top of page

Research Scientists

Dr. Peter R. LEAVITT

Dr. Peter R. LEAVITT


Peter is the Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change and Society, Professor of Biology, and founding Director of IECS. His research investigates factors that regulate the structure and function of lakes, and improve strategies for their protection.



Assistant Professor

Nicole is an Assistant Professor and infectious disease expert in Biology at Luther College at the University of Regina. Her research interests include studying the molecular basis of infectious diseases, improving disease tracking within communities and identifying biomarkers to help diagnose adverse health events.

Dr. Kerri FINLAY

Dr. Kerri FINLAY


Kerri's research focuses on aquatic ecology and biogeochemistry, specifically investigating the role of Prairie lakes, wetland ponds, and reservoirs in the global carbon budget, and the effects of anthropogenic activities on water quality.



Environmental Chemist

Leah is an Environmental Chemist at IECS and Adjunct Professor in the Chemistry/Biochemistry Department. Her interests lie in using analytical chemistry techniques and effects-directed approaches to study emerging and priority contaminants in environmental mixtures

Dr. Tzu-Chiao CHAO

Dr. Tzu-Chiao CHAO

Environmental Scientist (Molecular)

Tzu-Chiao is the lead of the Cellular Impacts Facility. His research focuses on development and application of multi-Omics techniques, including proteomics and metabolomics to investigate organismal and cellular responses to harmful exposures.

Dr. Bruno SOARES

Dr. Bruno SOARES

Quantitative Analyst

Bruno is the Quantitative Environmental Scientist at the IECS and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biology. His research interests include creating computational tools and methods for advancing biodiversity science.

Current Members & Trainees

D Bateson.jpg


Lab & Research Manager

Deirdre is the Lab and Research Manager for the Limnology Lab at the University of Regina. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in Natural Resource Conservation and has experience working with academia, government and First Nations on a wide variety of research projects. She first focused on winter conditions of prairie lakes at the University of Regina and is now responsible for managing and coordinating the Limnology Lab’s long term Qu’Appelle Lakes research program, in addition to other research, projects, and contracts the lab undertakes. Her expertise includes high performance liquid chromatography, water chemistry, and field-based experiments and analyses.

Jess L_edited.jpg


Lab Technician

Jess Lerminiaux earned a BSc in Biochemistry at the University of Regina and is now a research associate for Dr. Kerri Finlay. She is currently working on a project to evaluate the effectiveness of wind powered aeration to improve water quality in agricultural ponds. She also looks at the abundance and distribution of algal toxins (microcystin, anatoxin-a, BMAA) in ponds, wetlands, and lakes across southern Saskatchewan.

Sydney Jensen.jpg


Lab & Field Manager

Sydney has a BSc in Environmental Biology with Honours from the University of Saskatchewan, and a MSc in Biology from the University of Regina. Her MSc research examined greenhouse gas dynamics in Prairie wetlands (sloughs) and dugouts, as well as how greenhouse gas dynamics vary over the open-water season.



Lab Technician

Iman is a Research Associate at IECS, where he is responsible for analytical instruments and technical assistance. He holds a Master's degree in Analytical Chemistry and a BSc in "Chemistry - Information Technology." Iman is enthusiastic about learning and passionate about new technologies. He enjoys method development, troubleshooting various systems, and programming.

Nasim S_edited_edited.jpg


Research Assistant

Nasim earned a master’s degree in Analytical Chemistry from Shahrekord university in Iran. She works as a Research Assistant in the laboratory of Dr. Nicole Hansmeier and Dr. Tzu-Chiao Chao where she is involved in monitoring SARS-CoV-2 levels in wastewater samples for COVID-19 surveillance in Saskatchewan.

Jess R_edited.jpg


Lab Technician

Jessica received her BSc Honors in Biology with a concentration in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Regina. She also completed her MSc at the University of Regina, where she studied the effects of thermal exposures on the stress responses in early life stage lake whitefish. Jessica’s research interests include cellular/molecular biology and environmental physiology. Currently, she is enjoying working as a lab technician in the Chao/Hansmeier Lab.



Research Assistant

Jay received his BSc in Biology from the University of Regina and is a research assistant in Drs. Chao & Hansmeier lab. He is leading the research on the effects of second-hand cannabis smoke exposure. His interests ranges from tissue histology to pathogen-host interactions using visualization techniques such as atomic force microscopy and laser scanning confocal microscopy.



Postdoctoral Researcher

Amir is a postdoc researcher who holds a PhD in Geography from the University of Waterloo. His background is in machine learning and remote sensing, and he is currently working with Dr. Peter Leavitt to develop innovative ways to monitor water quality in Canadian lakes using remote sensing technologies.


Cale Gushulak

Postdoctoral Researcher

Cale is a paleolimnologist focused on the impacts of land-use and climate change on water bodies over multiple time scales. His research projects include examination of eutrophication trends in prairie lakes since colonization and the experimental fertilization of agricultural reservoirs with the prolific N-fertilizer urea.



Postdoctoral Researcher




PhD candidate

Ryan is  a graduate student in the department of biology in the Finlay Lab. He earned his MSc degree in Geograpy from York University in Ontario. His research interests include carbon dynamics and climate change impacts on small shallow freshwater bodies. For his PhD research, he is studying how climate change induced desiccation affects greenhouse gas production and carbon sequestration in agricultural reservoirs in the Northern Great plains, within southern Saskatchewan.


Michael MENSAH

PhD Candidate

Michael's PhD research is examining the limno-biophysical controls of sulphates in small farm ponds (dugouts and wetland ponds). Michael is also testing the effectiveness of phytoremediation and dredging in delivering water quality improvement. By understanding how surrounding soils, vegetation and other landscape features impact water sulphate concentrations, we can better target potential mitigation opportunities for improving water quality for agriculture.


Keerthikrutha SEETHARAMAN

PhD Student

Keerti is a PhD student of Prof. Kerri Finlay in FAST lab. Her research focuses on  providing a local-scale understanding of the water quality of several of the lakes of Saskatchewan. 

Samina Thapa (2).jpg

Samina THAPA

MSc Student

Samina is a graduate student in the department of biology at the University Of Regina. She also holds a Master’s degree in Medical Microbiology from Kantipur College of Medical Sciences in affiliation to Tribhuvan University , Nepal. Currently, she studies the impact of low doses of antibiotics on Salmonella with the help of proteomic and microscopic approaches in the Chao and Hansmeier Labs at IECS. She is also interested in observing host and pathogen interactions at the molecular level using Salmonella as the model organism. Outside of lab she loves doing yoga, meditation and acrylic paintings, going for hiking as they are integral part of her life.



MSc Student

Sonja received her BSc in Life Sciences at the University of Potsdam in 2018 and is currently finishing up her MSc in Biology in the Chao/Hansmeier lab. In her studies she worked on establishing a wastewater surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 in Southern Saskatchewan.



MSc Candidate

Aanchal received her B.Tech in Biotechnology from Vellore Institute of Technology, India. She is currently a MSc candidate in the Chao and Hansmeier Labs working on the study of Low Complexity Regions (LCRs) in Salmonella.


Viraj SHAH

Undergraduate Student

Viraj is a fourth year Biology student and has a diploma in Graphic Design. Currently he is working in the Leavitt lab and, also studying sedimentary pigmentation in agricultural reservoirs throughout Southern Saskatchewan and Lake Dauphin, MB. He has a keen interest in graphic designing, geography, biology, and ancient archaeology

Jay Vavadia.jpg


Undergraduate Student

Jay is a fourth-year undergraduate student majoring in Biology and minoring in Kinesiology. He is currently working in the Leavitt Lab and assessing the extent of cyanobacterial toxins, Microcystin, β-N-Methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA), and Anatoxin-a in the Qu’Appelle River system and agricultural reservoirs throughout southern Saskatchewan. Jay is interested in understanding if the levels of these cyanotoxins in the water reservoirs of southern Saskatchewan are considerable enough to threaten aquatic and public health.

bottom of page