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Chemist among Quebec shooting victims

Khaled Belkacemi was doing research on green chemistry and functional foods

by Linda Wang
January 31, 2017

Credit: Laval University
Khaled Belkacemi
Credit: Laval University
Khaled Belkacemi

A chemistry professor was among six people killed during a shooting on Sunday at a Quebec City mosque. Khaled Belkacemi, 60, was a professor in the Faculty of Agricultural & Food Sciences at Laval University in Quebec City.

“He was a cultured and passionate man and very involved within the Faculty,” says Jean-Claude Dufour, dean of the Faculty of Agriculture & Food Sciences at Laval University. “His remarkable contributions will endure despite his sudden passing, which deeply saddens us all.”

Belkacemi’s research focused on the use of heterogeneous catalysis in food chemistry and in the conversion of biomass and food waste. He earned an M.Sc. in chemical engineering from the Université de Sherbrooke in 1986. He went on to earn a Ph.D. from the same university in 1990. He also earned a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the Algerian Ministry of Higher Education in 1995.

“He firmly believed that his work in food engineering should result in concrete applications for the industry,” says Sylvie Turgeon, director of the Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods, of which Belkacemi was a faculty member. “All those who knew him will remember him as an eminent researcher, but also as a man of great kindness.”

Belkacemi was also a member of the Center for Green Chemistry and Catalysis in Quebec. “We are deeply shocked by this vicious attack and saddened for the loss of a great colleague,” say Andre Charette and Chao-Jun Li, codirectors of the Center for Green Chemistry and Catalysis, in a joint statement to C&EN. “Professor Khaled Belkacemi provided valuable contributions on the subject of heterogeneous catalysis for the conversion of renewable biomass into high-valued chemical products, and he was a very cheerful and supportive member of the center.”

“Khaled believed a lot in green chemistry,” says Paul Angers, a professor at the Food Sciences Department. “He developed catalysts to do chemical transformation on molecules of dairy transformation residues, for example. He then modified those molecules into polymers that would be turned into biodegradable plastic.”

Belkacemi, who immigrated to Canada from Algeria, is survived by his wife, Safia Hamoudi, who is also a professor of the Faculty of Agricultural & Food Sciences at Laval University, and their three children. On Facebook, his son, Amir Belkacemi, wrote that his father “left his country to give a chance to his family to live far away from the horror.”



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Mark Foreman (February 1, 2017 8:34 AM)
Deeply sad that he and the other five were murdered in the cowardly attack on a place of worship.
marty chamberlain (February 1, 2017 9:33 AM)
Such a sad loss.. This world is in trouble.
Ronald E. Baker (February 1, 2017 4:35 PM)
I am a Canadian, a life-long (retired) member of the American Chemical Society. No words can express the shock and horror of the murder of such a fine person as Khaled Belkacemi, along with his fellow worshipers, in Quebec. Every Canadian known to me welcomes refugees from the cruel situations in their homelands. In my Christian community in Norfolk County, Ontario, our churches have sponsored two Syrian refugee families who have escaped monstrous violence in their homeland. May we, everyone here in Canada, practice tolerance of Muslims, welcome them when refugees; reach out to them in friendship, rebuke anyone who shows hatred, or any kind of bigotry or prejudice and always be loving and welcoming of all who flee tyranny. Sadly that terror is now starting to explode in the USA. Canada is different, we must all show it and stand ready to offer safe haven, even to people rejected entry to the USA. Bullies have no place in Canada; we need these honourable refugees here. Canada: The True North, Strong and Free.
Dr. Carole LeBlanc (February 1, 2017 4:54 PM)
I am so saddened and horrified by this news. My deepest condolences to Dr. Belkacemi's family, colleagues and friends. As a chemist (now retired) in green chemistry and currently an adjunct teaching environmental studies, each one of us will feel this loss to our community: there are just not that many experts in the field as Prof. Belkacemi.
Zulfiqar Ahmad (February 1, 2017 5:40 PM)
It is so sad. Its loss of for mankind. Science is the future, scientific out comes help all of us irrespective of race, religion, or origin. I hope we learn from these tragedies and learn to live in peace with one another. This world is big enough and its resources are more than enough for all of us. We all can live in peace and harmony. Help each other and be a reason for goodness. Let us make this world a better place for the future generations with our good work, love and acceptance of all.
Shahid Shaikh, Ph. D. (February 1, 2017 6:44 PM)
It is a deep sorrow to hear one of us, heterogeneous catalysis expert, to leave this world not for his own but due to some misguided human beings. His contributions to humanity will be honored in the years to come. We, immigrants come to North America to quench our thurst of knowledge and stay here for self and for our next generations. I concur fully with Khalid's son statement of horror back homes. May God give patience and serenity of heart to the family, Aa'meen.
Hooshang Pakdel (February 1, 2017 11:01 PM)
I was so sorry to hear of the passing of my good friend. He was a wonderful man. He was kind, compassionate, and a true gentleman. Sadly there are few people like that in the world today. I will miss him greatly and he will be in my thoughts always
My sympathy to his family.
Avinash K. Rangra, Ph.D. (February 2, 2017 5:21 AM)
It was an avoidable tragedy that caused the loss of a man who was engaged in research to provide solutions to the problems created by our consuming appetite. Rest In Peace, Dr. Belkacemi.
Richard D Moll (February 2, 2017 2:26 PM)
Very Sad, very sad
Aman (February 3, 2017 12:13 AM)
RIP. Thanks for his contributions to Scientific Society.
Said Saim (February 3, 2017 11:40 AM)
This is shocking and sad news. Khaled and I were friends for over 35 years. We went to college together in Algeria. For graduate school, he went to Canada on a National Scholarship and I came to the US. He was passionate about his work, but always modest and giving. I looked up to him and I am so proud of all his accomplishments. A great man all around. I will miss him greatly.
Hussa Al-Khaldi (February 3, 2017 3:29 PM)
What a loss to the Islamic world , arab world & humanity at large. Rahmet allah 3aleik , peace from Kuwait.
wishing the family patience & love
Ahmed Hammood (February 4, 2017 8:20 PM)
It' very sad.. My deepest condolences to Dr. Belkacemi's family, colleagues and friends. Peace!
Dr. A. Richardson (February 7, 2017 1:23 PM)
This is truly unfortunate. Clearly the Canadians need turn off their link to the killer republicans.

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