding each molecule which slightly shift the local absorption of the molecule under study. This line broadening effect arises from the statistical distribution of local structures. For decades, researchers would have loved to have looked “under the hood” to see how the system (molecule-bath) works, as the intrinsic linewidth for a given local environment gives key information on the interactions between the probe molecule and its surrounding. This information is related to anharmonic couplings between molecules, which tell us how energy is redistributed within the molecule and its surroundings, and how the excited molecule evolves in time. This information is effectively the “spice of life” that leads to time evolution as apposed to stationary eigenstates. Prior to W. E. Moerner’s work, it was only possible to interact with the ensemble and try to cancel inhomogeneous broadening effects as done in NMR. However, there are a myriad of different local environments that give the same spectrum yet evolve in time differently. What makes single molecule spectroscopy so unique is that it can address this effect. Essentially, we are now equipped with new glasses which allow us to observe individual trajectories of molecular interactions. It is truly a powerful new tool that is nearly the perfect solution to study chemistry within the cell in which small number fluctuations near single molecule limits drive the chemistry of the cell. Using an ever-increasing library of fluorescent probes for different parts of the cell, we can now inspect the very processes


responsible for cell differentiation and phenotype. W. E. Moerner’s lectures gave wonderful insight into what can be learned and where the field is going. Using his own group’s research, he showed recent advances in observing protein diffuse in the membranes of living cells to help understand cell transport and related studies. He also covered a recent new innovation in nanofabrication of Au antennaes to selectively focus the electric field of laser excitation to specific points to probe Resonance Raman effects at the single molecule limit. This new innovation has helped further refine our understanding of the enormous field enhancements through resonant charge transfer (chemisorption effects) and huge local fields from exciting collective electron modes in metals called plasmons. Finally, he concluded with a description of his latest work using anticorrelated feedback (very similar to that used in noise suppression headphones) to cancel Brownian motion of molecules inside optical traps (anti-Brownian electrokinetic or ABEL traps) in order to capture individual protein molecules in free solution under ambient conditions. The feedback signal to the trap to keep the molecule localized gives new insight into the forces bombarding molecules in solution. This work has also been extended to demonstrate trapping and manipulation of single virus particles, lipid vesicles, and fluorescent semiconductor nanocrystals. The lectures were a real tour de force in experimental spectroscopy. From what started as a purely applied problem, we have seen a virtual explosion of applications in basic research. The path W. E. Moerner has followed to great science is counter to the traditional route by which great science leads to great innovation. Here, great innovation has led to even greater strides in basic research. Today no one talks about high density optical memory. There is, however, a great deal of discussion about single molecule spectroscopy. The findings that are forthcoming will make a significant impact in unforeseen ways that will go well beyond the original objectives motivating the research. W. E. Moerner clearly demonstrated what a keen and inquisitive mind can create and the myriad of new possibilities that follow.

DEPARTMENTAL

COLLOQUIA

IN 2006

January 4 – 6 A.R. Gordon Distinguished Lectures Professor W. E. Moerner

Stanford University “Single Molecule Spectroscopy at High Resolution and Low Temperature: The Early Years” “Single Molecule Biophysics: From Proteins to Cells” “Novel Approaches to Single Molecule Studies: Nanoantennas and Trapping” January 27 Merck Frosst Lecture Professor Cesare Gennari

Universita di Milano “A Formal Total Synthesis of Eleutherobin and Synthesis of Simplified Analogues” Professor Gennari, one of the leading chemists in Italy, provided us with a stimulating lecture showing the power of combining new synthetic methods with applications in total synthesis. In particular, the utility of ring closing metathesis, crotylation and the chiral pool were all highlighted. As always, the students had the opportunity to host a lunch and get to know the visitor in a relaxed environment. We are grateful to Merck Frosst for their ongoing support of this lecture series which has been in existence for nearly 15 years. February 3 Professor Peter J. Rossky

University of Texas at Austin “Water Cluster Anions: The Evolution from Cluster to Bulk Solvation” February 10 Boehringer Ingelheim Lecture Professor Michael Krische

- Prof. R. J. Dwayne Miller

University of Texas at Austin “Hydrogen-Mediated C-C Bond Formation: Discovery, Development and Diversions” Professor Krische has published beautiful work on combining multiple metal catalyzed reactions to make molecules of high complexity. In this lecture he described his work on metal promoted hydrometallations followed by carbonyl addition reactions to make stereochemically complex products. He is a young rising star to keep an DISTILLATIONS 2006 • 47


eye on in the coming years. Boehringer Ingelheim supports this lecture series and the BI Graduate Award, and we are grateful for their long-time support.

May 17 Pfizer Symposium Professor Dirk Trauner

March 31 Dr. John Pezacki

Steacie Institute, National Research Council “Chemical Approaches for Elucidating Host-virus Interactions Involving HCV” April 11 NPS Lecture Professor Janine Cossy

École Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles “Organometallics. Towards the Synthesis of Biologically Active Complex Molecules” We were fortunate to have a leading scientist from France, Janine Cossy, visit the department. She is well known for her work on natural products synthesis, and her lecture highlighted the many recent advances from her laboratory. In addition she discussed some important work on metathesis reactions and their applications. We bundled this lecture with one supported by the Chem Club, who invited Professor Warren Piers of the University of Alberta. He also discussed the subject of olefin metathesis from the inorganic and mechanistic perspective and also reported new catalysts developed in his laboratory. NPS and its progenitor, Allelix Biopharmaceuticals, have supported us bringing in speakers for several years. We are sad to report that NPS has closed the Toronto site and so there is only one more lecture to look forward to. We hope that another company will step forward to sponsor this lecture series. April 21 Professor William DeGrado

University of Pennsylvania “Analysis, Prediction, and Design of Membrane Proteins”

University of California, Berkeley “Synthetic Studies on Metabolites and Molecular Machines” Professor Peter Wipf

University of Pittsburgh “From Chemical Methodologies to Biological Tools” Dr. Steve King

Abbott Global Pharmaceutical Research and Development “New Reactions and Reagents in Process R&D” Professor Andrei Yudin

University of Toronto “Studies in Synthesis and Catalysis” For several years now we have been fortunate to host the Pfizer Symposium. The format is always the same and includes a leading senior international speaker, a young rising star, a member of our department and an industrial scientist well known to the academic and industrial community. Our most recent day of lectures met the usual standard of excellence and we look forward to continuing this series for many years. Andrei Yudin from our department described some of his recent work on aziridines and their reactions including some novel synthetic and mechanistic work on aziridine alkylations using Pd catalysts. Peter Wipf spoke on organozirconium chemistry, strained ring chemistry and natural product applications. Steve King reported from the Process group on the challenges associated with scaling reactions to be useful in practical drug synthesis A variety of stereoselective processes were described. Dirk Trauner described elegant total synthesis of natural products and the important role methodology plays in devising efficient syntheses.

May 5

May 26

Professor Vicky Wysocki

Professor Paul Wennberg

University of Arizona “Peptide Dissociation in the Gas Phase”

California Institute of Technology “Measurement and Interpretation of Greenhouse Gas Column Abundances”

May 12 Professor Sheila S. David

September 22

University of Utah “The Importance of Being 8-Oxo-Guanine: The Role of MutY/ MYH in Preventing Mutagenesis and Carcinogenesis”

Professor William D. Lubell

48 • DISTILLATIONS 2006

Université de Montréal “Organic Chemistry Tools for Studying Peptide Chemical Biology”


September 29

November 24

Dr. Malcolm MacCoss

Professor Donald Mackay

Merck Research Laboratory “EMEND(c) (Aprepitant) a Potent, Orally Active Substance P Antagonist for the Treatment of Chemotherapy Induced Nausea and Vomiting (CINV), from the Medicinal Chemistry Bench to the Clinic”

Trent University “The Many Facets and Fascinations of Environmental Chemistry” December 8 Professor Ralf Metzler

October 6 Professor Keith Moffat

University of Chicago “Time Resolved X-Ray Diffraction”

University of Ottawa “Coupled Dynamics of DNA Conformations and DNA-binding Proteins” - with information from Prof. Mark Lautens

October 13 Dr. John Kozarich

ActivX Biosciences “Interrogating Nucleotide Binding Space Using Acyl Phosphates of Nucleotides” October 20 Professor Nicole Sampson

State University of New York at Stony Brook “Bacteria on Steroids: Catalysis at the Membrane Interface” November 3 Dr. Paul Drzaic

Vice President, Advanced Development, Alien Technology “Flexible Displays, Electronic Paper, and Printed Electronics” November 10 Professor Stephen Ragsdale

University of Nebraska “Life on Carbon Monoxide” November 17 Merck Frosst Lecture Professor Phil Baran

The Scripps Research Institute “The Catalytic Cycle of Discovery in Total Synthesis” Professor Baran has burst onto the scene and has been widely heralded as a person to watch in the next 30 years. He gave a beautiful lecture on the ways in which synthetic methodology and natural product synthesis are a synergistic activity. Not only was the chemistry brilliant but the lecture was a tour de force!

DEPARTMENTAL NAMED LECTURES The Department of Chemistry has created a series of named lectures to honour our active Professors Emeriti. Each of these lectures is given by a colleague within the Department. The lectures have been well-received and well-attended. This year’s lectures were: February 17 The Bryan Jones Lecture Professor Deborah Zamble

“The Mechanisms of Nickel Homeostasis in Bacteria” December 1 The John Valleau Lecture Professor Ray Kapral

“Nanoscale Reaction Dynamics: Crowded Environments and Molecular Machines” December 15 The Alex Harrison Lecture Professor Ulli Krull

“Immobilizing DNA Probes Holding Down for the Count”

DISTILLATIONS 2006 • 49


STAFF NEWS

The Machine Shop Team: (L-R) John Ford, Frank Shaw, David Heath, Johnny Lo, Ahmed Bobat

Chemistry is about teamwork. The backbone of the Chemistry Department, our award-winning staff work with students, faculty and support staff to help them achieve great results.


BACK INTO

THE

FOLD: MIKE DYMARSKI

PROFILING CHEMISTRY’S NEWEST STAFF ACQUISITION This year, the Department of Chemistry welcomed Mike Dymarski (7T3) back into the fold as our new Technical and Administrative Manager. Mike started his post secondary education at UTM with plans to major in Economics. He took the first-year Chemistry course as a way of filling his science requirement. “I got an A in Economics and a somewhat less flattering grade in Chemistry,” he recalls with amusement. “But somehow, something about Chemistry just clicked.” He credits E.A. Robinson and J. Tuzo Wilson as early influences. His fourth year research projects were supervised by Geoff Ozin and Tony Poë. After graduation, Mike joined the research group of Howard Clark at Western, studying catalytic reactions using organometallic platinum complexes. He remembers the transition from undergrad to grad student as challenging, particularly because Clark encouraged his students to be very independent. While he says this approach helped him to eventually gain self reliance on his abilities, to begin with it was somewhat daunting. “I had never worked in a lab on my own before!” In his new position, Mike hopes to find ways to ease the transition for our grad students, especially in the area of lab safety. He remembers an ether explosion and fire that occurred in a chem lab at Western just as he was stepping out the door. The postdoc involved was badly burned and the accident drove home to Mike the importance of proper lab procedures and safety awareness. “A few minutes of distraction can result in big changes in your life and career.” Before coming back to U of T, Mike spent 29 years working for Ontario Power Generation in the Nuclear Division. He worked at several facilities, including the Bruce Heavy Water Plant and the Darlington Generating Station. He spent his career always looking for an opportunity to challenge himself, eventually rising to the position of Project Manager. In his last Project, he led a group of engineers and scientists to find and qualify a chemical treatment that could be used to reduce a serious corrosion problem which affects all CANDU nuclear reactors. Mike could have stayed at OPG, but the Project was completed and he was looking for the next challenge. When he saw the ad for Technical and Administrative Manager in Chemistry,

he pondered whether he should apply, discussing this opportunity with his family and colleagues at OPG, and finally decided a new challenge was calling. It was a chance to do what he really loves and return to academia. He sees this as the culmination of his career experiences to date; an opportunity to blend his technical skills with the skills in supervision, project management, scheduling and budgeting that he has acquired along the way. Mike describes his return to the Department as a “homecoming”, saying that he has found the people here are friendly and very encouraging. Dymarski plans to meld the best aspects of industry with the best of academia, to make the Department stronger and provide a better service to both faculty as well as support the student experience. To do this, he has spent his first few months learning about the challenges ahead. As one might expect from his background in nuclear and chemistry safety, Mike’s first challenge was to understand the department’s health and safety procedures and look for ways to improve the working environment. He plans to encourage training and development of personnel and is busy studying the various administrative and technical units, learning how they function, and what they need to function in the best way possible. He is already involved in the renovation and maintenance projects around Lash Miller, notably the Phase II renovation of the undergraduate labs. Also high on his list is understanding the Department budget and finding new ways of using the financial resources of the University to improve the Chemistry Department. Far from focusing exclusively on administrative and technical matters, Mike is deeply interested in using his career experiences to better the student experience He has volunteered for undergraduate mentoring through the U of T Career Centre and Alumni. He teaches a semester Engineering course in Nuclear Plant Chemistry at the DISTILLATIONS 2006 • 51


University of Ontario Institute of Technology. He hopes to spend time sitting in on meetings of each of the faculty research groups to meet our graduate students, understand their needs and find ways that the department can assist them in completing their research mission. Mike comes to us from Bowmanville, where he lives with his wife while raising his two grandchildren. Mike says “It’s nice to have a second go around at raising children. The difference between raising children and grandchildren is that as caregivers, we are both older and more experienced and seem to have more patience with our grandchildren than we did with our own children.” He passes the train ride between home and work marking his Engineering students’ assignments or reading. Now that the Engineering course is over for this term, he suggests that maybe he’ll use the portable DVD player that arrived from Santa as a family gift for Christmas.

As a new staff member in the Department, Mike understands that he will have to work hard to establish credibility and trust between himself and the rest of the Department. He puts great emphasis on the importance of feedback and welcomes both positive and negative criticism, saying that “we learn from our mistakes and the experiences of others”. He is certainly no stranger to criticism - outside of work Mike spends time as a baseball umpire, and has officiated basketball and swimming in the past. He had fun coaching his granddaughter’s soccer team last summer. He tells the story of one experience as a baseball umpire when a disgruntled catcher, disagreeing with a call, moved aside on the next pitch and let Mike take the ball in the chest. Working for the Department of Chemistry should be a breeze compared to that. - Fiona Gardiner, Mike Dymarski

EXERCISE IN EXCELLENCE: JOHN FORD The Outstanding Staff Award is awarded to a staff member who has demonstrated ongoing distinguished service to the Department, or who has contributed exceptional performance in a project or service effort. The 2006 winner was John Ford, Supervisor of Chemistry’s Machine Shop. As Dept. Chair Scott Mabury says, “John defines the meaning of exceptional.” John is known throughout the Faculty of Arts and Science for innovation, hard work, and the capacity to consistently go above and beyond the call of duty. Not only is he personally a skilled machinist, he also directs his team to produce quality items which are often not commercially available. Many faculty members have noted that John’s innovation has assisted them in achieving excellence; as one researcher noted, “his suggestions and ideas allow us to perfect our designs and to improve functionality, versatility, and performance.” He was instrumental

52 • DISTILLATIONS 2006

in designing and choreographing key elements of the Courtyard Garden renovation and the AIMS instrument facility opening, producing high-quality components when external contractors failed to deliver. John’s entrepreneurial skills are also considerable, allowing him to provide creative cost-saving solutions to recent renovation and building projects. He continually upgrades his skills in order to better serve his team and the Department as a whole. His busy schedule doesn’t stop him from assisting with projects as varied as engineering students’ chariot-building, first year chemistry “Corn Starch Bomb” demonstrations, or community outreach endeavours such as Discovery Day. Among John’s many talents is an ability to create a work environment second to none for his team. Students, faculty, and staff have all noted and praised his combination of diligence and kindness. One graduate student said, “His willingness to assist coworkers and researchers, especially during challenging and stressful circumstances is unfailing.” A member of his staff went even further, saying, “he is not only a great leader but he is a great human being”. High praise indeed. Congratulations, John! - Helen Smith


HISTORICAL ENDEAVOURS

The Croft House

Chemistry has nurtured many great minds over the years. Join us as we share their contributions to our history, future and to the scientific community at large.


HENRY HOLMES CROFT COLLEGIATE CHEMIST

Henry Holmes Croft was born in early 1820, down the street from the University of London. In another era young Henry’s predilections for playing with sulphurous potions beneath the kitchen stairwell would probably have stayed a pubescent hobby. But one imagines his father knew too much of the carnage that ended just five years before this youngest of three sons was born. Being Deputy Paymaster-General to Henry’s godfather William Holmes, Duke of Wellington, Croft Sr. had the right-place-at-the-right-time employment position to see that his son’s talents were nursed into their own profession. Young Henry thus benefited from his family’s legacy of connections through dedication within the English civil service, and, by extension, within UC as well. As William Croft handled the logistics of faculty salaries for the Royal Military College at Woolwich, he sought the advice of its middle-aged (and childless) chemistry lecturer, one Michael Faraday. On the advice he so gained, William sent Henry to study in Germany to best crystallise his chemical potential. Faraday’s letter of recommendation delivered H.H. Croft into the tutelage of Eilard Mitscherlich at the University of Berlin. Mitscherlich had studied under the (grand)father of organic chemistry, Jöns Jacob Berzelius. Croft studied his first love, chemistry, but also mineralogy, entomology, and botany. The latter additions were initially made under advisement, but ultimately driven by Croft’s Victorian curiosity regarding the natural world. At age 21 he returned to England and almost immediately found himself headed to Toronto in 1842 to become the Professor of Chemistry at King’s College, again thanks to Faraday’s influential recommendation. The many biographies of Croft lovingly recount his many collegial activities. Almost immediately, he was at odds with Bishop Strachan, as Croft strongly felt that ecclesiastical practices were best suited to the church and not to academic administration. Fortunately others, such as Professor William Gwynne of Anatomy, agreed with Croft. Thus, despite setting Strachan’s sleeve alight with an errant bit of flaming potassium, the opposition led to the recasting of King’s College as the now – University of Toronto and not to Croft’s early dismissal. As a newly minted Vice-Chancellor and later a respected exofficio member of the University Senate, Croft helped mould the “Godless College” into an institution of prestigious scholarly activities. He permitted his lecture room to be used for the first meetings of the Literary and Athletic Society which was ushered in by (Sir) Daniel Wilson. When nationalistic fervour picked up in 1861, Croft drew on his familial traditions and, as a Captain, cultivated an esprit du corps that fostered a highly effective University College contingent of the Queen’s Own Rifles. After losing three of his soldiers in the Fenian Raids of 1866, Croft’s tear swept face at the memorial in the UC Reading Room epitomised the compassion he felt for his adopted family. Also, in a show of faculty setting the College tone, Croft was the first UC professor to permit women to

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attend his lectures as opposed to only “reading” their way to a diploma. Croft was a chemist in that developmental period between Antoine Lavoisier and Linus Pauling, and thus equal parts naturalist and empiricist. In the words of his successor, and later second Dean of Engineering, William Hodgson Ellis, Croft’s love “[W]as in the practice of analytical chemistry.” Forensic chemistry owes a huge debt to Croft; indeed, his textbook Practical Chemistry has extensive sections on analysis of urine and blood, and the identification of various poisons. Many biographies bemoan the fact that Croft did not produce a bibliography representative of his knowledge, but his professionalism is sintered in court records. I submit that if CSI: Upper Canada ever makes it to the airwaves, Croft’s involvement with the 1859 trial of Dr. William Henry King for murdering his wife should be the pilot episode. Both Michael Corbett in the 2005 issue of Distillations and Paul Dalby in the February – March 2007 issue of The Beaver describe Croft’s expert contributions to the trial. Croft testified that although Mrs. King’s stomach did contain


arsenic, analysis of her liver indicated that the amount was not lethal. Croft’s meticulous analysis was borne out in Dr. King’s post-conviction confession. The capitally condemned doctor admitted to using chloroform, explaining that his wife had not been as great a lover of music as a certain young chanteuse he had met. Croft also founded the Entomological Society of Ontario and either founded or served as an early President of the Royal Canadian Institute. Along with Professor Edward Chapman of Mineralogy, Croft compiled an extensive collection of rocks, plants, animal, and insect specimens that later contributed to the initial ROM collection (also thanks largely to alert students who rescued many pieces during the 1890 fire). Croft also long insisted that farmers should fertilise their soils with the knowledge of chemistry. To wit, he helped found what has become the University of Guelph, having also lectured at the Ontario Veterinary College for three years. A passage from his textbook gives a taste of how his lectures must have sounded: Whether the very small quantities of flavouring essences, principally compound ethers, may be injurious or not, is a question. A writer on vinegar, in order to test the question, devoured one pound of pear drops, flavoured of course by amylic acetate; the only result was that he did not care for eating any more pear drops. (H.H. Croft, Practical Chemistry, 1870) Croft’s humanity was perhaps best exemplified in his own personal tragedy. As a father of seven of which four died, Croft suffered a breakdown in 1879 which precipitated his retirement. After teaching one final term, he and his wife, Mary Shaw, moved to San Diego, Texas, to live with their son William and daughter Mary. He died there in 1883, and his family honoured his memory with the construction of an Episcopal church. It is ironic that one of the framers of the “Godless College” is so memorialised, but this end echoes the sentiments his first champion: Faraday, was so devoted to his Christian orthodox Sandemanian church that he turned down knighthood. Croft, loved by a family at home and a family at work, has been fittingly honoured by both with structures reflective of the two sides of the man each so revered. Interested readers are directed to www.utoronto.ca/uc/ alumniIndex.html for a continuation of this article regarding the history of the Croft Chapter House. University College will begin a renovation of that structure starting in 2008.

References and Further Reading Glastonbury Abbey (official website) www.glastonburyabbey.com. January 22, 2007. Virtual Tour of Oxford.www.chem.ox.ac.uk/oxfordtour/ cubicpanos/abbotskitchen.html. January 22, 2007. Author unknown. (1980). Architects: Wilson Newton Roberts Duncan & Eric Arthur - University College, Toronto. Canadian Architect. Black, C., et al. (2005). “The Architecture of UC: The Crown Jewel of the University.” University College Alumni Magazine 30(1): 7-12. Corbett, M. (2005). Henry Holmes Croft, D.C.L., F.C.S.: First Canadian Forensic Chemist/Toxicologist. Distillations: 23-26. Croft, H. H. (1870 (1st printing 1860)). Course of Practical Chemistry, as Adopted at University College, Toronto. Toronto, Copp, Clark & Co. (1870); Maclear & Co. (1860). Dalby, P. (2007) “Fine Chemistry.” The Beaver 87(1): 25-29. Dixon, L. S. (2003). Bosch. London ; New York, Phaidon. Ellis, W. H. (1901). Henry Holmes Croft, D.C.L. University of Toronto Monthly. II. Fraught, B. (2002). Places - Good Chemistry. U of T Magazine. Friedland, M. L. (2002). The University of Toronto: A History. Toronto, University of Toronto Press. Greenberg, A. (2000). A chemical history tour : picturing chemistry from alchemy to modern molecular science. New York, John Wiley & Sons. King, J. (1914). McCaul, Croft, Forneri: Personalities of Early University Days. Toronto, McMillan Company. McBryde, W. A. E. (1988). Henry Croft: Pioneer of Canadian Science. University of Toronto Archives, Library. Toronto. Milnes, H. (1978). Ontario’s First Laboratory for Experimental Chemistry: The Croft Chapter House at University College, Toronto. Chem 13 News. 96. Richardson, D., w. J. M. S. Careless, et al. (1990). A Not Unsightly Building: University College and its History. Oakville, Mosaic Press.

For the full version of this article, including information on the Croft Chapter House structure at University College, please visit http://www.uc.utoronto.ca.

About the Author: Darcy J. Gentleman, former President of the Chemistry Students’ Union, graduated from the University of Toronto in 1999 with a Hon. B.Sc. in Planetary Science and Chemistry. After finishing his Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry at Arizona State University in 2003, Darcy supervised undergraduate researchers as a PDF under Prof. M. Cynthia Goh for two years. He also lectured chemistry at the St. George campus from 2003-04 and at Scarborough from 2004-06. At present, Darcy, a member of the Canadian Science Writers’ Association, is co-writing a book concerning nanotechnology. He also writes about chemists living far from equilibrium as well as those who have since transformed from biochemistry to geochemistry. DISTILLATIONS 2006 • 55


ALUMNI NEWS

Alumni Duncan MacKillop during Spring Reunion.

Chemistry graduates have a habit of going on to excel in the wider community. Whether they are working in labs, teaching, pioneering start-up ventures or doing something entirely unexpected, they always have a way of propagating Chemistry’s tradition of excellence.


SPRING REUNION Spring reunion was held on Saturday June 3rd, 2006 in the Chemistry Department. Guests began the day with an informal coffee session that allowed them an opportunity to renew old friendships and make new ones. We then proceeded to the Davenport Atrium where Professor Gilbert Walker welcomed everyone and introduced our two speakers. Professor Rebecca Jockusch, led guests through her presentation, “Instant Swimmer – Just Add Water”, followed by Professor Dwayne Miller, “Making the Molecular Movie: The Great Thought Experiment Becomes Reality”. The feedback was excellent; everyone thought both seminars were very enlightening and thoroughly engaging. Following the seminars we held a contest. Originally we planned that the prize winner would have their picture taken in our new Davenport Lash Miller Courtyard Garden; a framed enlargement would be sent at a later date. Dr. Solomon Shankman was the prize winner. Because it was a very rainy day we took his photo in front of our building facing St. George Street. As you can see in the picture the photographer very cleverly created a garden like background.

Joyce Dinglasan Panlilio leads alumni on a tour through the building.

Alumni then toured the department, most ably led by graduate students Joyce Dinglasan Panlilio (Mabury group) and James Li (Walker group). Alumni visited our state-of-theart research facilities and newly renovated undergraduate teaching lab. All were impressed by our updated facilities compared to their student years in the department. We topped the day with a lovely BBQ lunch organized by our ChemClub. Because of the rain, the festivities were moved indoors and lunch was served in our new lobby overlooking our garden The ChemClub members happily prepared the food outside despite the wet weather. I would personally like to thank each one for all their hard work and also for maintaining their sense of humour despite the weather. Our alumni were thrilled to have the opportunity to spend some time with current graduate students. Following our lunch some left to join the President’s Garden Party; others lingered and reminisced. To everyone who attended Spring Reunion 2006, we were thrilled to have you back! To those who were unable to attend, we look forward to seeing you at an upcoming reunion.

Alumni and contest winner Dr. Solomon Shankman.

Attendees at Spring Reunion included: Trisha Ang, B.Sc. 2005

Malcolm Bersohn

Adrian Brook, Ph.D. 1950

Gloria Buckley, B.Sc. 1948

Timothy Cain, B.Sc. 1992

Brian Copeland, B.Sc. 1986

Louise Foong, Ph.D. 2001

Robert Graham, B.Sc. 2005

Zaminhussein Kanji, M.Sc. 2006

Safana Ladak, 2001 B.Sc.

Betty Levanthal, B.Sc. 1963

Earl Levi, Ph.D. 1968

Sharon Levi, B.A. 1963

Duncan MacKillop, B.A. 1956

Molly Mohabeer, B.Sc.1989

Russell Mudry, B.Sc. 1961

John Pinder, Ph.D. 1956

Anne Pinder

Solomon Shankman, Ph.D. 1939

Michael Watson, B.Sc. 2005

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LET’S NOT CROWD ME, I’M ONLY

A

SCIENTIST

Eric Yisroel Brumer, Chemistry grad and son of Prof. Paul Brumer, reflects on the often unappreciated but crucial role scientists play in world affairs. What he says hits close to home. Go ahead, ask me what I do. I fight terrorism. I save lives after hurricanes. After Katrina and Sept. 11, everyone is fascinated by my work. At dinner parties, at coffee shops, on work and personal calls, I am constantly assailed by inquiries about my work, my opinions, my outlook for the future. In 2004, I left academia to become a fellow at the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate. I joined a group of phenomenally competent people dedicated to the research and development of advanced technologies to save lives and property in the aftermath of a natural or man-made disaster. I’ve been working in Homeland Defense ever since. And I’m a social superstar. It wasn’t always this way. Just a few years ago, I was a graduate student in chemical physics, working on obscure problems involving words like quantum mechanics, supercooled liquids, and statistical thermodynamics. No one ever inquired how my work was progressing; no one wanted to know what my feelings about the future were. The best I could hope for was that my work didn’t come up as a topic of conversation, with conversations centering on politics or sports. And if my work did come up, I’d usually gloss over the subject with “It’s really not that interesting”, or “It’s too hard to explain”. And therein lies the problem. The work I was doing was fascinating, and I could have explained it with ease. But no one cares. No one wants to hear about boring old scientists doing boring old science. People only want to hear about how there’s now a cell phone that plays iTunes, or how interoperable communications will facilitate emergency responses. But think about all the science that goes into making a cell phone work. Someone had to figure out the boring old equations of electromagnetic waves and circuitry, the boring old theory of bits and bytes, and a myriad other boring scientific details. Every 58 • DISTILLATIONS 2006

day, the lives of every American (and likely every human) are bettered in a nearly infinite number of ways as a direct result of the toils and dedication of innumerable scientists. Scientists who could probably have made more money, worked fewer hours, and lead more comfortable lives had they chosen to apply their skills elsewhere. In fact, nearly every scientist I know is consciously aware that they would garner greater wages and prestige if they changed fields. And nearly every scientist I know does what they do for the pure and noble love of discovery (although there are, of course, exceptions). I find it odd that a society so dependent on science is so uninterested in it. Our military dominance, our economic strength, and our high quality of life are all outgrowths of our scientific achievements. And, as we search for renewable energy sources to avoid gas crises, advanced medical technologies to increase our length and quality of life, and, of course, methods of dealing with terrorists and the next Katrina, this isn’t likely to change. Here’s an enlightening exercise: sit down with a pen and a paper and see how many actors and actresses you can name that have won an Academy Award. Now name scientists that


have won a Nobel prize. Did you get the great Dudley Herschbach, molecular beam pioneer? I’ll bet you got Tom Hanks. What seems particularly strange is that we’re conscious of the people who immediately deliver technology to our lives. Doctors, inventors, and, of course, former researchers like myself who now work at DHS, all reap the glory that comes with making modern times a fine time to be alive. I don’t mean to in any way diminish the impressive and laudable acts of the surgeon who, against all odds, is capable of staggering feats like heart transplants. I just wonder why the thousands of biologists who slogged their way through the details of the inner workings of the heart never get fan mail from transplant survivors. It’s funny, because when I was doing research, I never really thought about this. I, like all my colleagues, simply loved the work, the sense of discovery, the feeling that comes with solving a problem that no one else in the world has been able to solve. It’s only when I left research, when I stopped doing science and started applying science, that I became disturbed by our society’s disinterest. It seems that I was perfectly comfortable doing something important (research) and receiving no recognition, but I am extremely

uncomfortable being lauded for doing something important (homeland security) when my current work rests heavily on the work of so many other unrecognized individuals. The closest analogy I can come up with is that I feel like a businessman running a sweatshop. The scientists do the hard work. I’m a social superstar. When you wake up tomorrow, try to keep track of all the ways science has made your life better. And then imagine life without it. Did you wake up to an alarm clock? Microwave your breakfast? Use that shiny new coffeemaker? Sure, these are conveniences rather than necessities. But what about plumbing? Modern agriculture, making sure we all have enough to eat. Clean drinking water. Drugs and vitamins to keep your blood pressure low and your energy level high. Spend a day trying to trace the technology (for example, your car) back to the science (combustion, thermodynamics, modern oil retrieval and processing; the list goes on an on). And keep in mind that many of these technologies are based on scientific ideas that had little or no perceivable practical use when they were discovered. So the next time you meet a scientist, remember: he or she may be working on something really, really, boring, but twenty years from now, you’ll be glad they did. So thank them. - Dr. Eric Yisroel Brumer

Eric Yisroel Brumer currently works for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He completed undergraduate studies at U of T’s Chemistry Department in 2000, and obtained an M.Sc. in Chemistry and a Ph.D. in Chemical Physics from Harvard. If you have questions for him, please feel free to e-mail him at brumer@post.harvard.edu. This article first appeared in the “My Turn” section of Newsweek magazine on Oct. 23, 2006.

DIFFUSION Many bright young undergraduate and graduate students pass through Chemistry’s doors each year to seek out futures in R&D, academia, and other fields. But where do they really end up? Distillations’ new feature, Diffusion, traces the path of some of these graduates.

UNDERGRADUATE PROFILE Mary Ellen Ash

I presently work as a Research Associate for Gilead Sciences, Inc., a pharmaceutical company based in Foster City, CA. It’s located about 30 minutes south of San Francisco. I work within the Analytical Chemistry department. I moved out to California on a whim. I grew tired of job hunting in the GTA and since I knew there was a large amount of pharmaceutical companies located within the

SF Bay Area, I flew to CA. With my U of T degree and chemistry background, I knew I would have no problems finding a job. Within a short period of time, I had a good job at Gilead. Gilead is known for its anti-viral drugs. And I was lucky enough to work with its newest HIV drug product, Atripla, prior to its being released to the market. Currently I am working with research scientists to develop better methods for drug compound separations using a variety of analytical methods, including HPLC and LC-MS. Presently my goals are to continue learning about the Pharmaceutical industry and what is required for drug analysis and release of drug compounds to the public. Gilead is a growing company and has a lot of new projects for the future; I am fortunate to work with a brilliant group of scientists. Thanks to the guidance from many Chemistry DISTILLATIONS 2006 • 59


professors, I learned discipline and hard work which I apply to my work daily. During my 4th year, I took a spectroscopy course for fun. And as it turns out, it was one of the most useful courses I took while at U of T because it required the analysis of unknown compounds. I apply the principles learned from Dr. Skonieczny’s spectroscopy lessons into real world applications. I was really lucky to have good people around me. My mentor, Ghotas Evindar, along with Dr. Andy Dicks, made organic chemistry enjoyable. Their labs were refreshing and stimulating. And just having the ability to seek advice from other grad students and post-docs within the department made my life much easier. On a different note, I’d like to thank the Department for the really comfortable couches in the Undergrad Break Room on the 2nd floor. They provided much needed down-time between classes: very good quality naps. - Mary Ellen Ash B.Sc. 2004

GRADUATE PROFILE Jason Dwyer

I am an NSERC postdoctoral fellow at the Max Born Institute for Nonlinear Optics and Short Pulse Spectroscopy in Berlin. My doctoral work was focused on developing femtosecond electron diffraction, which is a camera designed to make atomic-level movies of molecular reactions. My current work is using femtosecond infrared spectroscopy. I am still interested in looking at the fastest possible molecular motions, only now with a different technique. I am looking at hydrogen bonding dynamics in DNA and DNA model systems to try to unravel the mysteries of the helix. I have to say that I chose to work at the MBI because my current project manager, Dr. Erik Nibbering, delivered an amazing and captivating lecture back in Toronto that really excited me about the prospects of ultrafast spectroscopy for chemistry. It was a real chemist’s talk, but taking advantage of all the coolest toys of physics. There are also great fringe benefits to living and working in Europe. While most would be more familiar with the Max Planck Institutes, I had the benefit of my doctoral supervisor, Prof. R.J.D. Miller, having spent part of his Alexander von Humboldt fellowship at the Max Born Institute, so I felt confident going to work at a top-notch research institute.

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One of the challenges of looking at NH-bonding dynamics in DNA is that the OH bond absorbs at almost the same frequency as the NH. One way around this is to look at DNA base pair mimics that are soluble in aprotic solvents, and this has yielded some interesting results. But more exciting is the possiblity of chemically modifying native DNA to permit these studies, and this work is currently underway. I am currently in the process of applying for faculty positions in chemistry and physics. There is no doubt that exposure to the diverse and exciting research being done in a large and vibrant chemistry department adds to the excitement of the prospects of exploring the natural world. I had the pleasure of having really talented and skilled colleagues during my time at Toronto. I was also really fortunate to benefit from the excellent machine shop staff whose expertise made possible a lot of difficult to make components. I also had the opportunity to be surrounded by really dynamic people focused on making a difference not only by discovering things about our world, but by making efforts in society at-large. Whether this be contributing to the international stature of Canadian science through large-scale research installations, or through building up technological enterprises or by going into schools and trying to inform and excite students about science and the fascinating world around them, these people really drove home that public policy is a noble calling for a scientist. I have been fortunate in my public outreach activities: being part of a Discovery Channel documentary on my research and participating in science policy round tables with government ministers where I am given the opportunity to push for positive change. I have to say that the best thing to happen to me in graduate school was meeting my wife (Shahla Yekta, Ph.D. 2005, Yudin group). Aside from the joy it has brought to my personal life, it was a real learning experience working in her lab from a few months - now I know how to get liquid from one sealed flask into another. I also had a really wonderful time teaching physical chemistry for biologists. It was a chance to really put into practice my love of teaching and to try to show people that physical chemistry is a really fascinating and rewarding subject. I also had a great opportunity to preach the wonders of science on a much grander scale when I participated in a documentary called “Bullet Time” for Discovery Channel, and gave an interview to SpaceTV, a Canadian cable channel. - Dr. Jason Dwyer Ph.D. 2005


SPECIAL EVENTS Chemistry Hosts Science Chairs’ Lunch Each month the science chairs in the Faculty of Arts and Science meet over lunch. October was Chemistry’s turn to host the meeting and Scott Mabury decided to make this year more special and entertain them in our garden with a BBQ lunch. Scott did all the cooking and from the feedback from the Chairs and Provost, the lunch was superb!

Garden Planting and Weeding Parties In October 2005 we held our Davenport Lash Miller Garden opening and at that time we planted 53 trees. To complete the garden project we held a periwinkle planting party on June 23rd followed by a weeding party on September 18th. Like every other garden ours requires regular care, watering and weeding. But unlike other gardens, ours has a very devoted group of departmental green thumbed, enthusiastic volunteers, faculty staff and students alike who do their best to keep the pesky weeds under control. It is great and rewarding fun.

Science Chairs enjoy BBQ lunch cooked by Chef Mabury in our garden!

Guillet Sculpture Portrait Unveiling On June 5th the department unveiled a lifelike sculpture portrait of Professor James E. Guillet, a professor of chemistry from 1963 until his death in 2005. The sculpture is located in the A.D. Allen Chemistry Library. Department members relax after a busy morning of weeding our garden.

The artist and donor, Mrs. Ralyn Wolfstein, and Mrs. Helen Guillet were on hand for the unveiling ceremony. Also in attendance were other members of the Guillet family, David Farrar, Deputy Provost and Vice-Provost, Students, Meric Gertler, Vice-Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science Graduate Education & Research, Monica Lin, Associate Director of Development, Faculty of Arts and Science, Patricia Meindl, departmental librarian, and many friends and former students. Professors Farrar and Gertler and Mabury, outlined the many contributions of Professor Guillet to the department and particularly his contributions to environment friendly polymer materials.

(L-R) Mrs. Helen Guillet and Mrs. Ralyn Wolfstein with the Guillet bust.

DISTILLATIONS 2006 • 61


CHEMISTRY AWARDS RECEPTION RETROSPECTIVE

Robert Hadgraft, Andy Dicks and Jean Hadgraft during the reception.

It was my very great pleasure to act as host of the Departmental Awards Reception last October. This annual event acknowledges the outstanding efforts made by members of the Department in all aspects of university life during the past twelve months. Few occasions exist when such a variety of Chemistry faculty, staff, graduate students, undergraduates and award donors gather together in such a convivial atmosphere. What made the Reception such a memorable event was the diversity of awardees—from Professor Adrian Brook (University of Toronto Honorary Degree recipient) to Kim Chan Chung (Chemistry Club prize for the most outstanding senior undergraduate research thesis), and from John Ford (2006 Chemistry Outstanding Staff Award winner) to Toan Nguyen (recipient of the Martin Moskovits Graduate Scholarship). In total, thirtyseven of our community were honoured with several others unable to attend. A special part of the day was my meeting Bob and Jean Hadgraft, who, as generous financiers at both the undergraduate and graduate level, arrived for the reception from British Columbia. Their willingness and that of many others to sponsor our students over a number of years is really quite remarkable. I was also very pleased to meet the parents of several award winners for the first time; their unwavering encouragement and support in so many ways was an integral part of the reception. Events such as these truly remind us that we are all part of a dynamic and vibrant Department—long may it continue!

Derek Jackson enjoys the Awards Reception with Chair Scott Mabury, his mother and Jean Hadgraft.

Mallika Das receives her award from Grad Associate Chair Gilbert Walker.

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- Professor Andy Dicks Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies

Andy Dicks speaks to the crowd during the reception.


WEDDINGS, BIRTHS

AND

DEATHS

WEDDINGS

Prof. Datong Song and Su Zhang were married on May 19, 2005.

Brenda and David Heath (of the Machine Shop) were married on June 24, 2006.

Prof. Vy Dong and Wilmer Alkhas were married in the summer of 2006.

Suzan and Jack O’Donnell (of the Glassblowing Shop) were married on February 26, 2006.

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BIRTHS

Big sister, Ivy, holds her most exciting Christmas present: little brother Flynn, who arrived on December 25, 2006! Proud parents are Peter and Katie Porter Pavlovsky (Secretary and Research Co-ordinator, Manners group).

Jan Rainey (Ph.D. 2000, supervised by Cynthia Goh, currently Assistant Professor at Dalhousie University) and Mary Ellen welcomed Donovan Lee on February 5, 2006!

Prof. Jumi Shin and proud big sister Holly hold Hunter, who arrived on November 18, 2006!

Other babies of 2006: • Aaron Greaves, son of Ruth and Ken (Supplies & Services Supervisor), arrived on April 30, 2006. • Madeleine Viola Taylor was born June 10, 2006. Proud parents are Natalie and Prof. Mark Taylor.

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IN MEMORIAM “A Man of Many Passions”: Keith Yates October 22, 1928 – December 2, 2006 After a successful career as a chemistry professor at the University of Toronto, few would argue that Keith Yates wasn’t an expert on molecules. But to those who knew him best, Yates was a man of many passions—including sports, politics, sociology and even naval warfare, a subject he wrote two books about after his retirement. “He knew everything about everything,” says daughter Nicola Fillier, of her father who died Dec. 2 after a heart attack. “He was like a walking encyclopedia.” Sports, politics, warfare and—of course—science, were some of his interests, she says, but when it came to reading, just about anything would do. “He forever read books…There was nothing he didn’t like,” she says. As she was growing up, Fillier says, her father’s deep knowledge of the world helped to push her to learn more herself. “He was funny. He was intelligent. He was great with my kids,” she says. Born in the north of England on Oct. 22, 1928, Yates was raised in Blackpool. In 1946, he began a two-year conscription in Britain’s Royal Navy. In 1948, as he approached the end of his naval requirements, he received a letter from his parents informing him they had moved to British Columbia, and that he was welcome to join them. He did. For the next few years, Yates worked blue-collar jobs for Coca-Cola and a local electrical company, but didn’t pursue an academic career. It wasn’t until 1953 that he started to move down that road, with help from his new wife, June Charter. “My mom met him when he was nothing,” Fillier notes, saying they met on a blind date set up by friends. “She chose him because she saw something ambitious or something in his character that she knew would get him somewhere in life.”

In the following years, Charter would bring home the couple’s only source of income as a teacher while Yates worked toward a bachelor’s degree and a medical science degree at the University of British Columbia, and then a PhD at Oxford University in England. In 1968, Yates began his career in physical organic chemistry as a professor at U of T. A short six years later, he was chairman of the department. Bob McClelland, one of Yates’ students and then a fellow faculty member, said: “He was sort of my model as a supervisor. He let students get on with their thing and he didn’t bother you too much, but he was always there to help you.”

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As a physical organic chemist, Yates studied the reasons molecules responded to each other in the way that they did. Considered an authority in the field, Yates wrote more than 150 articles and other published works. Perhaps his best known, a 1978 book entitled Hückel Molecular Orbital Theory, discussed an alternative theory to predict where an electron could be found in certain molecules. Acclaimed by his peers, McClelland says the book is still used as a textbook in some universities. Yates was given a prestigious award by the Chemical Institute of Canada in 1991. After retiring that same year, Yates moved basck to B.C. with his wife, devoting his time to writing a pair of books on naval history and running the local branch of the Royal Canadian Legion. “He went to every Legion function and he sat in a little trailer and he would flip hamburgers and joke with everybody as they came by,” Fillier says. “He would say to them, ‘Do you want your buns toasted?’ and as soon as they’d say yes, he’d say ‘Yeah? Come on and get up here on the grill.’” - Nick Kyonka, Staff Reporter Toronto Star, Dec 26/06 Photo Credit: Yates Family Yates’s beloved wife of 53 years, June, will miss him dearly. Also missing him beyond words are his proud daughters Alison, Robyn and Nicola, son-in-law Rick, and adoring grandchildren Dylan, Alanna, Robert and Paige. His incredible intelligence and dry wit will always be remembered and will continue to be an inspiration to his children and grandchildren to live on in his image. He always lived life to the fullest and in retirement found himself happily settling in with June on Mayne Island, B.C., his paradise. He never wanted to leave and now he has his wish, resting in the cemetery at St. Mary Magdalene, Mayne Island. Accolades • 1956: Governor-General’s Gold Medal • 1956: Lefevre Gold Medal • 1971: Fellow, Chemical Institute of Canada • 1984: Fellow, Royal Society of Canada • 1984: Syntax Award • 1991: Palladium Medal Notable Publications • Hückel Molecular Orbital Theory (1978) • Graf Spee’s Raiders (1994) • Flawed Victory (2000) • 158+ articles This obituary originally appeared in the Globe and Mail on February 25, 2006.

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Alfreda Mary Cook September 4, 1913 – November 20, 2006 Alfreda Cook was born a British citizen on September 04, 1913 in Chengtu, China. Her parents were Alfred and Isabella Crutcher. Her father was an accountant with the Canadian Methodist Mission in West China where they helped build one of the first modern universities in Chengtu. West China University remains a large and strong institution today. Her father died of cholera in Chungking, China when she was six years old. Her mother settled the family in Chengtu where she became the headmistress of the Canadian school for the children of the many missionaries stationed in West China. The family had many adventures in Chengtu including being rescued by the US Marines from Chinese warlords. At the age of 11 Fred, her mother, her three sisters (Agnes, Francis and Jessie) and her brother Martin relocated to Toronto. Freda attended high school in Toronto. She earned her BSc (1936) and MSc (1938) in Mathematics and Physics leading her undergraduate class and her classmates in the PhD preparatory exams. As a result of disruptions caused by the depression and war preparations, she was unable to complete her PhD. Instead, she accepted a position teaching Physics at the Women’s Christian College in Madras, India from 1938–1940. She returned to Canada following a harrowing Pacific crossing in the midst of the onset of WWII. She married her classmate and undergraduate physics lab partner, Dr. Leslie G. Cook, in Toronto in 1940. They had three children – Patricia Joan Chesney, MD (Pediatrics), Leslie Pamela Ioannidis, PhD (Mathematics) and Andrew George Cook, PhD (Nuclear Engineering). At their home in Deep River, Ontario, adjacent to the Atomic Energy of Canada Chalk River Laboratory, Freda hosted many of the luminaries of nuclear physics and had many of the key figures in the development of nuclear power as dinner guests. In 1956 the family moved to the United States where she became a proud American Citizen. She taught Physics at University of Toronto, the Women’s Christian College in Madras, India, and Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY. When computing became a technological breakthrough she taught herself the COBOL and FORTRAN programming languages, earned her formal accreditation in education and taught computer


science at the State University of New York in Albany, NY. This was at a time when it was rare for women to be involved in computer science. Freda also was an extremely successful and self trained Wall Street investor. Her careful planning and analysis of stocks allowed the family to fund the college education of all three children while building a solid retirement pool for their retirement years. Mrs. Cook was active in the American Association of University Women, the League of Women Voters, Girl Guides (Canada), Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts. She was one of the founding organizers of the Schenectady County Community College (then located in the old Van Curler Hotel). She maintained an active interest in science, computing, physics and women’s rights literally until the day of her death. The legacy and education of her two daughters and son are a testament to her dedication to equality for women and pursuit of scientific and rational knowledge. Although Mrs. Cook came from a devout religious family of missionaries (her grandfather was also a missionary in China), she always placed her faith in the hard realities of the physical sciences and physical law. Alfreda’s life focused on the core values of hard work, honesty, ethical treatment of all, equality for all (especially women) and a dedication to learning, humanism, and rational thought. She leaves a strong legacy of three contributing adult children, eight strong and capable grandchildren (one hard at work, three Harvard graduates, one Cornell graduate, two undergraduates at Cornell and Oberlin and one more in high school) and one treasured great-grandson, Will Chesney. She will be truly missed by all who knew her as a gregarious leader and unceasing advocate for change. Most importantly, her strong support and encouragement for young people extended far beyond her own children and grandchildren. This obituary originally appeared in the Toronto Star on December 17, 2006.

Allan G. Gornall 1914 – March 15, 2006 Peacefully on March 15, 2006, in Toronto at age 91. He leaves his loving wife Sheila, sons William, Douglas, Thomas, daughter Catherine, and their families. Allan was born in River Hebert, NS in 1914. He obtained a B.A. with honours in chemistry from Mount Allison University in 1936, and a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in 1941. The next

year he enlisted and served as a clinical chemist at the Royal Canadian Naval Hospital in Halifax. After the war he returned to an academic career of teaching and research at the Banting Institute in Toronto. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1966, and from 1966-76 was Chairman of the Department of Pathological Chemistry in the Faculty of Medicine. In 1978 Mount Allison University conferred on him the honorary degree of Doctor of Science. Dr. Gornall retired in 1980, but continued an active role in the formation of the Canadian Academy of Clinical Biochemistry as a founding fellow in 1986. He has authored many papers and edited a textbook in the professional field of clinical biochemistry. He traveled as an invited lecturer in the USA, New Zealand and Australia, and has received several national and international awards for his work. In his later years he turned to a study of the meaning of life, the nature of spiritual evolution and the destiny of the human race. This obituary originally appeared in the Globe and Mail on March 18, 2006.

William Arthurs Heaslip C.M., LLD July 5, 1927 – March 3, 2006 Died suddenly of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 78 at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Florida, on March 3, 2006. Adored husband of Nona Macdonald, he is the cherished brother of Betty Drew-Brook (Bob) of Qualicum Beach, B.C. He was predeceased by his two other sisters, Alice Radford (Paul) and Doris Morris (Bert). He is uncle of Bruce Radford (Rosemary), Brenda Radford Million (Rob); the Morris children - Debra, Lee, Sheri, Bob, Bill and Brad - and of the Drew-Brooks - Alan, Neil and Paul. He and the late Richard Chater co-founded one of Canada’s Largest retail clothing conglomerates, Grafton Group Ltd. Bill retired as CEO and Chairman in 1992. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada and received an Honorary Doctorate from St. Francis Xavier University, N.S. His interest in education led him to create undergraduate ongoing scholarships for the following universities: Toronto, York, Western Ontario, Waterloo, Guelph, Prince Edward Island, Memorial, Manitoba and British Columbia. His many grand nieces and grand nephews will remember him for his financial assistance in achieving their higher education goals. At the University of Toronto, he established the Nona Macdonald Visitors Centre and the Macdonald Heaslip Walkway at Hart House Theater. At Ryerson University, Heaslip House for Continuing Education opened recently as did The Macdonald Heaslip Theatre at Sheridan Institute, Oakville. Other significant gifts have been made to Shaw DISTILLATIONS 2006 • 67


Festival, Toronto symphony, Canadian Opera Company, Art Gallery of Ontario, Design Centre and Banff Centre for the Arts. He was a dedicated fundraiser and board member of CARE Canada and Canadian Liver Foundation. He made major gifts to United Way, Rotary Club and Hincks Institute. Hospitals that benefitted from his giving include: Sunnybrook, Women’s College, St. Michael’s and Toronto General. An avid golfer, he held club memberships at Rosedale, Toronto Hunt; and in Florida at The Oaks he scored a 77, one-less-his-age, this January. A skilled fly fisherman, he belonged to Ristigouche Salmon Club, N.B., and to the Caledon Mountain Trout Club, Ont. Other recreational clubs were Tadenac in Georgian Bay and Griffiths Island. Two highlights of a favourite sport, Ballooning, were soaring over The Alps and participating in the 200th Anniversary of Ballooning, starting from Place de la Concorde, Paris. His love of wine was enjoyed with the members of The Tastevin des Chevaliers and The Commanderie de Bordeaux societies. In the 1820’s, the Heaslips immigrated to Ontario from County Wexford, Ireland. This Irish background may account for his convivial and generous nature. Unfortunately, the ‘luck of the Irish’ ran out when heart disease, prevalent in the family, became his problem in later years. Thanks to superb surgery, he survived two by-pass operations at Toronto General Hospital where he has been a decade-long patient of Dr. Douglas Wigle, his friend and cardiologist. Stricken suddenly at his Florida residence, he succombed to a stroke. An organ donor at his death, he gave the ultimate gift - his liver so befitting a benefactor of the Canadian Liver Foundation. Bill Heaslip will be remembered always, by his wide-ranging coterie of loyal friends; by George and Joan Reynolds, by Carmelita and Danny Alcala and by his wife’s family, the Macdonald clan. This obituary originally appeared in the Globe and Mail on March 9, 2006.

Dorothy Ruth James (Anderson) 1913 – November 15, 2006 On November 15th, 2006, Dorothy Ruth James (Anderson) died peacefully at the Westview Residence of Penticton Regional Hospital, Penticton, BC. She was 93. Dorothy was predeceased by her loving husband, William; daughter, Ruth St. John and granddaughter, Elizabeth St. John. She is survived by her daughter, Mary Ferguson of Penticton; son, Dr. Bob James (husband of Darlene) of Dundas, ON; son-in-law, Dennis St. John (Adelle) of Willowbrook, BC; grandchildren, Tabitha Ferguson of 68 • DISTILLATIONS 2006

Waterloo, ON, Benjamin St. John (Jutta) of Germany, Daniel James of Manchester, England, Patrick James of Waterloo, ON; and great-grandson, Jason St. John. Dorothy was a long-time member of the Kingsway Lambton United Church in Toronto as well as Penticton United Church. She was cremated in a private family service. This obituary originally appeared in the Globe and Mail on November 22, 2006.

Donald Laurie MacDonald November 16, 1922 – April 3, 2006 Donald L. MacDonald of Corvallis died from complications of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). He was 83. Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, he was the youngest of five boys of Mervil and Margaret MacDonald. He received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Toronto. He enjoyed a long career in science and education, teaching, mentoring and conducting research in carbohydrate chemistry. A long-time member of the American Chemical Society, his professional life included work at the University of Toronto, University of California Berkeley and the National Institutes of Health. He joined the Oregon State University faculty in 1962, where he worked in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, serving several times as interim departmental chairman before retiring as professor in 1987. During his career he enjoyed sabbatical leaves to the Max Plank Institute in Heidelberg, Germany, the Joslin Research Institute in Boston, and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. In 1947 he married Elizabeth M.S. Arthur in Toronto; she received a Masters in analytical chemistry under Frederick Beamish (1945). Together they moved to the United States and raised three children. They enjoyed bird watching and other outdoor activities, and they traveled extensively to visit family and friends. They shared their Alsea retreat with their many friends, as well as enjoying its solitude.


MacD’s passion was bird watching. He was an active birdwatcher from boyhood, continuing throughout his entire life. He was active in the Audubon Society and served as editor of the CHAT newsletter. He enjoyed many field trips as well as annual bird census counts. His favorite places included Klamath Lake and Point Pelee National Park, Ontario, Canada. MacD is survived by his wife of 58 years, Elizabeth, of Corvallis; his three children, John, Laurie and Peggy; six grandchildren; and 3 great-grandchildren. A celebration of MacD’s life was held on April 22nd, 2006, at the OSU CH2M Hill Alumni Centre. This obituary originally appeared in the Corvallis Gazette-Times on April 8, 2006.

James Dennis Pascoe 1946 – June 30, 2006 Passed away peacefully surrounded by his family at Sunnybrook Hospital, on Friday, June 30, 2006, at 60 years of age. Beloved husband of Doris. Loving father of Dawn Elizabeth and David Alan and his fiancée Sarah. He is also survived by his mother Florence. Dennis was a retired teacher from North Toronto Collegiate and Bloor Collegiate, a nature lover and an avid photographer. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends and church community. This obituary originally appeared in the Globe and Mail on July 3, 2006.

Louise Wilhelmina Rae (nee Showalter) 1910 – February 17, 2006

Peacefully at Christie Gardens on Friday, February 17, 2006 at the close of her 96th year. Beloved wife of the late James Rae, one-time Professor of Chemistry and Registrar of Erindale College of the University of Toronto. Loving sister of the late Robert Showalter of Vancouver and the late Harrison Showalter of Waterloo. Survived by her sister-inlaw, Madeline Showalter of Waterloo and many nieces and nephews. This obituary originally appeared in the Globe and Mail on February 25, 2006. DISTILLATIONS 2006 • 69


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Distillations 2006 Magazine  

University of Toronto Chemistry Department digitized their Distillations Magazine and published online to share with everyone!

Distillations 2006 Magazine  

University of Toronto Chemistry Department digitized their Distillations Magazine and published online to share with everyone!

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