Chemistry Students Win Awards at Science Atlantic Chemistry Conference

The 40th annual Science Atlantic ChemCon Conference was recently held at the University of New Brunswick and three Cape Breton University students won big. Ceilidh MacDonald, Matthew Tobin and Doug Richards all presented at the conference and all took home awards.

“ChemCon is a great opportunity for our undergraduate students to present their exciting research and see what other students are researching,” says Dr. Stephanie MacQuarrie, the CBU chemistry representative for Science Atlantic and Associate Professor, Organic Chemistry, CBU.

Ceilidh MacDonald, a 2015 Bachelor of Science (BSc) Chemistry honours graduate, received best undergraduate oral presentation in analytical chemistry for her work under the supervision of Dr. Allen Britten on the forensic determination of organic substance sources in the 1B mine pool of Sydney Coalfield abandoned mines. Ceilidh will begin a graduate degree in forensic science in the fall.

Second-year BSc (Chemistry) student Matthew Tobin conducted research under the supervision of Dr. Stephanie MacQuarrie and in collaboration with biochemist Dr. Godwin D’Cunha on the entrapment of phenyl alanine lyase enzyme in mesoporous materials for potential application in the treatment of phenylketonuria. He won best undergraduate oral presentation in material chemistry.

Doug Richards, second-year year BSc (Chemistry) student, received best undergraduate oral presentation award in inorganic chemistry for his work on the synthesis of nitrogen and sulfur-based ligands compounds and copper complexes. He works in the Bierenstiel research group under the direction of Dr. Matthias Bierenstiel and is also a 2016 NSERC Undergraduate Summer Research Award recipient.

Seven CBU BSc students presented their research on topics such as synthesis of new N,S-ligands and copper complexes, analysis of mine water, synthesis of organosilica materials and entrapment of enzymes, modeling of iron-binding polymers and molecular dynamics simulation of anti-cancer drugs on gold nanoparticles.

“We are  proud of each of the students who presented their work at ChemCom,” says Dean of the School of Science and Technology, Dr. David McCorquodale. “Each of these seven students has shown  dedication to their research and it shows in the calibre of their presentations.”

The regional conference for chemistry students brought together more than 100 students from nine different universities and all fields of chemistry. The next Atlantic Science ChemCon conference will be hosted by Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax in May 2016.