Kela Weber

(1) Ecotoxicity of Nanomaterials (2) Transport and Fate of Pathogens at Beach Fronts

Ecotoxicity of Nanomaterials
Nanomaterials have been proven as highly useful in many industry sectors due to their specialized physical and reactive properties. With an increase in interest and use of nanomaterials the potential for release to the greater environment also increases. The USEPA 2009 nanomaterials research strategy specifically calls for studies on the interaction of nanomaterials with the biological components of ecosystems to determine toxicity effects not captured in single organisms testing. In response, a method for assessing the toxicity effects of nanomaterials on the function of inherent soil and aquatic bacterial communities is currently being developed at RESTORE.
Transport and Fate of Pathogens at Beach Fronts
Beaches provide recreation and economic value, however also represent an active yet susceptible ecosystem. The frequency of beach front advisories due to high levels of E.Coli and other pathogens is increasing in the Great Lakes region. This project hopes to better understand the main factors influencing pathogen persistence and transport at beach front areas. Multiphysics modeling will bring together wave action, water infiltration, pore water movement, nutrient transformation and movement, and pathogen transport and fate into a single model allowing for a better understanding of beach front dynamics.

Personal Background

Kela attained his undergraduate degree in Environmental Engineering – Chemical Specialization (2004) from the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Waterloo (UW), Canada. During this time Kela also gained valuable industrial experience working at XCG Consultants Ltd., Shell Canada Ltd., Barrday Inc., and Imperial Oil Ltd. during UW coop terms.
Kela went on to complete an NSERC CGS and PGS funded MASc. and PhD in the Bioengineering group of the Department of Chemical Engineering at UW in 2006 and 2009. Kela’s graduate work focused on better understanding the fundamental variables and aspects involved in water treatment with a focus on wetland systems.
Kela completed his first postdoc at the Centre for Control of Emerging Contaminants (CCEC), which received funding from the Ontario Research Fund’s Research Excellence program in 2008. During this time (2009-2010) Kela spearheaded the CCEC wetlands project looking at 1) the effect emerging contaminants have on aquatic ecosystems and their resident bacterial communities, and 2) the prevalence and dynamics of antibiotic resistant microorganisms in aquatic systems.
Kela holds a Certificate in University Teaching awarded by UW in 2009, and has been involved in a number of educational research projects including 1) the use of concepts maps as an enhanced learning tool for undergraduate engineering students, and 2) integration of environmental concepts into the university curriculum. This led to part-time instructor positions in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Department of Chemical Engineering at UW in 2009/2010. Courses taught included “Environmental Chemistry”, “Engineering Biology” and “Biology and Biotechnology”.
Kela is currently an NSERC funded RESTORE postdoc, the research and development partner of NEWCO a company that designs and installs industrial scale biofilters, and a supporting researcher for the CCEC. Kela has also served as a reviewer for Ecological Engineering since 2009. Kela’s areas of specialized expertise in wetlands systems, bacterial community dynamics and function, molecular biology methods, microassays, multivariate statistics, and experimental design has lead to numerous book chapters, journal publications, and international conference presentations.

Travel and Awards

Conferences

  • K.P. Weber, Legge, R.L. One dimensional metric for tracking bacterial community divergence using sole carbon source utilization patterns. 2nd Florence Conference on Phenotype MicroArray Analysis of Microorganisms: The Environment, Agriculture, and Human Health. Florence, Italy. September 2010.
  • K.P. Weber, M. Mitzel, R.M. Slawson, B.G. Warner, R.L. Legge. Effect of ciprofloxacin on microbiological and hydrological development in wetland mesocosms. 2nd Annual CCEC/CWN Workshop. Waterloo, Canada. June, 2010.
  • D. Van Lanen, R. Arnold, K.P. Weber, C. Moresoli. 2010. Constructed Wetlands: Wetlands for demonstrative purposes. 2nd Annual CCEC/CWN Workshop. Waterloo, Canada. June, 2010.
  • K.P. Weber, R.L. Legge. Bacterial community and hydrological dynamics during constructed wetland mesocosm start-up. 3rd International Wetland Pollution Dynamics and Control (WETPOL) Symposium. Barcelona, Spain. September, 2009.
  • K.P. Weber, R.M. Slawson, B.G. Warner, R.L. Legge. Community profiling and hydrological characterization of constructed wetland mesocosms during start-up. 1st Annual CCEC/CWN Workshop. Toronto, Canada. June, 2009.
  • K.P. Weber. Integrating environmental education into the university curriculum. Graduate Student Research Conference. University of Waterloo, ON. April, 2009.
  • K.P. Weber, R.L. Legge. Taking constructed wetland research into the laboratory. 2nd International Wetland Pollution Dynamics and Control (WETPOL) Symposium. Tartu, Estonia. September 2007.
  • K.P. Weber, T. Senger, R.L. Legge. Iron removal using constructed wetlands: unit wetland investigation. 55th Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference, Toronto Ontario. October, 2005.

Invited Publications

  • Weber, K.P., Legge, R.L. 2010. Methods for the assessment of microbial populations. Scitopics. http://www.scitopics.com/authorprofile.jsp?userid=5583. (In preparation, August 2010)

Book Chapters

  • Weber, K.P., Legge, R.L. 2010. Community level physiological profiling. in Methods in Molecular Biology: Bioremediation (Cummings, S.P. ed.), The Humana Press Inc., New Jersey. pp. 263-281.
  • Weber K.P., Legge R.L., 2008. Pathogen removal in constructed wetlands. in Wetlands: Ecology, Conservation and Restoration (Russo, R.E. ed.), Nova Publishers, New York. pp. 176-211.

Awards

  • NSERC PDF, National, University of Western Ontario, July 2010 - present
  • MITACS Elevate PDF, Provincial, Declined,
  • Chemical Engineering Medal (Park Reilly Medal), Institutional, University of Waterloo, 2009
  • Sandford Fleming Distinguished Teaching Award, Institutional, University of Waterloo, 2009-2010
  • NSERC PGS D3, National, University of Waterloo, 2006-2009
  • M. Moo-Young Biotechnology Scholarship (PhD), Institutional, University of Waterloo, 2007-2008
  • University of Waterloo Presidents Graduate Scholarship, Institutional, University of Waterloo, 2006-2009
  • University of Waterloo Graduate Scholarship, Institutional, University of Waterloo, 2006-2007
  • M. Moo-Young Biotechnology Scholarship (MASc), Institutional, University of Waterloo, 2005-2006
  • Alexander Graham Bell CGS – NSERC PGS M, National, University of Waterloo, 2005-2006
  • University of Waterloo Presidents Graduate Scholarship, Institutional, University of Waterloo, 2005-2006
  • Davis Memorial Scholarship in Ecology, Institutional, University of Waterloo, 2005-2006
  • University of Waterloo Graduate Scholarship, Institutional, University of Waterloo, 2005-2006
  • Canadian Water Resources Association scholarship, National, University of Waterloo, 2005-2006
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship, Provincial, University of Waterloo, 2004-2005
  • Sandford Fleming coop proficiency award, Institutional, University of Waterloo, 2004-2005
  • Dow Chemical Canada Inc. Award, Institutional, University of Waterloo, 2003
  • Scotia Bank Scholarship Award, National, University of Waterloo, 2003-2004
  • Sandford Fleming work report award, Institutional, University of Waterloo, 2003-2004
  • NSERC UGSRA, National, University of Waterloo, 2001-2002
  • Faculty of Engineering Upper-Year Scholarship, Institutional, University of Waterloo, 2000-2004
  • Deans Honour List, Institutional, University of Waterloo, 1999-2004