Summer Research

Michel Gravel
Research in the Gravel group centers on the discovery of new reactions and the synthesis of carbon-based medium and large rings. In a typical summer project, the student will determine the scope of a new reaction by preparing various substrates, submitting them to the reaction conditions, purifying the products, measuring the yield, and performing the full characterization of all new compounds (NMR, IR, MS, mp).

Andrew Grosvenor
The Grosvenor group studies transition-metal/rare-earth oxides, silicates, and pnictides by X-ray diffraction, X-ray absorption near-edge spectroscopy (XANES), utilizing synchrotron radiation, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and electronic structure calculations.  To develop these materials for different applications (e.g., catalysts, semiconductor devices, ion conductors, power generation, nuclear waste sequestration, etc.), it is important to understand the relationship between crystal structure, electronic structure (bonding and charges), and surface reactivity. Projects are available for undergraduate summer research students to synthesize solid-state metal oxides and study these materials using facilities located at the Canadian Light Source .

Tim Kelly
Research in the Kelly group focuses on the development of high efficiency 3rd generation solar cells. We study bulk heterojunction, dye sensitized, and hybrid solar cell designs, and use a combination of organic and inorganic synthesis, nanotechnology and photophysics to more efficiently absorb light and convert it into electrical energy. Opportunities for undergraduates in the Kelly group may include the synthesis of new organic dyes, the study of silver and gold nanoparticle systems, the spectroscopic investigation of photon upconversion systems, and the fabrication and testing of prototype photovoltaic devices. 

Dave Palmer
A summer student in Dr. Palmer’s lab can expect to pursue a project aimed at understanding how enzymes work, and how to apply that knowledge. This can include synthesis of molecules to be used as substrates or inhibitors, cloning of genes and expression to produce enzymes of interest, generating site-directed mutants, measuring rates of reactions, determining products of reactions, or some combination of these techniques. A specific project can be tailored to your existing skills and interests. You will participate in a clearly defined research project, working alongside other students in a challenging and safe environment. If your project is successful, you will be included as an author on a peer-reviewed research article. (If it is not successful, we will still have learned something.) Research students have the opportunity to present their work at conferences.  For more information, please visit the group website.

David Sanders
The Sanders research group uses protein X-ray crystallography, enzymology and related techniques to study the structure and function of enzymes, with an eye towards developing novel inhibitors of biologically important pathways. Undergraduate students will have the opportunity to participate in ongoing research projects and learn modern structural biology and enzymology techniques.

Robert Scott
Research in the Scott laboratory involves making materials at the nanometer size scale, and exploring their activity for a variety of catalytic systems of commercial interest. Examples of current research include the synthesis of monodisperse gold thiolate clusters, design of gold-palladium core-shell nanoparticles as low-temperature oxidation catalysts, and the use of non-volatile ionic liquids as both solvents and stabilizers for nanoparticle catalyst dispersions. Undergraduate students have the opportunity to participate in cutting-edge research directions; the Scott lab has a strong history of undergraduate contributions to publications.

Amy Stevens
A summer research project in my group can be tailored to the interests of the student. We are an interdisciplinary bunch who combine molecules, capable of interesting kinds of upconversion and downconversion energy transfer, with DNA scaffolds and then measure the energy transfer dynamics of these complexes with ultrafast laser spectroscopy techniques. There are opportunities to work on the computational design of DNA structures, physically forming the structures and combining them with model fluorescent molecules, analyzing the structures with analytical chemistry techniques, studying energy transfer rates through fundamental laser spectroscopy measurements, and other projects. I'm more than happy to talk to interested students in a variety of disciplines at various stages of their studies.

Stephen Urquhart
The Urquhart research group uses the X-ray microscopes and related techniques at the Canadian Light Source to study organic and semiconductor nano materials, chemical questions in the energy and the environment, and fundamental questions in chemical spectroscopy. Undergraduate students have the opportunity for “hands on” participation in research projects.

Lee Wilson
The Wilson group is concerned with the development of novel materials (e.g., polymers and composite materials) for solving diverse chemical problems and their practical applications related to adsorption-based phenomena.  The research deals with the preparation, characterization of polysaccharide-based sorbents with tunable properties and to gain a better understanding of the relationship between molecular structure and the adsorption properties of these adsorbent materials.  This research is relevant to environmental science, physical chemistry, materials science, polymer chemistry, and supramolecular chemistry, among other areas relevant to course offerings in the Department of Chemistry at the undergraduate and graduate level.