Dr. Addison Desnoyer joined our Department in July 2022 at the rank of Assistant Professor. The Department is thrilled to have a new colleague and can’t wait to see how his research grows. Addison was born and raised in beautiful Kelowna, a city about the size of Eugene, in the Okanagan Valley in Central British Columbia, Canada. About 560 miles northeast of Corvallis (or 900 km, if you are Canadian).
He’s been lucky enough to have been joined on his career odyssey by his wife, Caroline Hedge. “We met during our undergraduate studies when I made her a liquid nitrogen Freezie at her freshman orientation.” They recently had their first child, Stanley, who is currently just over six months old and has been teething for most of that time. They also have a 9-year old cat named Kitty, a 7-year old Shetland Sheepdog named Whiskey, and a 4-month old kitten named Sam, “so our house is pretty hectic lately!”
When Addison entered the academic job market last year, OSU was at the top of his list for a huge number of reasons. For starters, the resources, and facilities that OSU offers for researchers are excellent. OSU is the kind of place that gives students all the tools they need to be really successful in their research endeavors. Another important reason why he joined OSU is that the values of the Department of Chemistry align very well with his own. The Department is authentically striving to improve regarding Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) initiatives, as well as delivering an exceptional undergraduate program with significant research opportunities.
He attributes his pursuing Chemistry to a long list of amazing advisors and mentors and says they’ve each played a part in his desire to pursue a career in chemistry. Addison said he didn’t take a single chemistry class his last two years of high school, and started university as a Biology major, and it wasn’t until he took a few second-year classes taught by some really dynamic and exciting chemistry professors that he became interested in the area of study. He remembers fondly his first postdoctoral advisor, Prof. Ian Tonks at the University of Minnesota, who showed him the positive impact that someone can have in this job as an excellent researcher, a supportive advisor, and compassionate person.
Addison feels the most meaningful experiences he’s had in his career so far, have been watching the growth of his mentees. “My first real taste of it was when, as a young graduate student, the undergraduates I had been supervising started to be able to perform complex manipulations in lab without any help from me. Then, they started to suggest new and original experiments to do all on their own! I’m old enough now that I’ve been able to watch many of my former students go off to grad school, earn advanced degrees, publish exciting papers, and land good jobs in both academia and industry.”
Personally, Addison feels that science should always be working towards making the world a better place than it was before. Especially as researchers at a public university, most of the money that pays for salaries and buys reagents and instruments comes from taxpayers and donors. “Thus, I think it is very important to show the general public the kinds of problems we are trying to solve and how the methods we develop in the lab will have tangible effects on everyday life.” This belief coincides well with his teaching philosophy, in believing that everyone, regardless of their background or experience, deserves an opportunity to learn about science. The scientific method teaches us to think critically and rationally about the world, and how to logically approach complex problems. “These skills are also incredibly valuable outside of the classroom.”
When not performing Synthetic Chemistry in his research lab, Addison and his wife love to garden. They especially enjoy growing their own food, which, Addison says, “is another perk of living here in the Willamette Valley.”