Graduate Student Profiles

  • Ma, Luyao
    Foodborne pathogens and rapid emerging antimicrobial resistance put big burdens in public health and economic growth. Antimicrobial-resistant infections are estimated to cause 10 million deaths annually and a 3.5% of reduction in gross domestic product by 2050. To tackle this problem, it is critical to understand the relevant mechanisms and develop efficient detection approaches. However, conventional methods are either time-consuming or require expensive and sophisticated equipment. Therefore, my current research interests focus on: a) understanding the molecular basis of resistance using vibrational spectroscopies; and b) develop accurate, rapid and cost-effective detection sensors.
  • Qiu, Serene Tianyou
    My research investigates the phenomenology of suicide and the progression from suicidal thoughts to suicidal acts. My project aims to describe the affective, behavioural, and cognitive experiences of different stages of suicidality and their pathways and trajectories. I am particularly interested in how people proceed from thinking about suicide to acting upon their thoughts. Drawing on psychology, philosophy, and neurocognitive science, my research explores various putative mechanisms underlying the transition from suicidal ideation to act, such as death construal, meaning making, and decision making styles. Ultimately, my research aims to improve how we understand and help people at risk for suicide.
  • Cheng, Xinyu
    We studied asymptotic behaviors of Allen-Cahn (Cahn-Hilliard type) equations, developed some numerical schemes and proved the stability and convergence.
  • Hu, Yaxi
    Food fraud is a severe global issue estimated to cost the global food industry $10-15 billion per year. While those committing food fraud set out to make economic profit, the practice can result in weakened consumer trust in government and food industries. More seriously, food fraud could pose health detriment to susceptive populations and the extraneous chemical added could be poisonous to humans. Serving as the last barrier to ensure food authenticity, reliable techniques to identify fraudulent foods are indispensable. Traditional techniques for food fraud detection are generally time consuming, complex, costly and/or require highly trained personnel, which are not ideal for the high-throughput screening required by inspection agencies and food industries. Therefore, the overall objective of my PhD thesis project is to establish innovative techniques for the analysis of food authenticity in a simple, rapid, accurate and/or cost-effective manner. I believe that the detection techniques being developed in my study will have a great potential to be adapted by inspection agencies, food industries and even consumers to better protect the authenticity and integrity of our food system.
  • Dixit, Fuhar
    Drinking water supplies are derived from a variety of natural surface and ground water sources across the globe. As population grows, urbanization, droughts and climate change continue to impact natural water resources. Public water supplies are becoming stressed and necessitate the development of new strategies to meet future demands. One such strategy is the reuse of municipal wastewater, which is an increasingly important water supply option worldwide. Planned potable reuse has recently gained interest in the arid areas of Western Australia and North America, where the community’s wastewater is used as a source of drinking water. However, wastewater reuse requires advanced treatment technologies since these waters contain a range of chemical and microbial contaminants that can result in a range of human health implications when ingested, inhaled or absorbed through the skin. These technologies are often quite expensive since they employ processes like Reverse Osmosis (RO) and chemical oxidation to ensure maximum removal of the known contaminants. This research aims to investigate the potential application of ion exchange (IX) resins, a low-cost treatment process for the removal of organic contaminants, and Vacuum-UV, a chemical free advanced oxidation technology, as a low-cost and robust alternative for wastewater reuse purposes. Extensive studies will be performed on municipal wastewaters to optimize the resin dosage and the effect of source water characteristics on treatment processes will be evaluated to fabricate efficient low-cost reactor set-up configurations.
  • Wijaya, Yanuar Philip
    In the scheme of a sustainable biorefinery, the valorization of lignin is a key factor to improve the economic feasibility of the overall process. Lignin, being a valuable by-product in the cellulosic ethanol industry, is a highly complex natural polymer that constitutes the cell walls of plant biomass, especially lignocelluloses. As the earth’s most plentiful source of organic carbon after cellulose and the only large-scale biomass source of aromatic compounds, lignin has been regarded as a promising renewable feedstock for the production of higher value chemicals, fuels, and materials. Phenol and guaiacol are the most representative monomers of lignin-derived aromatics. The former is the hydrogenation-hydrodeoxygenation product of the latter, and both can be converted further into cyclohexanol and cyclohexane, which have versatile applications in the industry. This upgrading process is carried out via a catalytic hydrogenation-hydrodeoxygenation reaction, either thermochemically or electrochemically. The electrochemical process, known as electrocatalytic hydrogenation-hydrodeoxygenation (ECH), can be performed without the external supply of hydrogen molecular gas at the milder conditions. In ECH, hydrogen must be adsorbed on the electrocatalyst surface in order to hydrogenate the organic compounds. The reduction of protons to hydrogen gas would be the undesirable reaction that decreases the current efficiency. In this work, we develop strategies to design a process with the active and stable electrocatalysts that is capable of producing high product yields at the optimum current efficiency. This research will contribute to the development of electrochemical process for sustainable energy production from renewable resources.
  • Mahmood, Bushra
    South Asians are at a higher risk of developing cardio-metabolic diseases at a younger age and lower body mass index (BMI), due mainly to genetic predisposition, unhealthy diet and a sedentary lifestyle. Physical inactivity is recognized as an independent risk factor for developing abdominal adiposity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Measurement method has an important impact on the assessed levels of Physical Activity(PA). Self-report methods tend to over or under estimate actual levels of PA. An accurate assessment of PA levels in high risk populations and an understanding of socio-cultural and environmental influences that may influence PA behavior are important for designing effective interventions. My research aims to evaluate PA and its correlates including socio-cultural, religious and environmental factors as guided by the Social Ecological Model (SEM) in South Asians’ in Metro Vancouver.
  • Rajagopal, Harini
    My research explores the ways in which young English language learners, often immigrants and refugees, in elementary school make meaning through modes such as photography, art, play, conversations, and reading and writing in various contexts. I pay attention to the varied communicative repertoires, socio-emotional aspects, and identities that surface without depending solely on the children’s competence in English and how these impact their literacies learning. Importantly, I am interested in how these capacities may be valued in classrooms and what opportunities this valuing might offer for teaching and learning. Working collaboratively with the children and the teacher, my research seeks ways to bring multilingual, multimodal approaches to literacies in the classroom through an inquiry project. In the context of the new BC curriculum and bridging to India’s under-resourced English education context, I hope my research contributes to reflective and innovative pedagogy and policies that enable respectful engagement with children’s cultural and linguistic identities.
  • Bhattacharyya, Barnini
    My research is an intersectional examination of mistreatment, focussing on a specific type of mistreatment that minority group members experience, termed ‘invisibility', characterized by subtle acts of mistreatment that are typically not recognised as explicit or purposeful, such as not being heard in meetings or people forgetting one’s name, but nonetheless render one socially invisible. Traditional scholarship has treated the categories of gender and race as separate and homogenous. But feminists of color have critiqued the use of ‘women’ as representative of all women, since it typically captures the experiences of women who belong to the dominant group. This research attempts to parse out different experiences based on an individual’s membership in different social categories.
  • Jolly, Helina
    In the pursuit of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 placing the utmost significance on policies related to women empowerment, indigenous community protection and environmental conservation. Thus, there is a fundamental policy demand to address the limitations in understanding the relationship of tribal women and ecosystem functions. Guided by various social roles, responsibilities, resource access and decision-making rights, there is known to have gendered perceptions and values towards the local ecosystem services. The study aims to: (1) Understand the differences in perceptions of ecosystem services among the indigenous men and women living in Kerala’s biodiverse rural regions. (2) Examine how gendered perceptions influence the valuation of ecosystem services among these communities. Developing an understanding of how vulnerable stakeholders, especially women, view and respond to the challenge of environmental degradation, will help develop equitable and sustainable solutions to ecological crises we face around the world.

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