Green Chemistry @ MUN

Happy Holidays from MUN Green Chemistry Group
December 2, 2020, 10:45 pm
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We had our last virtual group meeting of the year and would like to wish all our friends, collaborators, colleagues and family a safe and happy holiday season.

We have been very lucky in Newfoundland and Labrador so far, with few cases of covid-19 compared to many places around the world. This does not mean that 2020 was without its challenges for us. Our labs were closed for research from mid-March until July, some group members got caught out when travel restrictions were introduced, and new group members have had their start dates postponed until January 2021. Also, once our labs were open, we had to work to strict covid workplace guidelines with limited occupancy of our labs. We have had great successes too – honours students graduating, virtual conference presentations, grants funded, papers published and more. We are happy and optimistic for a fun- and science-filled 2021, and a relaxing break during the holidays.

Congrats to group alumnus
December 2, 2020, 3:57 pm
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Jevon Marsh (Kerton Group, NSERC USRA 2016) has been awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to conduct his PhD studies at the University of Oxford. Congrats on your MSc from Queens and good luck in your future studies at Oxford. Everyone at MUN is very proud of you!

Inorganic sponges from waste mussels
November 24, 2020, 4:05 pm
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Table of Contents Graphic from Matter

Dr. Jen Murphy (PhD 2019, Kerton group) discovered an unusual form of calcium carbonate when investigating potential uses for waste mussel shells. This new materials chemistry is now online in the journal Matter. Both Dr. Kerton and Dr. Murphy have been busy chatting with journalists over the past two weeks about this unusual discovery that happened by chance. We hope that the ‘sponge’ can be used in a range of different areas – so far we have only looked at it for adsorbing dyes and oil but we think it has much broader applications.

News coverage

Materials Today:

Chemistry World, from Royal Society of Chemistry Publishing:

CBC The Broadcast, with Jane Adey,

Radio Canada, interview with Gino Harel:–materiau-spongieux

Cosmos Magazine, from the Royal Institution of Australia:

The Gazette, at Memorial University:

Christian Science Monitor:

Interesting Engineering:

ScienceDaily Website: Website:

Fall Semester 2020 – Welcome
September 25, 2020, 6:50 pm
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Welcome to our Honours (490A/B) Research Students, Olivia, Cassie and April! Also, our new MSc Students, Mikhailey and Cyler. Lots of new new green chemistry and catalytic reactions going on in our labs again. We look forward to more new graduate students arriving once Canadian borders are open again πŸ™‚

Virtual Group Meeting, September 2020 (Fatma Takfa missing from photo)

Congratulations Dakshita Jagota
May 28, 2020, 1:29 pm
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Today we are celebrating our wonderful graduates. Dakshita held MUCEP positions in the Kerton group working alongside Kori Andrea (Vanier Scholar and PhD candidate) on iron-catalyzed reactions of epoxides with carbon dioxide. She then did her honours research in the Kerton group working with Juliana Vidal (PhD candidate) on biodegradable polymers using some materials prepared by MSc graduate Courtney Laprise (now, MUN Education). This research has involved collaborating with the Sit group at St. Mary’s University. We are excited to cheer Dakshita across the virtual convocation/graduation stage as she receives her B.Sc.(Hons) Degree in Chemistry (Biological). Congratulations Dakshita! Please stay in touch when you begin your adventures at MUN’s Faculty of Medicine in the Fall when you begin your studies in medicine πŸ˜€

Dakshita Jagota, B.Sc.(Hons) 2020 Chemistry (Biological), Congratulations!

Congratulations Mikhailey Wheeler
May 28, 2020, 1:20 pm
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Today we are celebrating our wonderful graduates. Mikhailey held a MUCEP position in the Kozak group working alongside Keegan Start M.Sc. on iron-catalyzed coupling reactions. She then did her honours research in the Kerton group working with Juliana Vidal (PhD candidate) on biodegradable polymers, including a collaboration with the Sit group at St. Mary’s University. We are excited to cheer Mikhailey across the virtual convocation/graduation stage as she receives her B.Sc.(Hons) Degree in Chemistry. Congratulations Mikhailey! We are excited to have you stay in the MUN Green Chemistry and Catalysis Group for your M.Sc. studies beginning in September πŸ˜€

Mikhailey Wheeler, B.Sc.(Hons) 2020, Congratulations!

Juliana will attend inaugural Commonwealth Chemistry Congress
February 27, 2020, 6:47 pm
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Congrats to Ju (Kerton Group), who will be one of three early career chemists representing Canada in Trinidad and Tobago during May. More details are available in the ACCN magazine:

We wish all the Canadian representatives including Dr. Mona Nemer (the government of Canada’s Chief Science Advisor) and Dr. Steven Holdcroft (vice-president of the CSC) a wonderful congress! and a successful visit to the Caribbean.

**Postscript: March 6, 2020, the congress has been postponed due to concerns regarding travel and the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19)**

New group members
February 6, 2020, 8:02 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Today was the first day in the lab for our new undergraduate research assistants April (Kozak group) and Olivia (Kerton group). We are so excited to have you join our team. We hope you enjoy your MUCEPs in our lab this semester.

New Year = New Committees
February 2, 2020, 9:46 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Chris Kozak is a member of the NSERC Scholarships and Fellowships Selection Committee for Chemistry (Committee 179). He was also appointed to the editorial board of the International Journal of Molecular Sciences for the macromolecules section.

Fran Kerton is the Chair of the IUPAC ChemRAWN Committee. ChemRAWN is a standing committee for IUPAC, and aims to facilitate discussion on Chemical Research Applied to World Needs.

The Committee focuses on strategic activities in concert with the following six IUPAC goals:

  1. Address global issues
  2. Advance research through scientific discussion
  3. Assist industry towards sustainable development, wealth creation, and improvement of the quality of life
  4. Foster communication among chemists and organisations with special emphasis on needs in developing countries
  5. Enhance education and the application of chemistry globally
  6. Increase the diversity in IUPAC bodies

As part of her IUPAC work (Chair of Canadian National Committee for IUPAC), she has been involved with promoting the IUPAC Global Women’s Breakfast. This will take place on February 12th around the world and coincides with the United Nations Day of Women and Girls in Science

Our event at Memorial University will take place from 9.00-11.00 am on February 12th in C4019. Special thanks to Juliana, Silvana and Stephanie for all their hard work in organizing this.

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Finally, Fran is excited to be a member of the general committee for the #RSCPoster 2020 twitter conference She is looking forward to interacting with scientists around the world and learning about their latest results on March 3, 2020. Don’t forget to register to submit your poster.


Behaviour of biochar under liquid phase exfoliation conditions in green solvents
January 13, 2020, 1:06 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Our group’s first time using ChemRxiv to share a pre-print!

Well done to Ju on all her hard work to obtain these results, make correlations, the collaborations and writing πŸ™‚ womeninscience greenchemistry


Ju presenting some of this research at the ACS Green Chemistry & Sustainable Energy Summer School (2019)

In Summary: Hydrogen-bond accepting solvents can disperse (exfoliate) up to 75 wt% of oxidized biochar in 15 minutes. Due to lower functionality, lower levels of dispersion are achieved when LPE is performed on pristine biochar and the critical solvent parameter in this case is polarizability.


Image by 445693 from Pixabay

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