Assistant Professor in Environmental Health
Department of Health and Society
Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences
University of Toronto Scarborough
Graduate cross-appointment - Dalla Lana School of Public Health
University of Toronto
CIHR Postdoctoral fellow, Université de Montréal School of Public Health (2018-2020)
FRQS Postdoctoral fellow, Université de Montréal School of Public Health (2017-2018)
PhD in biology, INRS - Institut Armand-Frappier (2012-2017)
Amira Aker, PhD
Dr Aker is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Health and Society at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC), and she will be joining Prof Mélanie Lemire's team at Université Laval in 2021. Dr Aker’s broader research interests include the intersection between environmental chemical exposure and social factors on women’s health. Her research program focuses on the environmental and social factors influencing reproductive life course stages, such as pregnancy, preconception health and menopause.
As a collaborator in the From bench to communities lab, Amira is investigating the associations between exposure to hydraulic fracturing activity and mental health outcomes during pregnancy, such as anxiety and depression.
Current Graduate Students
PhD Student in biology (co-supervision)
Ghida started her PhD in biology at INRS - Institut Armand Frappier in January 2021, under the supervision of Géraldine Delbès, Cathy Vaillancourt and Élyse Caron-Beaudoin. Ghida will research the endocrine disrupting effects of environmentally-relevant concentrations of contaminants associated with hydraulic fracturing on fetal development.
After a bachelor degree in “Life and Earth Sciences-Biochemistry” at Saint-Joseph University of Beyrouth, Ghida completed a 2 year Masters at the University of Paris, where she was specialized in ‘Cellular Biology, Physiology and Pathology: Reproduction and development’. In her first year, Ghida worked on the impact of freezing on the integrity of spermatic chromatin at the Reproductive biology laboratory at Poissy hospital. Then, Ghida did her second year internship at the Neurodevelopment laboratory at Robert Debré hospital to understand the synaptic role of a poorly characterized Golgi protein whose genetic deficiency causes a neurodevelopmental disease.
MSc student in Occupational and Environmental Health
Emmanuel started a master’s degree in Occupational and Environmental Health at the Université de Montréal in January 2021 under the supervision of Marc-André Verner and Élyse Caron-Beaudoin. During his research, Emmanuel will investigate the associations between hydraulic fracturing activity in Northeastern British Columbia and indoor radon concentrations in the EXPERIVA study.
Emmanuel holds a nursing degree from the Université de Bretagne Sud and the Centre Hospitalier de Vanne (France). In addition, Emmanuel is a certified registered nurse anesthetist (Master's degree, Université de la Réunion). Emmanuel has been practicing nursing in France and Île de la Réunion since 2013.
Master of Environmental Science student
Yifan started her Master of Environmental Science program at the Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences (University of Toronto Scarborough) in September 2020. As part of this professional program, Yifan will measure the levels of oxidative stress biomarkers in a cohort of pregnant women living near hydraulic fracturing activity in Northeastern British Columbia. To do so, Yifan will use biological samples collected as part of the EXPERIVA study project.
Yifan holds a BSc from the University of Toronto, where she graduated with a Pharmacology and Toxicology Specialist Program and a Global Health Major. Yifan was a research assistant on different projects during her BSc, such as the investigation of the acute toxicity of sunscreen chemical Benzophenone-3 on zebrafish.
Current interns and research assistants
Undergraduate Research Assistant
Tamera has just completed her Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Toronto Scarborough double majoring in Molecular Biology, Immunology, and Disease, and Health Studies with an emphasis on Population Health. During her time at the From Bench to Communities Lab, she is working on a toxicological systematic review surrounding the health effects associated with fracking. More specifically, she will be conducting bias assessments for all the studies included in the systemic review. In the future, Tamera hopes to pursue a Master of Public Health specializing in Epidemiology in order to further study the toxicological effects environmental exposures can have on the development of reproductive systems in women and the impact these exposures can also have on fetal development, specifically in regards to endocrine disruption.
Undergraduate Research Assistant
Amrita has just completed her Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Toronto Scarborough with a major in Health Studies - Population Health stream. During her time at the From Bench to Communities Lab, she is working on estimating the exposure of pregnant women who participated in the EXPERIVA study to particulate matter. To conduct her research project, Amrita is using publicly available data from air quality monitoring stations across Northeastern British Columbia. Using a geomapping software, she will be able to link each EXPERIVA study participants to the closest air monitoring stations and estimate their exposure to this type of chemicals for the duration of their pregnancy. Amrita's research is funded through a Research Competitiveness Funds from the University of Toronto Scarborough.