Exterior shot of B210 on the Nanaimo VIU Campus

Vancouver IslandUniversity

Chemistry Faculty

The faculty and staff of the VIU Chemistry Department are dedicated to the art of teaching and learning, and have a strong sense of community and a variety of scientific interests. Small class sizes and close student-faculty interactions allow us to foster a diverse community of learners and researchers. Many of our professors have active research programs, please see the biographies below for details.



Todd Barsby – BSc, PhD (UBC)

Todd is currently the Associate Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology at VIU. He joined VIU in the summer of 2006 and he was previously an Assistant Professor at UOIT in Ontario (now OntarioTech), where he taught Organic Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, and General Chemistry. Prior to that, he was a postdoctoral fellow in the Aquatic Chemical Ecology group at Georgia Institute of Technology, where he was trained as an Aquanaut. Todd’s research interests include natural product drug discovery and chemical ecology. In particular, Todd is interested in the monitoring of natural toxins in aquatic ecosystems, and on elucidating the chemicals that aquatic organisms use for defense, mate location, and larval recruitment. As Associate Dean, Todd continues to teach a course in natural products (CHEM 433) and supervise undergraduate research projects (CHEM 490/491). Todd can be reached at Todd.Barsby@viu.ca.

Kyle Duncan - BSc (VIU), PhD (UVic)

Kyle joined the Faculty in the fall of 2020. Prior, he completed a PhD at the University of Victoria based in the Applied Environmental Research labs at VIU. He then moved to Sweden for a postdoctoral fellowship at Uppsala University before making the move back to the west coast of BC. Kyle’s research interests are at the interface between chemistry and biology, including bioanalytical mass spectrometry, metabolomics, and lipidomics. He builds custom instrumentation to spatially map small molecules in tissue and investigate metabolite and lipid changes in biological samples that are indicative of health and disease. Kyle currently teaches first year chemistry (CHEM 140/141/142) and CHEM 412, and is involved in the supervision of student research projects (CHEM 490/491). He can be reached at Kyle.Duncan@viu.ca.

Duane Friesen - BSc, PhD (Saskatchewan)

Duane joined the faculty in 2000. Previously, he was a research associate at the University of Calgary and the National Water Research Institute (Saskatoon), studying the use of TiO2 and polyoxotungstate catalysts in the presence of UV light for the destruction of organic contaminants in water. He was also a postdoc at the University of North Carolina, where he studied photoredox processes in metal complexes. Duane's interests include photochemical approaches to water and air decontamination, and the role of UV in mediating chemical processes in the environment. He teaches engineering chemistry (CHEM 150), physical chemistry (CHEM 241), inorganic (CHEM 222), Coordination Chemistry (CHEM 325), and Bio-Inorganic Chemistry (CHEM 323). Duane can be reached at Duane.Friesen@viu.ca.

Christopher Gill - BSc, BScH (Acadia), PhD (UBC)

Chris joined the department in the fall of 1997. He had previously finished a Post Doc at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico working on developing new methods for detection of environmental contamination at government sites and then was a research associate at UBC also studying environmental contaminants. He is trained as an analytical chemist with an interest in laser spectroscopy and ion trap mass spectroscopy. He and Erik Krogh have been the main forces behind the establishment of the Applied Environmental Research Laboratory (AERL). Chris teaches practical spectroscopy (CHEM 213), chemical analysis (CHEM 311) and instrumental analysis (CHEM 312). He is also involved in the supervision of many CHEM 490 research students. Chris can be reached at Chris.Gill@viu.ca.

Jessie Key – BSc (Hons) (TRU), PhD (U of A)

Jessie joined the Faculty in the Fall of 2012. He has previously taught Organic Chemistry as a sessional lecturer at UBC-Okanagan and was an instructor for Academic Upgrading and Chemical Technology at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT). Jessie’s area of research expertise is Chemical Biology; with a focus on fluorophore synthesis, labelling and bioassay development. However, Jessie has also been active in Chemistry Education Research and Open Education Resource development. Jessie teaches a variety of courses including first year (CHEM 140 and 142), Engineering Chemistry (CHEM 150), Organic Chemistry (CHEM 231 and 232), Integrated Organic and Inorganic Lab (CHEM 351), Emerging Topics and Professional Practice in Chemistry (CHEM 400) and Macromolecular Chemistry of Biomolecules (CHEM 432). Jessie can be reached at Jessie.Key@viu.ca

Erik Krogh - BSc (Toronto), PhD (UVic)

Erik is currently a co-chair of the Chemistry Department. He joined the faculty at Malaspina in 1998. After two years as an NSERC post-doctoral researcher, he taught in the Chemistry and Water Quality programs at OUC. His research background includes mechanistic organic photochemistry in aqueous systems (UVic), the photochemistry of vision (University of Hawaii) and environmental photochemistry of haloaromatic molecules as models for PCBs and dioxins (Oregon State University). He and Chris Gill are Co-Directors of the Applied Environmental Research Laboratory (AERL), which is a nationally funded facility conducting pure and applied research on real time measurements of environmental processes. Erik is presently teaching first year (CHEM 142), Aqueous/Atmospheric Environmental Chemistry (CHEM 301/302), Environmental Chemical Analysis (CHEM 311) and Environmental Organic Chemistry (CHEM 431). He is also involved in the supervision of student research projects CHEM 490. He can be reached at Erik.Krogh@viu.ca.

Christine C. Tong, BSc (Waterloo), PhD (UVic)

Christine is currently a co-chair of the Chemistry Department. She joined the department in summer 2012. Previously, she was an Assistant Professor at Regis University in Denver, Colorado where she taught general, analytical and environmental chemistry. Her prior experience includes post-doctoral fellowships at the University of Edinburgh, where she studied molecules used to extract metals in the mining industry, and the University of Southampton, where she studied chloride and carbonate transport across lipid bilayer membranes. Christine continues to be interested in membrane transport and supramolecular chemistry, especially in applications that may benefit the area of world development. She is somewhat nosey; therefore, interested in nearly everything else as well. Christine teaches first year chemistry (CHEM 140 and 142), practical spectroscopy (CHEM 213), and Bonding, Structure, and Properties (CHEM 441). She loves teaching and helping people and can be contacted at Christine.Tong@viu.ca.

Alexandra Weissfloch - BSc, PhD (McGill)

Alexandra joined the Faculty in the fall of 2002. She had previously completed a year teaching Organic Chemistry and General Chemistry at Acadia University. Prior to that, she was a senior research chemist at Chemica Technologies, Inc. in Oregon where her research included drug delivery systems and enzyme immobilization on solid supports. While on leave from 2012-2014, Alexandra studied the fields of green chemistry and toxicology in order to help the chemistry program move towards a more sustainable curriculum. Alexandra’s main areas of interest are green chemistry in education and the use of biocatalysts in organic chemistry. She is presently teaching Organic Chemistry (CHEM 231 and 232), Bioorganic Chemistry (CHEM 334), Green Chemistry and Toxicology (CHEM 300), and Practical Spectroscopy (CHEM 213). Alexandra can be contacted at Alexandra.Weissfloch@viu.ca

Heather Wiebe - BSc (UFV), PhD (SFU)

Heather joined the department in the fall of 2020. Prior to that she was a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Edinburgh, studying quantum phase changes in hydrogen under extreme high pressure. Heather’s area of expertise lies in computational chemistry and modelling, with a focus on the response of complex systems to applied pressure. She is particularly interested in studying the effect of pressure on biological systems such as proteins and lipid membranes, and how these systems have adapted to high pressure in deep-sea organisms. Heather currently teaches first year chemistry (CHEM 141/142), Physical Chemistry (CHEM 241), Molecular Modelling (CHEM 398) and Bonding, Structure and Properties (CHEM 441). She can be reached at Heather.Wiebe@viu.ca.


Peter Diamente – BSc (Carleton), MSc (UVic)

Peter joined the department in the summer of 2006 and is one of two full-time chemistry lab technicians. He obtained his BSc (Hons) from Carleton University in 2001. He then spent a year working as an analytical chemist at Accutest Laboratories Ltd. in Ottawa, where he carried out analyses for high-profile contracts such as the Walkerton Inquiry. In 2005 he graduated with a MSc of Chemistry in the field of luminescent nanotechnologies from the University of Victoria, and continued to work for another year as a research associate for the same group. Peter can be reached at Peter.Diamente@viu.ca

Sarah Jackson - MSc (UVic)

Sarah joined the department in the fall of 2020.  Sarah completed an MSc in Chemistry at the University of Victoria where she specialized in organometallic catalysis.  Her thesis research involved inert atmosphere mechanistic studies of rhodium mediated dehydrocoupling of silanes.  She pivoted from catalysis to environmental chemistry when she began working at AXYS Analytical Services in Sidney where she analyzed environmental samples for persistent organic pollutants.  She pivoted again to chemical education working as a lab technician at the University of Victoria, UBC-O and UBC.  Her current interests lie in green chemistry and chemical education.  Sarah can be reached at Sarah.Jackson@viu.ca

Trevor Andrews - BSc Hons (UBC-O)

Trevor joined the department in the summer of 2022, and is one of three full-time chemistry lab technicians.  He completed his BSc (Hons) from the University of British Columbia Okanagan in 2016 where his undergraduate research focused on quantification of glycans using infrared spectroscopy. He continued to work as a research associate with the same group for several months after graduation.  He then worked as a Chemistry Faculty Assistant and Math/Science Tutor at Selkirk College for six years.  Trevor can be reached at Trevor.Andrews@viu.ca