New Professors Lecture Program - Spring 2017

Organic Electronic Materials via Molecular Design and Synthesis

By Julian Chan, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences

Julian Chan

Abstract: Traditionally, optical and electronic technologies have relied mostly on inorganic materials such as silicon or other metal-based semiconductors. However, recent decades have seen the introduction and proliferation of functional organic (carbon-based) materials in optoelectronic applications, e.g. flexible cell phone displays. The field of organic electronics, or “plastic electronics”, exists at the confluence of organic chemistry, polymer synthesis, materials science, and device engineering. Here, organic molecules predicted to possess certain characteristics are first designed on paper, then prepared in the lab via chemical synthesis, and finally evaluated for their physical properties. The high degree of control afforded by organic synthesis over the precise molecular structures, allows for rational fine-tuning of their overall materials properties. In this presentation, some of our ongoing work on sulfonamide-based π-conjugated organic emitters and semiconductors will be discussed.

Biography: Julian Chan obtained his Bachelors in Chemistry (2005) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry (2010) from MIT. His graduate work under Prof. Timothy Swager involved synthesizing and characterizing π-conjugated organic macrocycles and polymers with unique optoelectronic properties. Following consecutive postdoctoral appointments at the University of California, Berkeley (2010-2012) and the organic materials division at IBM Almaden Research Center (2012-2015), Dr. Chan joined the University of Ottawa as an Assistant Professor in July 2015. His current research focuses on the design, synthesis, and exploration of new molecular structures for use as functional organic electronic materials.

Back to the Future: Travels Through Acetylcholine Receptor Space and Time

Corrie DaCosta

By Corrie daCosta, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences

Synopsis: A group of University of Ottawa scientists are thrown back in time when an experiment goes awry. Traveling through time, the scientists encounter ancestral versions of their beloved proteins, which help them uncover the underlying origins of their protein's modern structural and functional diversity.

Biography: Corrie obtained his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Ottawa, where he studied in John Baenziger's lab in the Faculty of Medicine. For his doctoral work he examined lipid-protein interactions using a variety of spectroscopic methods. He then pursued postdoctoral work in Steven Sine's at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, where he used a technique, called patch clamping, to study drug-receptor interactions at the single molecule level. He joined the Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences in July of 2015, at which point he began his work on a protein time machine.

Mixing Markov Chains in Physics, Statistics and Computer Science

Aaron Smith

By Aaron Smith, Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Abstract: Markov chains and closely related random processes appear in many disguises and areas. They are particularly important as fundamental models in statistical physics, as algorithms in computer science, and in both forms throughout statistics. In all of these contexts, a quantity called the "mixing time" of the Markov chain tells you something important - from the temperature at which a liquid freezes in statistical physics to the efficiency of an algorithm in computer science. In this talk, I will give a short survey of some of the history of mixing time problems, mentioning some of my own contributions and current interests.

Biography: Aaron is from Toronto, and completed his undergraduate degree in mathematics at Queen's University in Kingston. He moved to the United States to study Markov chains at Stanford University under the supervision of mixing time and card-shuffling expert Persi Diaconis. He then had a short postdoctoral position at Brown University, studying problems in statistical physics with Kavita Ramanan, before returning to Canada in 2013. After a year working for the federal government, he joined the University of Ottawa as an assistant professor in 2014.

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