Group Members



Principal Investigator: Frank Wania
Frank was trained in Environmental Science and Chemistry at the University of Bayreuth in Germany and in 1994 received a Ph.D. degree from the University of Toronto under the supervision of Don Mackay. After working for two years with NILU, the Norwegian Institute for Air Research in Tromsø, and two and half years as a freelance researcher in Toronto, he joined the University of Toronto in 1999, where he is currently a Professor.

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Research Associate: Ying Duan Lei

Ying is a chemist educated at Jinnan University in China and McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. She has more than two decades of experience in teaching and performing instrumental chemical analysis at the University of Toronto. Her research interest is the determination of physical-chemical properties.






Research Associate: James Armitage
James completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto (Toxicology) and then, after a short 2.5 year break teaching English abroad, went on to a Masters in Resource Management (MRM) at Simon Fraser University with Frank A.P.C. Gobas. He continued his education at Stockholm University (ITM) and received his Ph.D. in Applied Environment Science under the supervision of Ian T. Cousins in 2009. James is primarily interested in the development, evaluation and application of models to describe the behaviour of organic contaminants in the environment. Ionogenic chemicals are a specific focus at the moment as are the broader issues associated with long-term climate change and potential implications for human and ecological exposure to chemicals.



Postdoctoral Fellows

Postdoctoral Fellow: Alessandro Sangion 

Alessandro completed his master degree in Environmental Sciences at University of Insubria (Como-Varese, Italy) in 2015. He continued his studies at the University of Insubria and he obtained his doctoral degree in Chemistry and Environmental Sciences in 2019. He is interested in the development and application of Quantitative Structure Activity Relationship (QSAR) models to study environmental properties and toxicity of Contaminants of Emerging Concern.





Postdoctoral Fellow: Faqiang Zhan 

Faqiang obtained his Ph.D. in analytical chemistry at Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, in May 2019. In October of the same year, he joined the Wania group. He is interested in quantifying organic contaminants of concern in water and air and modeling the spatial variabilities using the high spatial resolution multimedia fate model. He is currently working on identifying the contaminant sources to the critical habitats of two species of whales in Canada.



Postdoctoral Fellow:  Leslie Saunders 

Leslie completed her graduate studies at Simon Fraser University under the supervision of Frank Gobas. Her Ph.D. focused on evaluating in vitro-in vivo extrapolation methods for biotransformation to assess chemical bioaccumulation potential in fish. Prior to joining the Wania Group in 2020, Leslie worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Ottawa where she developed thermodynamic models to characterize the fate and transport of petroleum hydrocarbons in diluted bitumen. Leslie is currently working on developing and applying models to evaluate the bioaccumulation behaviour of organic contaminants in fish and wildlife.



Current Graduate Students

Graduate Student: Sivani Baskaran

Sivani joined the Wania group in September 2016.  She completed her BSc in Environmental Chemistry in 2015 from Trent University, where she became interested in contaminant fate modelling. After finishing a MSc in Chemistry on fish bioenergetics-bioaccumulation modelling in the Wania group, she is continuing in the PhD program in Chemistry since January 2018, now working on the measurement and prediction of physico-chemical properties important for bioaccumulation assessment.


Graduate Student: Yuhao Chen

Yuhao obtained his undergraduate degree in environmental chemistry from the University of Toronto in 2017 and joined the Wania group right after his graduation. His current project is about using equilibrium passive sampling to measure the fugacity and fugacity capacity of bioaccumulating organic contaminants in the diet and faeces of wolves with the goal of determining the maximum biomagnification potential. If successful, this method may be applied to different species in the future.




Graduate Student: Yuening Li

Yuening joined the Wania group in September 2019. He obtained his bachelor degree in Environmental Engineering from University of Science and Technology Beijing in China in 2016. He continued his studies at Nankai University and obtained his master degree in Environmental Engineering in 2019. His current research seeks to quantify the sources of contaminants of concern to Saint Lawrence Estuary Belugas and Southern Resident Killer Whales.




Graduate Student: Jenny Oh

Graduate Student: Desmond Ng