Dr. Ehimai Ohiozebau brings a wealth of experience to the Chemistry Matters team as an ecotoxicologist. Dr. Ohiozebau has a BSc degree in Animal and Environmental Biology from the University of Benin, Nigeria. MSc in Instrumental Analytical Sciences: Oilfield Chemicals from the Robert Gordon University, Scotland and Ph.D. in Environment and Sustainability from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. His interests include: analytical toxicology; sources and fate of organic pollutants in ecosystems; using animal biomarkers as pollution indicators; investigation of biological effects of environmental stressors; and environmental risk assessment. He is passionate about using validated methodology for research. It is very important to use the right protocol from sample collection to data processing.
His research area has been on the determination of source and toxicity of trace organic compounds including biotransformation products, emerging contaminants and endocrine disruptors using several analytical instruments. He has conducted extensive research into the movement, bioaccumulation, and effects of toxic substances at different levels of biological organization, ranging from molecular biology to the ecosystem-level. Dr. Ohiozebau has also used several analytical instruments and developed bioanalytical techniques to characterize and quantify trace organic chemicals of interest in environmental samples. Some examples of his research areas are in multi-species toxicity testing, biochemical indicators of stress in aquatic organisms, sources, fate and effects of metals, insecticides, PAHs, halogenated hydrocarbons (including chlorinated dibenzo-dioxins and -furans), PCBs and pesticides in environmental systems. He has experience in numerical modeling, quantitative and qualitative data management using Microsoft Office Suite, SPSS, R, Systat and NViVo to obtain, compile and analyze large data sets.
Dr. Ohiozebau has authored 6 published journal articles and technical reports, and 3 prepared manuscripts in various stages of publications.
His recent work includes the Athabasca and Slave rivers, in Canada, where he characterized petroleum associated contaminants in fish tissues from Fort McMurray, Fort McKay, Fort Chipewyan, Fort Smith and Fort Resolution. He also performed human health and ecological risk assessments to determine the potential risk posed by exposure to several petroleum associated contaminants from multiple locations in Northwest Territories and Alberta. Prior, he worked with a team that performed environmental impact assessment of oil companies in communities of the Niger Delta Area, Nigeria. While in the UK, he utilized FTIR, ICP-MS, AES, GC-MS/MS to analyze sediment, water and biota samples from various locations in the UK. During his post-doctoral fellowship, Dr. Ohiozebau developed and validated methodologies for environmental samples using several analytical instruments including GC-Orbitrap MS, HPLC-Orbitrap MS, GC-MS/MS and LC-MS/MS.
Born in Nigeria, Ehimai developed curiosity for Chemistry in high school. From grades 10, 11 and 12, his Chemistry teacher introduced the concept of Organic Chemistry to them and from that time, he gained interest in the field. He was also interested in biological systems and how they interact with environmental chemicals. He eventually decided to study Animal and Environmental Biology with focus on environmental pollution and obtained his BSc in Nigeria. During his undergraduate program, he studied health of aquatic ecosystems of rivers in the oil producing areas of Nigeria and developed a strong interest in environmental monitoring. This experience exposed him to several sampling and analytical techniques that further prepared him for a career path in environmental chemistry.
Ehimai spent two years studying and working in the United Kingdom for his Master of Science program. He worked as an Analytical Chemist for the James Hutton Institute before he relocated to Canada in 2010 to start a Ph.D. program. It was at the University of Saskatchewan where he connected with Dr. Paul Jones who hired him as a Research Associate. He also worked with the School of Environment and Sustainability as a Sessional Lecturer; where he enjoyed communicating science and mentoring students. After earning his doctorate in Environment and Sustainability, the Toxicology Centre, University of Saskatchewan offered him a Post-doctoral position under Dr. Paul Jones. It was greatly rewarding working with Dr. Jones and learning new bioanalytical and instrumental techniques. Dr. Ohiozebau recently moved to Calgary to join his family and and is very excited to join Chemistry Matters team.
When not working Ehimai loves his family and enjoys spending time with them. They participate in family friendly events including reading, storytelling, biking and walking in the park. He also plays soccer and saxophone with his friends.
Why Chemistry Matters?
“Chemistry Matters is focused on geoforensics, environmental forensics and biomonitoring programs. These are areas that perfectly fit my research interest. Working at Chemistry Matters will enable me to continue doing what I love while focusing on these programs. Furthermore, the company is new with great potentials and I am happy to be part of the success story.”
What would be your advice to students starting in University looking to pursue a career like yours?
“Environmental Science is an emerging field with great frontier and that they can find their place in it. My common mantra is go as far as you can in your curiosity driven experimentation. Do not be afraid of failure or your limitation in Chemistry. Find a good mentor and scientific community to support your career in ecotoxicology. A good start will be chemistry student or environmental science student associations. If you are an undergraduate student considering a career in Environmental Chemistry, talk to graduate students or faculty members in the field. Focus on what interests you in the field and let your curiosity lead you to success. “
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