Ryan Prosser (President/Past President)
I am currently working on my PhD. at the University of Guelph with Dr. Paul Sibley. My research focuses on the bioaccumulation of personal care products in plants grown in biosolids-amended soils and effects on the relationship between plants and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. I became familiar with SETAC in 2010 through Dr. Keith Solomon when I started to pursue an undergraduate degree in environmental toxicology at the University of Guelph. Since then, I have become the Member-At-Large for the SETAC North America Student Advisory Committee, a member of the SETAC North America Science Committee, and a member of the Laurentian SETAC Annual General Meeting Planning Committee, as well as attending numerous SETAC Southern Ontario Pub Nights, AGMs, and short courses. Before environmental toxicology, I was involved in the field of secondary science education. I completed my first undergraduate degree at Queen’s University and subsequently attended teacher’s college in Australia at the University of Wollongong. So before attending the University of Guelph, I was a chemistry teacher at the American International School of Kuwait in Kuwait City for six years. Hit me up at an AGM and I’ll share some of my stories of camel racing. Most involve me falling off.
Rick Frank (Vice President/President)
I was awarded my PhD in Environmental Biology and Toxicology in 2008 from the University of Guelph, where my research focused on the chemical and toxicological characterization of naphthenic acids found in oil sands tailings pond water. Subsequently, I was a post-doctoral fellow, first at the University of Waterloo (2008-2010) investigating the remediation potential of algae indigenous to oil sands tailings ponds, and then with Environment Canada (2010-2012) investigating the chemical mixture composition of natural waters in the oil sands region. Since 2012, I have worked with Environment Canada (Burlington, ON) as a Research Scientist in the Water Science & Technology Directorate, where I investigate the aquatic toxicity of complex mixtures, with a current focus on bitumen-impacted waters originating from natural and tailings pond sources in the oil sands region. When not in the lab or the field, I love the outdoors and try to stay active playing several sports, as well as fishing and hunting. While I have been a member of SETAC and SETAC Laurentian Chapter since beginning my graduate studies in 2004, my involvement has thus far been limited to presentations, chairing sessions, and mentorship roles. As a member of the Board, I look forward to the opportunity to give back to SETAC Laurentian and help our Chapter grow, and I hope to continue this extended involvement for many years to come.
Ève Gilroy (Treasurer)
I joined the SETAC family in 2003, while I attended my first Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas. I was involved with the Student Advisory Council upon its inception (2005-2007), and also joined Laurentian SETAC’s Board of Director. During my eleven years on the Laurentian SETAC Board of Directors, I took on various duties and positions, including Membership Coordinator, Vice-President, President, Treasurer and Webmaster (although most of them not simultaneously!), and chaired the various committees known to the Chapter. I was involved with the reinstatement of the Southern Ontario Dinner Meetings, the various website updates that our Chapter has seen, as well as Laurentian SETAC’s participation in local Science Fairs. I have been happy to take a step back from the front lines and take on the Treasurer position for the last seven years. I am proud to be co-chairing the Women in Science Committee, and agreed to take on the Treasurer position for another term.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Biology (Ecology) from the University of Montréal, a Master’s in Biology from the University of Waterloo (2000), a PhD in Environmental Biology/Toxicology from the University of Guelph (2008), and a Certificate in Translation from the University of Toronto. After a postdoctoral fellowship within Environment Canada’s Aquatic Ecosystem Protection Research Division, where I was involved in a multidisciplinary project aiming to address the health status of resident fish species in the Great Lakes Canadian Areas of Concern (AOCs), I was hired as a Term Research Scientist within Environment Canada’s Aquatic Ecosystem Protection Research Division.
After a post-doctoral fellowship at Environment Canada in Burlington, where I was involved in a project investigating the health of wild fish populations in the Canadian Great Lakes Areas of Concern, I took a Research Scientist position at Environment Canada. However, in 2011, as a result of changing government priorities, I founded Green House Science, a small company specializing in Scientific Research and Communications. In the last five years, as the owner/scientist of Green House Science, I have led and managed various research projects assessing the toxicity of priority substances to aquatic animals (e.g., azo and benzidine-based compounds, Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products), or the effects of toxic substances to aquatic animals (e.g., genotoxicity of urban effluents from Hamilton and Toronto Harbours, DNA damage in freshwater mussels from Cootes Paradise).
When not chasing tiny mighty gutsy girls, my extra-curricular activities include climbing, running, reading, softball and (maybe some day) yoga.
I love the Laurentian Chapter of SETAC, its people, its mandate, its activities and networking opportunities. It is an honour and a pleasure to once more contribute to making this Chapter bigger and better.
Shari Dahmer (Co-Secretary)
I completed my MSc in Biology (Aquatic Toxicology) at the University of Waterloo in 2013, under the supervision of Dr. Mark Servos. My master’s research investigated the legacy of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans in Jackfish Bay, Lake Superior – an area in recovery due to historical bleached-kraft pulp mill effluent contamination. I was first introduced to Laurentian SETAC during this time, when I attended my first SETAC North America conference in Boston. Since then, I have become an active SETAC member at both the regional (Short Course Committee) and national (Career Development Committee: Leadership & Career Networking Sub-Committees) levels. My professional interests include aquatic ecology, ecotoxicology and environmental monitoring. In my current role as Environmental Scientist at the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, I am involved in developing a weight-of-evidence approach to evaluate the status of eutrophication and undesirable algae in the Toronto and Region Area of Concern (AOC). In my spare time I like to enjoy nature through camping and canoeing in the summer and cross-country skiing during the winter months.
Yamini Gopalapillai (Co-Secretary)
I am very happy to be joining the board of Laurentian SETAC this year. I have been a member of SETAC NA and Laurentian since 2009. In addition, I was a student member of the ATW Board of Directors from 2009-2011, and co-chaired the student events for ATW 2010 (Toronto, Canada). I truly enjoyed the experience and I hope to use my knowledge to benefit L-SETAC. Currently, I am a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Guelph under Dr. Beverley Hale, and a part-time lecturer at Wilfrid Laurier University. Prior to joining U of Guelph as a post doctorate, I worked as an Ecotoxicologist at Vale Canada, where I had the opportunity to be involved with high level discussions amongst mining companies on complying with governmental regulations provincially, nationally, and internationally. Also, I was involved with discussions of ongoing research projects funded by Vale, as well as new areas of interest. This gave me a very unique perspective into challenges faced by industries as well as relevant issues in environmental regulations and risk assessment that need further research. I completed my PhD in Environmental Sciences and Toxicology in 2012, also with Dr. Hale but as an off-campus student conducting research at Natural Resources Canada (CANMET Mining, Ottawa), under the co-supervision of Dr. Bernard Vigneault. I completed a BSc in Biochemistry-Biotechnology (2005) and an MSc in Chemical and Environmental Toxicology (2007) at Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada). My research focusses on forming a mechanistic understanding of the relationships between exposure metal chemistry and the resulting toxic effect to an organism, both in an aquatic and terrestrial environment. I look forward to a great experience with L-SETAC!
Oana Birceanu (Membership Coordinator)
I have worked in the field of Aquatic Toxicology and Fish Physiology for over eight years, and I have been involved with the Laurentian Chapter of SETAC since 2007. I initially started out as a student member during my MSc studies, attending the pub nights and getting to know the L-SETAC community. It was at one of these pub night events that Ève Gilroy, who I consider my L-SETAC mentor, asked me if I wanted to join the Communications and Membership Committee (CMC), and I have never looked back since. In 2009, when I started my PhD studies, I became chair of the CMC committee, and in 2011 I became part of the L-SETAC Pub Night committee. I got the opportunity to see what goes on behind the scenes and the amount of hard work and dedication that it takes to organize these events. One of my most proud moments was winning the Best Platform Presentation – PhD award at the L-SETAC 2014 Annual General Meeting in Guelph. Not only did I have the opportunity to present my PhD thesis work to the L-SETAC community, but having my work be recognized by the group as one of the best was one of the highlights of my scientific career. As a Board member of L-SETAC, I do intend to be involved with the membership aspect of the organization and put together more events that will appeal to the current members, but also attract new ones. I would like to get more students involved with the various L-SETAC committees and propose a mentoring event at the next AGM that will mimic the student-mentor events at SETAC NA, albeit on a smaller scale. I do believe this will attract more student participation to the AGM, but it will also serve as a potential recruiting event for our members in the industry, academia and government. I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of what is the most active chapter of SETAC NA.
I have an extensive background in environmental toxicology. I completed a B.Sc. in Environmental Toxicology at the University of Guelph and a M.Sc. in Environmental and Life Sciences (specializing in Trace Contaminant Toxicology and Chemistry) at Trent University. My undergraduate and graduate research focused on developing novel techniques for the environmental monitoring of contaminants and also evaluating the environmental fate and toxicological effects of contaminants on aquatic ecosystems. I have been working as a Junior Environmental Scientist with BluMetric Environmental Inc. for almost a year. I mainly work as a site assessor and risk assessor evaluating potential toxicological effects on human health and the environment. Much of my work involves assessing the risks from contamination to remote arctic communities and ecosystems. I have been an active member of SETAC North America and Laurentian SETAC since 2012. I have given several platform and poster presentations at both chapter’s conferences. For the past two years, I have been a member of Laurentian SETAC’s organizing committee for the annual general meeting (Guelph in 2014 and Ottawa in 2015). All of these experiences have had substantial impacts to my professional development, my career opportunities, and my technical expertise in toxicology. I want to expand my involvement in Laurentian SETAC to the Board of Directors so I can give back to the members.
I have had over four years of experience in environmental research through my time as a M.Sc. student and as a research associate at the University of Guelph with Dr. Beverley Hale. While I was at Guelph, I studied the bioavailability of nickel compounds in contaminated soils using in vitro assays for human health risk assessment. It was during this time that I was introduced to SETAC, and subsequently L-SETAC, and I have really enjoyed the opportunity to attend the annual general meetings, short-courses, and pub nights. After my Masters at Guelph, I went on to work as a toxicologist at MTE GlobalTox, and have been happily conducting human health and ecological risk assessments ever since. I served as a volunteer on the L-SETAC short-course committee in 2014/2015, and am looking forward to the opportunity to contribute more as a L-SETAC board member.
Erin M. Leonard
I completed my Ph.D. at McMaster University (2013), where I assessed nickel bioaccumulation as a predictor of toxicity for further development of a model for setting water quality guidelines. Following my Ph.D., I was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Waterloo where I assisted on a project assessing the population health of freshwater mussels in the Grand River as well as the impact of a wastewater treatment plant on these sentinel organisms. I held a short term contract with Wilfred Laurier University working on the development of a Biotic Ligand Model for nickel in the marine environment. My current post-doctoral fellowship at McMaster University investigates oxygen sensing mechanisms in mammals and aquatic amphibians and invertebrates and how these are altered during hypoxia. In my spare time, I love hiking with my two dogs and two kids. As well, I enjoy being a part of the Laurentian-SETAC community as part of the dinner meeting committee from 2007-2012 and 2015-2016. I have recently gotten involved in conservation efforts in the Kawartha Lakes area and hope to aid in the protection of the Fraser Wetlands within this region. As a member of the Board, I’m enthusiastic to give back to the L-SETAC community as the monthly dinner meetings are one of the highlights of my month.
I am currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Guelph under the supervision of Dr. Paul Sibley and Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) scientist Dave Poirier. My research takes place at the MOECC in Toronto and focuses on the acute and chronic toxicity of neonicotinoid insecticides to aquatic invertebrates. I completed my M.A.Sc. from Ryerson University in 2013. My research concentrated on the effects of triclocarban to aquatic invertebrate behaviours. I then continued at Ryerson University in a research role for a Canadian Water Network funded project studying the impact of land-applied biosolids to crops and earthworms. I received my B.Sc. (Honours Biochemistry) from the University of Waterloo (2011), where I enjoyed co-op opportunities in a wide variety of fields, from pharmaceuticals to art conservation science. I am a relatively new member to L-SETAC, and look forward to contributing to (what I’ve heard) is the best regional chapter!
I have been a SETAC North America member since 1999, a Laurentian SETAC member since 2005 and part of the Laurentian SETAC Pub Night committee since 2009. I have been the committee’s Chair since 2013. As a SETAC member I have been fortunate to participate in meetings at both the North American and Laurentian level. I have also attended meetings in Europe and South America. I am currently a Research Associate in the Department of Biology at the University of Waterloo and a Research Technician at Environment Canada. I received my Bachelors of Science from the University of Guelph (1996). After gaining some work experience in Fisheries biology and while continuing to work at Environment Canada, I received my Masters of Science (2003) and Doctorate (2012) from the University of Waterloo in Aquatic Toxicology. While working at Environment Canada, I have participated in research projects that include: understanding the recovery of ecosystems from pulp and paper mill effluents, Great Lakes Areas of Concern and Athabasca Oil Sands; whole-lake exposure to a synthetic estrogen; aquatic cumulative effects assessment framework development for the Grand River watershed, and the response of fish to remedial actions at selected sewage treatment plants. I believe that it is our obligation as scientists to convey the importance of science to the public and to educational institutions. To that end I volunteer on the Grand River Conservation Authorities’ Fisheries Management Implementation Plan Committee and am involved in educational outreach through the Ontario Forestry Envirothon program, the e3 Outdoor program at Brantford’s Pauline Johnston High School, the Federal Public Sector Youth Internship Program and at the rare Charitable Research Reserve. By participating in SETAC I have gained invaluable experience in meeting and engaging world class researchers. It has provided me with opportunities for collaborations with other agencies, invitations for participation in expert working groups and general networking. Participating as a member in SETAC meetings is much more than professional or academic. SETAC has provided me with opportunities to learn and develop research and networking skills that I use every day at work. I would like to continue giving back to the society. I would be honoured to have the opportunity to be a board member for Laurentian SETAC as I want to continue to give back to SETAC.
I have enjoyed serving on the Laurentian SETAC AGM Organizing Committee for the last two years (2015 and 2016 meetings), and I attend the Ottawa pub nights often. I completed my BSc in the co-op program at the University of Waterloo in 2012. During work terms at Environment Canada, Pest Management Regulatory Agency, and Atomic Energy Canada Ltd, I had the opportunity to gain experience in environmental toxicology and risk assessment with the public service. For the last four years I have worked as an environmental risk analyst in the private sector at Intrinsik, with a focus on ecological risk assessments of pesticides. I am also currently performing research towards my MSc part-time at Carleton University under the supervision of Drs. Robert Letcher and Bill Willmore. My thesis investigates the potential for novel flame retardants and degradation products to perturb thyroid function, using an in vitro competitive binding assay with the serum transport protein transthyretin. Apart from my professional interests, I also enjoy hiking, horseback riding, and live music. I truly value being a part of the L-SETAC community, and am excited for the opportunity to serve as a Board member.