Department of Chemistry

Chemistry Lab

Saint Mary's Biochemistry & Organic Chemistry Lab


As of March 23, 2020, the Chemistry Department has transitioned to virtual operations in response to COVID-19. Our work is continuing and we appreciate your support and understanding. Should you wish a Chemistry Department member to contact you, please email the department at

For additional information on Saint Mary's University's operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit:

The Department of Chemistry at Saint Mary’s University offers undergraduate education in a supportive and friendly environment. Our broad range of courses offers a rigorous core education in the theory and practice of chemistry. We also provide students in other disciplines with an introduction to the principles and practices of this central science, which contributes to their fundamental understanding and appreciation of the physical world.

Our chemistry professors are committed to engaging undergraduate students in research activities. Motivated students have the opportunity to gain valuable experience as research assistants. Many present their research projects at regional and national conferences.  Students who may have an interest in a specific area of research are encourged to contact our Chemistry Faculty members directly.

Both our Majors and Honours programs are fully accredited‌ by the Canadian Society for Chemistry.


 Peer-reviewed Publication:

 Cory C. Pye and Courtney R. Gilbert (née Schaller)

An ab initio investigation of the second hydration shell of metal cations, Computers and Applied Chemistry, Computers and Applied Chemistry, 4 December 2020

 Co-author Courtney Gilbert is a graduate of Saint Mary’s University.



Kaleigh McLeod, under the supervision of Dr. Christa Brosseau, received her award, as part of a group of Science Undergraduate Students conducting scientific research. The awards are sponsored by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), a Government of Canada agency, and the Dean of Science Office at Saint Mary’s University.  These awards are intended to help students develop their potential for a research career in the natural sciences and engineering, and often lead to students pursuing graduate work in their chosen fields.

Kaleigh received her award on her research project in how to make an all wood-pulp N95 respirator as part of our COVID-19 project with Port Hawkesbury Paper. She is continuing the project on for the rest of this academic year as her honours project in Chemistry. 2 October 2020

Congrats Kaleigh!



Dr. Jason Masuda as a part of a group of Saint Mary's Scientists awarded $1.6 Million in NSERC Funding for his Stabilization of Unique Chemical Bonding Environments and Exploration of Small Molecule Reactivity research.

Work in the research group, lead by Dr. Masuda, is focussed on the preparation of new functional groups specific groups. Functional groups are arrangements of atoms within molecules that have characteristic properties, such as aldehydes, ketones, and alcohols. Chemists have a general understanding of how normal functional groups react. In the Masuda group, new arrangements of atoms are targeted and once isolated, the physical properties are studied as well as how they react with other molecules.

Most importantly, student researchers in the Masuda Group learn transferrable skills, such as critical thinking and organizational skills, that will assist them as they move on in their careers. September 18, 2020

Congrats Jason!

 Peer-reviewed Publication:

Cory C. Pye, Daniel C. M. Whynot, Christopher R. Corbeil, Darren J. W. Mercer

Desymmetrization in geometry optimization: application to an ab initio study of copper(I) hydration, Pure and Applied Chemistry, 13 July 2020

Co-authors Whynot, Corbeil and Mercer are former graduates of Saint Mary's University

 Peer-reviewed Publication:

Cory C. Pye

Chemical Safety: TATP Formation in 2-Propanol, ACS Chemical Health and Safety, 10 June 2020

 Peer-reviewed Publication:

David Zanders, Goran Bačić, Dominique Leckie, Damilola O. Odegbesan, Jeremy Rawson, Jason D. Masuda, Anjana Devi, Seán T. Barry

A Rare Low-Spin Co(IV) Bis(β-silyldiamide) with High Thermal Stability: Steric Enforcement of a Doublet Configuration, Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 5 May 2020

 Peer-reviewed Publication:

Kori A. Andrea, Adam R. Beckett, Glen G. Briand, Sarah A. Martell, Jason Masuda, Kathleen M. Morrison, M.T. Emilie Yammine.

Synthesis and structural characterization of methylindium imino/aminophenolates: Comparison to aluminum analogues and reactivity toward the coupling reactions of carbon dioxide with epoxidesm, Journal of Organometallic Chemistry, April 2020


Peer-reviewed Publication:

Robert D. Riley,  Diane A. Dickie,  Michael A. Land, Richard A. Kemp, Charles L. B. Macdonald,  Ulrike Werner-Zwanziger, Katherine N. Robertson, Jason A. C. Clyburne

Heavy metals make a chain: a catenated bismuth compound, Chemistry: A European Journal, April 2020

Congrats to the Clyburne group! Robert is a SMU Chemistry Honours graduate and Micheal graduated from SMU with both a BSc(Honours) and an MSc. This project involved collaborators from Dalhousie University, Carleton University, and the University of New Mexico.





Jennifer Kolwich was awarded a First Prize in the Post Graduate Category for her paper Fighting Fungus with Fungus: A Microbe-Based Solution to Bat White-nose Syndrome”, Student Science Writing Competion hosted by the Nova Scotian Institute of Science (NSIS). April 2020.

Congrats Jenn!





Dr. Kathy Robertson is the 2020 recipient of the Saint Mary's University Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research Staff Research Recognition Award!! March 6, 2020.

Congrats Kathy!

Dr. Robertson is an integral part of the Clyburne research group and also plays an important role in the department as the local crystallography guru and collaborator. Since starting at SMU in 2010, she has amassed over 40 peer-reviewed publications.



Research Grant Awarded

Cory Pye is a co-investigator on a successful Compute Canada Research Platforms and Portals proposal of Raymond Poirier (MUN) entitled “Retrievium: The element of discovery”. The aim is to develop a computational chemistry platform for storage retrieval, and mining of computational chemical data. March 2020.



Peer-reviewed Publication:

Cory C. Pye

One-Dimensional Cluster Analysis and its Application to Chemistry, The Chemical Educator, Volume 25, pp50-57, March 2020

This paper rigorously defines the idea of clustering in data and illustrates its use to help assign the 1H-NMR spectrum of ethyl acetate, the gas-phase infrared spectrum of carbon dioxide, and the microwave spectra of the alkali halides CsI, CsBr, RbI, RbBr, and KI.

This paper is dedicated to Professor Emeritus John C. O’C. Young on the occasion of his 90th birthday.



Peer-reviewed publication:

Cory C. Pye and C. Mahesh Gunasekara

An Ab Initio Investigation of the Hydration of Thallium(III) and Mercury(II), Journal of Solution Chemistry, 2020

This paper uses ab initio theory to benchmark several effective core potentials for hydrated mercury(II) and thallium(III) aqua ions, focusing on the incremental hydration energies, bond lengths, and totally symmetric M-O vibrational frequency



Peer-reviewed publication:

Thomas L. King, Brian Robinson, Scott Ryan and  Jason A. C. Clyburne

Canadian bitumen is engineered for transport, but the type of product produced can affect spill contingency planning, Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, 2020

Dr. Thomas King is a recent graduate from the Saint Mary's PhD program in Applied Sciences.





Fourth year chemistry student Maddison Eisnor has won the Chemical Institute of Canada’s CIC Analytical Chemistry Division Undergraduate Travel Award in Honor of Dr. Nick Toltl.

Congrats Maddy!



Peer-reviewed publication:

Kaitlyn L. Blatt-Janmaat, Stephanie L. MacQuarrie, Clarissa S.Sit

Does size matter? An investigation into the impact of coarse and fine ground inoculated biochar on Hordeum vulgare (barley) growth and yield, Rhizosphere, 2020

This is the first publicaiton from the Sit Research Group in 2020. Researcher Kaitlyn recent SMU Chemistry Honours (and biology major) graduate.



Peer-reviewed publication:

C. Pye

An ab initio study of the effect of hydration on the vibrational spectrum of hydrogen sulfate, Computational and Theoretical Chemistry, 2020

This paper uses ab initio theory to interpret the differences in the Raman spectra of the hydrogen sulfate ion (HSO4-) in gas-phase, aqueous solution, and the counterion in hexylmethylimidazolium hydrogen sulfate ionic liquid.



Peer-reviewed publication:

T. Hynes, D.S. Hall, A.W.H. Speed, J.D. Masuda, J.R. Dahn

A one-pot method for the synthesis of 3-(hetero-)aryl-1,4,2-dioxazol-5-ones, Canadian Journal of Chemistry, 2020



Peer-reviewed publication:

Shruti D. Bindesri, Ricardo Jebailey, Najwan Albarghouthi, Cory C. Pye, Christa L. Brosseau

Spectroelectrochemical and computational studies of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and carboxy-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC-COOH), Analyst, 2020

This is the first publication from the Brosseau group in 2020. Representing the group are: Shruti (a Chemistry Honours student), Ricardo (a SMU undergraduate student), Najwan (a SMU PhD student) and Dr. Christa Brosseau. SMU Chemistry faculty member, Dr. Cory Pye provided support in the collaboration by providing ab initio calculations.



Peer-reviewed publication:

Bačić, G., Rankine, C.D.; Masuda, J.D.; Wann, D.A.; Barry, S.T.

Volatile and Thermally Stable Polymeric Tin Trifluoroacetates, Inorganic Chemistry, 2020


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