Dr. Trisha Ang is from Scarborough, Ontario and having completed her degrees she acquired a background in synthetic organic and inorganic chemistry (completed B.Sc.H. and M.Sc. at University of Toronto; Ph.D. at Queen’s University). She is currently a postdoctoral researcher in Dr. Matthias Bierenstiel’s group working on applied industrial research in the field of biomedical applications – she is collaborating with an industrial partner to develop polymers that help prevent antibiotic resistance and increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs. For example, when one of these polymers is added with an antibiotic to an antibiotic resistant bacterial strain, the polymer binds to extracellular iron making the bacteria susceptible to that antibiotic. It is an interdisciplinary project bringing microbiologists, pharmacologists, physicians and chemists together.
She had the pleasure of completing her Ph.D. research in a green chemistry laboratory at Queen’s University. The group research focused on hydrogen and or carbon dioxide gas utilization. Hydrogen and carbon dioxide are two molecules of high interest where they are relevant to energy storage and environmental output from industry respectively. Her Ph.D. research focused on carbon dioxide utilization as a polarity trigger and more so as a carbon source towards the formation of industrially relevant products. In addition to this, she investigated the reactivity of carbon disulfide, while similar in structure to the benign carbon dioxide and also recoverable as a waste product from power plant flue gases; it is highly reactive and exhibited new reactivity with nitrogen containing bases.
Her continued interest in chemistry stems from the excitement of examining things at the molecular level and observing scientific theory before her eyes. She thinks it is amazing working with a variety of chemicals to create new and, for the most part, unsuspecting things. She feels the most rewarding part about being in chemistry is the expertise and skills that you develop can be applied to collaborations that can form across all disciplines.
Her advice to someone who is pursuing or interested in chemistry, is even though the learning curve may be steep, it is important to grasp the fundamental principles you learn in first year undergraduate or even in high school. She finds that sometimes the most obscure or challenging concept in chemistry can be explained by reverting back to what you may have learned on the first day of class.