Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Abstracts & Biographies

FALL 2018


Presenter:  Dr. J. Liu, Associate Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

Date: Sept. 27th

Title:  Detection of Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) following firefighting foam deployment during the Lac-Mégantic railwayaccident

Abstract:  Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are key components of aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) formulations used against hydrocarbon fuel fires. Various lines of evidence have, however, raised concerns on the persistence, bioaccumulation, and toxicity of some AFFF components. Though perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) have been banned from AFFF products, knowledge is lacking on the environmental fate and safety of the PFASs permitted in current AFFF products. The 2013 Lac-Mégantic railway accident led to one of the largest releases of crude oil and AFFFs into the environment in Canadian history, providing a case study to allow examination of identity and temporal trends of PFASs in soil, sediment and fish. We monitored the occurrence of over 100 legacy and newly-identified PFASs in the white sucker (Catostomus commersonii), sediments from Lake Mégantic and Chaudière River, and soils from the site of the accident and biopiles.. Aside from verifying the effectiveness of PFOS ban in Quebec, the knowledge generated from the study provides insight into the fate and behaviors or PFAS in engineered water and soil treatment processes


Presenter:  Dr. T. Tannert, Canada Research Chair in Hybrid Wood Structures Engineering, Univ. of Northern B.C.

Date:  Oct. 4th

Title:  Challenges and Solutions of Mass Timber Structural Systems

Abstract:  The structural use of wood in North America so far was mostly related to low-rise and mid-rise residential light-frame construction. Lately, legislative changes and the emergence on new mass-timber engineered products enable the use of wood in tall and large buildings. Two of the most promising solutions involve the notions of “mass-timber” such as cross-laminated timber (CLT) and hybrid construction such as timber-steel and timber-concrete systems. The prospect of building larger timber structures creates challenges, amongst them the increased lateral forces created by wind and earthquakes and the increased demand on floor serviceability. The seminar will discuss the state-of-the-art research on the challenges and innovative solutions of adopting mass timber structural systems


Presenter:  Dr. I. Paci, Associate Prof. & Graduate Advisor, Dept. of Chemistry, University of Victoria

Date: Oct. 11th

Title:  Structure and properties in hierarchical organic/inorganic materials: Insights from theory

AbstractIn the bottom-up approach to nanotechnology, molecular-scale devices are constructed by designing their components to self-assemble and realize a desired structure or complex. In this context, the self-assembly process often occurs in the vicinity of a solid substrate. Theoretical investigations of surface self-assembly and the properties of such materials can be extremely useful counterparts to experimental studies, but can be challenging to pursue. One main issue is that while ultimately, quantum level information about the molecules, the surface and their interactions is essential to understand, the representative size of the system is more amenable to bulk simulations. This presentation will describe some of our group's efforts to advance the theoretical understanding of molecular self-assembly and behaviour on solid surfaces. Our studies of the formation of organized patterns upon adsorption and their relationship to molecular structure will be discussed in some detail. The second part of the talk will present our investigations of field-response properties of nanostructured materia


Presenter:  Dr. M. Moora, Dept. of Botany, Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences, University of Tartu, Estonia

Date: Oct. 25th

Title:  Biogeography of mycorrhizal symbiosis: plant mycorrhizal traits in space and time

Abstract:  Functional type - and trait based approaches for understanding community dynamics and ecosystem functioning are gradually gaining popularity. However, plant species mycorrhizal traits are rarely considered in plant trait databases and are almost neglected in trait based plant community studies, despite that more than 80% of the land flora is mycorrhizal. I shall discuss and define the mycorrhizal traits of plant species and demonstrate the ways how these traits in combination with plant distribution data gives an opportunity to study the importance and dynamics of mycorrhizal symbiosis across spatial and temporal gradients.

Presenter: Erin Slade, MSc. Global Health Candidate, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Date:  Nov. 1st

Title:  Falsified antimicrobial medicine:  A neglected global health crisis contributing to drug resistance in sub-Saharan Africa

Abstract:  The first part of this presentation will introduce the field of Global Health and my own career projections as a T.R.U. alumni. This will include a discussion of the current hot topics in Global Health and various career paths available to graduates – either in a research, policy, clinical, or programmatic capacity – on the local, national, or international stage. The second half of this presentation will discuss my Master’s thesis on the topic of falsified medicine. Falsified medicines are those that have been criminally tampered with that then compromises drug quality and efficacy. The WHO estimates 10-30% of medicine in low/middle income countries is falsified, where sub-Saharan Africa in particular is flooded with poor quality medications for HIV, TB, and malaria. This has dangerous implications for health in countries already faced with high infectious disease burdens and underfunded health care systems. I will describe the consequences of falsified medicine, and especially highlight the connection to antimicrobial resistance. A discussion of future steps to bring policy to practice will conclude the presentation.

Presenter: Dr. N. Van Wagoner, Dept. of Geology, Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops

Date:  Nov. 8th

Title:  Palaeozoic volcanism and mineral deposits of the Selwyn Basin, Yukon

Abstract:  TBA


Presenter:  Erik Krogh

Date: Nov. 22th  

Title: On-line membrane sampling and direct mass spectrometry of trace organic contaminants in complex samples

Abstract:Recent work in our group has employed the use of semi-permeable membranes to directly measure trace organic compounds of emerging concern (e.g., pharmaceuticals, microcystins) in complex heterogeneous samples. The presentation will introduce some recent applications with a focus on the analysis of naphthenic acids (NAs) associated with oil sands process waters, which have the potential to be released into aquatic environments with a range of toxic effects on receiving organisms. Conventional analytical techniques are characterized by extensive processing, resulting from the complexity of the sample and difficulty in distinguishing NAs from naturally occurring dissolved organic matter (DOM). We report the use of on-line membrane extraction and direct mass spectrometry techniques using a capillary hollow fibre polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) membrane to yield meaningful qualitative and quantitative information from both nominal and high-resolution mass spectrometry. We demonstrate that extraction through a hydrophobic membrane resolved the classically defined NA fraction from the less hydrophobic dissolved organic matter. Factors influencing permselectivity at the membrane level, were examined with a series of model compounds with octanol-water partition constants ranging from logKow ~2 – 5. This work demonstrates the use of membrane extraction for the selective sampling and determination of NAs and other trace organic contaminants in polluted waters, providing convenient sample clean-up prior to conventional analysis as well as direct, on-line detection by mass spectrometry.