Past Chemistry Speaker Tours 2017-11-28T09:58:04+00:00

Past Chemistry Speaker Tours


Second researcher

2016-17 Speaker Tour

Dr. Kai  E. O. Ylijoki
Saint Mary’s University

Computational Chemistry for Synthetic Chemists

Fall 2016

Locations TBA

Computational chemistry has been steadily advancing into the realm of chemical synthesis and has reached a stage where it is a valuable tool for all researchers. However, many researchers (students in particular) have not embraced this new and readily accessible tool to enhance their own projects, and student researchers do not have enough opportunity to development skills in this area. This talk will consist of a series of computational projects conducted by a chemist trained in organic and organometallic synthesis (me!). Through these projects, I hope to show that valuable insight into chemical reactivity and mechanism can be obtained by everyone, even without advanced training in quantum chemistry.

Dr. Geniece Hallett-Tapley
St. Francis Xavier University

Exploiting the Photocatalytic Activity of Nanoparticle-Niobium Oxide Perovskite Hybrids in Light-Mediated Catalysis

CBU – Friday, April 21, 2017, at 12:30pm (Verschuren Centre Boardroom – CS101)

Though mostly known for its acidic properties [1], niobium oxides and, in particular, niobate perovskites (RNbO3, R = Na, K) possess powerful and underdeveloped semiconductor properties similar to that of TiO2 [2], thus it seems fitting that the photocatalytically-induced nature of niobate structures also be exploited in an effort to develop more sustainable routes to popular industrially relevant organic transformations industrially relevant organic transformations. Nanoparticle (Au and Pd) functionalization provides an added benefit by improving charge separation within the material upon semiconductor excitation, thus increasing the redox activity lifetime within the heterogeneous system [3] (Fig. 1). Noble metal nanoparticle dopants may also facilitate material response into the visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum through surface plasmon absorption increasing the sustainable characteristic of these heterogeneous catalysts. This contribution will examine the propensity of RNbO3 composites to photocatalytically facilitate several popular organic reactions (nitroarene reductions, biomass conversion, aniline oxidation, C-C coupling) using more environmental benign materials and light as an integral reaction participant Furthermore, the influence of nanocomposite irradiation time and substrate substitution on reaction efficiency will also be discussed.

[1] Nowak, I.; Zoilek, M. Chem. Rev. 1999,99, 3603.

[2] Shishido, T. et. al. J. Phys. Chem. C 2009, 113, 18713.

[3] Primo, A.; Corma, A., Garcia, H. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 2011, 13, 886.


2015-16 Speaker Tour

No Tour


2014-15 Speaker Tour

Dr. Glen Briand
Mount Allison University

Exploring the Use of Indium(III) Dithiolates as Green Lewis Acid Catalysts

March 19, Acadia
March 25, StFX
March 26, CBU
April 9, UdeM

There has been increasing interest in main group metals as alternatives to expensive and toxic transition and rare earth metals as catalysts for chemical transformations [1]. Notably, indium reagents are well-established Lewis acid catalysts in organic syntheses, though the majority of compounds that have been studied include simple trivalent salts such as triflates, chlorides and oxides [2]. More recently, organometallic indium alkoxide and amide compounds have been shown to be useful for the ring opening polymerization (ROP) of cyclic esters to yield biodegradable polymers [3]. An objective of our research program is to develop the potentially rich and “tunable” reaction chemistry of Lewis acidic main group organometallic complexes. Indium thiolates are attractive candidates for such studies due to the favorability of the In-S bond, which allows for the facile synthesis and hydrolytic stability of target compounds. This lecture will focus on our recent studies into the synthesis and structural characterization of: 1) methyl indium dithiolates and their use as Lewis acid cataylsts for the ring opening polymerization (ROP) of cyclic esters; and, 2) cationic indium dithiolate complexes and their suitability as water tolerant Lewis acid catalysts for organic reactions in aqueous media.

[1] a) Kobayashi, S.; Ueno,M.; Kitanosono, T. Top. Curr. Chem. 2012, 311, 1; b) Chivers, T.; Konu, J. Comm. Inorg. Chem. 2009, 30, 131.

[2] Schneider, U.; Kobayashi, S. Acc. Chem. Res. 2012, 45, 1331.

[3] Dagorne, S.; Normand, M; Kirillov, E.; Carpentier, J.F. Coord. Chem. Rev. 2013, 257, 1869.


Christopher Rowley
Memorial University

Multiscale Computational Chemistry

October 22, UPEI
October 23, MTA
October 24, UNBF

Our research group uses computer modeling to understand complex chemical processes. These processes can occur on length scales spanning from the picometer to the nanometer and time scales that span from the femtosecond to the microsecond, so we use special computational methods capable of describing systems that span these scales. In this talk, I will present two applications of these methods by our group. In the first example, we use polarizable molecular dynamics simulations to identify why the toxic gas hydrogen sulfide is able to permeate across cell membranes but water is not [1,2]. In the second example, we use the CHARMM­TURBOMOLE QM/MM program developed in our group [3] to determine why Zn(II) is more soluble in water than Mg(II), despite the fact that the ion­water distances are the same for both ions [4].

[1] Riahi, S., Rowley, C.N. Solvation of Hydrogen Sulfide in Liquid Water and at the Water/Vapor Interface Using a Polarizable Force Field J. Phys. Chem. B, 118 (5), 1373–1380, 2014

[2] Riahi, S., Rowley, C.N. A Drude Polarizable Force Field for Liquid Hydrogen Sulfide. J. Phys. Chem. B 117 (17), 5222–5229, 2013

[3] Riahi, S., Rowley, C.N. The CHARMM­TURBOMOLE Interface for Efficient and Accurate QM/MM Molecular Dynamics, Free Energies, and Excited State Properties. J. Comput. Chem. DOI: 10.1002/jcc.23716

[4] Riahi, S., Roux, B., Rowley, C.N. QM/MM Molecular Dynamics Simulations of the Hydration of Mg(II) and Zn(II) Ions. Can. J. Chem. 91(7), 552–558, 2013


chem tour2

2013-14 Speaker Tour

Jason Pearson
University of Prince Edward Island

Chemistry with Computers: From Schrodinger to Social Networks

Feb. 3, 2014: Mount Allison
Feb. 5, 2014: UNB Fredericton
Feb. 13, 2104: Acadia
Feb. 14, 2014: St. Francis Xavier

In recent years, computational chemistry as a discipline has made enormous strides, progressing from an academic curiosity to a tool of mainstream chemists around the world. Theoretical techniques now provide a tool which complements experimental research in nearly every facet of chemistry, as well as many other branches of science.

In this presentation, I will begin by discussing the development and frontiers of current computational methods in chemistry, focussing on electronic structure theory. I will then highlight several existing challenges in the field and recent examples from our own research [1-6] that demonstrate how we are developing computational techniques to address these challenges. Some of these include the analysis and interpretation of electronic structure calculations and the application of these to an ever-changing landscape of chemical problems often including large molecular systems. In addition, our efforts to develop an open online platform and data repository designed for those engaged in computational research in chemistry will be discussed. This platform is an information management system that offers an intuitive interface, powerful search capabilities and a wide range of applications of interest to all chemists.

chem tour1

Stephanie MacQuarrie
Cape Breton University

Entrapment of Phenylalanine Ammonia Lyase in Mesoporous Silicas as Reusable Catalysts

Oct. 21, UNB Fredericton
Oct. 23, Mount Allison
Nov. 8, St. Francis Xavier

Phenylketonuria is a medical condition of abnormal L-phenylalanine metabolism in humans. This neuro-degenerative disease is found in people lacking the enzyme phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL) which is responsible for the conversion of L-phenylalanine to trans-cinnamic acid

in our bodies. Without this transformation taking place, L-phenylalanine is converted instead to phenylpyruvic acid, a harmful toxin accumulating in the body. Currently the only medical treatment for PKU is a very restricted diet avoiding all sources of L-phenylalanine. PAL cannot be administered as for treatme

nt because of its instability and high cost . PAL denatures quickly and large concentrations would be required for an effective treatment. PAL must be first stabilized in order to be considered as a treatment option. In an effort to stabilize PAL for human medical administration, periodic mesoporous silicas (PMOs) composed of aromatic rings (benzene and biphenyl linkages) and varied pore sizes have been loaded with PAL. The materials have been tested for their ability to convert L-phenylalanine to trans-cinnamic acid under control experiments.

Ultra large pore materials loaded with PAL show the highest activity and can be recycled more than 8 times without loss of activity.


2012-13 Speaker Tour

Sara Eisler
University of New Brunswick

5-Exodig Cyclizations Toward Isoindolinone-Containing Oligomers, Macrocycles, and Molecular Switches

  • Sept. 26, 2012:  Mount Allison University
  • Sept. 27, 2012:  Acadia University
  • Feb. 13, 2013:  UPEI

We have found that intramolecular, nucleophilic cyclizations can be performed under mild conditions between an aryl amide and an adjacent alkynyl moiety to give a variety of p-extended isoindolinone-containing products in high yields.  Multiple cyclizations can be performed simultaneously within a single molecule, and these extended isoindolinone systems are thermally stable, easily functionalizable, and strongly fluorescent.  In addition, several of our extended isoindolinone derivatives have been shown to switch between isomeric forms when exposed to UV and visible light, thus representing an entirely new family of multi-stable molecular switches.  The synthesis, electronic, and photochemical properties of small molecules, oligomers, and macrocycles containing this isoindolinone functionality will be presented.

Winter 2013

Greg Welch
Dalhousie University


2011-12 Speaker Tour

C. Adam Dyker, Department of Chemistry, UNB Fredericton

Towards “Organic Sodium”: The Most Powerful Organic Reducing Agents

  • October 14, 2011: Mt Allison
  • February 22, 2012: UPEI

“Super Electron Donors” (SEDs), are a recently discovered class of organic molecules that, among other useful reactions, are defined by their ability to reduce aryl halides to arenes. These SEDs are soluble reagents and offer potential benefits in terms of selectivity, reaction conditions and/or toxicity in comparison to metal based reducing agents. To date, there are very few SEDs, and all of them rely on classical amino groups as pi-donor substituents. We have recently developped a new class of SEDs based on iminophosphorano (R3P=N-) pi-donor functionalities. These compounds represent the strongest organic reducing agents known, and the synthesis, characterization and chemistry of these compounds will be the focus of this presentation.

Bobby Ellis, Acadia University

  • November 3: Cape Breton University
  • November 4: St Francis Xavier University
  • November 25:  UNB Fredericton


 2010-11 Tour

Christa Brosseau Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, Saint Mary’s University

New Frontiers in Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy

SERS, or surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy, has experienced a resurgence in recent years, owing to the development of stable high-powered lasers, ultrasensitive detectors and well characterized nanomaterials. This resurgence has resulted in the implementation of SERS as an analytical tool in such varied areas as art conservation, biomedical engineering and fuel cell technology.

In this seminar, I will first discuss work which was completed at Northwestern University and the Art Institute of Chicago which used SERS to analyze items of cultural heritage, including paintings and textiles. In addition, I will highlight new research coming out of our research group at Saint Mary’s University which uses SERS to analyze and characterize such varied systems as cultural heritage properties, hip implant materials and novel biodegradable ionic liquids.

  • September 24 — Memorial University
  • October 29 — Cape Breton University
  • TBA — Mount Saint Vincent University

Vicki Meli, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, Mt. Allison University
Insights into the Formation of Nanoparticle Monolayers at Fluid Interfaces

Nanoparticles have several properties of technological importance, most of which are strongly influenced by the nanoparticle shape, size, and chemical environment. Using the air-water interface to drive the formation of thiol-capped gold nanoparticle monolayers, we have explored the effects of interfacial tension via solvent, thiol chain length, and core size on monolayer formation. Several different film morphologies, and consequently physical properties, have now been observed and will be presented. The application of these films toward understanding nanoparticle-liquid crystal interactions and their effect on liquid crystal self-assembly will also be described.

  • September 29 — UNB Fredericton
  • November 5 — Dalhousie University
  • January 5 — University of Prince Edward Island


2008 Tour Speakers Program

Dr. Jason Masuda, Department of Chemistry, Saint Mary’s University
Elemental Phosphorus: History and Recent Synthetic Chemistry

  • University of Prince Edward Island – November 12
  • Mt. Allison University – November 14
  • Acadia University – November 19


2007 Tour Speakers Program

Dr. Peng Zhang, Dalhousie University

  • St. Francis Xavier University
  • Memorial University of Newfoundland

Dr. James Gauld, Cape Breton University

2005-2006 Tour Speakers Program

There were no tour speakers sponsored by APICS in 2005-2006.

2004-2005 Tour Speakers Program

Dr. Robert Singer, Saint Mary’s University
Green Chemistry & Ionic Liquids in Synthesis

  • St. Francis Xavier University – January 28
  • Mount Saint Vincent University – February 11

Dr. Dale Keefe, Cape Breton University
The measurement and study of absolute infrared absorption intensities

  • Université de Moncton – February 23
  • University of New Brunswick, Fredericton – February 24
  • University of Prince Edward Island – February 25


2003-2004 Tour Speakers Program

There were no tour speakers sponsored by APICS in 2002-2003.

2001-2002 Tour Speakers Program

Dr. Kevin Smith, University of Prince Edward Island
Benzamidinato Complexes 0f Cr(II) and Cr(III)

  • St. Francis Xavier University – February 20
  • Mt. Allison University – March 14

Dr. Jeff Banks, Acadia University
Towards Applied Nanoscience: Developing New Materials for Catalytic Applications

  • University of New Brunswick – February 20
  • Mt. Allison University – February 21


2000-2001 Tour Speakers Program

Cory Pye, Staint Mary’s University
Modelling the vibrational spectra of electrolyte solutions

  • Saint Mary’s University – February 6
  • Mt. Allison University – February 15
  • Université de Moncton – February 16
  • Memorial University of Newfoundland – February 27
  • St. Francis Xavier University – April 05
  • University College of Cape Breton – April 06
  • Acadia University – June 22
  • University of Prince Edward Island – June 29


1999-2000 Tour Speakers Program

Alaa Abd-El-Aziz,  University of Winnipeg
The role of organo-iron complexes in polymer synthesis

  • University of Prince Edward Island – May 17
  • Dalhousie University – May 1
  • Memorial University of Newfoundland – May 2

Joanne Jellet, Jellet Biotek

  • St. Francis Xavier University
  • Memorial University of Newfoundland

Prof. R. Steer, University of New Brunswick

  • Saint Mary’s University
  • Dalhousie University
  • Acadia University


1998-1999 Tour Speakers Program

Michael Quilliam (NRC Institute for Marine Biosciences)
The Analytical Chemistry of Marine Toxins

  • University of Prince Edward Island – March 9
  • Acadia University – March 11
  • Saint Mary’s University – March 12

Dr. Brian Wagner, University of Prince Edward Island
Flourescence Studies of Supramolecular Guest-Host Complexes: Molecular Buckets and Jack O’lanterns

  • St. Francis Xavier University – November 13
  • Acadia University – November 19
  • University of Prince Edward Island – November 20
  • Mt. Allison University – November 26

Dr. Dale Buckley, Bedford Institute of Oceonography
From Coastal Contamination to Rust on the Titanic: Some Chemical Aspects of Marine Science

  • Mt. Allison University – February 10
  • Acadia University – February 11
  • St. Francis Xavier University – February 12
  • Université de Moncton – March 26


1997-1998 Tour Speakers Program

Dr. Peter Redden, Efamol, Kentville, NS
Lipids as Pharmaceuticals

  • University of New Brunswick – March 16
  • University of Prince Edward Island – March 17
  • St. Francis Xavier University – March 18
  • University College of Cape Breton – March 19

Dr. Allen Adams, University of New Brunswick
High Resolution Laser Spectroscopic Studies of Co.

  • Université de Moncton – February 27
  • Saint Mary’s University – March
  • Acadia University – March 5
  • Dalhousie University – March 6

Dr. René Roy
Designing Novel Glycotools for Biochemical Investigations

  • University of New Brunswick – March 9
  • Mt. Allison University – March 10
  • Acadia University – March 11
  • Saint Mary’s University – March 12
  • Dalhousie University – March 13


1996-1997 Tour Speakers Program

Dr. Alex Jurgens, Sepracor, Windsor, NS
Single Isomer Pharmaceuticals

  • Mount Saint Vincent University – February 6
  • Saint Mary’s University – February 7
  • University of Prince Edward Island – February 14

Dr. Kathy Darvesh, Mount Saint Vincent University
Ab Initio Studies of Carbocations

  • University College of Cape Breton – March 4
  • St. Francis Xavier University – March 5
  • Acadia University – March 20

Dr. Peter Wentzell, Dalhousie University
Acoustic Emission

  • Mount Allison University – March 6
  • University of Prince Edward Island – March 7
  • St. Francis Xavier University – March 12
  • Acadia University – March 14

Dr. Graham Bodwell, Memorial University of Newfoundland
Electron defficient dienes & new curved aromatic compounds

  • University of New Brunswick – February 10
  • St. Francis Xavier University – February 11
  • Saint Mary’s University – February 12
  • Acadia University – February 13
  • Dalhousie University – February 14


1995-1996 Tour Speakers Program

Dr. Gerry Marangoni, St. Frances Xavier University
Colloid and Surfactants Studies

  • University of New Brunswick
  • University College of Cape Breton
  • Nova Scotia Agricultural College
  • Saint Mary’s University
  • St. Francis Xavier University

Dr. Ghislain Deslongchamps, University of New Brunswick
Molecular Recognition

  • Dalhousie University
  • Acadia University
  • Mt. Allison University
  • St. Francis Xavier University


1994-1995 Tour Speakers Program

Craig McMullin, Fenwick Labs, Halifax
The role of Chemistry in Environmental Monitoring

  • Acadia University
  • Université de Moncton
  • Saint Mary’s University
  • University of New Brunswick, Fredericton
  • Nova Scotia Agricultural College

Peter Tremaine, University of Moncton

  • University of New Brunswick
  • Mount Allison University
  • University of Prince Edward Island
  • St. Francis Xavier University

Pierre Thibault, NRC-IMB, Halifax
Capillary Electrophoresis

  • University of New Brunswick
  • Université de Moncton
  • Acadia University
  • St. Francis Xavier University


1993-1994 Tour Speakers Program

Jan Kwak, Dalhousie University
Colloid Chemistry

  • Sir Wilfred Grenfell College
  • Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • University of New Brunswick
  • Université de Moncton
  • University of Prince Edward Island