Our Team

Dr. Robert Delatolla (Principle Investigator)

Professor Robert Delatolla is a Full Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Ottawa and CIHR Applied Public Health Chair in Environment, Climate Change and One Health. He is the Director of the national CoVaRR-Net Wastewater Surveillance Research Group, co-Chair of the Ontario Wastewater Surveillance Consortium, Director of the Ottawa-Carleton Institute for Environmental Engineering and Graduate Coordinator of the University of Ottawa Environmental Engineering Graduate Program. Professor Delatolla has recently been awarded the 2022-2023 Ontario Society of Professional Engineers Engineering Excellence Medal for his contributions to Ontario during the COVID-19 pandemic. He has also received the 2022-2023 Covid-19 Public Health Innovation Fund Award awarded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and the Ontario Medical Association. He was recognized for his research in 2023-2024 with the Faculty of Engineering George S. Glinski Award and was recognized for his commitment and contribution to teaching in 2017-2018 with the University of Ottawa Excellence in Education Prize and in 2016-2017 with the Faculty of Engineering John V. March Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Nada Hegazy, PhD Candidate

Nada Hegazy holds a B.A.Sc. in Chemical Engineering and M.A.Sc. in Environment Engineering from the University of Ottawa. She has been part of the group since the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and her research focuses on improving the understanding of COVID-19 wastewater surveillance data and its role in enhancing public health monitoring. Her M.A.Sc. thesis titled “Minimizing Variability of SARS-CoV-2 wastewater Measurements and Advancing the interpretation of Wastewater Surveillance Data” was honoured with the Faculty of Engineering’s Best Master’s Thesis in 2022, and she was among the recipients of the prestigious Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship in 2023.

Élisabeth Mercier, PhD Candidate

Élisabeth Mercier graduated from a dual Bachelor program with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Chemical Engineering. She was part of the team that first detected SARS-CoV-2 and subtyped influenza A in wastewater in Canada and has recently worked to expand wastewater surveillance to other pathogens such as RSV.

Patrick M. D’Aoust, PhD Candidate

Patrick M. D’Aoust is a PhD candidate in environmental engineering. He holds a B.A.Sc. and M.A.Sc. in civil engineering from the University of Ottawa. His research focuses on the development and improvement of SARS-CoV-2 and PMMoV detection techniques in wastewater. His other research interests include the characterization of the urban microbiome and monitoring chronic disease biomarkers in wastewater.

Md Pervez Kabir, PhD Candidate

Originally from Bangladesh, Pervez holds a Bachelor’s and a master’s degree in environmental science from Khulna University. He previously served as an Environmental Consultant on the Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project, Bangladesh’s largest infrastructure project. Currently, he is pursuing a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering at the University of Ottawa, specializing in wastewater-based genomic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2. His Ph.D. research focuses on improving methodologies, sampling techniques, and detection approaches of SARS-CoV-2 variants in wastewater.

Felix Addo, PhD Candidate

Felix holds a master’s degree in environmental engineering, with his previous research focusing on ecological restoration. Currently, he is pursuing a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering at the University of Ottawa. His doctoral research centers on wastewater-based surveillance and the detection of infectious diseases such as HAV, Cholera, Typhoid Fever, and HIV. Felix is deeply passionate about environmental sustainability. As a Co-founder of Eco Amet Solutions, he has actively participated in various activities and projects to promote it.

Chandler Wong, MASc Candidate

Chandler W is currently a Fast-Track PhD candidate in University of Ottawa. He was born and raised in Alberta, Canada where he loved living so close to the Canadian Rocky Mountains. With an academic background in Biology, he graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Biology specializing in Cellular-Molecular Biology. He has been working in Dr. Delatolla research lab since 2017. His MASc research primarily focused on Monkeypox (MPOX). Chandler brings a strong scientific foundation and while continuously looking to improve lab work techniques with the rest of the team. In his spare time, he enjoys baking, backpacking, and playing the piano.

Nathan Ramsay, MASc Candidate

Nathan T. Ramsay holds a B.A.Sc. in civil engineering and is currently pursuing a M.A.Sc. in environmental engineering from the University of Ottawa. Leveraging his extensive knowledge of computer programming, he directs his research efforts primarily on deciphering the spatiotemporal patterns associated with SARS-CoV-2 resurgences in Ontario while simultaneously contributing to additional laboratory projects wherever possible. Before pursuing his M.A.Sc., Nathan worked in the construction industry, serving as an inspector and project coordinator for various land development and roadway construction projects.

Tram Nguyen, MASc Candidate

Tram grew up in Hamilton, ON and moved to the University of Ottawa where she completed her BSc in Biopharmaceutical Science specializing in genomics in 2022. She is currently a MASc student researching how to develop and apply assays for TB for wastewater-based surveillance. In her free time, she enjoys knitting, running, and playing with her cats.

Emma Tomalty, MASc Candidate

Emma is originally from Brockville, ON with a BSc from the University of Ottawa. After graduating she spent the next 8 years living and working as a microbiologist at an environmental testing laboratory in Western Australia. She returned home to Canada in 2022 and is pursuing a Master’s degree in environmental engineering with a project TBD. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, baking, puzzles and playing games as well as spending time with her family and friends.

Lakshmi Pisharody, Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Lakshmi Pisharody holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. Her doctoral research centered on the concentration and detection of viruses in water samples. Following her Ph.D., she gained experience in developing antibiofouling and antiviral materials during her postdoctoral work at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. Currently, her research is dedicated to wastewater-based epidemiology.

Ocean Thakali, Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Ocean Thakali, originally from Nepal, currently works as a postdoctoral researcher with Delatolla Research Group. He graduated as a Doctor of Medicine in 2016 and earned his PhD in 2022. His research interests include diarrheal diseases, antibiotic resistance, the occurrence of fecal contamination and pathogens in aquatic environments, as well as wastewater-based epidemiology.

Shen Wan, Research Associate

She holds a PhD degree in Biochemistry from the University of Ottawa. Additionally, she has gained substantial hands-on experience, along with a high degree of familiarity with cutting-edge knowledge used in biochemistry and molecular biology. Her research focuses on developing methods for the detection of viruses in wastewater, such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza.

Xin Tian, Research Associate

Xin Tian completed her PhD in Environmental Engineering at the University of Ottawa, where she specialized in biofilm technologies for wastewater treatment, notably the anammox process in MBBR systems. She also worked on optimizing nitrifying bio-cord reactors and evaluating hybrid BAF-MBBR systems. Xin has been working in our lab since she graduated in 2020.

Elisabeth Renouf, Senior Research Associate

Liz is a Senior Research Associate with the Delatolla Lab at the University of Ottawa.  Liz received a PhD in biostatistics from the University of Western Ontario in 2016 and subsequently completed postdoctoral fellowships at both Western and the University of Waterloo.  Before joining the team at the University of Ottawa she worked as a research manager for projects in infectious disease modelling.   In her spare time Liz enjoys contributing to volunteer-based environmental initiatives through data collection and monitoring for species at risk.


Neda Arabgol, PhD

Alexander Schopf, PhD

Warsama Ahmed, PhD

Alexandra Tsitouras, PhD

Juliet Ikem, PhD

Rochelle Mathew, MASc

Guillaume LeBlond, MASc

Bianca Amaral-Stewart, MASc

Éric Robert, MASc

Chandana Sundar, MEng

Bahman Banihashemi, Postdoctoral Fellow

Baisha Ren, MASc

Bradley Young, PhD

Juliana Mejía-Franco, MASc

Liyi Chen, MASc

Nour Imad Al-Ghussain, MASc

Peter Roebuck, MASc

Ru Wang, MEng