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Green Chemistry
Initiative

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.



Karl Demmans - Co-Chair

I am a grad student who recently joined Dr. Robert Morris' group. Also from Montreal's McGill, I became interested in Green Chemistry immediately after taking Prof. C. J. Li's fourth year course. I was fairly surprised when I sat down and read all the statistics he presented. Needless to say, I am glad to join the Green Chemistry Initiative!



Molly Sung - Secretary

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.



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.



Kevin Szkop - Seminar Series Coordinator

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.



Yuchan Dong - Symposium Coordinator

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.



Brian Tsui - Website Coordinator

I am a 2nd year PhD student in the Morris group working on 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.



Rachel Hems - Blog Coordinator and Social Media Coordinator

I am a PhD student in the Abbatt group. 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. Although I'm new to green chemistry, I am eager to learn more and to teach others.



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.



Connie Tang - Member-at-Large

I am a MSc student for Doug Stephan's group, and I'm very excited to join such an enthusiastic and productive student-run initiative. I want to participate in GCI's commitment to educating the department, implementing changes, and hosting seminars to the student body. I hope to raise awareness about sustainability and green chemistry through more community events, symposiums, and talks.



Cynthia Cheung - Member-at-Large

I am a second year MASc student in the Bender Lab in the Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry department, and my research is focused on synthesizing new materials to put into organic photovoltaic devices. As a chemistry researcher concentrated in sustainable applications, incorporating sustainable chemistry methods is also a must! The GCI is a great opportunity to learn about greener alternatives, and also to advocate these practices to others as well!



David Djenic - Member-at-Large

I am a third-year undergraduate student studying Biochemistry. I have an interest in bringing awareness of green chemistry to undergraduate labs, especially those outside the chemistry labs. I believe any lab, be it chemistry or otherwise, should do its best to minimize the amount of waste it produce.



Devon Holst - Member-at-Large

I am a PhD student in the Bender lab. My research is focused on the synthesis of new organic semiconductors and their applications in organic photovoltaics. Nature is one of my biggest inspirations. It is constantly executing chemistry far beyond the capabilities of humans and doing so in a sustainable fashion. I believe chemistry needs to follow in the footsteps of nature. The green chemistry initiative is a place where this idea is able to thrive. It helps to usher in a new standard in chemistry and a brighter future for all. This is why I am a part of the green chemistry initiative.



Gabrielle Hoover - Member-at-Large

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.



Gustav Wulf - Member-at-Large

Lifelong learner specialized in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology with academic interests in genome biology and engineering, and minor in computer science. My commercial interests include biogeochemical engineering confronting 21st century problems too many to name here. I see my peers and myself as tenacious stakeholders of a transitionary generation, harnessing the flow of the zeitgeist as a sort of waterwheel, generating new possibilities for sustainable alternatives and solutions ultimately serving future generations by shaping the biogeochemical conditions endowing their inheritance. I got involved in the GCI after meeting wonderful members whose efforts compelled faculty to redesign curricula to emphasize green values in conscious and practice. I draw inspiration and guidance from their leadership on and off campus.



James LaFortune - Member-at-Large

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.



Judy Tsao - Member-at-Large

I'm currently a Ph.D. student in Professor Doug Stephan's group, focusing my research on the synthesis of new tellurium-containing heterocycles for applications as optoelectronic materials. I became interested in green chemistry after attending a few seminars hosted by GCI. I joined GCI in the hopes of learning more about green chemistry. Additionally, my interest outside of the lab has always been community science outreach. I hope to use this opportunity to promote awareness of green chemistry to the general public through school visits and community events.



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.



Laura Reyes - Member-at-Large

I started my PhD studies in the Ozin Group in 2011, and I am currently researching silica nanoparticles with various tethered amine-containing polymers for CO2 capture. Before coming to UofT, I completed my BSc at York University, where I worked with Dr. Barry Lever on the electrochemistry of non-innocent ligands. My interest in joining the Green Chemistry Initiative comes from a desire to implement green chemistry principles into my own research and to raise awareness that green chemistry is not necessarily a discipline in itself, but rather a set of methods that can improve any already-existing chemical process.



Levy Cao - Member-at-Large



Lilin Tong - Member-at-Large

I am currently an undergraduate student studying biochemistry at University of Toronto. As one of the few undergraduate members, I hope to make green chemistry as an essential component in undergraduate labs. I strive to see the day that green chemistry is at the forefront of every chemist's mind!



Maria Karcz - Member-at-Large

I am an undergraduate student completing my B.Sc. in Chemistry at the University of Toronto. I was first introduced to green chemistry in my second year organic chemistry lab and realized the need for integrating it into every discipline of chemistry. Already inspired by some of the GCI's work, I joined to further my green chemistry education and learn how to convey that knowledge to my peers. As one of the few undergraduates at the GCI, I am interested in generating green chemistry awareness among undergraduate students both inside and outside the lab.



Matthew Gradiski - Member-at-Large

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!



Samantha Smith - Member-at-Large

I am a PhD Candidate in the Morris group. I received my BSc in Chemistry & Mathematics at Wilfrid Laurier University with Prof. Dmitri Goussev. My honours thesis focused on the synthesis of new Ru and Os catalysts for the hydrogenation of esters and dehydrogenative coupling of alcohols. My current research is revolved around replacing heavy, toxic metals such as Ru and Os with earth-abundant Fe in catalysts used for the synthesis of alcohols and amines, so Green Chemistry is a fundamental part of my research. I think the GCI is an amazing student-run initiative that benefits our department and others in the Green Chemistry community.



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.



Past Members

Laura Hoch | Erika Daley | Melanie Mastronardi | Nadine Borduas | Raj Dhiman | Rebecca Courtemanche | Alessandra Augurusa | Annabelle Wong | Bekir Buyukkocabas | Bryony McAllister | Cookie Cho | Elisa Carrera | Elyse Henderson | Ian Mallov | Jay Chi | Jessica Sonnenberg | Jonathon Moir | Juri Mobus | Kenneth Chen | Kiril Fedorov | Kurtis Judd | Lisa Kozycz | Mark Miltenburg | Meera Mehta | Megan Willis | Peter Mirtchev | Sarah Kavassalis | Shawn Postle | Shivanthi Sriskandha | Trevor Janes