Postdoctoral Fellows

Vivian Yanxi Shao

Vivian received her PhD in 2018 from the University of Alberta. She joined the WaterSTP group as a postdoctoral fellow in 2019. Her research focuses on the impacts of wildfire on nutrient bioavailability and the occurrence of algal bloom in water reservoirs.

In her spare time, Vivian enjoys watercolour painting, Chinese calligraphy and making pottery.

Jesse Skwaruk

Jesse is a Mitacs Post Doctoral Fellow with a focus on optimizing chemical pre-treatment, including exploration of the utility of zeta potential analysis and its relationship to filtration performance in the City of Calgary. Jesse’s PhD studied drinking water treatment technology resilience for management of severely deteriorated water after wildfire. His previous studies have focused on a wide range of water-related topics, including drinking water treatment and water governance and policy. In addition to his academic background, Jesse has several years’ experience working with a water utility in various capacities, such as drinking water treatment and watershed management.

Jesse joined the WaterSTP team in 2017 and has pursued his doctoral research focusing on drinking water treatment under severely deteriorated conditions following wildfire. Jesse’s personal interests revolve around water and spending time with his family, including travelling to places with water, running and hiking near water, and cooling off from tropical sun in water.

PhD Candidates

Soosan Bahramian

Thesis Topic: Forest management/harvesting impacts on drinking water treatability

Soosan received her BASc degree in 2011 and after two years of working on water resources management projects she started her Master’s degree at the University of Waterloo. In 2016 she received her MASc in in Civil Engineering. In January 2017, Soosan joined the WaterSTP group under the joint supervision of Drs. Monica Emelko and Michael Stone (Department of Geography and Environmental Management).

Soosan’s current research focuses on investigating the effects of forest harvesting on water quality.

In her free time, Soosan enjoys biking, rock climbing, and also playing percussion instruments.

Dafne de Brito Cruz

Dafne graduated in Civil Engineering in 2017 at Aeronautics Institute of Technology, Brazil. She had the opportunity to work academically there, teaching in the undergraduate Sanitation course. She received her master’s degree in 2019 and joined the Water STP group in Spring 2021 under the supervision of Dr. Monica Emelko.

She likes to travel and spend time outdoors. In her free time, she enjoys watching TV series, working out, and hiking.

Kalani De Silva

Kalani is from Sri Lanka and graduated with a degree in Environmental Engineering in 2018 at Northern Arizona University, USA. She was able to participate in bioremediation research projects as a research assistant during her bachelors. Kalani’s interest in research and academia led her to pursue a master’s degree. Her master’s research was focused on developing a basic mass transfer model for a biological gas-liquid scrubbing system that uses algae in a liquid medium to purify the CO2 present in the biogas. She completed her master’s degree in 2021 in Environmental engineering. Kalani joined the Water STP group in Fall 2021 under the supervision of Dr. Monica Emelko and Bill Anderson.

In her spare time, Kalani likes to run, hike, read, watch movies and clean. She also love to pet dogs if any come her way.

Nik Knezic

Nik joined the WaterSTP group in January 2019 under the supervision of Dr. Monica Emelko after spending the past two years working in the water chemistry field with General Electric’s Water division. He had previously completed a Bachelor of Applied Science (BASc) in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Waterloo in 2017 and received his MASC with the WaterSTP Group in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering in 2021.

His spare time is spent in arenas coaching a youth hockey team, running, hiking, petting dogs, and working out.

Tim Shardlow

Tim Shardlow

Tim graduated from the University of Waterloo with a BSc in Biology with a Microbiology specialization in 2019. He would then go on to complete his MSc in the Department of Biology supervised by Dr. Kirsten Müller with the co-supervision of Dr. Monica Emelko in 2021. His studies involved cyanobacteria community composition within forested watersheds impacted by climate change-exacerbated disturbances.

In his spare time, Tim enjoys listening to music, watching sports and creating homemade beer with his friends.

Kelvin Vianini

Kelvin received his Bachelors in Environmental Engineering in 2017 at the University Centre of Belo Horizonte. Throughout his undergraduate degree, Kelvin was part of different research projects in the environmental planning and water resources area, which led him to publish a few papers in local journals and at conferences. His undergraduate thesis covered the characterization of the main pollutants loads in one of the most important streams in his home town.

Kelvin joined the University of Waterloo and the Water STP group in Fall 2019, under the joint supervision of Drs. Monica Emelko and William B. Anderson in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. In his spare time Kelvin enjoys singing and playing piano, he is also into outdoor activities..

Master’s Candidates

Elyse Batista

Elyse Batista

Elyse graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Science in Biology in 2018 and was thrilled to join the WaterSTP group soon afterwards. She is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Civil Engineering under the co-supervision of Drs. Monica Emelko and Bill Anderson looking at pathogen removal from drinking water.

In her spare time, Elyse can be found competing with her horse Dolce across southern Ontario or volunteering at horseshows put on by university and college students involved with the Ontario Collegiate Equestrian Association.

Emma Blackburn

Emma received her B.Sc. in Earth and Environmental Sciences (Co-op) from McMaster University before joining the WaterSTP group in September 2019 under the joint supervision of Drs. Sarah Dickson and Monica Emelko. She has previously worked as an environmental assistant for the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and in environmental consulting.

In her free time, Emma enjoys playing the harp and spending time outdoors sailing, skiing, and biking.

Annie Gray

Annie received her BSc in Geography and Geomatics from Wilfrid Laurier University in 2020 and joined the WaterSTP group in 2021. A student of the University of Waterloo’s Collaborative Water Program, Annie is currently pursuing an MSc in Geography under the co-supervision of Dr. Mike Stone and Dr. Monica Emelko.
When she is not working on her graduate research into the legacy impacts of forest harvesting on the dynamics of dissolved organic carbon in surface and subsurface waters, Annie enjoys reading, spending time with friends and family, and outdoor adventures such as hiking and biking.

Allie Kennington

Allie received her Bachelor’s of Applied Science in Geological Engineering from the University of Waterloo in 2019. She joined the WaterSTP group in September 2019, where her research will focus on the impacts of forest fires on groundwater-based drinking water sources.

Allie is an active volunteer in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the departmental graduate student society, and within her community. In her spare time, she loves cooking, hiking, cycling, foraging and studying mycology.

Lauren McGregor

Lauren received a B.Eng. in Civil Engineering & Society from McMaster University in 2021. As an undergraduate research assistant at McMaster, she worked on projects involving hydrologic modelling and small-scale drinking water treatment. She joined the Water STP Group in the fall of 2021 as a Master’s candidate. Her research focuses on biofiltration for the treatment of drinking water in regions affected by high-severity wildfires.

In her spare time, Lauren can be found hiking, reading a book, or doing puzzles.

Celine Vandenberg

Celine graduated from the University of Waterloo in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry Co-op. She joined the WaterSTP group in 2019 with her focus studying Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in drinking water, groundwater, and wastewater. Celine has since started her Master’s degree in 2022 furthering her work with PFAS.

In her spare time, Celine enjoys visiting family, being outdoors, reading novels, playing video games, and adding to her already abundant collection of houseplants.

Undergraduate Researchers

Liam Calder

Liam Calder

Environmental Engineering

Tyler Owl-Scott

Environmental Engineering

Thea Taylor

Thea Taylor

Environmental Engineering

Taylor Virgin


Past Students

Arnold, Adam – MASc (2008)
Evaluation and Quantification of Engineered Flocs and Drinking Water Treatability

Bahramian, Soosan – MASc (2019)
Contemporary Forest Harvesting Impacts on Drinking Water Quality and Treatability

Brown, Trevor – MASc (2019)
Chitosan Impacts on Cryptosporidium Removal by Filtration and Risk Assessment of Pathogen Passage during Drinking Water Treatment

Chandrakumaran, Thadshayini – MASc (2018)
Spatial and Temporal Trends in Water Quality in a Mixed-Use Landscape: Agriculture vs. Urban Areas

Charlebois, Gemma – MASc (2016)
American Water Works Association Academic Achievement Award Recipient for Outstanding Thesis
Microcystin and Microcystis Destruction by Ozone in Drinking Water Treatment: Constraints and Effects

Chik, Alex – PhD (2020), MES (2013)
American Water Works Association Academic Achievement Award Recipient for Outstanding Thesis
Advancing Microbial Risk Assessments of Subsurface Water Sources
Assessing the Role of Phosphorus as a Source Water and Treatment Vulnerability Indicator: Implications for Planning, Management and Operations

Chowdhury, Omar – MASc (2021)
Evaluation of Potential Health Risks from Microplastics in Drinking Water

Côté, Martin – MASc (2004)
A Field and Bench Scale Evaluation of Riverbank Filtration Efficacy for Removal of Cryptosporidium-sized Microspheres

Crumb, Jill – MASc (2016)
Phosphorus Sequestration for Control of Cyanobacterial Growth in Drinking Water Reservoirs

Elbadri, Nadwa – MASc (2021)
Developing a Risk Assessment Framework for Evaluating and Mitigating Occupational Exposure of Migrant Farmworkers to Enteric Pathogens in Canada’s Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program

Gray, Leslie – MASc (2013)
Evaluating the Effects of Strain Selection on the Attenuation of Bacillus subtilis Spores through Saturated Porous Media

Jin, Chao – PhD (2014)
Describing and Evaluating Media Roughness Contributions to Granular Media Filtration

Knappett, Peter – MASc (2006)
Evaluating the Effects of Grain Size and Divalent Cation Concentration on the Attenuation of Viruses and Microspheres through Crushed Silica Sand

Knezic, Nik – MASc (2021)
American Water Works Association Academic Achievement Award Recipient for Outstanding Thesis
Coagulant addition for managing sediment-associated phosphorus bioavailability to prevent cyanobacterial blooms in drinking water reservoirs

Kundert, Kelsey – MASc (2021)
Coupled chemically-assisted filtration (CCAF) approaches for increasing filter resilience and performance during drinking water treatment

Lagan, Sineaid – MASc (2005)
An Investigation of Cryptosporidium parvum and Silica Surface Forces in Relation to Water Treatment

Lee, Kristina – MASc (2019)
The critical role of chemical pre-treatment in ensuring Cryptosporidium removal by filtration of high quality source water

Lee, Lawrence – MASc (2005)
Bacillus subtilis Inactivation in Drinking Water by Pulsed Arc Electrohydraulic Discharge

McLellan, Nicole – MASc (2012)
American Water Works Association Academic Achievement Award Recipient for Outstanding Thesis
Factors Affecting the Transport of Pathogens & Pathogen Surrogates in Saturated Porous Media: Implications for Natural & Engineered Drinking Water Filters

Schmidt, Philip – PhD (2010)
Addressing the Uncertainty Due to Random Measurement Errors in Quantitative Analysis of Microorganism and Discrete Particle Enumeration Data

Scott, David – MASc (2008)
American Water Works Association Academic Achievement Award Recipient for Outstanding Thesis
Cryptosporidium and Particle Removal from Low Turbidity Water by Engineered Ceramic Media Filtration

Shams, Shoeleh – PhD (2018)
Wildfire and Forest Harvesting Effects on Natural Organic Matter: Implications to Drinking Water Treatability

Skwaruk, Jesse – PhD (2021)
Drinking Water Treatment Technology Resilience for Management of Severely Deteriorated Water after Wildfire

Snider, Ryan – MASc (2011)
American Water Works Association Academic Achievement Award Recipient for Outstanding Thesis
Impact of Design and Operational Parameters on Rapid, Deep Bed Biological Filtration of Drinking Water

Spanjers, Mark – PhD (2017)
Biologically Active Filtration Media Properties: Practical and Mechanistic Implications

Stewart, Michael – MASc (2018)
Nitrogen Dynamics in a Harvested Rocky Mountain Catchment

Thompson, Joan – MASc (2019)
Removal of Organic Matter by Classical Biofiltration: Mechanistic Insights Regarding “Biodegradation”

Watling, Mark – MASc (2004)
Removal of Cryptosporidium parvum Oocysts and Potential Surrogates in Vertical and Horizontal Flow-through Columns

Wong, Andrew – MASc (2015)
American Water Works Association Academic Achievement Award Recipient for Outstanding Thesis
Investigating the Enhancement of Biological Filtration with Capping Material Designs and Nutrient Amendments

Yang, Amy – MASc (2019)
Fine Sediment Contributions to Cyanobacterial Growth: Potential Threats to Drinking Water Reservoirs