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Environmental and Bioprocess Engineering Laboratory

Volunteer positions

Volunteer positions are always open. Full-time or part-time volunteers are welcome. Come get a feel for what EBEL does — it's fun!

If interested, please send your CV or resume to Kela.Weber@rmc.ca.

Master's or PhD Student Researcher Position

Environmental Sciences Group

Royal Military College of Canada

Project: Release of engineered nanoparticles from commercial products


The Environmental Sciences Group at the Royal Military College of Canada is seeking a highly motivated Master’s or PhD Student (science or engineering degree possible) to work within the project: “Ecotoxicity and transport of nanoparticles released from commercial products”. The student will study the release of engineered nanoparticles from commercial products with the aim of characterizing their physical and chemical properties. Once well characterized, the student will develop methods to consistently produce aged and weathered nanoparticles for ecotoxicological, fate, and transport experiments. This position is an exceptional opportunity to gain experience working with an active, vibrant group of graduate students, researchers, and organizations at a national and international scale. Project partners from Canada, USA, Germany, Australia are involved with travel opportunities available. The project has already made exceptional progress and expects a number of citable publications resulting from the specific project described here.  


Engineered Nanoparticles (ENPs) are artificially created objects that are generally defined as having one of their dimensions in the 1-100 nm range. In the past few decades the production of ENPs has exponentially increased due to their incorporation in commercial products and the development of novel materials. ENPs are present in a multitude of merchandise including sunscreens, pharmaceuticals, cleaning products, food, and clothing. The presence of these newly engineered objects in commercial products have created some concerns related to the potential impacts of ENPs once released into the environment. In response to these concerns the project entitled: “Ecotoxicity and transport of nanoparticles released from commercial products” was created to study the ENP life cycle, from their initial characteristic within products to their release, transport and impact on the environment. Characterizing the release of ENPs from commercial products is an important first step, since the weathering of material containing nanoparticles could drastically alter the originally pristine ENPs. Therefore, the concentration, size, morphology, and chemical composition/speciation of released ENPs must be known to more realistically measure their toxicological impact on soil and wetland ecosystems. This research will not only focus on the characterization of release ENP, but also on the production of different kinds of aged and weathered ENPs for the use in ecotoxicological and transport experiments.


Education: A Bachelor’s or Master degree with excellent academic record is required. Candidates in the field of engineering, environmental sciences and chemistry are invited to apply. Other disciplines are also invited to apply, however a background conducive to meeting the project objectives will be favored.

Experience: Research and laboratory experience, is highly recommended. Any prior knowledge and experience in nanoparticle studies will be beneficial.


Students are expected to work on their research project on a weekly basis and undertake graduate courses at the Royal Military College of Canada and Queen’s. The students will receive the NSERC recommended stipend. Funding for Master’s students will be for 2 years and PhD for 3 years. Students are expected to complete their thesis research and courses during this period.

Academic Study

Students will work at the Environmental Sciences Group (ESG), which is part of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Royal Military College of Canada. The ESG is the largest environmental sciences group in Canada and one of the premier training grounds for environmental engineers and scientists in Canada. Graduates are given field opportunities and are able to interact with government sponsors and consultants allowing for networking during their studies. The majority of ESG graduates work in government or consulting after completion.

The student will be under the supervision of Prof. Kela Weber (ESG Director) and Prof. Denis O'Carroll (University of New South Wales) with the assistance of Dr. Vincent Gagnon (ESG).

Interested individuals are asked to send Dr. Vincent Gagnon (Vincent.Gagnon@rmc.ca) the following documents:

Application will be open until the adequate candidate is found.

MASc — Effect of Emerging Contaminants on Treatment Wetlands (1 position)

Treatment wetlands (TWs) are natural or man-made wetland areas used to remove or reduce the level of waterborne contaminants in a waste water. TWs are considered one of the most sustainable water treatment or remediation options available. TW water treatment operations are low-cost and low-maintenance, making them an extremely attractive option when land area is available. One of the more pressing water management issues facing society today is that of emerging contaminants (ECs). Emerging contaminants are defined as chemicals or microbiological constituents previously undefined or not recognized as being of concern to human or environmental health. Of particular interest are pharmaceuticals, antibiotics and nanomaterials, all of which can be exceedingly challenging to remove or inactivate in water. Emerging contaminants such as hormones and pharmaceuticals have been shown to feminize male fish and adversely affect wetland microbial populations. Therefore, if emerging contaminants are left untreated in wastewater or drinking water, risks to the environment and potential risks to human populations are immense. We are looking for a motivated individual with a undergraduate degree in an engineering-related discipline to continue current research in the area of TWs and ECs as a student interested in pursuing a Masters of Applied Science Degree (MASc). The individual will work under the direction of Prof. Kela Weber in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Canada’s National Military University, the Royal Military College of Canada (http://www.rmcc-cmrc.ca/en).

The main goal of this work will be to ascertain the effect waterborne pharmaceuticals and other emerging contaminants in waste water have on the treatment effectiveness of treatment wetland systems, both at the lab and field scale. The student will gain expertise in the areas of treatment wetland design and operation, bacterial community assessment, water quality evaluation, experimental design, and multivariate statistics. Travel is expected for the dissemination of scientific findings, and field work may be possible. Project direction can be tuned to meet specific student interest while maintaining original project objectives (supported by an NSERC grant to Prof. Kela Weber), and involvement in other projects may be possible given time restraints. Registration and experimental work is expected to be based from the Royal Military College of Canada; however, course offerings and laboratory visits to Queen's University are also available. If interested, please contact Prof. Kela Weber at Kela.Weber@rmc.ca. Please include your resume or CV and a recent transcript in your e-mail.

Copyright ©Kela Weber 2016

Prof. Kela Weber, Environmental and Bioprocess Engineering Laboratory, Royal Military College of Canada, email: kela.weber@rmc.ca, phone: 613-541-6000 ext 3363