Past Lectures


Speaker: Dr. Malika Jeffries-EL

Date: Friday February 3, 2017

Location: Lash Miller Chemical Laboratories, LM158

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


Speaker: Dr. Miriam Diamond

Date: Thursday December 15, 2016

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

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



shanakelley-seminar4Speaker: Dr. Shana Kelley

Date: Tuesday November 22, 2016

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

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



win-lectureSpeaker: Tracy Primeau

Date: Thursday October 20, 2016

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

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


Rebecca Ruck LectureSpeaker: Dr. Rebecca Ruck

Date: Thursday April 14, 2016

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

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

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



Cathleen Crudden lecture

Speaker: Dr. Cathleen Crudden

Date: Wedensday, Feb. 10, 2016

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

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

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

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

More information on Cathleen Crudden (click here).



Stephanie MacQuarrie banner Speaker: Dr. Stephanie MacQuarrie

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

Time: 10 a.m.

Title: How Homogeneous Are These Heterogeneous Organic Catalysts?

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

More Information on Stephanie MacQuarrie (Click here)



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

Speaker: Dr. Molly Shoichet

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

More Information on Molly Shoichet (Click here)



WICTO Sophie Rousseaux“Supramolecular Chemistry of Porphyrin Nanorings”

Speaker: Dr. Sophie Rousseaux

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

More Information on Sophie Rousseaux (click here)


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