Dr. Janusz Pawliszyn honoured with the Chemical Institute of Canada Medal

Tuesday, January 31, 2023
Dr. Janusz Pawliszyn in labratory

Dr. Janusz Pawliszyn received the Chemical Institute of Canada Medal for his outstanding contribution to the science of chemistry in Canada. Sponsored by the Chemical Institute of Chemistry, the CIC Medal is their top award.

Pawliszyn is a professor in the Department of Chemistry and a WIN Member. His research focuses on the development and application of state-of-the-art, integrated and automated analytical methods and instrumentation, for on-site analysis and monitoring. 

He invented the Solid Phase Microextraction (SPME) technology in 1990, a game-changer in the field of analytical chemistry. The results of his research lead to the elimination of organic solvents from the sample preparation step and the miniaturization of the sampling devices to facilitate on-site monitoring and in-vivo analysis. SPME is a green analytical tool and initiated scientific interest in microextractions. The flexible format of SPME technology allows the design of devices exceeding the performance of traditional analytical tools while meeting the objectives of global sustainable development. 

SPME-based technologies are used worldwide for the detection of chemicals both in the lab and various on-site and field applications. When paired with other techniques, SPME technology is also used as a health and safety tool, enabling rapid risk assessment. Pawliszyn has used SPME to detect pesticides in honey, life in the ocean, doping in sport. SPME can analyze samples on-site, cost-effectively, and without the use of polluting solvents or expensive labs. SPME is also versatile, with human health applications in cancer detection and drug screening.

"Janusz Pawliszyn’s impact on modern analytical chemistry can be described as truly foundational, with central contributions to detection technologies used around the globe in the chemical, environmental and medical arenas," said John Corrigan, Chemistry Chair.

He is a Canada Research Chair and NSERC Industrial Research Chair New Analytical Methods and Technologies. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, University Professor and Editor-in-Chief of Trends in Analytical Chemistry and Green Analytical Chemistry. Earlier this year, he was ranked the second chemist in Canada among the top 100 worldwide in Research.com's Rankings of Highly-Cited Chemists.

He will give a plenary lecture at the Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition (CSC 2023) in June.

Pawliszyn is the second Waterloo chemist to receive this award. Canada Research Chair and Waterloo chemist Linda Nazar won the award in 2019.

Article originally published by Faculty of Science.