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2009 NSERC André Hamer Postgraduate Prize

Nadine Borduas

Master's Level

University of Toronto

Nadine Borduas
Nadine Borduas

As countries around the world explore new ways to lower their impact on the environment, Nadine Borduas is doing her part to clean up chemistry and make science a little greener. Borduas, who is now a PhD student at the University of Toronto, is pursuing her interest in organic chemistry as an environmentally friendly branch of science research.

Borduas' interest is in total synthesis, the creation of a complex organic product by executing chemical reactions from simpler pieces. Most organic chemistry is petroleum-based and as the world's limited supply is depleted, the need for new base material, such as carbon dioxide and starch, will become necessary. Borduas intends to demonstrate the usefulness and efficiency of new, but under-utilized, forming reactions that will aid in the production of biological products.

To this day, pharmaceutical industries rely on wasteful procedures to synthesize their drugs as quickly as possible. They generate toxic metal wastes, harmful emissions and dangerous contaminated equipment. To address these problems, green chemistry has emerged as an environmentally friendly and energy efficient approach to science. Green chemistry includes using renewable starting material, developing environmentally friendly processes and reducing chemical wastes.

The developments that result from Borduas' research will benefit all fields of science, but particularly those concerned with the environment. Her work will provide new reliable tools for chemists to use when conducting synthesis of molecules for a biological product and help to advance the entire field of green chemistry.