Myrna Simpson Research Group

Environmental Chemistry

University of Toronto



Current Group Members




Photo taken by Ken Jones (UTSC)


Professor Myrna Simpson: Myrna received a BSc (Chemistry & Mathematical Sciences) and a PhD (Environmental Soil Chemistry) from the University of Alberta.  Myrna joined the University of Toronto in 2002 after a 2.5 year postdoctoral fellowship with Prof. Patrick Hatcher in the Department of Chemistry at the Ohio State University.  Myrna is currently Professor of Environmental Chemistry and acts as the Associate Director of the Environmental NMR Centre. In her spare time, Myrna enjoys playing with her twins (Sam and Sophie). Email Myrna






Dr. Junjian (Justin) Wang (Postdoctoral Fellow):  Justin received his PhD majoring in Plant and Environmental Sciences from Clemson University and he studied the effects of 2013 California Rim Fire on soil and water quality. He joined the Simpson group in October 2015. He will take adventures into the mystery world of forest organic matter with long-term environmental changes using NMR and biomarker analyses.  He likes reading and playing with his daughter in the spare time. Email Justin.



Dr. Jared Mudrik (Postdoctoral Fellow):  Jared completed his Ph.D. at the University of Toronto working under the supervision of Prof. Aaron Wheeler. His doctoral research involved the development of novel solid-phase extraction and detection techniques for digital microfluidics. Currently, Jared is working on a joint project with the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change to develop wastewater analysis techniques incorporating environmental NMR. In his free time, Jared enjoys geocaching and eating sushi. His CV is available online at http://www.mudrik.com.





Dr. Nicole Wagner (Postdoctoral Fellow):  Nicole obtained her BSc, MSc, and PhD from Trent University where her dissertation research focused on the development of nutritional stress biomarkers in Daphnia. Early on in her PhD she discovered metabolomics and its ability to develop biomarkers in nutritional stress that lead to a collaboration with the Simpson lab. Nicole joined the Simpson lab in July 2015 and will focus on studying the metabolome of Daphnia with emerging contaminants with and without the presence of multiple stressors. When not occupied by science Nicole enjoys spending time with her husband and their two daughters. Email Nicole






Edward Nagato (PhD candidate in Environmental Science):  Edward completed his B.Sc. in environmental biology and his Master’s in environmental science at UTSC. If this wasn’t enough, he is continuing his PhD studies with the Simpson lab. He will be studying metabolomics in various indicator species, and hopes to eventually merge his interests in plant ecology with this work. When he is not working on his studies, he can be found playing with his dog, Momo, or playing his cello. Email Edward






David Grewer (PhD candidate in Chemistry):  Born and raised in the wild west of Southern Alberta, David acquired his BSc in Chemistry from the University of Alberta. With a multitude of experiences in various research settings including Si nanoparticle tinkering, thin-film solar cell twiddling, and all manner of fun with synthetic DNA David found his niche in environmental analytical chemistry with an internship investigating the quantification and characterization of toxic naphthenic acids in oil sands tailing ponds from Northern Alberta. His doctoral thesis will focus on biomarker analyses of arctic soils and sediment with special attention toward permafrost destabilization in those regions. In his free time David enjoys watching documentaries, making music, and contemplating infinity (which it turns out is pretty big). Email David





Perry Mitchell (PhD candidate in Chemistry): Perry received his B.Sc. (Hons.) from Memorial University in St. John's, NL in 2011 and joined the M. Simpson group for his M.Sc. in Environmental Chemistry in September 2011. His master's thesis examined the sorption of organic contaminants and dissolved organic matter in wastewater. After completing his M.Sc. in 2013, Perry decided to stay on for a Ph.D. and is now researching the molecular-level fate of biochar in soil. In his spare time, Perry enjoys reading and exploring Toronto. Email Perry





Lisa Lin (PhD candidate in Chemistry): Lisa received Honours B.Sc. from the University of Toronto and M.Sc. from York University. She has analytical experience in pharmaceutical laboratories. Because of her interest in organic and analytical chemistry, Lisa was attracted to the Simpson group and is now a Ph.D. student in Environmental Chemistry. She is working on method development and analysis of root biomarkers in soil using GC/MS and NMR. In her spare time, Lisa enjoys going to the gym and watching CSI. Email Lisa




Vera Kovacevic (PhD candidate in Chemistry): Vera received her Honours B.Sc. in biochemistry from York University in 2014 and decided to join the M. Simpson group for her PhD studies in 2014. Her project will use 1H NMR to study Daphnia magna metabolic responses to PPCP residuals that are commonly found in wastewater effluents. In her spare time, Vera enjoys baking and reading science-fiction novels. Email Vera





Olivia Lun (MSc candidate in Chemistry):  Olivia received her Honours B.Sc. in Co-op Environmental Chemistry at the University of Toronto Scarborough. During her co-op placement, she had the opportunity to examine wastewater contaminants. After completing an intriguing undergraduate summer project in the Simpson group in 2013, she decided to stay onboard for her Master’s degree.  Olivia’s undergraduate research focused on lignin phenol analysis of forest soils with detritus removal and inputs. For her Master’s thesis, she will analyze biomarkers in Arctic soils that have been exposed to long-term field warming. In addition to seeking new scientific knowledge, Olivia is always on the lookout for scrumptious food. Email Olivia




Lori vandenEnden (MSc candidate in Chemistry):  Lori graduated from McMaster University in 2015 with an Honours Bachelor of Science in Integrated Science and Chemistry. As an undergraduate Lori worked on a variety of research projects including carbon cycling in the oil sands, source identification of pesticides and pharmaceuticals, isotopic paleoclimate reconstruction and evaluation of firefighter exposure to wood smoke.  She is very excited to join the Simpson group, where she will be using biomarkers to study the impact of litter manipulations on forest soil organic matter. When not in the lab Lori enjoys travelling, reading and figure skating.  Email Lori






Kalyani Sabanayagam (undergraduate researcher):  Kalyani is a 3rd-year undergraduate student at UTSC. She has a passion for learning and teaching chemistry to others and is excited to learn more about the field through research. She is currently studying how sub-lethal contaminant exposure affects the metabolome of Daphnia magna. In her spare time, Kalyani enjoys playing frisbee and reading novels.




Click Here to See Past Group Members






Copyright © 2014 Myrna Simpson, University of Toronto Scarborough.