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Green Chemistry

Members of the Green Chemistry Initiative

The GCI started in September 2012 after a group of graduate students realized they all had a mutual interest in learning about green chemistry. From that point, we have grown into the organization that we are today, still run by students and still dedicated to promoting green chemistry in research and education. Here are the people that make it all happen!

Interested in joining our team? We are always interested in new Members-at-Large - email green@chem.utoronto.ca to find out how you can join.

Alex Waked - Co-Chair

I started my PhD in September 2014 with the Stephan group here at the University of Toronto. I was born in Montreal, Quebec, where I grew up and eventually obtained my Bachelor's degree in Chemistry at McGill University. Green chemistry became an interest of mine after being exposed to the GCI and learning of its efforts to promote the importance and relevance of green chemistry campus-wide. Since joining the GCI at the beginning of my studies, I've become motivated to further my personal knowledge of sustainable chemistry at every opportunity and get involved in many of our public outreach events.

Rachel Hems - Co-Chair

I started my PhD in the Abbatt group in 2014. My research focuses on the oxidation processes of organic-rich particulate matter in the atmosphere, which can ultimately have an effect on human health and climate. This particulate matter is often natural in origin but the chemistry that occurs can be greatly influenced by human activities. I've always been interested in sustainability, but it wasn't until joining U of T that I was introduced to green chemistry. I'm always excited to learn more about green chemistry and bring my perspective as an environmental chemist to the group!

Qusai Hassan - Secretary

I am a first year Msc student who recently joined Dr. Kagan Kerman’s lab at UTSC. I’m working on developing novel electrochemical sensors able to analyze proteins that are traditionally difficult to test. I hope to be able to bring my passion for green and sustainable chemistry to the GCI group. I plan on bringing all the improvements lead by the GCI to the Scarborough campus which has generally been lacking in the area. I enjoy playing online video games, debating, as well as being involved in social activism.

Karlee Bamford - Treasurer

My research in the Stephan group currently focuses on the chemistry of boron-containing radicals and heterocycles. I am originally from Vancouver Island and completed my B. Sc. (Hons) degree at the University of Victoria in inorganic chemistry. My interest in green chemistry stems from my commitment to making sustainable choices in my day-to-day life. As chemists, we have the privilege and responsibility of designing a future in which the materials and industrial processes that society relies upon are compatible with the environment and are mindful of waste management. I hope to contribute to the development of new green practices through the GCI.

Gabrielle Hoover - Seminar Series Coordinator

I became interested in green chemistry as an undergraduate at SUNY Albany after hearing about the GCI symposium from friends. My research in the Seferos group is on using light for lower energy heating. Being conscience of waste, hazardous materials, and energy use is essential in chemistry. This is especially important when developing new materials for future commercial use. Degradable products that limit harmful effects of materials on ecosystems are of particular interest to me.

Diya Zhu - Symposium Coordinator

I am a PhD candidate from the Stephan group. I am the 2019 Symposium Coordinator. I was born in Shenzhen, China and moved to Sackville (middle of nowhere), New Brunswick for my undergraduate study. Since I am working in a chemistry lab, I have always been interested in clean, safe, and sustainable project ideas. I am very excited to learn more about green chemistry and apply the ideas to my research.

Matthew Gradiski - Social Media Coordinator and Blog Coordinator

Trivia Coordinator

I graduated in 2016 from York University receiving a B.Sc. in Chemistry with Prof. Bill Pietro. In my honours thesis I studied the effects of templating additives on the morphology of copper sulfide nanoparticles. Currently, I am a graduate student working in Dr. Robert Morris' research group. My research involves developing homogenous Iron catalysts in replace of heavy metal Ruthenium and Osmium for ester and CO2 hydrogenation. I think Green Chemistry is something that needs widespread awareness throughout the scientific community to help limit the amount of harmful waste produced on a daily basis!

Brian Tsui - Website Coordinator

I started my PhD in 2016 in the Morris group. My projects focus on the asymmetric hydrogenation of polar double bonds using base metals and cheap ligands derived from the chiral pool. I was introduced to green chemistry in my first year undergraduate chemistry course at the University of Toronto thanks to the efforts of the GCI, and now hope to inspire a future generation of green chemists.

Ben Rennie - Member-at-Large

After completing a degree in Chemistry at the University of Alberta, I moved to the U. of Toronto and joined The Morris Group. My research focuses on small molecule activation and organic reactions with an emphasis on electrochemical methods and catalysis. I think it is important to promote green chemistry for environmental protection and sustainability.

Brian De La Franier - Member-at-Large

I am currently a PhD student in the Thompson lab at the University of Toronto, with my research focused on the development of a low cost early detection system for ovarian cancer. Originally from Toronto, I grew up in Halton Ontario, and upon completing high school moved back to Toronto to complete my undergrad as chemistry specialist at the University of Toronto. I was first exposed to green chemistry in my later undergraduate courses, and continue to teach green chemistry principles while TAing undergraduate organic chemistry courses.

James LaFortune - Member-at-Large

Energy Reduction Subcommittee Chair

I'm a first year MSc student in the Stephan group studying small molecule interactions and reactions with certain frustrated Lewis pairs. So far in my young chemistry career I've mostly worked on green chemistry projects from thermoelectric materials that save energy to tubes that clean flue gas to carbon dioxide reducing semiconductors. Green chemistry, in terms of saving energy and reducing pollution, have become my principal interests as a chemist. As part of the GCI, I'm hoping to help promote environmentally friendly knowledge and practices and make lasting changes in the way U of T does green chemistry.

Julia Bayne - Member-at-Large

I am a third year PhD student in the Stephan group at U of T, and my research is focused on the design of new phosphorous-based compounds for Lewis-acid catalysis and frustrated Lewis pair reactivity. As a chemistry-enthusiast and devoted humanitarian, I want to help raise awareness about green chemistry, so together, as a society, we can build a more sustainable future. I've had experience my last two years at U of T planning various events throughout the department and outside of the university and am excited to contribute to the GCI this year as the Seminar Series Coordinator.

Kevin Szkop - Member-at-Large

I am a graduate student in Professor Doug Stephan's lab, exploring novel phosphorus-based Lewis acids for metal-free catalytic transformation of organic molecules. I completed by B.Sc. at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, with focuses on Inorganic and Environmental Chemistry. I strongly believe that there should be no distinction between 'chemistry' and 'green chemistry', and that it is our responsibility to promote sustainable chemical practices so that future generations of chemists can continue expanding the field.

Molly Sung - Member-at-Large

I'm a 3rd year graduate student in the Morris Group working on small molecule activation using Ru-NHC complexes. I completed my BSc at UBC where I completed my senior thesis on dye-sensitized solar cells in the Berlinguette Group in addition to a directed studies project in the Mehrkhodavandi Group where I worked on poly-lactic acid chemistry. It is my hope that through education and awareness programs, all chemists will embrace green chemistry as central themes in their research.

Ryan Andrews - Member-at-Large

I started my PhD in the Stephan Group in 2017, and my research covers the catalytic applications of Phosphorous(III) dicationic Lewis Acids as an alternative to transition metals. I am from Vancouver and completed my B.Sc. (CHN) in Chemistry and Mathematics at the University of British Columbia. Since coming to the University of Toronto, my labmates have inspired me to join the GCI. In the GCI, I hope to inspire and educate the many students studying chemistry about the principles of Green Chemisry as a step towards building a greener future.

Sarah Simon - Member-at-Large

A small town girl gallivanting in the big city of Toronto sharing her love of science communication, chemistry, and chickens, Sarah first became interested in green chemistry when she studied it in a special topics course during her 4th year in her BSC at TRU. As part of the GCI, she brings her fusion of chemistry and previous life working at Science World Vancouver to increase education and awareness of green chemistry to the public. This is all bolstered with her MSc from UBC in Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells with Curtis Berlinguette and her current research with Jennifer Murphy investigating reactive atmospheric pollutants in the environment.

Shira Joudan - Member-at-Large

Education Subcommittee Chair

I am currently a PhD student in Scott Mabury's environmental chemistry group. Originally from Winnipeg, I did my undergrad in chemistry at Carleton University, and had summer research positions at the University of Winnipeg, where I investigated pesticides, pharmaceuticals and personal care products in the environment. My PhD research is focused on fluorinated contaminants in both the outdoor environment and in humans. I'm particularly interested in how the structure of a molecule affects its reactivity and metabolism. I joined GCI to learn more and inform others about what happens to chemicals that we use in our labs, and also chemicals we use in our everyday lives.

Suzanne Ross - Member-at-Large

I joined the GCI with the goal of encouraging students to think and act sustainably and to connect with a community of sustainable-minded chemists. As of now I’m doing my specialist in environmental chemistry and I’ve been researching an air pollutant called isocyanic acid in Jennifer Murphy’s atmospheric chemistry lab. My life’s work is to tackle issues of global climate change, so I’m learning to incorporate principles of green chemistry into my studies and research and help others do the same. That’s why the GCI is really important to me; I believe education, universities, and caring communities play a crucial role when bringing sustainability into the mainstream. I hope you would like to learn more from us, so that together we can create a sustainable future.

Wendy (Shoushou) He - Member-at-Large

I am a fourth year undergraduate student specializing in biological chemistry. As an undergraduate researcher in the laboratory of Prof. Ozin, I am currently working on the synthesis, characterization, and development of inorganic materials for carbon dioxide reduction to yield value-added fuels. As a member of the Green Chemistry Initiative (GCI), I have grown to appreciate the importance of green chemistry in research. By participating in the conferences, symposiums, and monthly meetings, GCI has provided me with valuable opportunities to learn about different aspects of green chemistry and sustainability.

Yuchan Dong - Member-at-Large

I started my PhD in Professor Geoffrey Ozin group in 2014 and am working on inorganic nanomaterials for carbon dioxide photo-reduction. Green Chemistry was a new concept to me when I just started my graduate study. After joining GCI, through its seminar series, symposiums, and chatting with GCI people, I got to know the its 12 principles, research and industry in Green Chemistry and was greatly attracted by this area. I am very glad to join the executive of GCI which gives me the chance to contribute to the greener future.

Past Members

Laura Hoch | Erika Daley | Melanie Mastronardi | Nadine Borduas | Raj Dhiman | Rebecca Courtemanche | Alessandra Augurusa | Annabelle Wong | Bekir Buyukkocabas | Bryony McAllister | Connie Tang | Cookie Cho | Cynthia Cheung | David Djenic | Devon Holst | Elisa Carrera | Elyse Henderson | Gustav Wulf | Ian Mallov | Jay Chi | Jessica Sonnenberg | Jonathon Moir | Judy Tsao | Juri Mobus | Karl Demmans | Kenneth Chen | Kiril Fedorov | Kurtis Judd | Laura Reyes | Levy Cao | Lilin Tong | Lisa Kozycz | Maria Karcz | Mark Miltenburg | Meera Mehta | Megan Willis | Peter Mirtchev | Samantha Smith | Sarah Kavassalis | Shawn Postle | Shivanthi Sriskandha | Trevor Janes