VIU Scholarship, Research, and Creative Activity

Dr. Chris Gill, P. Chem.

Submitted by Michael Boquist on December 6, 2016 - 4:28pm
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. Paper spray mass spectrometry (PS-MS) developments have also opened up new analysis possibilities. 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.  The AERL team is currently moving into a new, state-of-the-art mass spectrometry research facility at Vancouver Island University.  This expanded space will allow needed equipment and facilities growth, enabling the natural evolution of the group's work into the forefront of portable mass spectrometry instrumentation development. Portable MS systems will provide crucial information when and where it is needed to facilitate appropriate and expedient diagnostics or environmental remediation, food safety measurements, and clinical applications such as harm reduction drug testing.

Professional Affiliations

Association of the Chemical Profession of British Columbia Canadian Society for Mass Spectrometry  Canadian Society for Chemistry American Chemical SocietyAmerican Society for Mass Spectrometry

Selected Presentations

Gill, C.G.  Advances and Applications of Direct Mass Spectrometry, (invited speaker), Department of Chemistry, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, November 2018.

Gill, C.G. Development of an Inexpensive Paper Spray Mass Spectrometry Screening Assay for Fentanyl and other Opioid Analogs, LifeLabs Reference Laboratories, Burnaby, BC, September 2018.

Vandergrift, G.W., Kennedy, J.H., Hessels, A.J., Krogh, E.T., Palaty, J., Wiseman, J.M., and Gill, C.G. Rapid, Direct Mass Spectrometry of Fentanyl and Designer Opioid Analogs for Use in Harm Reduction Strategies, 66th American Society for Mass Spectrometry Conference, San Diego, CA, June 2018.

Gill, C.G. Direct Mass Spectrometry Advances and Applications:  Fast Membranes, Fentanyl and Other Trace Measurements, 30th Lake Louise Tandem Mass Spectrometry Workshop (invited speaker), Lake Louise, AB, December 2017.

Vandergrift, G.W., Borden, S.A., Duncan, K.D., Krogh, E.T., and Gill, C.G. Direct, Online Mass Spectrometry of Small Samples and Complicated Matrices: Recent Progress and Applications, 100th Canadian Society for Chemistry Conference (invited speaker), Toronto, ON, May 2017.

Duncan, K.D., Vandergrift, G., Volmer, D., Cappiello, A., Krogh, E., Gill, C., (invited speaker), Condensed Phase Membrane Introduction Mass Spectrometry (CP-MIMS): Direct, Online, Measurements of Non-Volatile Analytes in Complex Aqueous Samples, 21st International Mass Spectrometry Conference, Toronto, ON, August 2016.

C. G. Gill, Environmental Mass Spectrometry, Techniques and Applications, (invited speaker), Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, U. of Washington, Seattle, WA, February, 2016.

Duncan, K.D., Vandergrift, G., Volmer, D.A., Cappiello, A., Krogh, E.T., Gill*, C.G., The direct, on-line, in-situ/in-vivo quantitation of low volatility aqueous analytes in complex samples: condensed phase membrane introduction mass spectrometry (CP-MIMS), PacifiChem Conference, Honolulu, HI, December, 2015.

Termopoli, V, Famiglini,G., Vandergrift, G., Magrini, L., Palma, P., Krogh, E. T., Cappiello, A. and Gill, C. G. (invited speaker), Direct On-Line Measurement of PAHs in Complex Aqueous Samples: Condensed Phase Membrane Introduction Mass Spectrometry - Direct Electron Ionization (CP-MIMS-DEI), 63rd ASMS Conference, St. Louis, MO, USA, June 2015.

C. G. Gill, Membrane Introduction MS/MS: Recent Advances and Applications, (Invited Presentation), 26th Lake Louise Workshop on Tandem Mass Spectrometry, Lake Louise, AB, December, 2014.

C. G. Gill, Advances and Environmental Applications of Membrane Introduction Mass Spectrometry, Invited Presentation, 29th ASMS Asilomar Conference, Pacific Grove, USA, October, 2014.

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