The fifth annual Concordia chemistry and biochemistry graduate conference will boast cutting edge research from universities across Central and Eastern Canada.
Planned by graduate students in Concordia’s chemistry department, the conference will take place from Sept. 27 to 28.
“It gives us [graduate students in chemistry] a chance to get feedback from the scientific community,” explained Kevork Messkhian, one of the conference’s co-ordinators and presenters.
Among others, the event is sponsored by research companies like MDS Sciex and Merck Frosst. Messkhian said their presence benefits students by “providing a link between the [chemical] and academia.”
“The event is a good way for publicizing Concordia as a graduate studies program, especially in the life sciences – just to show what we are doing [in research] and what we can do,” said Hasnain Jaffer, a grad student at Concordia.
Among the luminaries that will be present is Joe Schwarcz, director of McGill’s Chemistry Society and regular on the Discovery Channel, where he demonstrates the everyday applications of his craft for the more chemically-challenged. Murray Wigmore, senior VP of sales and marketing at MDS Sciex will is also expected to put in an appearance.
In addition to seeking prospective employment and gaining new ideas from peers, awards will be presented to students who show excellence and innovation in their field. One of the judges, chemistry department Chair Marcus Lawrence said past winners have been recognized for “clarity, a clear understanding and research that explores a new area.”
Jaffer hopes to have a winner with his research, which focuses on chemicals that destroy proteins. “A lot of people know about this [chemicals],” he said, “but it has never been explored on a molecular level before.”
This year, the conference will be bilingual to provide a link between the English and French universities and their respective scientific communities.
Although the conference showcases graduate-level work, chemistry undergraduate students and curiosity seekers alike are encouraged to attend.
“Anyone can learn from it, and it is a good thing for chemistry undergrads, because it gives them motivation and something to look forward to. Even students in other disciplines could enjoy themselves, because it’s a great way to learn,” added Jaffer.
The Concordia chemistry and biochemistry graduate conference takes place Sept. 27 to 28 in the Library Building, in front of the DeSeve Cinema.