Research Group

The Innovative Waste Management Research Program is comprised of a dedicated group of researchers including graduate students, undergraduate students, post-doctoral fellows, research assistants, and technicians.

Post-Doctoral Fellows

Allan Thomson (2019-present) (MITACS Accelerate Grant, with Hatch Inc. and Divert Nova Scotia) Carbon capture and utilization from food wastes and agricultural production residues through aerobic composting and integration into Controlled Environment Agriculture systems.

Dr. Gholamabbas Sayyad  Contaminant fate and transport modeling - (2015) Modeling fate and transport of phthalate esters through agricultural soils (Co-supervision Dr. M. Sharifi, Trent University; Funded through a Canadian Water Network grant).

Dr. K. Khosravi Analytical Chemistry - (2013-2015) Emerging Substances of Concern in agricultural systems (Funded through a Canadian Water Network grant). (MITACS Accelerate Grant)

Dr. I. Hussain Viral Veterinary Research - (2013-2014) Aleutian Mink Disease virus survival (Funded through NS Department of Agriculture Technology Development, Canadian Mink Breeders Association)

Dr. S. Brogan - (2013) Gasification of biomass (Funded through NSERC Engage Grant)

Dr. K. Liu - (2010-2012) Biofertilizer development and soil nutrient dynamics (Funded through NS Department of Agriculture Technology Development and Envirem Organics)

Dr. Gashaw Gobezie - (2011) Development of an integrated environemental data management information system (Funded through NS Department of Agriculture)

Technicians and Research Assistants

A. Luo (IWM Research Associate) (2021-) Role in supporting management of instruments and training.

H. Qian (Innovative Waste Management and Emerging Substances of Concern) 2014-2016. Primary role involves processing of samples for organic contaminant analysis using Solid Phase Extraction.

D. Burris (Innovative Waste Management and Biomass Energy Program) 2008-2015 (retired). Primary role involves management and technical support for research activities at the Bio-Environmental Engineering Centre and support for activities related to the IWM program and Biomass Energy Program (K. Corscadden).

C. J. Roberts (Innovative Waste Management) 2007-2014.  Primary role involves management of IWM analytical laboratory and field support. (Environmental Farm Plan Officer)

Graduate Student Supervision

Z. Lin (PhD) 2020- , Evaluating soil health metrics in agricultural landscapes receiving organic amendments.

W. Shu (PhD) 2014-2021, Fate and transport modeling of Emerging Substances of Concern through soil from land applied biosolids. (PhD candidate)

O. Obi-Njoku (PhD, with G. Clark - McGill University) 2017-2021, Estimating Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Land-Applied Biosolids in Canada: A Mathematical Modelling Approach. (PhD candidate)

J.D. Gillis (PhD, with S. Prasher - McGill University) 2011-2017, Ecotoxicological impacts of emerging contaminants in soil – water systems from land applied biosolids.  

H. Zhang (PhD, with P. Voroney - U. of Guelph) 2010-2014, Use of biochars as soil amendments in marginalized agricultural soils.  

A. Onanuga, (PhD, with S. ASiedu), 2009-2013, Effect of phosphorus, potassium and phytohormones on growth and nutrient uptake in hydroponically grown cotton.  

S. Victor (MASc) Evaluating Compost Feedstock Amendments and Decomposition Dynamics with European Green Crabs.  

Q. Le (MSc) Effect of treatment processes on biosolids organic nitrogen (N) forms and their influence on soil N mineralization. (In progress)

C. Parent (MSc) Multi-cycle Adsorption and Desorption Kinetics of Heavy Metals in Wastewater and Soil using Biochar and Biochar-calcium-alginate Composite Beads and their Reusability. (In progress)

A. Luo (MSc) Evaluation of romaine lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. CV. Parris Island) production under elevated carbon dioxide gas environments generated from compost materials.  

Z. Lin (MSc) Evaluation of Seasonal Dynamics of Soil Macro-Nutrients and Corn Nutrient Uptake in Fields Amended with Three Types of Municipal Biosolids.  

S. Halloran (MSc, with M. Sharifi - Trent University) Effect of soil physico-chemical properties on fate and transport of ESOCs.  

C. Taylor (MSc) Evaluation of organic residual feedstocks as agricultural and horticultural soil amendments.  

Y. Zhang (MSc) Degradation kinetics of Emerging Substances of Concern in agricultural systems.  

S. Hatheway (MSc) Analysis of a novel fungal enzyme in degradation of polyesters.  

C. Klabunde (MSc, U. of Guelph) Impacts of alkaline stabilized biosolids application on emerging substances of concern (ESOC) in groundwater.  

B. Bandekar (MSc) Environmental assessment of municipal solid waste composts in Nova Scotia.  

E. MacCormick (MSc) Impacts of fish silage by-products on agricultural soil in Atlantic Canada.  

B. Laybolt (MSc) Impacts of fish silage by-products on agricultural soil in Atlantic Canada.

J. Rogers (M.Sc. co-supervision J. Murimboh Acadia U.) Long-term Impacts of Applying Alkaline Treated Biosolids to Agricultural Soils on Trace Metal Seasonal Dynamics and Accumulation.

W. Shu (MSc, with M. Sharifi) Role of phosphorus in biosolids amended soils.  

C. Richards (MSc) Environmental consequence of co-composting painted waste gypsum wallboard with municipal biosolids.  

L. Dickie (MSc) Energy life cycle analysis of a gasification furnace for waste disposal and energy production.  

J.D. Gillis (MSc) Impact of land applied biosolids on the environmental quality of agricultural soils.  

J. Zeng (MSc) Management of Specified Risk Materials through the use of composting systems.  

Graduate Student Advisory Committee

Gurwinder Singh, MSc (Supervisor: D. Burton), 2017-2020, Effect of the Land Application of Biosolids on Greenhouse Gas Emissions Under Atlantic Canadian Conditions.

Jay Woodworth, MSc (Supervisor: D. Burton), 2016-2020, Modeling GHG emissions during overwintering periods.

Jennifer Klaus, MSc (Supervisor: D. Burton), 2015-2018, Decomposition rates of forest floor litter based on chronosequence and site quality in white spruce plantations.

Robert Matheson, MSc (Supervisor: D. Burton), 2014-2016, Reduction of Wood Preserving Chemicals in Industrial Wastewater Via Chemical Oxidation.

Isaac Muise, M.Sc. (Supervisors: R. Cote/M. Adams), 2013-2015, Recovery of agricultural plastics waste in Nova Scotia.

Jennifer Spence, MSc (Supervisor: D. Burton), 2013-2016, Using the nitrification inhibitor 3, 5-dimethylpyrazole to determine net nitrogen mineralization and denitrification rates simultaneously at varying water contents.

Anna Sliusarieva, MSc (Supervisor: S. Prasher (McGill)) 2013-2015, The role of biochar as a soil amendment in reducing soil and water pollution by estrogens from sludge.  

Kevin Keys, PhD (Supervisors: D. Burton/P. Duinker), 2011 - 2017, Assessing and modeling the impacts of treated municipal biosolid amendments on Spruce plantation nutrition and growth in Nova Scotia.

Adam Wile, MSc (Supervisor: D. Burton), 2008 - 2010, Effect of nitrogen fertilizer on soil nitrous oxide emissions from the soil for two potential bioenergy crops and relative environmental benefits.  

Undergraduate Honours Thesis Supervision

Shoshana Naumann, BSc (ENVS) 2021-, Honours:

Hongzhao Zeng, BSc (ENVS) 2020-, Honours:

Manlin Jiang, BSc (IEM) 2018-19, Honours:

Qianhan Le, BSc (IEM) 2018, Honours:

Rubin Li, BSc (IEM) 2017-2018, 4th year thesis: 

Jing Ren BSc (IEM), 2016, 4th year thesis: Sorption dynamics of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in soils receiving long-term applications of alkaline treated biosolids. 

Kathleen Walker  BSc (ENVS), 2015, 4th year thesis project: Process flow and energy lifecycle analysis of biomass gasification.

Savannah Hatheway BSc (ENVS), 2013-2014, 4th year thesis project: Analysis of biodegradable plastic degradation by Aspergillus oryzae.

Robert Matheson BSc (ENVS), 2013-2014, 4th year thesis project: Effects of biochar amended soil to retain naphthalene from leaving the soil in leachate.

Abiraami Ramasamy BSc (ENVS), 2013-2014, 4th year thesis project: Evaluating chemical characteristics of vermicasts from earthworms grown in fish based compost media.

Debao Li BSc (ENVS), 2012-2013, 4th year thesis project: Mineral carbon and nitrogen fluxes in a frozen and thawed soil.

Yujie Guan BSc (ENVS), 2012-2013, 4th year thesis project: Soil carbon mineralization as affected by soil aggregate size.

Yu Zhang BSc (ENVS), 2012-2013, 4th year thesis project: Soil nitrogen dynamics as a function of soil aggregate size.

Crystal Fullerton BSc (ENVS), 2012-2013, 4th year thesis project:Development of value-added processing of wool washwater.

Wenchao Tang BSc (IEM), 2012-2013, 4th year thesis project:  Comparison of compost and compost teas as growth promoters in greenhouse tomatoes.

Shelbie Dodge BSc (co-supervision D. Burton) B.Sc. (ENVS), 2011-2012, 4th year thesis project: Comparison of headspace vs. alkali trap carbon mineralization measurements in compost amended soils in an environmentally controlled system.

Codi Cole BSc (ENVS), 2011-2012, 4th year thesis project: Composting of degradable bags for municipal solid waste systems.

Chen Chen BSc (ENVS), 2011-2012, 4th year thesis project: Evaluation of potentially mineralizable nitrogen of spent coffee grounds compost in amended agricultural soils.

Cenwei Liu BSc (BESM), 2010-2011, 4th year thesis project: Uptake and transport of heavy metals from soils into tomato plants.

Kyle Gallant BSc (ENVS), 2009-2010, 4th year thesis project: Movement of contaminants into water from soils amended with N-Viro biosolids.

Tyler Fraser B. Appl. Tech., 2010-2011, 4th year thesis project: Heavy metal transport from soils amended with an alkaline stabilized municipal biosolid.

Eileen Beaton BSc (ENVS), 2009-2010, 4th year thesis project: Toxicity effects of an alkaline municipal biosolid on vermicomposting earthworms (E. fetida).

Christopher Richards BSc (co-supervision D. Burton) B.Sc. (ENVS), 2008-2010, 4th year thesis project: Use of waste gypsum wallboard as a compost amendment with municipal sewage and septage biosolids.

Jenelle Patriquin BSc (co-supervision P. Havard) B.Sc. (BESM), 2009-2010, 4th year thesis project: The ability to use sensors for plant detection in blueberry fields.

Joseph Leck BSc (BESM), 2008 - 2009, 4th year thesis project: Development of a low-cost in-vessel composting system.

Raymond Mitchell B. Appl. Tech.,  2008-2009, 4th year thesis project: Alternatives to sub-therapeutic use of veterinary pharmaceuticals.

Undergraduate Co-op, Interns, Research Assistants

Yadong Huang Internship, Dalhousie Chemistry 2016
Jin Reng

Internship, Dalhousie Integrated Environmental Management

Jianhui Huang Summer research assistant

David Gibson

Co-op Env. Engineering, Dalhousie University


Huifang Qian

Summer research assistant


Sara Gandy

Summer research assistant


Yu Zhang

Summer research assistant


Robert Rix

Summer research assistant


Ryan van den Hof

Summer research assistant


Azira Yusran

Co-op Env. Engineering Dalhousie University


Melanie Chiasson

Summer research assistant


Crystal Fullerton



Gillian Manley



Saranya Purushothaman

Summer and Fall research assistant


Hannah Maynard 



Maria Armstrong

Co-op Science Dalhousie University


Jinghan Su

Summer research assistant


Xingjie Gue

Summer research assistant


Claire Haysom

PSC Career Starts Program Female Mentorship Program


Patricia Gilroy

Summer research assistant


Briana Laybolt

Canada Summer Jobs Program


Marina Willows

Co-op Science Dalhousie University & Canada Student Jobs Program


Ashley Thistle

PSC Career Starts Program Female Mentorship Program


Zakia Biswas


Co-op Chemistry Dalhousie University & PSC Career Starts Program Summer Diversity Program