Spectroscopy Magazine's Emerging Leader
      in Molecular Spectroscopy Award

2017 Recipient
Russ Algar,
University of British Columbia

Russ Algar, an assistant professor in chemistry at the University of British Columbia (UBC), in Vancouver, Canada, has won the 2017 Emerging Leader in Molecular Spectroscopy Award, which is presented by Spectroscopy magazine. This annual award recognizes the achievements and aspirations of a talented young molecular spectroscopist, selected by an independent scientific committee. The award will be presented to Algar at the SciX 2017 conference in October, where he will give a plenary lecture and be honored in an award symposium.

Algar completed his B.Sc. (2005), M.Sc. (2006), and Ph.D. (2010) degrees at the University of Toronto, Canada. He then spent two years as a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Bio/Molecular Science Engineering, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, in Washington, D.C., before moving to UBC as a Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Bio/Chemical Sensing. He has since be honored as a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar, a 2017 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellow in chemistry, and the 2017 winner of the Fred Beamish Award in analytical chemistry from the Canadian Society for Chemistry, among other recognitions. He serves on the editorial boards of the journals Chemosensors, Analytical Chemistry Research, and Nano Reviews & Experiments, and has been a peer reviewer for more than 60 scientific journals.

At UBC, Algar leads a research group that focus on the development, spectroscopy and applications of non-traditional fluorescent materials for bioanalysis. Examples of these materials include quantum dots (QDs), luminescent lanthanide complexes, and semiconducting polymer dots. Areas of special interest include new strategies and devices for point-of-care diagnostics with smartphones or other portable and mass-produced consumer electronics; the development of multifunctional fluorescent probes toward studying cascaded cell signaling processes; photonic logic; novel Förster resonance energy transfer configurations; understanding and controlling the interfacial interactions between nanoparticles and biological molecules; and the development of new materials and chemistries to support the foregoing research. Algar and his coworkers have authored more than 80 indexed publications that have accrued more than 2800 citations, 11 book chapters, and co-edited a book.

In addition to his research program, Algar is an enthusiast for innovation in chemical education. He has published multiple papers in the Journal of Chemical Education, has led pedagogical R&D projects at UBC, is a co-organizer for the “Teaching Analytical Chemistry” symposium at the annual Canadian Society for Chemistry Conference, and is a member of the board of directors for the Chemical Institute of Canada Chemical Education Fund.

Most of all, Algar considers himself very fortunate to have had the opportunity to consistently work with great students, postdocs, colleagues, and mentors.

For information about how to nominate someone for the award, please see the call for nominations.

Past Recipients

2016 Matthew Baker