Meet the Team

Dr. Heather Kaminsky, P.Eng.

Heather Kaminsky is the NSERC Industrial Research Chair for Colleges in Oil Sands Tailings Management . She has a Ph.D. and B.Sc. Co-op in materials engineering and has 10 years of expertise post graduation in advanced ore characterization, fundamentals of tailings, water treatment and the impact of clay minerals on oil extraction and tailings. Heather was the chair of the Clay Focus Group for both the Canadian Oil Sands Network for Research and Development (CONRAD) and Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA). She is passionate about finding a solution to tailings issues in the oil sands industry.

Dr. Heather Kaminsky

Andrea Sedgwick, M.Eng.

Andrea Sedgwick is leading applied research at NAIT's Centre for Oil Sands Sustainability. She has a Masters in Engineering Management and more than 20 years of industry experience in all aspects of upstream surface oil sands development, including mining, extraction, tailings and water management. Prior to coming to NAIT, she was the research and development mining program manager at Total E&P Canada, where she directed research nationally and internationally. As a key member of the innovation team, she was responsible for the company's only research and development program outside of France.

Andrea Sedgwick

Carole Edwards

Carole Edwards has extensive background in financial administration, accounting and communications. Carole supports the centre with oversight on all financial administration, reporting requirements, and contracts.

Carole Edwards

Elena Istomina

Elena Istomina joined the team in 2020 as a Business Development Officer.  Prior to joining NAIT she worked at a top consulting firm where she provided strategic consultation to a variety of Canadian clients in public healthcare and federal government. She has a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from the University of Alberta, with a major in Entrepreneurship and Family Business. Elena is excited to be working with industry partners, helping them to transform innovative solutions that address an industry challenge into scalable, profitable and market-ready technologies.

Elena Istomina

Dr. Yunhui Li

Dr. Yunhui Li is a research scientist who received her Ph.D. in chemistry in 2008 and has worked at the National Research Council of Canada. In 2011, she pursued postdoctoral work on tailings management at the University of Alberta. She joined the centre in 2013 and has worked on screening, evaluation and validation of chemical for oil sands fluid tailings consolidation.

Dr. Yunhui Li

Dr. Rubia Mariath

Dr. Rubia Mariath is a chemical engineer with a Ph.D. in materials engineering. She has more than 7 years of expertise in petroleum characterization and interface properties, with a focus on asphaltenes impacts in the water/oil system. She pursued postdoctoral work on emulsion breaking using new polymer technology to improve water and oil separation. At NAIT’s Centre for Oils Sands Sustainability she is a lead researcher focused on improving oil sands extraction and tailings to reduce environmental impact through technology and innovation.

Dr. Rubia Mariath

Omar Bahgat, EIT

Omar Bahgat is a Chemical Engineer in Training (EIT) with more than 5 years of industry experience supporting water, waste water, and process applications. As a research associate at NAIT's Centre for Oil Sands Sustainability he is working on piloting new water treatment technologies that are relevant to SAGD conditions. His and the Centre’s goals are to decrease greenhouse gas emissions, plant footprints, and operating costs. He values and enjoys tackling the challenges of reducing environmental impacts from industry and his personal carbon foot print.

Omar Bahgat

Simon Sun, MSc, EIT

Simon Sun joined the COSS team in 2019 with a strong background in process safety, fluid mechanics, and rheological characterization. Both his Bachelor's and Master's degrees were earned at the University of Alberta, in Chemical Engineering. In the past, Simon was an experienced HAZOP facilitator, serving clients in the oil & gas and municipal wastewater sectors. He has also played a key role in researching the effect of pipeline transport on clay-based suspensions, and improving the performance of SAGD boiler feed treatment. Simon's current research interests focus on applying innovative techniques to develop a permanent solution to Canada's legacy tailings issue.

Simon Sun

Jason Ng, MSc, EIT

Jason Ng is a research associate at NAIT’s Centre for Oil Sands Sustainability. He holds a MSc and BSc Co-op in Chemical Engineering from the University of Alberta.  Prior to joining NAIT, he conducted applied research projects at CanmetENERGY and Total E&P Canada, with a focus on oil sands extraction and tailings treatment. He is passionate about improving the environmental performance in the energy industry through innovation and technology.

Jason Ng

Harsh Selani

Harsh Selani is a research assistant, has a Bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering and is a graduate from NAIT’s Chemical Technology program with more than 3 years of experience in laboratory work. He specializes in oil and gas, crude oil and bitumen processing, tailings management and SAGD. At the centre he has been involved in polymer research for mature fine tailings and clay-methylene blue research, testing mixing and analytical procedures in understanding for crude oil transportation, and bitumen extraction procedures in understanding process ability of oil sands ores and tailings behaviour.

Harsh Selani

Yuki Gong, MSc

Yuki Gong is a chemical technologist with a M. Sc. in chemistry and 5 years’ experience in R&D and  QC in analytical chemistry.  She has been involved in bitumen extraction additives research, clay-methylene blue research, naphthenic acids (NAs) analysis research and polymer research for mature fine tailings. She also participates in developing the standard operating procedures for instrument analysis at the centre.

Yuki Gong

Taimur Qureshi

Taimur Qureshi is a chemical technologist, who graduated from NAIT in 2013. Before joining the centre, he worked at Imperial Oil at the Strathcona Refinery Lab. He has been involved in polymer validation for mature fine tailings and clay-methylene blue research for companies partnered with the centre.

Taimur Qureshi

Tasha Ritchie

Tasha Ritchie is a chemical technologist who graduated from NAIT’s chemical technology program and has worked at the centre since 2012. She specializes in petroleum characteristic analysis. She is currently working on testing mixing and analytical procedures to ensure an accurate understanding of transporting crude oil.

Tasha Ritchie

Van Luu

Van Luu is a chemical technologist who graduated from NAIT in 2017. After graduation, she worked at Bureau Veritas – Petroleum Technology Centre where she participated in various tailing and produced water analysis. Van joined the NAIT’s Centre for Oil Sands Sustainability in 2019, where she is involved in clay-methylene blue research and bituminous ore characterization.

Van Luu

Tiffany Smith

Tiffany Smith is chemical technologist, who graduated from NAIT in 2019. She is currently involved in clay-methylene blue research at NAIT’s Centre for Oil Sands Sustainability, and looks forward to participating in different projects at the centre in the future. She is passionate about the state of the world and how we all can be involved in reducing waste and environmental impact at home and in industry.

Tiffany Smith

Mohammed Ghuzi, M.Eng., EIT

Mohammed Ghuzi joined the centre as a research assistant. He earned his M.Eng. and B.Sc. in chemical engineering-computer process control from the University of Alberta. Prior to joining the team, he worked on synthesizing water-soluble polymers for water treatment applications at the University of Alberta. While his research interests lie in the areas of water treatment, tailings management, and polymer and nanoparticle synthesis, Mohammed’s interests also extend beyond research. His free time is devoted to exploring nature in Alberta through camping and hiking, which fuels his passion for solving environmental issues.

Mohammed Ghuzi

Selamawit Messele, Ph.D.

Dr. Selamawit Messele is a Chemical Engineer with a Ph.D. in Environmental and Process Engineering. She has more than 8 years of research experience in material development and various industrial wastewater treatment processes. She pursued postdoctoral work on physical and chemical treatment of Oil Sands Process Water (OSPW) at the University of Alberta. Selamawit joined the team as a Laboratory Instrumentation Specialist with a strong background in various analytical methods and instruments. She supports the applied research projects at the centre, including day-to-day laboratory operations, quality control and maintenance.

Selamawit Messele

Maksuda Khatun, Ph.D., P. Geol.

Dr. Maksuda Khatun is an X-Ray Power Diffraction (XRD) Specialist at NAIT’s Centre for Oil Sands Sustainability. She has a B.Sc. and M.Sc. degree in Geological Sciences from Jahangirnagar University, Bangladesh and a Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Vienna, Austria. With over 19 years of industry experience, Maksuda has skills in mineralogy, sedimentology, petrology, chemostratigraphy and petrophysics. Through her past work with ConocoPhillips Canada and Cenovus Energy, Maksuda has worked in unconventional, conventional, tight rock, and oilsand deposits in Canada and internationally.

Maksuda Khatun

Industry Advisory Board

  • Quentin Huillery, Senior Vice-President, Ledcor
  • Dr. Zhihong (John) Zhou, Vice President, Clean Energy ,Alberta Innovates. 
  • Andrea Sedgwick, Ledcor Applied Research Chair in Oil Sands Sustainability, NAIT Centre for Oil Sands Sustainability
  • Cheryl Trudell , Vice President-Upstream Research, Imperial Oil;   Chair Imperial’s Institute for Oil Sands Innovation at the University of Alberta; Vice Chair Canadian Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) SSC;  member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta
  • Rick Vermeersch, Business Development Manager, Maxxam Analytics’ Petroleum Division
  • Brenda Leeds Binder, Director , External Oil Sands Innovation, Suncor Energy Inc.; Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) Board of Directors and Co-Chair, COSIA Shareholders Steering Committee; Clean Resources Innovation Network (CRIN) committee member;  and Co-President and Director, Calgary River Communities Action Group
  • Jelena Bajic, Managing Director, Operations and Project Management, NAIT 
  • Jean-Francois (JF) Bouffard, Director, Applied Research, NAIT