CCEC2020 will feature the fourth annual set of presentations under the Emerging Leaders in Chemical Engineering initiative, which invites selected speakers to deliver short presentations on some of the most exciting work they are pursuing in their respective fields. This year’s presenters are Associate Professor Gisele Azimi of the University of Toronto’s Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, Assistant Professor Noémie-Manuelle Dorval Courchesne of McGill University’s Department of Chemical Engineering, and Assistant Professor Kevin Golovin of the University of British Columbia’s School of Engineering.

Golovin’s work focuses on the fundamental property of adhesion, where he has contributed to changing the way investigators regard the key distinctions between solids and liquids. His Emerging Leader talk will outline the innovative approach he and his colleagues have taken to the role of interfacial toughness, which has allowed them to create omniphobic coatings that significantly limit surface adhesion without the need for environmentally controversial agents such as perfluorocarbons.

“Our materials work differently,” he explains. “They minimize the resistance to droplet motion, even for low contact angles. By understanding the fundamental mechanics of interfaces, we engineer new ways of thinking and subsequently new materials with properties previously thought impossible.”

Dorval Courchesne describes herself and her research team as pioneers exploring how to engineer living materials. “My group focuses on the fabrication of biologically-derived materials that augment the performance of various energy and biomedical devices,” she says. “These biomaterials also provide greener and biocompatible alternatives to conventional materials.”

Her Emerging Leader presentation will describe some of the potential applications for these materials, which in addition to being bioactive and biodegradable, could also facilitate the integration of electronic devices into novel formats such as clothing.

According to Azimi, her laboratory’s activities represent “a new research wave on novel batteries made of abundant, inexpensive, and environmentally sustainable elements.” Among the most promising elements offering these advantages, she adds, is aluminum, which she regards as a suitable candidate to replace lithium in the next generation of high-performance batteries.

Her Emerging Leader presentation will introduce studies of the physical properties that have shed new light on the behaviour of aluminium in ionic liquids, as well as the methods her team has employed to apply this understanding to macroscopic models of battery design.

Azimi is also among a number of guest editors for the Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering’s Emerging Leaders special series. She has been collaborating with Thomas A. Adams II, Zeinab Hosseinidoust, and Ya-Huei (Cathy) Chin on gathering a collection of articles that highlight exceptional early career researchers in the chemical engineering field and celebrate their contributions to Canadian research.

The first of these articles is co-authored by Dorval Courchesne with Sophia Roy and Oliver Xie. Entitled “Challenges in Engineering Conductive Protein Fibres: Disentangling the Knowledge”, it appears in the October issue of the journal, as does the preface to the series.

Three other articles in this series are also available online: “Harnessing Emerging Paradigms in Chemical Engineering to Accelerate the Development of Pharmaceutical Products” by Adhithi R. Raghavan and Vikramaditya G. Yadav“A Review on Microwell and Microfluidic Geometric Array Fabrication Techniques and Its Potential Applications in Cellular Studies” by Ahmad ManzoorLauren Romita, and Dae Kun Hwang; and “Process Intensification Connects Scales and Disciplines Towards Sustainability” by Daria C. Boffito and David Fernandez‐Rivas.

Other participants in CCEC Emerging Leaders plenary sessions are encouraged to add to this series by submitting their papers to the Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering.