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Metals in Environment and Health

Focus and Mandate of the Group

Heavy metals have a dual nature. In moderate quantities, some are essential to life; however, others are toxic even at very low concentrations.

Heavy metals are increasingly abundant in our environment, because they are discarded in the water, soil, and atmosphere by industrial processes, improper waste disposal, fertilizers, and pesticides.

The focus of this interdisciplinary research cluster is to study the positive and negative impacts of metals on human health and the environment.

The Metals in Environment and Health (MEH) research cluster fosters scholarship and public engagement on a number of topics, including:

  • Extraction and recycling of heavy metals from industrial waste and contaminated ecosystems
  • Detection and quantification of heavy metals in industrial, environmental, and biological samples
  • Incorporation of heavy metals in novel molecular probes, nanomaterials, and pharmaceutical compounds
  • Assessment of the effect of heavy metals on human health and the well-being of other organisms

Objectives and Intended Outputs

  • Provide opportunities for members to collaborate on research projects, share findings, gather feedback, identify external partners, and apply for research funding
  • Provide a learning environment for students, interns, postdoctoral fellows, and visiting scholars
  • Encourage awareness of heavy metals in health and the environment 
  • Facilitate members’ professional development by organizing events, inviting speakers, and participating in scientific conferences

 Available Resources

  • An interdisciplinary team with expertise in basic and applied sciences, medicine, and engineering
  • Highly trained and motivated research students, field scientists, and technologists
  • State-of-the-art equipment for field and laboratory analysis of heavy metals, including tools for spectroscopy, chromatography, and electrochemical methods
  • Access to scientific literature and library resources

Founding Members

  • Makan Golizeh (Assistant Professor, Analytical Chemistry)
  • Patrick Kamau (Professor, Biochemistry and Chemistry)
  • Emmanuel Mapfumo (Associate Professor, Biological and Environmental Sciences)
  • Matthew Churchward (Assistant Professor, Biological and Environmental Sciences)
  • Sergey Ishutov (Faculty of Science)
  • Cecilia Bukutu (Associate Professor, Public Health)
  • John Washington (Associate Professor, Chemistry)

Guest Participants

  • Momar Ndao (Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, McGill University)
  • Hadi Bordbar (Staff Scientist, Department of Civil Engineering, Aalto University, Finland)
  • Glen Briand (Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Mount Allison University)
  • Daniel Alessi (Professor, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta)
  • Janice Kenney (Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Sciences, MacEwan University)

Friends of the Cluster

  • Isha Katyal (Director, Innovation and Industry, Concordia University of Edmonton)
  • Cheryl Wong (Vice-President and Founder, Ecophase Technologies)
  • Adam Daryaei (CEO and Founder, Schtudach Sustainable Aviation)
  • Saeed Shojaei (Process Manager, Giant Cement Holding Inc.)