Dr. Denina Simmons was appointed to the Faculty of Science at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in July 2018, where she is an Assistant Professor and Tier II Canada Research Chair in Aquatic Toxicology. Denina is also an associate editor of the Elsevier Journal “Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology – Part D: Genomics and Proteomics”. Denina received her undergraduate degree from Ryerson University and then completed her master’s and doctoral degrees at Trent University. Denina completed two consecutive post-doctoral fellowships at Environment Canada working with Jim Sherry in the Aquatic Contaminants Research Division where she developed protein profiling and proteomics methods to investigate the health of fish. After that, Denina had two consecutive contracts working on ‘Omics projects with the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation, and Parks. Denina runs the Aquatic Omics Lab, where her team conducts research in aquatic toxicology using environmental ‘omics for non-lethal biological effects monitoring. Denina is an expert in liquid chromatography and high-resolution tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) and uses these instruments to detect proteins and metabolites in complex samples like blood plasma and environmental water samples.
My first involvement with SETAC Laurentian was in 2001, when I attended my first Annual General Meeting. A lot of time has passed since then and I have always been impressed at how SETAC Laurentian has provided a local forum for science to be communicated as well as great networking opportunities. I am very proud to be working at Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Wastewater Monitoring Unit since 2019. Before this time, I spent much of my career conducting monitoring and surveillance studies on trace contaminants in the environment. I also worked for seven years as a Risk Assessor at GHD. I received a B.Sc. at the University of Guelph, a M.Sc. at the University of Windsor, and a Ph.D. at the University of Toronto, where I focused on studies related to environmental science, particularly on the fate and transport of contaminants. I am looking forward to serving as a Board Member where I can give back to the community and continue to network and learn from local scientists.
I have been a SETAC North America member since 1999, a Laurentian SETAC member since 2005. In October of 2016 became a member of the Board of Directors. Other L-SETAC involvement includes, member of the Laurentian SETAC Pub Night Committee since 2009 (Chair 2013-2016), the Women In Science Committee (2016) and AGM committee and Short Course Committee (2018). 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 Scientist with Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC). I received my BSc. from the University of Guelph (1996), and MSc (2003) & PhD (2012) from the University of Waterloo in Aquatic Toxicology. While working at ECCC, I have been involved in research projects that include: the response of fish to municipal wastewater and agricultural inputs; 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; and aquatic cumulative effects assessment framework development for the Grand River watershed. I believe that it is our obligation as scientists to convey the importance of science to the public and to educational institutions. In the past I have volunteered 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, rare Charitable Research Reserve and Trout Unlimited. 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 am happy that I can give back to the society by serving the membership of Laurentian SETAC.
I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the L-SETAC board of directors and am truly excited for what we have in store for the coming years. I have been involved with the board since 2014 and it was always a wonderful experience to be working together with our exceptional volunteers. There is such great attitude here and so many dedicated people working on the development of L-SETAC programs and events for our membership. At a personal level, my experiences with the L-SETAC community have also had a great impact on my own professional development by keeping me informed on new science and connected with networks of researchers and scientists. I have been managing environmental contamination at brownfield sites across Canada on behalf of private, federal, and municipal clients throughout my career as an environmental risk assessment professional. Prior to this, I was involved in environmental research investigating current issues in terrestrial metal contamination as a M.Sc student at the University of Guelph with Dr. Beverley Hale (it was during this time that I was introduced to L-SETAC). Over these many years, I have really enjoyed attending the annual general meetings, short-courses, and pub nights hosted by L-SETAC. I am looking forward continuing my work with L-SETAC to promote the advancement of environmental sciences and the use of science in environmental policy and decision-making through collaboration with the professional, government and academic communities in Ontario.
Growing up in Hamilton, Ontario, I developed a fascination with the interaction of chemicals and the environment from a young age. During my undergraduate studies in Environmental Sciences at the University of Guelph, I discovered the field of toxicology and solidified my interest in this fascinating discipline through many courses, co-ops and a research project. This led to my pursuit of an M.Sc. with a specialization in Aquatic Toxicology at McMaster University, where I examined the effects of parental pharmaceutical exposure on sexual differentiation in zebrafish under the supervision of Dr. Joanna Wilson. Shortly after graduation, I moved to Ottawa for an exciting career opportunity with Health Canada. Currently, I am a Regulatory Scientist at Health Canada where I collaborate with international partners on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).
I first joined the L-SETAC community in 2015 when I started attending the southern Ontario pub nights as a graduate student, and later had the honour of tying for the best poster presentation at the 21st LSETAC AGM in 2016. I found the L-SETAC community to be welcoming and the events provided a great atmosphere for continued learning and meeting fellow passionate toxicologists. Upon my move I was happy to continue attending pub nights in Ottawa. I joined the Diversity in Science (DISC) Committee in 2018 where I assist with event planning and social media campaigns, as well as the L-SETAC Short Course and AGM Committee where I helped to plan and host (a successful!) 24th L-SETAC AGM in Ottawa. As a Board Member I intend to continue my involvement with the committees, increase engagement in the Ottawa area, as well as build on mentorship activities.
Outside of L-SETAC you’ll find me running, traveling, enjoying the great outdoors or cheering on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
I was first introduced to Laurentian SETAC in 2011, while completing my M.Sc. in Aquatic Toxicology at the University of Waterloo under the supervision of Dr. Mark Servos. After graduating I spent several years providing technical advice and project management support to Lake Ontario Areas of Concern. I am passionate about watershed management and have a keen interest in how hypothesis driven monitoring and clear communication of research outcomes can inform decision making, which I bring to my current role as Project Manager, Watershed Planning and Reporting at Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.
I have had the pleasure of serving on the L-SETAC Board of Directors since 2014 and have particularly enjoyed working on membership and communications initiatives during this time. I am excited to take on the role of membership coordinator and look forward to finding ways to better engage and showcase our diverse membership.
I am currently a PhD student at the University of Guelph; my research is focused on understanding the impacts of diesel contamination to intertidal bivalve communities. Prior to this, I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Guelph in Toxicology before moving to Winnipeg to complete my masters at the University of Manitoba. My thesis investigated the impacts of oil spills to invertebrate communities at the IISD-Experimental Lakes Area. During my three years in Winnipeg, I became actively involved in the Prairie Northern Chapter of SETAC, serving as the PNC student representative followed by the SETAC North America Student Advisory Council (NASAC) representative for PNC. With PNC, I helped establish a training and collaboration travel grant for students, in addition to a blog-based platform focused on showcasing the work of researchers and institutions across the chapter. As a board member with L-SETAC, I am hoping to continue this engagement and my involvement with the wider SETAC community.
I have been interested in the environment and how humans interact with it since a young age. This led me to pursue my BSc at the University and Guelph in Environmental Toxicology. After I completed my MSc at the University of Waterloo in Biology looking at fish communities near municipal wastewater treatment facilities, I had a few contracts until I found a long-term position as an environmental consultant at Ecometrix. There I conducted environmental risk assessments, environmental effects monitoring, and other aquatic assessments related to metal mines, pulp and paper mills, nuclear power plants, and brownfields. I returned to school in January 2020 to pursue a PhD at Wilfrid Laurier University developing effects-based approaches in environmental impact assessment. My research is part of the Mactaquac Aquatic Ecosystem Study, which is investigating multiple aspects of the Saint John River near the Mactaquac Dam, New Brunswick. Although I have attended Laurentian SETAC events periodically since my MSc, I have only recently become a member. I am impressed with the local science events L-SETAC provides and look forward to participating in and contributing to them in the future.
Diversity in Science Committee Chair
I joined the Laurentian SETAC family in 2005, and quickly joined its Board of Directors. Over the years, I have taken 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 a few of the activities that make L-SETAC the extraordinary Chapter that it is, including the reinstatement of the Southern Ontario Pub Nights (2007), the various website updates that our Chapter has seen, and Laurentian SETAC’s participation in local Science Fairs. Over the last few years, I have been proudly co-chairing the Diversity in Science Committee.
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), and a PhD in Environmental Biology/Toxicology from the University of Guelph (2008). In 2011, I founded Green House Science, a small company specializing in Scientific Research and Communications, which proved to be an excellent opportunity to lead and manage various research projects assessing the toxicity of toxic/priority substances to aquatic animals, and to learn important life lessons in self-employment. In 2018, I joined the Aquatic Contaminants Research Division of Environment and Climate Change Canada, where I am conducting ecotoxicology studies with freshwater gastropods.
When not chasing tiny mighty gutsy girls, my extra-curricular activities include running, climbing, reading, Pilates and (maybe some day) yoga.
I love the Laurentian Chapter of SETAC, its people, its mandate, its activities and networking opportunities. It would be an honour and a pleasure to once more contribute to making this Chapter the best it can be.
After completing my undergraduate degree in Environmental Toxicology at the University of Guelph, I pursued a career in education. I obtained my teaching qualifications in math and science from Queen’s University, and spent time teaching overseas and in Northwestern Ontario. After evaluating my career aspirations, I decided to return to the academic world. I enrolled in the Chemical and Environmental Toxicology doctoral program at the University of Ottawa, with plans to graduate this year. I’m looking forward to my next steps in the world of toxicology, and to continuing my involvement with Laurentian SETAC. I have been a member of L-SETAC since I started my graduate studies and have enjoyed many Ottawa Pub nights. I had the pleasure of serving as the Student Representative for the chapter last year, which was a fun and rewarding experience. I look forward to being more involved with the chapter, and with helping to provide fantastic initiatives to our members.
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. After my defense, I served as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Waterloo (2008-2010) and then with Environment Canada (2010-2012). Since 2012, I have worked with Environment and Climate Change 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 industrial sources in the oil sands region. I have had the privilege of serving on the L-SETAC Board of Directors since 2014, first as Secretary (2014-2015) and then as Vice President, President, and Past President (2015-2018). When not in the lab or the field, I love the outdoors and try to stay active playing sports, hiking, fishing, and hunting. I look forward to continuing my involvement in L-SETAC and I intend to remain very active in helping our Chapter develop into the community that we all know that it can be.
I am a NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Guelph in the Department of Integrative Biology. I am a physiologist and toxicologist who is currently studying how climate change and contaminants impact oxygen sensing mechanisms in vertebrate systems. Along with my research, I thoroughly enjoy teaching and have taught over 10 courses, most in the Department of Biology at McMaster University.
I have been involved with Laurentian SETAC since 2007 when I joined the Pub Night Committee. I’ve always enjoyed a night out to see old faces and meet new ones and hear about all the ground-breaking science happening in Southern Ontario. I’ve acted as chair of the Pub Night Committee in 2008-2009 and again from 2015-2020. I also joined the Board of Directors in 2016 and became VP in 2018 and President in 2019. I love the Laurentian SETAC community and am always amazed at all the incredible people who donate so much of their time, energy, and expertise into this organization.
I have been a member of Laurentian SETAC since graduating from the Environmental Science Masters Program at University of Toronto in 2013. Since then, I have had the opportunity to present at the AGM and attend several short course events. Now, I am very grateful to be more involved in such a great community as a board member. Throughout my undergraduate and graduate education, I gained a passion for aquatic field work, toxicology and risk assessment. While working in environmental consulting, I have gained over seven years of experience in human health and ecological risk assessments (HHERAs) for a number of different sectors including: country foods, mining operations, energy from waste facility and contaminated residential, institutional, and commercial property use sites. I look forward to contributing to the DISC and Pub Night committees in this upcoming term.