Chemistry @ Dal
Dalhousie University

This site is maintained by:



Dr. Alison Thompson, Faculty of Science Killam Professor of Chemistry
Education: B.Sc. Hons I; I was an undergraduate at the University of Leicester in the UK (long before Leicester City won the Premier League); I gained my Ph.D. at the University of Sheffield in the UK with Dr. Varinder Aggawal; PDF in Strasbourg (Prof. Solladie-Cavallo) in France, and then UBC (Dr. David Dolphin) in Vancouver.

Research: In my Ph.D. I learned that if the product wasn't white and wasn't crystalline then it couldn't possibly be pure; this limited knowledge was turned on its head when I started working with polypyrroles - stunning oranges, purples, reds, and sometimes even black. My research group develops synthetic methodology to make new types of functional pyrroles and polypyrroles in elegant ways; we complex many of our polypyrroles and investigate their optical properties or bioactivity. We have many hundreds of pyrroles in our lab, but there is always the need for a few more.

Publications: Our publications link has my full record.

Fun Facts: I have two children; we have a dog; I ride my bike to work; I swim a lot; I enjoy making things from yarn or anything else that inspires - my current project is a crocheted blanket that resembles the landscape of a farm (brown ridges for a ploughed field, yellow corn field, blended green and yellow hay field, red for the barn; you get the idea).

Michael Beh, PhD Student
Education: HBSc Chemistry: I was an undergraduate at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, ON.

Research: I began working with dipyrrins, specifically F-BODIPY dyes. F-BODIPY compounds are brilliantly coloured both in solution and as solids, quite a sight what I was familiar with in organic chemistry. I started looking at the synthesis of these compounds and how sensitive they were to non-anhydrous conditions. I have since finished that project and moved on to two others dealing more with monopyrroles. One project is working towards building sulfur-bridged dipyrroles with the goal of synthesizing a sulfur-bridged tetrapyrrole. The other project focuses on a group of specifically substituted monopyrroles and the mechanism behind their formation.

Recent Conference Presentation: Robust Synthesis of FBODIPYs Beh, M.H.R.; Douglas, K.I.B.; House, K.T.E.; Murphy, A.C.; Sinclair, J.S.T.; Thomspon, A. 100th Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition, May 2017, Toronto, ON.

- Beh, M. H. R.; Figliola, C.; Lund, K.; Kajetanowicz, A.; Johnsen, A.; Aronitz, E.; Thompson, A. "Regioselective Substituent Effects upon the Synthesis of Dipyrrins from 2-Formyl Pyrroles" In-press, Can. J. Chem cjc-2017-0662
- Smithen, D. A.; Yin, H.; Beh, M. H. R.; Hetu, M.; Cameron, T. S.; McFarland, S. A.; Thompson, A. "Synthesis and Photobiological Activity of Ru(II) Dyads Derived from Pyrrole-2-Carboxylate Thionoesters" Inorg. Chem. 2017, 56 (7), 4121-4132
- Beh, M. H. R.; Douglas, K. I. B.; House, K. T. E.; Murphy, A. C.; Sinclair, J. S. T.; Thompson, A. "Robust Synthesis of F-BODIPYs" Org. Biomol. Chem. 2016, 14 (48), 11473-11479


- Beh, M. H. R.; Thompson, A. "The Hunt for Air-Stable Tetrapyrroles to Mimic Those Found in Heme Biosynthesis" Maritime Natural Products Conference, Charlottetown, PE Canada, August 2017.
- Beh, M. H. R.; Douglas, K. I. B.; House, K. T. E.; Murphy, A. C.; Sinclair, J. S. T.; Thompson, A. "Robust Synthesis of F-BODIPYs" 100th Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition, Toronto, ON Canada, June 2017.
- Beh, M. H. R.; Douglas, K. I. B.; House, K. T. E.; Murphy, A. C.; Sinclair, J. S. T.; Thompson, A. "Robust Synthesis of F-BODIPYs" Maritime Natural Products Conference, Halifax, NS Canada, August 2016.
- Spencer, B.; Beh. M .H. R.; McSweeney, J. "Supervising as a Graduate Student" Dalhousie University Teaching Assistant Day, Plenary Panel; Halifax, NS Canada, September 2016

-Beh, M.H.R.; Lund, K.A.R.; Kajetanowicz, A.; Thompson, A. "Mechanistic Studies in the Synthesis of Symmetrical Dipyrrins" 99th Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition, Halifax, Canada, June 2016

Awards and Scholarships:
- Dobbin Atlantic Scholarship for Ireland/Canada Collaboration (May 2018)
- The Douglas E. Ryan Excellence Graduate Prize (September 2017)
- Walter C. Sumner Memorial Fellowships (September 2017)
- PhD Nova Scotia Graduate Entrance Scholarship (September 2017, 3 years)
- The Douglas E. Ryan Excellence Graduate Prize (September 2016)
- MSc 1 year Nova Scotia Graduate Scholarship for Graduate Work (September 2015)
- Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation Scotia Support Grant (September 2015)

Recent Conference Poster:
Mechanistic Studies in the Synthesis of Symmetrical Dipyrrins. Beh, M.H.R.; Lund, K.A.R.; Kajetanowicz, A.; Thompson, A. 99th Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition, June 2016, Halifax, NS.

Fun Facts: I'm a big fan of games, movies, and TV shows. I'm a big fan of hiking, canoeing, and camping. I bike to school everyday. Dogs are the best thing ever and cats are OK too I guess.

Sarah Greening, PhD Student
Education: B.Sc. Chemistry; I was an undergraduate at the University of Central Florida (Dr. Howard Miles) and currently pursing graduate work with Dr. Alison Thompson, at Dalhousie University.

Research: At the University of Central Florida, I worked with the natural product, podocarpic acid. The work involved copper-catalyzed cross coupling reactions with thiols to develop novel compounds with potential as new drug leads. In the Thompson group, current work involves F-BODIPY synthesis and study of the photophysical properties of prodigiosenes, a synthetic analog to the natural, biologically active product, prodigiosin.

Awards: Anna Wilson Scholarship (2016), Dalhousie President's Graduate Teaching Assistant Award (2017), Gerry Daulphine Graduate Research Scholarship (2017)

Recent Conference Presentations: 9th MNPC 2017 (PEI, Canada). "Synthesis and Characterization of Prodigiosene F-BODIPYs"

8th MNPC 2016 (Halifax, Canada). "Prodigiosene F-BODIPYs: Synthesis and Characterization"

Asymmetric dipyrrin and F-BODIPYs conjugated to terminal alkynes and alkenes.
Figliola, C.; Robertson, K.; Greening, S; Thompson, A. J. Org. Chem., 2017, 82 (13), 7059-7064

Synthesis and Characterization of Prodigiosene F-BODIPYs. Greening, S.; Robertson, K.; Thompson, A. Photochem. Photobiol Sci., 2018, 17, 89-98

Decarboxylative arylation of substituted pyrroles N-protected with 2-(trimethylsilyl)ethoxymethyl (SEM). Figliola, C.; Groves, B.R.; Greening. S.; Lamont, C.; Thompson, A. Can. J. Chem., 2018

Fun Facts: I love music, specifically singing/dancing and playing guitar. As a result, my favourite thing to do on a Friday night is to go to karaoke. I also like to read and color. My favorite author is Terry Goodkind; and I have to resist the urge to buy a new adult coloring book every time I see one in a shop.

Roberto Diaz-Rodriquez, Honours Undergraduate Student
Education: Fourth year B.Sc. Honors in Chemistry at Dalhousie University. I've been accepted into the Master's at Dalhousie, continuing work in the Thompson group.

Research: My current projects include an investigation of methodologies for introducing non-fluorine substituents to the boron atom of aza-BODIPYs, and the synthesis and characterization of aza-dipyrrin alkali metal salts and studies of their reactivity.

Awards: IB Renewable Scholarship; Hugh Graeme Fraser Memorial Prize

Recent Conference Poster: Diaz-Rodriguez R, Gaube S, Thompson A. (2017). Synthetic Methodology Development Towards Pyrroles and Aza-BODIPYs. Maritime Natural Products Conference, August 2017, Charlottetown, PEI

Fun Facts: Music is one of my great passions; I am a big fan of progressive metal, play a couple of instruments and enjoy making effects pedals for electric instruments in my free time. Bit of a geek and a huge League of Legends fan, and also love cycling.

Min Joon Kim, MSc Student 
: Bachelor of Science in Chemistry with a minor in Mathematics (2013-2017)

Research: My research is focused on both pyrrole and dipyrrin chemistry. For pyrroles, the main focus is to synthesize an aldehyde group from another functionalities present on a pyrrole. Such transition includes: from an amide group to an aldehyde or a thionoester group to an aldehyde. Regarding dipyrrins, I am varying substituents on dipyrrins in order to compare the effects that the substituents have on both chemical and physical properties.

Awards: Laing's award, Faye Sobey award, NSERC, CGSM, Canadian Society for Chemistry Silver Medal and Norbert Wolter Memorial Scholarship

Fun Facts: I play piano and enjoy watching The Voice!