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Queen's Remembers Dr. Victor Snieckus

Photo: In memory of Dr. Victor SnieckusIt is with a profound sense of sadness and deep regret that the Chemistry Department and Queen’s University in Kingston inform you of the passing of Victor Algirdas Snieckus on December 18, 2020. As one of the most internationally respected synthetic organic chemists in the world, Victor most recently held the position of Emeritus Bader Chair of Chemistry at Queen’s University. Victor was born in1937 in Kaunas, Lithuania, and spent his childhood in Germany during World War II before immigrating to Alberta Canada with his parents in 1948. He obtained a B.Sc. in chemistry at the University of Alberta in1959 followed by an M.Sc. from the University of California, Berkeley (1961) and a Ph.D. from the University of Oregon (1965). Following a post-doctoral position at the National Research Council of Canada in Ottawa (1965-1966), Victor joined the University of Waterloo as an assistant professor in 1967. rising through the ranks to become Professor of Chemistry (1979-1992) and then the Monsanto/NRC Industrial, Research Chair (1992-1998). In 1998 Victor joined Queens University as the inaugural holder of the prestigious Bader Chair of Chemistry. Victor Snieckus became a house-hold name among chemists world-wide due to his fundamental contributions to organo-lithium chemistry and the DOM (directed ortho-metalation) reactions that he and his group pioneered. Research conducted in his laboratories and his consulting with various pharmaceutical industries led to the commercially important anti-inflammatory drug CelebrexTM and to SilthiofamTM, a unique fungicide for eradication of the TAKE-ALL fungus which is in use worldwide. That work, and other contributions, led to nearly 300 highly cited publications, 58 international and national fellowships and awards, 249 special and plenary lectureships, and 446 invited presentations around the world. Victor’s lasting enthusiasm for discovery and chemistry is best observed in the hundreds of undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral researchers who have been mentored in his labs, many of whom have gone on to significant careers of their own in academia and industry. Victor was predeceased by his wife, Anne Cecilia, and leaves behind daughter Naomi, son Darius, and two grandchildren. Victor will be missed by family, friends, students and colleagues, but his legacy will live on.

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Congratulations to Morgan Lehtinen who was accepted into the 2021 cohort of Next Canada's Next36 program!

Photo: Morgan LehtinenMorgan Lehtinen was accepted into the 2021 cohort of Next Canada's Next36 program. This highly prestigious program chooses the 36 most promising and high impact entrepreneurial minds across Canada drawing from an applicant pool of 1000+ students and recent graduates from all disciplines of study. The goal of the program is to build a more ambitious and competitive Canada, providing each of the 36 participants with training, mentorship, and access to resources/funding from Canada's top entrepreneurial leaders and investment sources.

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Congratulations to Dr. Graeme Howe, who is one of 5 young Ontario investigators to win the John C. Polanyi Prize!

Photo: Dr. Graeme HoweQueen's Chemistry is proud to announce that Dr. Graeme Howe is one of 5 young Ontario investigators to win the John C. Polanyi Prize! These prestigious prizes are awarded in honour of Ontario’s Nobel Prize winner John C. Polanyi, to recognize outstanding researchers in the early stages of their careers; to read more about the prize, please visit the Ontario Universities Award Winners website. Dr. Howe's recognition was also featured in the Kingston Whig Standard article. This is a fabulous recognition of Dr. Howe’s ambitious research program in enzyme catalysis. Well done Graeme!

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Congratulations to Heather Drouillard for receiving a 2020 Special Recognition Staff award

Photo: Heather DrouillardCongratulations to Heather Drouillard for receiving a 2020 Special Recognition Staff award. This award recognizes staff members who consistently provide outstanding contributions during their workday, directly or indirectly, to the learning and working environment at Queen's University at a level significantly beyond what is usually expected (e.g. improving the workplace efficiency, quality of work life, customer service, problem-solving, etc.). 

On Thursday, Dec. 10, Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane recognized a number of staff for their accomplishments in the virtual award ceremony, featured in the Queen's Gazette article. As a Department Manager, Heather Drouillard is responsible for a multitude of essential services that range from finances to staff to space management in the Department of Chemistry. An impeccable professional and master administrator, Heather is adept at identifying the source of a problem and coming up with a solution. The lockdown put teaching and research activities at severe risk; not to mention the pandemic’s impact on student and staff mental health and livelihoods. Heather’s encyclopedic knowledge of departmental space and staff organization was integral in the development of a safety plan that allowed the department to quickly reopen in mid-June with COVID-19 safeguards in place. It was one of the first on campus to do so. The rapid reopening enabled coordinators and grad student TAs to pivot during the summer and develop remote, online labs to instruct undergraduate students in the fall and winter terms. Heather worked with faculty and students to maximize operational space so that more grad students could safely return and complete their studies.

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Jevon Marsh, MSc student in the Petitjean Group, has earned a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship!

Photo: Jevon MarshJevon Marsh, MSc student in the Petitjean Group, has earned a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship to pursue a PhD at the University of Oxford. The scholarship was featured in the Queen’s Gazette. Jevon speaks about his experiences at Chemistry and Queen’s: "I would just like to emphasize that the chemistry community at Queen's is a phenomenal place to grow as a young chemist with a plethora of support and opportunities! I am very proud to have been affiliated with the department and the Queen's community, and the level of mentorship that I have received throughout my studies there will continue to inspire me throughout the rest of my career." Congratulations, Jevon!

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Dr. Oleschuk and group has been featured on the cover for the Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry

Photo: Cover of Journal of the American Society for Mass SpectrometryDr. Oleschuk and group has been featured on the cover for the Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry for their Article: “Detection of Opioids on Mail/Packages using Open Port Interface Mass Spectrometry (OPI-MS)”. Article contributors: Haidy Metwally, Prashant Agrawal, Rachael Smith, Chang Liu, Yves LeBlanc, Thomas R. Covey and Richard Oleschuk. The work stems from a collaboration and NSERC strategic project grant with SCIEX, a Canadian mass spectrometry equipment manufacturer and was published on November 4, 2020 on the Journals website.

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Congratulations to the 2019-2020 Chemistry TA Award winners!

Andre Castillo was awarded the William Patrick Doolan Award in Chemistry for 1st Year Chemistry Laboratory. Alastair Kierulf received the Friends of Chemistry Award – For Excellence in Teaching CHEM112 Tutorials. Dianne Lee received the Friends of Chemistry Award – For Excellence in Teaching 2nd Year Synthetic Labs. Andrew Williams received the Friends of Chemistry Award – For Excellence in Teaching 2nd Year Physical and Analytical Labs. Hannah Ramsay received the Friends of Chemistry Award – For Excellence in Teaching 2nd Year Physical and Analytical Labs. Yizhe (Sherry) received the Fisher Scientific Award for Excellence in Teaching 3rd Year Labs. Congratulations to our TA Award winners!

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Queen’s Chemistry is proud to announce that Prof. Cathleen Crudden has been elected to the Royal Society of Canada!

Photo: Dr. Cathleen CruddenQueen’s Chemistry is proud to announce that Prof. Cathleen Crudden has been elected to the Royal Society of Canada (RSC)! Only Canada’s top scientists achieve such recognition. The RSC states Prof. Crudden has made “lasting contributions to organic chemistry and materials science. She has employed the principles of organometallic chemistry to develop catalytic transformations of importance to pharmaceutical research and to develop novel techniques for the formation of organic monolayers on metal surfaces. The latter work has resulted in the most robust organic monolayers to date, high stability nanoparticles and novel metal nanoclusters.” Details on the RSC class of 2020 can be found here: https://rsc-src.ca/en/news/press-release-rsc-presents-class-2020 Well done Prof. Crudden!

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