VIU Scholarship, Research, and Creative Activity

Dr. Chris Gill, P. Chem.

PhD Professor of Chemistry and Co-Director of the Applied Environmental Research Laboratories

Dr. Gill received his undergraduate degree in chemistry (BScH, 1989, Ernest Hayes, Erik Hansen) from Acadia University. His graduate work was in analytical chemistry at the University of British Columbia (UBC, Mike Blades), developing new instrumentation for the direct mass spectrometry of solids by laser ablation in an ion trap (PhD, 1994).  Chris then spent two years (1994-1996) as a post-doctoral researcher with the Advanced Chemical Diagnostics and Instrumentation group (CST-1, Nick Nogar, Phil Hemberger) at Los Alamos National Laboratories in New Mexico.  This work involved the development of new instrumental methods for direct, trace chemical detection, predominantly using hyphenated mass spectrometry based approaches.  After a 1 year research associate position with the Environmental Sciences Group (Royal Military College, Ken Reimer), where he worked on environmental site assessments based from UBC (William R. Cullen Group, RSC Fellow), Dr. Gill was appointed faculty at Vancouver Island University (1997, formerly Malaspina University College).  In 2000 Chris co-founded the Applied Environmental Research Laboratories (AERL) with Dr. Erik Krogh. The AERL is supported via competitive funding to conduct pure & applied research, including the use of direct , on-line mass spectrometry approaches such as membrane introduction mass spectrometry MIMS for environmental chemical analyses. The AERL is the most successfully funded and productive research centre at Vancouver Island University (VIU), and the leadership provided by Drs. Gill and Krogh has had significant positive impacts on the institutional research culture and environment.

Dr. Gill has specific expertise in analytical instrumentation development, laser spectroscopy and mass spectrometry. He has worked on the development of ultra-trace MIMS for the in situ measurement of trace analytes in air and water at low parts-per-trillion levels. Gill's longstanding experience and expertise with analytical instrumentation development and mass spectrometry has been central in the development of MIMS and mobile mass spectrometric systems. This expertise is key as we aim to implement soft ionization strategies (e.g., chemical and photo-ionization) to circumvent isobaric interferences, develop hybrid instrumentation and micro-fluidic sampling devices. The team has direct experience developing and field testing MIMS instrumentation in harsh environments associated with heavy oil production and upgrading facilities in the Canadian oil sands in association with Statoil Canada.

A logical next step for the technology developments in the AERL is to miniaturize to the point that the mass spectrometer is truly portable to enable direct mass spectrometry,  on-site or at the point of care.  As such,  the AERL team is embarking on the development of a new state-of-the-art mass spectrometry facility at Vancouver Island University. The Centre for Health and Environmental Mass Spectrometry (CHEMS) will provide the necessary equipment and facilities to enable the natural evolution of the group's work into the forefront of portable mass spectrometry instrumentation development, developing innovative, analytical tools  that operate in situ, in the field, minimizing delays associated with sample transport, preparation and analysis. These portable MS systems will provide crucial information when and where it is needed to facilitate appropriate and expedient diagnostics or environmental remediation.  The CHEMS proposal is currently under review by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (Innovation Fund).



Areas of Expertise

Selected Presentations