Rochelle Mathew

M.A.Sc. Environmental Engineering Candidate

I started at the Delatolla lab as a volunteer and have been lucky enough to involve myself in many projects over the years. I was first trained by Dr. Bradley Young, and helped him with his MBBR pilot plant by building a library of prevalent microorganisms. Then, I worked as a part- time Research Assistant and helped start up and maintain Alex Schopf’s labscale MBBR systems. Alex was involved in maintaining one set of MBBR reactors that were operating in series vs parallel, and starting up a second set of mini-reactors to study the effect of coppy inhibition on nitrification. For my Honours project in Biochemistry, I had the privilege of conducting my own study on the effect of copper inhibition of nitrification using droplet digital PCR (ddPCR). I was hoping to see if the populations of nitrifiers were drastically reduced with increasing copper concentration. My experiment failed miserably, and I am still traumatized. I ended up studying the effect of copper inhibition on ddPCR instead. For my Master’s, I am working on understanding the impact of using controlled tile drainage and a constructed pond-wetland system to mitigate the effects of agricultural runoff, and therefore the anthropogenic eutrophication of natural water systems. It is a struggle; it is draining; but it also helps me think in new ways. I am graciously nudged along in the right direction by my supervisors Dr. Christopher Kinsley and Dr. Robert Delatolla, or I would probably be studying the wrong wetland on the other side of the road. I am a Junior Scientist at Golder Associates Ltd; I work in Risk and Remediation. I do a lot of field work, have been tanned since the first week of May, and can be seen sniffing the air for contaminants.

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