Meet the Team

Heather Kaminsky, PhD, P.Eng.

Dr. 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  more than 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 has a passion for clays and tailings and is working towards solving the tailings issue for the oil sands industry. In 2019 Heather was selected as a SheInnovator in Alberta, recognizing her work on solving complex challenges in the province. 

Heather Kaminsky

Andrea Sedgwick, M.Eng., P.Eng.

Andrea Sedgwick is leading applied research at NAIT's Technology Access 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

Omar Bahgat, BASc(Eng), P.Eng.

Omar Bahgat is the centre's Operations Manager, supporting, leading and facilitating operational excellence in the delivery of applied research solutions and training. He has  more than 7 years of industry and project management experience supporting water, waste water, and process applications. He has been with NAIT since 2019.  He graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Applied Science in chemical engineering.  His goals, aligned with those of the centre, are to accelerate research to reduce  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

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, B.Comm

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

Vicky Qualie, M.Ed., BSc(Eng)

Vicky Qualie joined the centre  as a Knowledge to Practice Services Lead in 2021. She earned a M.Ed. in interdisciplinary studies at the University of Calgary in 2019. She also has a B.Sc. in materials engineering and has 8 years of previous experience in the field of occupational health and safety as a professional engineer. Prior to joining the centre, Vicky supported  educational research projects at the University of Alberta for 4 years, with a unique focus on research-practice partnerships. She knows the value of sharing research findings, and is excited to help the centre  expand their capacity to deliver courses to industry partners.

Vicky Qualie

Yunhui Li, PhD

Dr. Yunhui Li is a research scientist and project lead at the centre.  She has a  Ph.D. and B.Sc. in chemistry and more than 9 years of post-graduation experience in oil sands tailings management, chemical evaluation and screening for tailings treatment, fundamentals of fluid fine tailings, water treatment, and impact of clay minerals on oil sands tailings. 

Yunhui Li

Rubia Martignago Mariath, PhD

Dr. Rubia Martignago Mariath is a research scientist with a Ph.D. in materials science engineering. She has more than 7 years of expertise in petroleum characterization and interface properties, focusing 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. She is currently a lead researcher at the centre, focused on developing and enhancing  oil sands extraction and analytical measurements to reduce environmental impact through technology and innovation.

Rubia Mariath

Simon Sun, MSc(Eng)

Simon Sun joined the centre  in 2019 as a research associate 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 and gas and municipal wastewater sectors. He 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 is currently leading several research projects focused on finding sustainable solutions to  Canada's legacy tailings issue.

Simon Sun

Jason Ng, MSc(Eng), 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

Selamawit Messele, BSc(Eng), PhD

Dr. Selamawit Messele is a research associated with the centre. She received  a Ph.D. in Environmental and Process Engineering from the University of Rovira I Virgili, Spain.  Selamawit  has more than 9 years of research experience in catalyst/adsorbent development and various industrial wastewater treatment technologies. Prior to joining the centre she worked as a postdoctoral research fellow  on physical and chemical treatment of oil sands process water (OSPW) at the University of Alberta. At the centre she is working on piloting new water treatment technologies that are relevant to SAGD conditions.

Selamawit Messele

Harsh Selani, BSc(Eng)

Harsh Selani is a research assistant at the centre. He  has a Bachelor’s in chemical engineering and is a graduate of  NAIT’s Chemical Technology program with more than 7 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, bitumen extraction procedures in understanding process ability of oil sands ores and tailings behaviour, and will be working  on pilot scale water treatment technology that is relevant to SAGD conditions.

Harsh Selani

Xue (Yuki) Gong, MSc

Yuki Gong is a chemical technologist with a M.Sc. in analytical chemistry and 5 years of experience in pharmaceutical research and development and  quality control. At the centre she leads tailing sample characterization and the development of test methods for particulate and water chemistry.  She has also been involved in bitumen extraction additives research, clay-methylene blue research, naphthenic acids (NAs) analysis and flocculation research. In addition, she participates in method development, hazard assessment, data quality control, and maintenance and troubleshooting of analytical instruments at the centre.

Yuki Gong

Taimur Qureshi, BTech-TM

Taimur Qureshi is a research assistant II, a graduate of NAIT's Chemical Technology program (2013) and NAIT's Bachelor of Technology in Technology Management Program (2020). Before joining the centre in 2014, he was part of the quality assurance team at Imperial Oil's Strathcona Refinery Lab. He has a passion for supporting innovative research focused on sustainability, such as reducing the volume of tailings in tailings ponds and reducing freshwater use in the oil sands industry.  Taimur provides technical support in oil sands characterization, tailings consolidation, polymer validation and clay-methylene blue research.  His activities include  data collection, developing standard operating procedures, supporting and maintaining safety and quality.  He has also represented the centre as an author, contributor and presenter.

Taimur Qureshi

Tasha Ritchie

Tasha Ritchie (she/her) has been with the centre since 2012. She is a graduate of NAIT's Chemical Technology program and is currently working towards  a Bachelor of Technology Management with a focus on training, safety and quality control. She specializes in projects requiring petroleum characteristic analysis, and assisting in the  training of highly qualified personnel.

Tasha Ritchie

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

Maksuda Khatun, PhD, 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

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  has been involved in various research projects at the centre including, but not limited to clay-methylene blue, tailings characterization, and water chemistry testing. 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

Catalina Romero, BSc(Chem)

Catalina Romero joined the centre  in 2018 as a student while completing NAIT's  Chemical Technology program.  Graduating in 2020, Catalina is now a research assistant with the centre, and has been involved in the research of naphthenic acid fraction compounds (NAFC), flocculation procedures on different commercial polymers evaluating the impact on sand addition, and lime stabilization for oil sands fluid fine tailings.  Catalina also has a  B.Sc. in Chemistry from  Colombia.

Catalina Romero

Emily Devereux

Emily Devereux is a student research assistant who joined the centre  in January 2021. Currently, she is a second-year student in NAIT's  Chemical Technology program. She went into the program with the goal of finding a career in environmental research, and as such, is enthusiastic to be a part of the centre, learning about reducing  the environmental impact of the oil and gas industry. She is a fan of all things nerdy and co-hosts an award-winning movie podcast.

Emily Devereux

Jewell Cleo Gapasin, BSc(Chem)

Jewell Cleo Gapasin joined the centre  in January 2020 as a student research assistant. Prior to joining NAIT, she was a Health and Safety Manager for a non-profit organization. She has a B.Sc. from Mount Royal University, with concentrations  in chemistry, biology, and English. During her degree, she was awarded a Research Excellence Award and was sponsored to attend different conferences as part of her research. At the centre, Jewell is involved in clay-methylene blue research and bituminous ore characterization. Her free time is devoted to exploring nature, travelling, volunteering at animal rescues, and gardening.

Jewell Gapasin