At our November Alumni Reunion, we announced the winners to our two alumni awards. Congratulations to Prof. Chris Gill, who is awarded the Alumni Award of Distinction, and Dr. Shuai Sherry Zhao, who has been awarded the Young Alumnus Award!
Alumni Award of Distinction | Prof. Chris Gill
This award recognizes an alumnus whose accomplishments are of such excellence that they provide inspiration and leadership to students and other alumni. The recipient has shown significant leadership either in their professional career and/or community service.
Chris Gill received his undergraduate degree from Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. His graduate work was in analytical chemistry at UBC (Blades Group), developing new instrumentation for the direct analysis of solids by Laser Ablation Ion Trap Mass Spectrometry. Chris spent two years as a post-doctoral researcher with the Advanced Chemical Diagnostics and Instrumentation group (CST-1) at Los Alamos National Laboratories, developing new direct mass spectrometry (MS) instrumentation for trace level measurements. He then spent a year as a research associate with the Environmental Sciences Group (Dr. Ken Reimer, Royal Military College, Kingston Ontario and Dr. William Cullen, UBC) examining the fate of PCBs in the Canadian Demolition waste stream as well as making contributions to numerous environmental field assessments.
Chris is currently a Chemistry Professor at Vancouver Island University as well as co-director of the Applied Environmental Research Laboratories (AERL). He maintains an active international collaboration network, including the tenure of visiting professorships during sabbaticals in Germany and Italy. He has been awarded the Distinguished Researcher Award at VIU, and has recently moved his laboratories into expanded space in the recently completed VIU Health and Sciences Centre. The AERL conducts pure & applied research, with a central theme the development of direct, online MS methods for measurements in complex samples. This has led to numerous advances for direct environmental, industrial and more recently, bioanalytical measurements. The AERL’s development of mobilized direct MS for geospatially resolved quantitative environmental measurements as well as numerous hyphenated methodologies has transformed capacity for in field chemical determinations. Chris’ current research interests continue to involve the development of direct MS instrumentation and its applications for direct, real-time chemical measurements, including high precision, direct mass spectrometry systems and approaches for improved environmental monitoring, clinical diagnostics, forensic testing, and the development and implementation of rapid, on-site drug testing strategies for use in the opioid overdose crisis.
Young Alumnus Award | Dr. Shuai Sherry Zhao
This award recognizes a young alumnus (aged 35 or under) whose accomplishments are of such excellence that they provide inspiration and leadership to students and other young alumni. The recipient has shown significant leadership either in their professional career and/or community service.
Dr. Shuai Sherry Zhao was born and raised in Qingdao, China. She obtained her BSc with distinction from Peking University in 2009 and PhD from UBC Chemistry in 2014. Sherry currently is the Team Lead, BC & Yukon, Business Development, at Mitacs, a national not-for-profit organization that supports collaborative innovation between industry and academia. Prior to returning to Canada, she worked at Genentech, A Member of the Roche Group, in South San Francisco, and contributed to technology development for therapeutic monoclonal antibody charge variants characterizations.
Community services and volunteerism have always been a passion of Dr. Zhao’s. When she was in graduate school, she took part in Let’s Talk Science for STEM outreach in K-12 and acted as the Executive Coordinator of the UBC site to grow the volunteer base to close to 400 graduate students. Dr. Zhao also volunteers on the board of governors for the Business Council of British Columbia and for HUB Cycling. She is also an advisor to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade to help businesses scale. Her ongoing mentorship at entrepreneurship@UBC has directly benefited many university spin-offs.
Committed to be a life-long learner, Sherry is currently continuing her education with UBC Sauder School of Business.