Headed to University of Toronto for Ph.D

Phil will be heading to the University of Toronto for his Ph.D in Materials Science and Engineering. He will be co-supervised by Dr. Jun Nogami and Dr. Ted Sargent researching perovskite solar cell materials with computational simulation and experimental scanning tunneling microscopy techniques.

University of Toronto is consistently rated the top research university in Canada and among the top 20 Universities within the world!

Jun Nogami
Dr. Jun Nogami
Dr. Ted Sargent

M.Sc Thesis Submitted!

On July 3rd, 2015 Phil submitted his M.Sc Thesis entitled Computational Simulations to Aid in the Experimental Discovery of Ice Recrystallization Inhibitors and Ultra-Microporous Metal Organic Frameworks. This 205 page document contains 2 years worth of struggle and perseverance.

A copy of my thesis can be found here: M.Sc Thesis

Here is an excerpt from the acknowledgements section:

There are a countless number of people who I wish to acknowledge for supporting me throughout the past two years. A proper acknowledgement would span several volumes and condensing this was a huge challenge but I would like to acknowledge three sets of people, my family, my friends, and my research group.

First, I would like to thank my parents Joy and Art. The amount of sacrifice they endured to provide a better life for me and my sister is something that I constantly remind myself. Moving across the world with no money and no friends for just the chance at a better life for your kids is one of the most admirable and selfless acts I know. Next, I would like to acknowledge my little sister, Liana. Being, 11 years apart in age is a difficult thing when trying to relate. I only wish that I was around more for her formative years, every time I visit home I see a new person, a better person, a smart young girl with her own interests, passions, and opinions. I hope that I can provide an example for her, but really I know that she has the potential to surpass me in every facet of life and honestly I am excited to see her do it.

Secondly, I would like to thank my friends and squad of the Osgoode Barn. To Schrambo, Patrice, Swayze, Zona, Homie Tom, Wafleek, G-Eazy, D-Money, and Yvonne, thank you for being there for me and always supporting the YOLO. I will never forget the concerts we put on, the charity gala we organized, and endless nights of porch beers. To my girlfriend Danielle, thank you for keeping me sane and reminding me that there is at least some thing redeemable in me to warrant having you by my side.

Thirdly, I must acknowledge my research group for all their support. To Bianca, Sarah, Moshtagh, Daff, Michael, Carlos, Pete, Mo, Sean, Jason, Burns, Hana, and Chris. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with you every day. I consider each of you not only a colleague but also a friend. You have all taught me so much and I will fondly remember the laughter, conversation, debates, and memories which we shared within Marion 017. Lastly, I would like to acknowledge my supervisor Dr. Tom Woo. I have nothing but respect and admiration for him as a scientist. Being able to switch fields and topic of research mid-career is a difficult thing, to do it and produce the calibre of research that Tom has is astounding. But perhaps most importantly I would like to thank Tom for his (sometimes brutal) honesty with me. He once told me that he did not believe me fit to continue in this field. To be honest that comment shook me very deeply. I had spent a lot of time questioning my role in academia, my abilities in myself, and my worth as a scientist. Then one day I realized that I absolutely love research. I love what I do and I will be spending the rest of my life pursuing my passion. So I would like to thank Tom for his words, they have only renewed my motivation and determination in this field.

Canadian Society for Chemistry (CSC) Conference 2015!

The 98th Canadian Society for Chemistry (CSC) Conference was hosted here in Ottawa last week June 13th – 17th. This was the first CSC conference which is the preeminent chemistry conference in Canada. Phil was a volunteer for the Materials Symposium, presented a poster in the Nanoporous Materials Section, and presented a talk in the Computational Chemistry and Applications section.11356222_10155637275895456_926608320_n

His poster presented collaborative work with Dr. Ramanathan Vaidhyanathan from the India Institute for Science and Education and Research on novel ultra-microporous MOFs for carbon dioxide capture. His talk presented collaborative work with Dr. Robert Ben on ice recrystallization inhibitors.

This will be the last time attending a conference as a student at the University of Ottawa! His poster and talks were well attended and was a great way to cap off his Masters career.

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Positive Energy Conference

Last week Phil had the great opportunity to serve as a volunteer at Positive Energy. This inaugural conference brings together leaders from the Aboriginal community, academia, government, industry, NGOs, and policy institutes to grapple collectively with of social acceptance and support:

• Public Opinion and Energy Literacy
• Local Community and NGO Dimensions
• Aboriginal Participation in Energy Development
• Federalism, Inter-governmental and Inter-regional Relations in Energy Development

This conference was invite only with many established speakers such as the President and CEO of Suncor Energy, Chair and CEO of the National Energy Board, Director of Sustainable Prosperity, and the Senator of Alberta.

The program has been structured to put the focus on identifying areas where we might ‘move the needle’ on these important issues. The fruits of the conference will inform solution-focused research going forward, as well as subsequent events in the Positive Energy initiative.

Phil De Luna at the Positive Energy Conference March 4th, 2015.

Dr. Yu Scholarship Winner!

Phil was recently awarded the Dr. Yu Scholarship worth $5000 from the University of Ottawa. Dr. Ruey J. Yu, Ph.D., O.M.D., a dermatopharmacologist and acupuncturist originally from Taiwan, studied at the Department of Chemistry, University of Ottawa from 1962 to 1965. After more than 40 years in ground-breaking dermatology research in the U.S. which has led to scores of patents and the launch of a successful skincare company NeoStrata, Dr. Yu came back to the U of O to present a $500,000 donation to the university. With matching government grants, there is now more than $1 million in the Dr. Yu Scholarship Fund.

Dr. Ruey J. Yu, OMD, PhD

Osgoode Barn Charity Gala Raises $1500 for Epilepsy Canada

The Osgoode Barn Charity Gala was a great success raising over $1500 for Epilepsy Canada. Phil and his housemates Josh Schram, Patrick Marquis, and Mitch Stewart independently organized a gala for 78 guests. Phil is a part of the Osgoode Barn, which is a group of friends who enjoy hosting social events such as concerts and parties. This is the first fundraising event that they have attempted and it was an amazing success.

Organizers of the Osgoode Barn Charity Gala. Left to Right: Mitch Stewart, Phil De Luna, Patrick Marquis, Joshua Schram

Telfer Trading Competition Winner!

Last week Phil won the Social Outcry Trading Event at the Telfer Trading Competition. This annual trading competition is run by the Telfer School of Finance as a stock market simulation. Phil entered with minimal experience in trading but with an avid interest in the free market. He won the live Social Outcry Event where participants engage in live real time trading with paper slips like the days before computerized trading.

CASCO Charity Gala a $66K Success!

In addition to chemistry, Phil is involved in the charity organization CASCO. CASCO is a student-run organization comprised of students from the University of Ottawa. For the past 14 years, CASCO has produced an annual gala show, putting the spotlight on the talents of Telfer students. The much anticipated soirée is one comprised of song, dance and fashion, and succeeds in unifying 200 students, 200 business professionals and 200 community members with the common goal of providing support for the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO).

Phil is a dancer for the annual CASCO gala and this year the CASCO organization raised $66,530.83 for CHEO which will be going towards a new MRI machine for young children.


Last TA Lecture at University of Ottawa

Phil recently finished his last General Chemistry Lab Tutorial Lecture at uOttawa. These hour and a half sessions ran twice a week, sometimes more. This is the second year that Phil has lectured the lab tutorials with attendance being consistently high. Phil takes teaching very seriously and it is one of his favourite things about graduate school. Here is an email he recently received from a student:

Hey Phil,
Just wanted to personally thank you for all your help this semester. You made it a lot more enjoyable to do these labs. I always felt prepared and found a lot of my friends always asking me “when’s Phil’s lab tutorial?” You made the lab environment more fun and were super accommodating even meeting my partner and I on the weekend. You put the students first even though I’m sure you’re super busy with your own work. Thanks for everything you did to make lab section D the best lab section of them all and for making our first semester of university just a bit more bearable! :p Good luck with your studies and I’ll hopefully see you around. 
Take care and all the best,
Eadan Farber


CERP at Thousand Islands Energy Research Forum (TIERF)

Today Phil De Luna presented on behalf of the Collaboratory of Energy Research Policy (CERP) student network at the Thousand Islands Energy Research Forum. CERP is an interdisciplinary organization made up of graduate students in various fields from public policy, economics, computer science, and physical sciences. It started off as a forum for group discussion to share perspectives and views on energy research but quickly evolved into a group with initiatives. Our first major project is the implementation of an energy literacy survey which will be administered to the student population to gauge the population’s knowledge, and to promote energy literacy.


Energy Literacy Survey Poster Presented at TIERF