At the beginning...

PhD students

Marie Lefranc


PhD student (Supervisor: Maikel Rosabal; co-supervisor: Marc Amyot, UdeM)
The effects of metal mixtures have rarely been addressed by regulatory agencies, and for that reason, my PhD studies will determine the interaction and effects of the combination of three rare earth elements (Gd, La, Y) at realistic espouse conditions. Using two innovative approaches developed in our laboratory (e.g., subcellular metal partitioning approach; hyphenated techniques), my research will use two aquatic organisms (Chironomus riparius, Hyalella azteca) that are extensively used as biomonitors for toxicological studies.

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Luana Hainzenreder Bauer


PhD student (Supervisor: Maikel Rosabal; co-supervisor: Marc Amyot, UdeM)
Fish species inhabiting the Indian River Lagoon system (Florida) have been subjected to a chronic exposure of various trace metals related to urban, industrial and agricultural sources. As the effects of metals on fish species have not been fully studied in this area, we aim to determine the subcellular partitioning of various metals (Hg, As, Se, Pb, Cd, La, Ce) in liver cells of various fish species. In addition, approaches related to environmental metallomics, specifically hyphenated techniques, will be applied to reveal information about the molecular mechanisms by which biomolecules are harmfully targeted by these contaminants, which may result in physiological impairments for these fish species.

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Alice Carle


PhD student (Supervisor: Maikel Rosabal; co-supervisor: Marc Amyot, UdeM)
The growing demand of platinum group metals (e.g. Pt, Pd) in high technologies resulted in an increasing contamination of these metals in aquatic environments. To address this environmental concern, information regarding the impact of Pt or Pd on aquatic organisms are necessary. My PhD project has the objective to determine the interaction and effect of the Pt/Pd exposure (single, mixture) in benthic organisms (Chironomus riparius, Hyalella azteca). We are also investigating the mechanism of action of these two contaminants at subcellular and molecular levels using subcellular partitioning and omic (e.g., metallomics, proteomics) approaches.

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Kimberly Desjardins


PhD student (Supervisor: Marc Amyot, UdeM; co-supervisor: Maikel Rosabal)
From a perspective of assessing the environmental risk of metals, it is essential to consider their speciation and bioavailability at the ecosystem level as well as their subcellular partitioning. My PhD research aims to better understand the behaviour of metals, especially mercury at the biogeochemical and cellular level. To do so, we plan to collect organisms from different trophic levels (invertebrates, fish) in three aquatic ecosystems (e.g., St. Lawrence River, Saint-Maurice River, Lake Saint-Pierre) located in Quebec. We are interested to assess the interaction of MeHg with Se, the use of potential biomarkers of MeHg effects in fish as well as to reveal the way in which metals belonging to different classes are handled by aquatic organisms at subcellular level.

Elise Lhoste


PhD student (Supervisor: Cassandre Lazar, UQAM; co-supervisor: Maikel Rosabal)
My PhD research project aims to characterize the microbial communities located in old abandoned and submerged mines located in Quebec (Canada). In these hostile sites, we plan to explore the influence of season and water depth on these communities found in surface waters. We are also interested in the functional changes (metabolic, structural and evolutive) of these microbial communities to cope with contrasting physicochemical and geochemical factors measured in these sites.

Marta Gabriele


PhD student (Supervisor: Guillaume Grosbois; Miguel Montoro Girona; UQAT; co-supervisor: Maikel Rosabal)
The degradation of the Osisko Lake (Abitibi, Qc) by multiple anthropogenic activities, mainly mining activities has led to a significant deterioration of its environmental quality. To restore this ecosystem, several innovative solutions are therefore planned to be applied in incoming years. The main goal of my PhD project is to assess the current state of environmental degradation of Osisko Lake in terms of metal exposure levels and bioaccumulation of these contaminants in aquatic organisms through food webs. We also plan to evaluate the effect of ecological restoration treatments on this environmental degradation and on the ecological functions of the lake such as species abundance and diversity.

MSc students

Jérémy Dupont


MSc student (Supervisor: Maikel Rosabal; co-supervisor: Marc Amyot, UdeM) 
The Horne smelter located in the city of Rouyn-Noranda remains as one of the principal atmospheric sources of metal contamination in our province. In order to assess the deposition of these contamination in terrestrial ecosystems near the city, my MSc project has the objective to measure trace metals in passive air samplers as well as in lichens (Cladonia rangiferina) sampled at different distances from the smelter (covering an area of 50 km). Such measures will give us a portrait of the emission and deposition of metal related to the Horne Smelter.

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Frédérique Pelletier


MSc student (Supervisor: Maikel Rosabal; co-supervisor: Jonathan Verreault, UQAM)
Knowledge on the biodistribution of emerging contaminants, including rare earth elements and platinum group metals, among different tissues in birds is limited. To provide such information, my MSc project has the objective to compare the bioaccumulation partners of these metals in various organs/tissues of the ring-billed gull (Larus delawarensis) collected from the Montreal area. We also explore the relationships between these metal concentrations and some toxicological endpoints (ROS production, lipid peroxidation, mitochondrial metabolic function) measured in each tissue to examine if these metals represent an environmental risk for the birds.

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Virginie Ricard-Henderson


MSc student (Supervisor: Maikel Rosabal; co-supervisor: Marc Amyot, UdeM)
The larvae of the insect Chaoborus have been proposed to be used as biomonitor to assess the exposure of Cd, Ni and Se in lake waters from aquatic ecosystems located in the region of Rouyn-Noranda (Quebec). However, the potential use of these larvae in monitoring contamination of rare earth elements has not been tested yet. In this regard, my MSc project has the objective to evaluate the use of the larvae of this dipteran to reflect environmental REE concentrations. We are also interested in knowing the subcellular partitioning of these emerging contaminants in Chaoborus that can tolerate highly metal contaminated environments.

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Vincent Blouin


MSc student (Supervisor: Maikel Rosabal; co-supervisor: Marc Amyot, UdeM)
In the Yellowknife area (Northwest Territories, Canada), aquatic organisms, in particular fish species that represent economically significant resources for local people, are exposed to a variety of trace metals coming from an intensive gold mining legacy. In order to assess the impact of such contamination on wildlife fish species from this area, my MSc research will be focused on evaluating the metabolic and biochemical effects of metal accumulation using specific biomarkers. We are also performing metallomic studies to characterize the subcellular targets of these contaminants for a better understanding of their mode of action.



MSc student (Supervisor: Maikel Rosabal; co-supervisor: Catherine Jumaire, UQAM)
The metal subcellular partitioning approach has gained a growing interest, but these procedures are inherently associated with artifacts that could severely bias the fractionation of samples into subcellular fractions. My MSc project aims to perform advanced proteomic analyses in isolated subcellular fractions to rigorously validate fractionation protocols for various freshwater animals (Chironomus riparius, Lymnaea stagnalis, Esox Lucius and Perca flavescent). Targeted proteomic approaches offer a novel and unparalleled way to perform quantitative and reliable identification analyses of the proteins contained in each subcellular fraction.

Émilie Telmosse


MSc student (Supervisor: Eric Duchemin, UQAM; co-supervisor: Maikel Rosabal)
The main objectives of my MSc project is to assess the potential risk of metal contamination found in vegetable gardens located in the Rouyn-Noranda area. We plan to analyze levels of metals including rare earth elements as well as elements of the platinum group in different vegetables (e.g., tomatoes, carrots and lettuce) cultivated in mining-impacted sites (Rouyn-Noranda). Given the high consumption of these vegetables, we will assess the risk that this contamination can pose to local residents as well as to determine if there are differences between vegetables and sampled sites.

Judith Lord


MSc student (Supervisor: Maikel Rosabal, UQAM; co-supervisor: Nicole Fenton, UQAT; co-supervisor: Catherine Jumarie, UQAM)

Previous studies conducted in our laboratory showed the use of lichen to track various metals including rare earth elements from the Horne Smelter (Rouyn-Noranda), but little is known about the impact of such contamination. My MSc research aims to determine the effects of metal depositions on lichen Cladonia rangiferina using a variety of biomarkers encompassing morphological, physiological, biochemical as well as toxicological measurements. This study will provide a better understanding of the toxic effects cause by metals released from the Horne Smelter and deposited in terrestrial environments.

Gabrielle Boudreault


MSc student (Supervisor: Maikel Rosabal, UQAM; co-supervisor: Alison Derry, UQAM)

Mining activity in Yellowknife has contributed to arsenic, antimony and cadmium contamination in nearby water ecosystems. The amphipod Hyalella azteca, which is normally sensitive to environmental variations, are one of the most common aquatic animals in the region and its abundance has greatly increased in recent years, particularly in the most contaminated lakes. My study has the goal to characterize the toxic-evolutionary responses developed by these organisms to cope with the high level of metal contamination. We plan to perform a series of physiological, biochemical and toxicological measurements in wild populations of amphipods collected this area to address this point.

Nicolas Ortiz


MSc student (Supervisor: Cassandre Lazar, UQAM; co-supervisor: Maikel Rosabal)
My MSc aims to study the metabolism and genomes of microorganisms that attach and colonize solid surfaces (rocks/particles) in aquifer systems. Using bioreactors (which mimic aquifer systems) and taking advantage of different omic approaches (metagenomics, transcriptomics and proteomics), we also plan to analyze the evolution of both sessile and planktonic communities. Specifically, we will look at the whole proteins produced and genes expressed involved in the biogeochemical cycles occurred in such aquifer ecosystems.


• Fabrice Dion-Ferrara (Training student)

• Yasmine Rosette Diadhiou (Training student)

• Gabrielle Boudreault (Training student)

• Hugo Roy-Sincennes (Summer student, USRA-NSERC, 2022)

• Arnaud Marois (Summer student, USRA-NSERC, 2022)

• Mélisa Girardeau (Summer student, USRA-NSERC, 2022)

• Kim Couture (Summer student, USRA-NSERC, 2022)

• Audrey Catetau (Postdoctoral research, 2021-2022)

• Nathy Kinzonzi (Undergraduate student, 2022)

• Sarjana Binte Rafiq Era (Undergraduate student, 2022)

• Marie-Soleil Boulay (Undergraduate student, 2022)

• Ikram Abouellail (Undergraduate student, 2022)

• Vincent Blouin (Undergraduate student, 2022)

• Sandrine Provençal (Undergraduate student, 2022)

• Elizabeth Albert (Undergraduate student, 2022)

• Judith Lord (Undergraduate student, 2022)

• Julien Labrie (MSc, supervisor, 2018-2022)

• Mélanie Primeau (Summer student, USRA-NSERC, 2021)

• Camille St-Arneault (Summer student, USRA-NSERC, 2021)

• Charlotte Lasserre (Undergraduate student, 2021)

• Mariane Fortin-Archambault (Summer student, USRA-NSERC, 2021)

• Jean-Benoît Fortin (Undergraduate student, 2021)

• Anastasiya Isayeva (Undergraduate student, 2021)               

• Karen Lagueux (Undergraduate student, 2021)

• Tania Charrete (PhD student, co-supervisor, 2016-2021)

• Justine Hadrava (interrupted, MSc, supervisor, 2017-2021)

• Aymeric Rolland (MSc, supervisor, 2017-2021)

• Sandrine Breton (Undergraduate student, 2020)

• Véronique Corriveau (Summer student, USRA-NSERC, 2020)

• Virginie Ricard-Henderson (Summer student, USRA-NSERC, 2020)

• Gismonde Gnanhoue (Undergraduate student, 2020)

• Khaled Belghith (Undergraduate student, 2020)

• Alexandre Bernier-Graveline (MSc, co-supervisor, 2017-2020)

• Daphnée Gariépy (MSc, co-supervisor, 2017-2020)

• Antoine Simond (Research assistant, 2019)

• Jérémy Dupont (Summer student, USRA-NSERC, 2019)

• Myriam Fontaine (Summer student, USRA-NSERC, 2019)

• Hugo Ouellet (Summer student, USRA-NSERC, 2019)

• Carolanne Penny (Summer student, USRA-NSERC, 2019)

• Éléonore Delouvrier (Training student, 2018)

• Manon Sorais (Research assistant, 2018)

• Alena Alonso (Training student, 2018)

• Émilie Martel-Brosseau (Summer student, 2018)

• Isabelle Roy (Summer student, 2018)

• Julien Labrie (Research assistant, 2017)

• Isabel Lanthier (Summer student, 2017)

• Julien Labrie (Summer student, 2017)