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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.

Matthew Gradiski - Co-Chair

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!

Hana El-Haddad - Secretary

I am a first-year undergraduate student, pursuing a Materials Science specialist (hopefully!) at UTSG. Through the GCI I hope to learn more about sustainable chemistry and what role it plays in our day-to-day lives. I look forward to help spread awareness about not only the various aspects of green chemistry, but also about its history and contributors, including the inspiring women in the field. I never had sufficient education about the importance of green chemistry in my high school, so I would like to one day be able to incorporate it into the Ontario high school curriculum and change that!

Christopher Major - Treasurer

I started my PhD in the Stephan lab in 2017. My research is mainly focused on highly Lewis acidic borocations and their potential uses towards main-group catalysis. I became interested in this because one of the big themes in green chemistry in the 21st century is the move away from heavy metals in catalysis.

Cookie Cho - Seminar Series Coordinator

I am a graduate student in Prof. Mitch Winnik's group working on polymeric radioimmunoconjugate, which is taking an antibody and attaching a polymer with multiple radioactive nuclide to be used for targeted cancer therapy. My interest in green chemistry originate from my undergrad studies in McGill University, where Prof. C.J. Li and Prof. Audrey Moore introduced green synthesis techniques and tricks that were far superior to conventional methods in terms of yield, efficiency, and whose procedures were more convenient.

Nina-Francesca Farac - Social Media Coordinator and Blog Coordinator

Trivia Coordinator

First-year graduate student studying organic chemistry for applications in organic photovoltaics; chemist camouflaged in the Wallberg building.

Brian Tsui - Website Coordinator

Energy Reduction Subcommittee Co-Chair

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.

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.

Diya Zhu - Member-at-Large

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.

Eloi Grignon - Member-at-Large

I am a graduate student in the Seferos group working on organic energy storage materials. I was first introduced to green chemistry during my BSc, which I completed at McGill University. I am a strong supporter of this field not only because it places focus on sustainable practices that can reduce the footprint of scientific work but also because it stimulates research on non-conventional (and very interesting) approaches such as mechanochemistry, flow chemistry, microwave synthesis, and so on.

Fettah Erdogan - Member-at-Large

I am currently pursuing my doctorate studies in the Gunning Group at the University of Toronto Mississauga. My research specialty is in the field of structural biology, with X-ray crystallography being the main tool at work. I am currently utilizing this specialty to demonstrate how our drug molecules interact with target proteins. Visualizing the protein-drug interaction does not only confirm the proposed mechanism of action at the binding site, but also enables our scientists to better design their molecules by optimizing their functionalities in accordance to the binding pocket. As with many chemical processes, synthesis of small molecule drugs can produce a lot of toxic waste consisting of supplementary solvents and reagents and I am a strongly believer of an innovative method that will no longer require the use of such supplements to convert reactants to their products.

Isla Wrightson - Member-at-Large

I recently joined Dr. Myrna Simpson’s group at UTSC as a first year MSc student. I grew up in Vancouver, where I received my BSc in Chemistry (Hons) at UBC. Hiking and camping all over British Columbia has really inspired my strong love of nature and my interest in implementing sustainable practices in my daily life. As part of GCI I hope to learn more about and implement these same practices in my research, in addition to promoting green chemistry further within our community.

Jose Jimenez - Member-at-Large

I am a graduate student in the Song Group since 2018. My research focus on replacing noble-metal catalysts with more abundant and greener alternatives such as iron. I am from Mexico and completed my B. Sc. in Chemistry at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

Karlee Bamford - Member-at-Large

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.

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 5th 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.

Nicolas Karbaliotis - Member-at-Large

I am a second-year undergraduate student in the Chem Specialist and Enviro-Chem Minor programs. As my awareness of the environmental impact of human activity grows, I am increasingly thankful for the opportunities to learn about my impact on the environment and efforts I can make to reduce it. I’m excited to continue my involvement with the GCI while advancing my education in green chemistry!

Qusai Hassan - Member-at-Large

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.

Rachel Hems - Member-at-Large

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!

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.

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.

Past Members

Laura Hoch | Erika Daley | Melanie Mastronardi | Nadine Borduas | Raj Dhiman | Rebecca Courtemanche | Alessandra Augurusa | Alex Waked | Annabelle Wong | Bekir Buyukkocabas | Ben Rennie | Bryony McAllister | Connie Tang | Cynthia Cheung | David Djenic | Devon Holst | Elisa Carrera | Elyse Henderson | Gabrielle Hoover | Gustav Wulf | Ian Mallov | James LaFortune | Jay Chi | Jessica Sonnenberg | Jonathon Moir | Judy Tsao | Julia Bayne | 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 | Shira Joudan | Shivanthi Sriskandha | Trevor Janes | Walter Liang | Wendy (Shoushou) He | Yuchan Dong