A tribute to Stephen Westcott

In April 2022 we lost a longtime friend and colleague, Dr. Stephen Westcott.

Steve was a beloved teacher and mentor — he was devoted to his students and many stayed in touch with him long after they graduated from Mount Allison.

A snapshot of Steve's work can be found below, drawn from his biography page.

Dr. Steve Westcott Student Research Enhancement Fund

A fund has been established in Steve's name to support hands-on learning experiences, enhanced student learning opportunities, and student research in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

Steve passionately believed in providing students with learning opportunities beyond the classroom, whether it was bringing in a guest speaker, connecting with external mentors, or ensuring students could attend conferences. This fund will help continue that work.

Donations to the fund can be made online at mta.ca/donate — please specify the donation is for the Dr. Steve Westcott Student Research Enhancement Fund.

Dr. Stephen Westcott

» Community update on Dr. Stephen Westcott's passing


BSc (honours, May 1987), PhD (December 1992) — University of Waterloo

Steve Westcott received his PhD from the University of Waterloo under the joint supervision of Drs. Todd B. Marder (now at Universität Würzburg) and R. Tom Baker (now at the University of Ottawa) working on metal-catalyzed hydroborations. He was an NSERC PDF, where he spent one year at Emory University in Atlanta, and more than one year working with Maurice Brookhart at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC. He began teaching at Mount Allison University in August 1995 and served as a Canada Research Chair Tier 1 in Boron Chemistry.


Research Area: Organometallics

The research program focused on the development of new catalytic and non-catalytic methods of preparing potentially bioactive boron and gallium compounds.

Organometallic Boron Chemistry: A major focus in the lab was the development of novel metal complexes for their ability to catalyze the addition of B-E bonds (E = H, B, Si, S, Ge, N, P) to unsaturated organics

Bioinorganic: Palladium(II) and gallium(III) complexes have shown potential as anti-cancer agents and small-molecule boron compounds are being designed for their potential anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-mycobacterial, anti-tuberculosis, anti-thrombotic, anti-parasitic, and anti-cancer properties. Another area of research was designing new boron compounds based on the structural motif of capsaicin, the active and hot ingredient in chili peppers.

The Wild Toads

The team (tHe WiLd ToAdS) had the privilege of working with many talented undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and research associates. 

Students received proficient training in inorganic, organic, and organometallic chemistry as well as in a variety of experimental methods. Collaborations were established whereby students spent time with other research groups gaining further experience with a number of different techniques.

The team published 167 papers (excluding book chapters) with 167 different undergraduate authors as of April 2021 and helped send 123 students to graduate school in chemistry and biochemistry. The team was able to provide students with high-caliber research and training that enabled them to advance their careers and become useful contributors to the future of Canadian science, medicine, and technology.

tHe WiLd ToAdS (Facebook group)

The Wild Toads (website)


 Selected publications

  1. Invited Paper: Dedicated to Todd Marder on the Occasion of his 65 th Birthday ' 'The hydroboration of alpha-diimines' Geier, S. J.;* Binder, J. F.; Vogels, C. M.; Watanabe, L. K.; Macdonald, C. L. B.; Westcott, S. A.*  New J. Chem .  2021 ,  45 , accepted. 
  2. 'Transition metal catalyst-free, base-promoted 1,2-additions of polyfluorophenylboronates to aldehydes and ketones' Liu, Z.; Kole, G. K.; Budiman, Y. P.; Tian, Y.-M.; Friedrich, A.; Luo, X.; Westcott, S. A.; Radius, U.;* Marder, T. B.*  Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.   2021 ,  60 , accepted. 
  3. 'First-row d-block element-catalyzed boron-carbon bond formation and related processes' Bose, S. K.;* Mao, L.;* Kuehn, L.; Radius, U.;* Nekvinda, J.; Santos, W. L.;* Westcott, S. A.;* Steel, P. G.;* Marder, T. B.*  Chem. Rev .  2021 ,  121 , submitted.  R
  4. 'Ni-Catalyzed borylation of aryl sulfoxides' Huang, M.; Luo,  X.;*  Wu, Z.; Krebs, J.; Friedrich, A.; Westcott, S. A.; Radius, U.;* Marder, T. B.*  Chem. Eur. J.   2021 ,  27 , accepted.  F
  5. Hot Topic: Fluorine Chemistry ' Fluorinated aryl boronates as building blocks in organic synthesis' Budiman, Y. P.; Westcott, S. A.;* Radius, U.;* Marder, T. B.*  ACS Catal.   2021 ,  21 , accepted.  R
  6. 'Copper-catalyzed oxidative cross-coupling of electron-deficient polyfluorophenyl-boronate esters with terminal alkynes' Liu, Z.; Budiman, Y. P.; Tian, Y.; Friedrich, A.; Huang, M.; Westcott, S. A.; Radius, U.;* Marder, T. B.*  Chem. Eur. J.   2020 ,  26 , 17267-17274.  F