The Group

Dr. Paul Duchesne

Assistant Professor

PDF: University of Toronto | PhD: Dalhousie University

Background in nanomaterials, catalytic materials synthesis, X-ray absorption spectroscopy, and heterogeneous carbon dioxide reduction.

Current Group Members

Emerson MacNeil, BSc

PhD Candidate | 2021 Present

I have always had an interest in transition metal chemistry, materials, and sustainability, so I have found the perfect home here in the Duchesne Group. I completed my undergraduate thesis project in the group by looking at the reduction of CO2 to C8+ alkanes using a supported transition metal catalyst. Now, as a PhD candidate, I am continuing this research with an added focus on using X-ray spectroscopy to characterize my catalyst materials. My future goals include working in industry with renewable fuels. Outside of the lab, I am a huge basketball fan, and I love playing tennis and snowboarding, as well.

Danika Watson, BSc

MSc Candidate | 2021– Present

(Primary Supervisor: Prof. Neal Scott)

Over the course of my undergraduate studies, I have been interested in green chemistry and chemical research related to climate change. For my fourth-year thesis, I worked on developing a photocatalyst for the conversion of carbon dioxide to methanol (a chemical fuel). My research interests are now primarily focused on climate change on a broader scale, and specifically, the permafrost feedback loop, considering that the Arctic is warming at an accelerated rate. Permafrost systems can be studied through the chemical analysis of permafrost soils, one useful method being 13C NMR. I am currently developing a pre-treatment method to improve the quality of soil spectra obtained using 13C NMR. I will be transitioning into an MSc in Physical Geography in the fall, where I will combine the use of spectroscopy with other analytical tools to study how Arctic permafrost systems might respond to future warming.

Zhengkun Fang, BSc

MSc Candidate | 2022– Present

Solving environmental pollution problems is one of the important reasons why I chose Chemistry. Working in the Duchesne group gives me a perfect opportunity to further achieve my goals. My research goal is directly using Ni silicate minerals to achieve satisfactory CO2 conversion and CO/CH4 selectivity through simple chemical treatment. Most of the current research literature focuses on embedding Ni particles in surfaces, with silica minerals as a supporter to improve the activity. Only a small amount of research has been devoted to directly using nickel silicate minerals as a catalyst. In the future, I want to apply the knowledge I have learned to an energy company to create green environmental products. I enjoy playing basketball and collecting sneakers in my free time.

Howard Chan

NSERC USRA Researcher | 2022/2023 and 2023/2024

Kate Rorabeck

CHEM 497 Student | 2022/2023

Jayden Corbett

CHEM 497 Student | 2022/2023

Alex Li

CHEM 497 Student | 2022/2023

Past Graduate Students

  • (In training!)

Past CHEM 497 Students

  • Mariangela Casarella (2021/2022)
  • William Hachey (2021/2022)
  • Daisy Nguyen (2021)
  • Griffen du Maresq-Henshaw (2021)
  • Danika Watson (2020/2021)
  • Emerson MacNeil (2020/2021)

Past NSERC USRA Students

  • Howard Chan | 2022
  • Danika Watson, BSc | 2021
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