The Green Safe Water Lab

Current members

Graduate Students + Post-doctoral researchers:

Negar Rahmati (she/her) MSc Student

Negar was born and raised in Tehran, the Capital of Iran. In 2013, She started her undergrad in Polymer Engineering at Amirkabir University of Technology. The main fields of study were Polymer coatings and Surface chemistry. During 4 years of Bachelor’s program, she spends her time working as an Intern in the Colour management sector of a Car company as well as working on her undergrad thesis. The main objective of her project was the synthesis of a fluorescent organic dye which experiences shifts in emissions with the change of media’s polarity, known as the solvatochromism effect (and of course she dedicated a large chunk of undergrad years to a mountain climbing team of her own department as a committee and leader). To dive deeper into her passion for polymer coatings, she continued her studies as an M.Sc. student at the Institute for Colour Science and Technology. After a few times of mind-changing and unexpected happenings, she focused on developing Amphiphilic foul-release coatings. Her project involved developing marine coating as well as characterization of them from several aspects such as mechanical properties, surface chemistry, and foul-release studies. That was her very first step into ocean-concerned studies. Seeking more, she joined Green Safe Water Lab in January 2022 to start her Ph.D. program in chemistry. Her project mainly revolves around water treatment technologies, more specifically Reverse osmosis membranes. To align the degree with her field of interest, she joined the faculty of engineering and computer science as an MSc student in civil engineering (September 2023).

Outside the lab, most of her energy goes to getting fitted into society as an international student, while spending the weekends in the beautiful nature of BC. Negar enjoys hiking, camping, and taking really long walks!

Georgia Douglas (she/they) PhD Candidate

Georgia was born in Toronto, ON, and grew up in the surrounding suburbs. In 2016, she moved to Montreal, QC to complete her undergraduate studies at McGill University. In the summer of 2019, she joined the Moores group and developed a passion for green chemistry. Her projects focused on the mechanochemical synthesis of phosphorus-containing materials, including nickel phosphide nanoparticles used as hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) catalysts. After two years with the Moores group, she graduated from McGill with a BSc degree in Environment and Atmosphere Chemistry. In January 2022, Georgia joined the University of Victoria’s Green Safe Water Lab to start her MSc degree. While she is here, her research will focus on the development of a colorimetric sensor for arsenic contamination in drinking water. Outside of the lab, Georgia enjoys hiking, reading and skiing.

Kirsten Aasen (she/her) PhD Candidate

Kirsten grew up in the rolling hills of Coquitlam, BC. In 2016, she began her undergrad at the University of Windsor, ON where she studied Forensic Science with a specialization in Biochemistry (and absolutely crushed it on the varsity volleyball court). After three years of being a lost and confused undergrad with no direction in life, she began her thesis with the Rondeau-Gagne group – a decision that opened her eyes to the world of material chemistry. Her project involved investigating a pre-metered process for the deposition of dielectric and semiconductive materials for use in various organic electronics. Through this work, she learnt a lot about organic synthesis, material deposition and characterization, and the electronic properties of polymers. After five years in Windsor, Kirsten emerged with a degree in Forensics – a field she is not emotionally equipped for – and a newfound passion for chemistry that brought her all the way to Victoria’s Green Safe Water Lab. Here, she hopes to use her knowledge of materials in pursuit of technologies that allow for equal distribution, optimized safety, and increased supply of the most important resource on the planet. In her free time, you will find her learning how to unicycle, learning how to play the piano, re-learning French, backpacking, and trying to do “The Worm” on a crowded dance floor.


Hayley Smith (she/her) PhD Candidate

Born in Edmonton, AB, Hayley is a Chemical Engineer with 4+ years of experience spanning production optimization, chemical plant and refinery systems management. She worked with Ecolab across North America, where she supported with feasibility study reviews, design modifications and water treatment improvement activities for clients spanning across the petrochemical, utilities and energy sectors. Passionate about research and sustainable environmental solutions, Hayley joined the Green Safe Water lab in January 2021. Her PhD research focuses on the characterization and optimization of extraction methods for alginate-based plastics to advance the development of higher-value biodegradable materials. She has also spent time developing safe chemical alternatives to mitigate biofouling for water treatment. Outside of work, Hayley loves coffee, her dog Molson and spends her free time hiking, swimming and exploring the outdoors.

Luiz Henrique Correa (he/him) PhD Candidate

Originally from Rio de Janeiro, Luiz is an environmental and water resources engineer who graduated from the University of California, Davis (the United States) and Universidade Federal Fluminense (Brazil). He holds a Master of Science degree from IHE Delft (The Netherlands), Ghent University (Belgium), and UCT Prague (Czechia). Luiz worked in renewable energy technology-related projects at Masdar Institute in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates during 2018; in environmental consultancy of technologies applied to recover nutrients from organic wastes at United Experts in Lovenjoel, Belgium during 2019; & in the designing and optimization of decentralized wastewater treatment units and energy recovery technologies at PureBlue Water in Hulst, the Netherlands during 2020. In the Spring of 2021, Luiz joined the Green Safe Water Lab, as a Ph.D. student, to develop an economic, eco-friendly, and safe antifoulant to mitigate biofouling and membrane durability problems in RO systems. Outside of research, Luiz enjoys traveling, hiking, marvel movies, and singing.

Chris Tremblay (he/him) PhD Candidate

Chris comes from interior BC, growing up in the small town of Fruitvale. In 2015 he began studying chemistry at the University of Calgary, where he remained for five years. During his undergraduate degree, he worked as a research assistant in the Kimura-Hara group. His project involved studying the quantification of halogenated disinfection byproducts using adsorption, combustion and ion chromatography. After graduation, he returned to interior BC for 5 months to work for Metal Tech Alley on a joint project with the LCCDTS metallurgical committee. Here he spent his time analyzing opportunities to attract new regional developments in advanced materials. With a background in both materials and modern analytical chemistry, he now turns his research career to the University of Victoria’s Green Safe Water Lab. His PhD research focuses on designing green electrocatalysts for hydrogen fuel cells and metal-air batteries. In his spare time, you can find him backpacking, climbing or out for a mountain bike ride.

Grace Tieman (she/her) PhD Candidate

I was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta where I completed my Bachelor Degree in Science with a major in Chemistry at the University of Calgary. During my undergraduate degree, I completed 3 different research projects, all of which had a focus in organic chemistry. The first project was based on organic catalysis in the selective fluorination of azaheterocycles and my supervisor was Dr. Jeffrey Van Humbeck. This first research experience sparked my interest and desire to attend grad school because I realized how much I enjoy chemistry; I was always excited to work in the lab even when the chemistry was not working as expected. My second project, which sparked my interest in Green Chemistry, involved synthesizing organic molecules to be used in OFETs (Organic Field-Effect Transistors) under the supervision and guidance of both Dr. Jeffrey Van Humbeck and Dr. Gregory Welch. My final undergraduate research project, also under the supervision of Dr. Jeffrey Van Humbeck, focused on the selective amination of azaheterocycles. Based on these research experiences and the knowledge I had gained during my undergraduate work, I decided to focus on Green Chemistry in grad school. The current research project I am working on for my PhD project is synthesizing molecules to be used as anti-biofoulants. Outside of the chemistry lab, I love rock climbing, running, and hiking.



Spencer Thomas (he/him) BSc Chemistry (Honors)

This guy is from Sandwich, I think. Just showed up in Petch one evening.




Nathan Leonard (he/his) BSc Chemistry Student

Hailing from Esquimalt (Greater Victoria), BC, Nathan is a first-year undergraduate student studying Chemistry at the University of Victoria. During the summer semester of 2022, Nathan will be working with PhD student Hayley Smith on her kelp bioplastics project. Nathan loves coffee, plants, and cool weather. His interests lie in the development of new materials, and how they can be used to improve daily life and safeguard the health of our communities and environments. When not studying or working, you can find Nathan relaxing with friends or wasting his money at a cafe.

Ethan Chan Software Developer

I am a high school student, currently in 11th grade at Glenlyon Norfolk School. Born in Hong Kong, I lived there for nine years before moving to Singapore, and then two years later finally landed in Victoria. When I was little, I loved to play video games and with electronics. As such, I initially started programming to try and create video games of my own, but as time has progressed even though my goals have changed I’ve been coding ever since. I am also an avid participant in science fairs. This year, I developed a device to read and digitize protein values on urinalysis strips to help others like myself with chronic kidney diseases. With this project I placed as the national winner of the 2019 Sanofi Biogenius Canada competition, leading me to represent Canada at the International BioGENEius Challenge in BIO 2019 in Philadelphia. I hope I can use my previous experience with working with sensor devices to aid with the fluoride sensor project! In my free time, you can find me rock climbing or running.

Visiting students                                


Graduate Students + Post-doctoral researchers:

Andrew Freiburger MASc in Civil Engineering (2022)           Currently: Assistant Computational Biologist, Argonne National Laboratory

Dr. Jolie Lam Post-Doctoral Researcher (2021)                                              Currently: Chemist at Inkbox

Anna Curtin MASc in Civil Engineering (2020)                                      Currently: Quality Assurance Technician at Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals

Caitlin Vail MASc in Civil Engineering (2020)                                          Currently: EIT at RJC Engineers

Dr. Fatima Shatila Postdoctoral Researcher (2023)


Kalyanshi Ubnero Chemistry graduate student

Ruth Mambu BSc Chemistry

Nicole Gamm BSc Civil Engineering Student

Rafaela Godoy BSc Chemistry

Emma Coleman BSc Chemistry and Environmental Studies Student

Meghan Molnar BSc Chemistry and Ocean Science Student

Matthew Thibodeau BSc Biochemistry Student

Bethany Welsh BSc Civil Engineering Student

Andrea Green BS Chemical Engineering Student

Emmanuelle Caws Research Assistant UNAC Green Corps

Elliot Howell BSc Chemistry Honor’s student

Camila de Lima Ribeiro PhD Food Engineering

Sydney Hoffman BEng Civil Engineering Student

Shaheen Rabie BEng Software Engineering Student

Audrey Piper Arroliga BEng Civil Engineering Student

Dave Newcombe BSEng Student

Danika Schmidtke BSc Chemistry Student

Please look under Opportunities for details on how to join us!