Meet the department's newest faculty member: Professor John De Backere

June 2, 2021 by Dan Haves

The department is excited to announce John De Backere as our newest faculty member. Dr. De Backere has been appointed as Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream and will begin July 2021.

De Backere has been with the department as a CLTA since 2019 after previously completing a postdoctoral fellowship in the Stephan Group.  He has been working to redevelop and integrate greener chemistry labs into the department's inorganic curriculum for the first time.

De Backere’s vision for chemistry education is to incorporate innovative and modern technologies to deliver inclusive and engaging student-focussed active learning activities that can be related to current real-world issues, research or future applications.

He recently finished mentoring a CHM499Y undergraduate student research project to develop a new augmented reality mobile application that aids in teaching several core concepts of inorganic chemistry in a novel and innovative way. 


Meet John De Backere


What sparked your interest in chemistry and science education? 

Since I was a child, I’ve been very curious about how everything in our world works down to the smallest of details. The central role of chemistry in understanding and connecting the natural sciences truly sparked and cultivated my enduring interest. Not to mention all the impressive chemistry reactions and demonstrations; fire, color changes, explosions, liquid nitrogen, and more – what’s not to love?! My goal has always been to contribute to science education so that I can share my passion and help show others how exciting and interesting chemistry truly is. I love watching connections being made between concepts taught in my class with everyday life and real-world phenomena!

What have you enjoyed most about your time teaching in the department of chemistry?

Our department is truly extraordinary; the students, staff and faculty are an incredible ensemble of individuals with whom I enjoy interacting with every single day! There’s also an incredible amount of support for exploring new and innovative approaches to teaching and learning chemistry. Beyond the privilege of interacting with some of the brightest and most talented people I’ve ever met, our department has also built a great sense of community and camaraderie beyond the classroom that I look forward to continuing to promote.