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Our Research 

We focus on municipal wastewater-related research projects, including the fate and transport of pharmaceuticals and personal care products in surface waters and the impact of their fluctuating concentrations in our aquatic environment. We also have an ongoing project related to the oil sands processed water (OSPW) that focuses on using cell-based bioassays to determine the cell toxicity profile of OSPW prior to discharge into the environment

 

Ongoing Projects

Take a Look

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In vitro bioassays to assess impacts of oil sands process-affected water in receiving aquatic environments.

The efficacy of treatment technologies to remove contaminants of concern from oil sands processed water (OSPW) will need to be assessed to demonstrate safe return into the environment. Bioassays are a potential screening tool that could be used to evaluate treatment efficacy. In partnership with Alberta Environment and Parks (Dr. Keegan Hicks) and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (Dr. Beate Escher), we will apply a battery of high-throughput bioassays to evaluate current OSPW treatments and the potential mixture effects of the effluents in important cellular pathways. This work will support the future development of predictive models that link exposure to effects and will assist in establishing success indicators and thresholds for the safe release of treated OSPW. This project is funded by the Future Energy Systems for Early Career Researchers

Sorption potential of organic chemicals on micro- and nanoplastics

This project is led by Dr. Jeffrey Farner with Dr. Greg Goss and Dr. Arlos as Co-PI's. Our role in this project is to assess the sorption potential of several classes of organic chemicals and determine the capacity of nanoplastics as vectors for chemical transport into exposed aquatic organisms. 

This project is funded by the Environment and Climate Change Canada through the "Increasing Knowledge on Plastic Pollution" Initiative (IKPP)". IKPP initiative is a program that aims to address knowledge gaps related to the potential human health effects and ecotoxicology of plastics in Canada. 

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Fate and transport of micropollutants in the urban sections of the Bow River in Calgary and their potential bioaccumulation in exposed aquatic organisms

Our role in this project is to determine the spatial and temporal occurrence of micropollutants in highly urbanized sections of the Bow River Watershed. Micropollutants are substances present in our environment at extremely low concentrations but they may have an impact on exposed aquatic organisms. We also utilize the artificial streams facility located at the "Advancing Canadian Wastewater Assets (ACWA)" facility in Calgary to answer questions related to their uptake by aquatic organisms.

 

This project is in collaboration with Dr. Kelly Munkittrick, Dr. Fred Wrona, and Dr. Kerry Black from the University of Calgary, Dr. Karen Kidd from McMaster University, and Dr. Mark Servos from the University of Waterloo. We work closely with the City of Calgary to address their needs and create reasonable plans moving forward with micropollutant monitoring in their watershed. 

 

Bioanalytical monitoring of Laguna Lake (Philippines) to scope out environmental and human health impacts and water research priorities associated with organic chemical pollution

Our main objective is to identify relevant modes-of-action through in vitro bioassays (e.g., carcinogenicity vs. endocrine disruption), which will assist with selecting priority organic substances for future chemical detection and monitoring. We will further tie our results with a preliminary field assessment of fish health to assess the application of in vitro bioassay for water quality monitoring. This short-term project allowed us to travel to the Philippines to collect water and fish samples to assess the current state of organic chemical pollution in Laguna Lake, the largest freshwater lake in the Philippines. We have already collected our water samples and will analyse them using a battery of in vitro (cell-based) bioassays to evaluate mode-of-action/cell toxicity pathways relevant to ecosystem and human health.

This project is funded by the Faculty of Engineering SEED grant and in collaboration with Dr. Patricija Marjan and Dr. Kelly Munkittrick from the University of Calgary, Dr. Michael Velarde from the University of the Philippines, and the Environmental Laboratory and Research Division of the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA)

Photo on the right is from the LLDA (2022). 

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