Regional Chapter Updates

A hub for the SETAC community to stay current with the local goings-on of SETAC. This aspect of the SETAC Outreach website will allow regional chapters to update the SETAC community about activities, events, and annual meetings happening throughout the year at their local chapter level.

Zachary Currie and Derek Green

The SETAC Prairie Northern Chapter (PNC) held its 8th annual general conference and meeting on June 15-16, 2017. The theme of this year’s conference was “Toxicology in the 21st Century: Applications of Prairie Research,” and it was hosted by the Toxicology Centre of the University of Saskatchewan. Over 50 students attended the meeting, and industry, government, and academic professionals brought the total number to 80 attendees.

The conference opened on the 15th with an afternoon short course presented by Dr. Jean-Michel DeVink, a Senior Environmental Scientist for Stantec. His course “Qualitative wildlife risk assessments of contaminated sites and development proposals”, provided over 50 attendees thorough overviews of ecological risk assessments (ERAs) of developing projects and contaminated sites, drawing from real-world examples and case-studies. The course was followed by PNC’s 4th annual Tox on Tap at The Woods Alehouse, downtown Saskatoon. The event’s speaker was political scientist Dr. Greg Poelzer, who spoke on the Paris Accord, climate change, and environmental policy in the era of the Trump presidency.

The conference proper began on June 16th and included plenary talks from Drs. Vince Palace (head research scientist, International Institute for Sustainable Development), Ken Coates (Canada Research Chair and professor, University of Saskatchewan Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy), and Patrick Guiney (former president, SETAC World Council). They spoke on science and policy, the changing technologies of our extractive industries and their dynamic relationships with indigenous populations, and scientific bias and integrity, respectively.

Platform presentations were delivered by students from the Universities of Calgary, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, as well as Ecometrix and Environment and Climate Change Canada. An additional 29 students and scientific professionals presented posters during the poster social following the platform presentations. Presentation topics included but were not limited to pesticides and the flight of locusts, technologies to improve filtration of subsurface waters, quantitative wildlife risk assessment, and novel approaches to toxicokinetic modeling. While there were many impressive presentations from all in attendance, six student presentations were recognized with awards. Three prizes were given for both platform and poster presentations, and were awarded as follows:


  • First: Kristin Bianchini, University of Saskatchewan – Effects of dietary polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon exposure on pre-migratory fuelling in captively-dosed Sanderling
  • Second: Zachary Currie, University of Saskatchewan – The photo-induced toxicity of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and a hydraulic oil in the amphibian species Xenopus laevis and Lithobates sylvaticus
  • Third: Melanie Gallant, University of Saskatchewan – Developmental sensitivity to benzo[a]pyrene-induced changes in immune and biotransformation-related gene expression in the amphibian Xenopus laevis


  • First: Dayna Schultz, University of Saskatchewan – Determination of acute and sub-chronic toxicity of emerging contaminants in early life stages of three Canadian fish species
  • Second: Blue Markwart, University of Saskatchewan – The influence of community composition on selenium bio-concentration in freshwater periphyton
  • Third: Zachary Currie, University of Saskatchewan – Toxicity of the water accommodated fraction of a petroleum-based hydraulic oil to aquatic organisms

The conference also provided an opportunity for a meeting of the PNC board, as well as a student meeting wherein attendees were updated on the status and activities of NASAC, SETAC, and our society’s young environmental scientist (YES) meetings. It also provided the opportunity for students to engage in conference planning and organization. This was the first SETAC PNC meeting to be coordinated entirely by graduate students. The organizing committee was led by University of Saskatchewan students Erin Maloney and Derek Green and included member’s of the Univerity of Saskatchewan’s toxicology graduate student’s association, with administrative assistance provided by the office staff of the Toxicology Centre.

This year’s proceedings would not have been possible without the support of a number of sponsors and supporters and we would like to acknowledge and thank the following for their contributions: the University of Saskatchewan, the Global Institute for Water Security, Syngenta, Agilent Technologies, Fisher Scientific, the University of Saskatchewan’s School of Environment and Sustainability, Areva, Stantec, CanNorth, Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment, SETAC, Environment and Climate Change Canada, VWR, and the University of Saskatchewan’s Toxicology Centre and College of Graduate Studies and Research. We would also like to extend sincere thanks to all who attended and supported this year’s meeting, including our volunteer student competition judges, and student volunteers.

Organization of PNC’s 9th annual general meeting is currently underway and will take place June 2018, in Edmonton, Alberta. Hope to see you all there!


Ph.D. Student Kristin Bianchini (centre; University of Saskatchewan) accepts her 1st place platform presentation award from PNC Drs. Mark Hanson (left; PNC President) and Jose Luis Rodriguez-Gil (right; PNC Vice President). Photo credit: Stephanie Graves, U of S