VIDEO: Joe Glasing: PhD Candidate in Chemical Engineering

Posted on February 18, 2017

The latest in our series of profiles on PhD students in the Department of Chemical Engineering: Meet Joe Glasing. His research so far focuses on sustainable chemistry and polymer chemistry mostly developing new ways to manipulate the properties of cellulose. To learn more about graduate studies at Queen's visit the Department of Chemical Engineering and the School of Graduate Studies.

  • Video transcript:

    My name's Joe. I'm a PhD student here at Queen's University in Chemical Engineering and I focus on sustainable and green chemistry and on polymer chemistry. And it's my first year here at Queen's and, yeah, I like it.

    So my main focus lies on cellulose so we modify it with polymers. By growing those polymers from the surface of cellulose, we can introduce the properties of the polymer to the cellulose itself.

    I know in North America or basically in the US you apply for a school, you decide to go to grad school there and then you may join the research group. I think personally it's very important that you know what the people are doing there, that you really know what the research is and that you know how the people are. First, touch base with the people who work in that group. See if you really like the working environment, see if you like your supervisor and see if you like the research because you got to do it for a long time.

    You need a pretty big motivation to do that, so I would recommend going there and talking to the people in person. Obviously read papers that are just from this year and see if you like this research. But yeah, go there in person. That's how I did it.

    I was basically working at the Fraunhofer Institute and my boss there, as it happened, he did a post doc here at Queen's. He was working for Dr Philip Jessop in the department of chemistry Dr Jessop was doing green chemistry. During my undergrad in Germany I was developing a high interest for this area, so I decided to combine green chemistry and polymer chemistry.

    I'm cross appointed to two different departments and I see how you benefit from having people out of your area of expertise. Even though everybody is busy every day people are always willing to help you. If your supervisor is not around and you need training on an instrument or the technical staff is not around to give you training you just ask a grad student. They will help you right away because they know how to use that instrument.

    I must say, it's the first university or first institution where people are very helpful It's a perfect environment.