Mount Allison student research featured on US Department of Energy site | Mount Allison


Mount Allison student research featured on US Department of Energy site

26 Feb 2016

Ghandi_chemistry_labTwo recent Mount Allison chemistry graduates are having their work at Mount Allison University recognized on an international scale, drawing the attention of the United States Department of Energy.

Connor MacNeil and Ernest Awoonor-Williams' paper, Ultra-fast electron capture by electrosterically-stabilized gold nanoparticles, showed coated gold nanoparticles to be speedy electron sponges. This paper, co-authored with Mount Allison chemistry professor Dr. Khashayar Ghandi, is featured on the Ames Laboratory site, part of the US Department of Energy ( The paper has also been selected as the cover article of Nanoscale, one of the most prestigious international nano science journals from the Royal Society of Chemistry.

“One of the potential findings from this research could change the way nuclear energy is transferred, which could have huge implications globally,” says Ghandi. “We are excited about our work in potential green energy.”

MacNeil and Awoonor-Williams are both graduate students at the University of Lethbridge and Memorial University respectively.

Current students and research associates in Ghandi’s lab are continuing this research on nano particles.

Students Yang Tan, Pooya Afaghi, Youji Cheng, Cody Landry, Garrett Muir, and research associate Zahid Mahimwalla are working on either a continuation of this research or other aspects of green chemistry in Ghandi's lab. Tan was a recent graduate with her MSc is also looking at nano material and green chemistry, Afaghi and Landry are current graduate students working on different aspects of nanotechnology. Mahimwalla is a research associate, while Cheng and Muir are pursuing their Bachelor of Science degrees.

“Working with Dr. Ghandi as a research assistant over the summer of my second year was an eye-opening experience for me,” says third-year student Youji Cheng. “I’m now discovering the nanoparticles of similar amazing properties, and we also collaborate with researchers in Vancouver, UK, Japan, and Switzerland for this project.”

“It has been fantastic doing completely novel and important green chemistry research that combines my love of organic chemistry with the newest techniques in computational chemistry,” says third-year student Garrett Muir. “Doing research in this group has given me an invaluable experience to take to my graduate studies work.”

“Another area we are studying is the applications around radiation therapy in cancer treatment, with hope to lessen the side effects of this for people” says Ghandi. “It's wonderful to have our students be part of this work over the years.”

Marco Farren Dai, another former student of Ghandi’s also completed research that led to the paper published on the Ames site. Dai, who is now completing his graduate studies at Simon Fraser University, also had his work published in The Journal of Chemical Physics Letters, selected as editor’s choice paper.

Photo caption (left to right): Graduate student Cody Landry, undergraduate student Garrett Muir, research associate Zahid Mahimwalla, undergraduate student Youji Cheng, graduate student Pooya Afaghi, recent graduate Yang Tang and chemistry professor Dr. Khash Ghandi in the lab.

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