Christopher J. Barrett

Professor of Chemistry, McGill,
& McGill School of Environment.
Convener of Graduate Materials Program

B.Sc. (Queen's University, 1992)
Ph.D. (Queen's University, 1997)
NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow (MIT, 1998-1999)
FRQNT Strategic Professor (McGill, 2000-2005)
JSPS Visitng Professor (Tokyo Tech, 2006-2007)
McGill's 'Leo Yaffe' Teaching Award (2009)
Fulbright Visiting Research Chair (UCLA, 2014)
Fulbright Eco Leadership Scholar (Berkeley, 2016)
Adjunct Visiting Professor (Tokyo Tech, 2017)


Christopher Barrett was schooled indoors and out, in the Kawartha Lakes of Ontario, the Yorkshire Moors, and the Foothills of the Colorado Rockies. He attended Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario for a B.Sc. in Chemistry and Physics in 1992, and a M.Sc. in Chemistry in 1994, working for Environment Canada each summer. He then worked for a year in Engineering Physics at the Royal Military College Canada, and the Canadian Space Agency, and returned to Queen's in 1995 for a Ph.D. with the Polymer Chemist Almeria Natansohn and Optical Physicist Paul Rochon, on light-responsive polymers. His Doctoral Thesis in 1997 was recognized with Canada's Top Graduate Awards, both in Polymer Chemistry from the CIC, and Optical Physics from the CAP, and Postdoctoral Fellowships to Harvard and MIT. Barrett joined the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT for 2 post-doc years, '98-'99, working with Anne Mayes, and Michael Rubner, on self-assembly of layers and multilayers for bio-surfaces.

Barrett joined the McGill Chemistry Faculty in 2000 to set up Polymer Materials and Optical Characterization labs, and establish collaborations with the McGill's Center for Sustainable Engineering Design, School of Environment, and the Montreal Neurological Institute. He and his Group of ~30 Graduate Students and ~20 Postdocs/Visiting Scientists have now written 8 book chapters and 140 papers on Self-Assembly, Light-Harvesting Polymers, and Low-Toxicity Plastics Alternatives, now cited more than 9000 times (h-index = 52). He has delivered 150+ Invited Lectures on this research, and more than 40 Public Outreach talks on Green Materials, Sustainable Energy, Bio-Inspired Design, and Bio-Engineering. Prof. Barrett supports Sustainability McGill and other local Green Living Initiatives, UNESCO, and the Trans Canada Trail. After school, Prof. Barrett enjoys home wine-making, spicy cooking, snowshoeing, canoeing and kayaking, and Montreal's great Jazz Clubs and Irish Folk Music. He lives on-the-grid in Plateau Montreal a short walk or Bixi from McGill, and off-the-grid during camping season on the Riviere Rouge, an hour north into the Quebec Laurentian Mountains.