The Team

Most Recent Group Photo

PECC I 20190514

Taken May 14, 2019, at the Prairie Environmental Chemistry Colloquium
Front row left to right: Meng,  Jeff, and Jessica
Back row left to right: Max, Sophie, Tania, Ran, Chester, and Keifer

Principle Investigator:

Ran Zhao Profile Pic

Ran Zhao (Assistant Professor of Chemistry)
BSc, PhD – University of Toronto
Postdoc – California Institute of Technology

Ran is an enthusiastic Atmospheric Chemist performing active research to understand the role of chemistry in the air that we breathe. He obtained his PhD degree at the University of Toronto in Dr. Jonathan Abbatt’s lab. Ran worked as an NSERC postdoc fellow at California Institute of Technology (Supervisors: Dr. John Seinfeld and Dr. Paul Wennberg) before joining the University of Alberta in 2018.  Check out his personal publication list at Reseachgate: 

Graduate Students:

Jessica Lima AmorimJessica Lima Amorim
Jessica obtained her BSc degree at Universidade Federal do Espirito Santo, Brazil. Nominated by her university to the Brazilian Science Without Borders program, Jessica studied English and chemistry at the University of South Carolina (USA), and further completed an internship at the Illinois Institute of Technology (USA). Jessica is interested in research areas focusing on imminent environmental issues faced nowadays. She joined the Zhao group in 2018 as a PhD student and is currently investigating organic chemistry taking place in cloudwater and other atmospheric aqueous phases.


Tania GautamTania Gautam
Tania completed her BSc Specialization in Chemistry degree with SIP in 2018 at the University of Alberta. During her undergraduate studies, she joined Dr. Sarah Styler’s group on the analysis of organosulfate formation in dust particles. After her undergraduate project completion, she further acquired research experience in environmental analytical lab at ALS, Calgary, and National Research Council (NRC), Edmonton.
Tania joined the Zhao group in 2018 as a PhD student and is currently working on the development of an HPLC-Fluorescence technique for the analysis of organic peroxides in SOA. Her research goal involves a direct comparison between pre and post-column treatments for detection of organic peroxides in varying sample matrices.


MaxMax Loebel Roson
Max completed a B.Sc in Environmental & Analytical Science and a B.Sc.
Hons. in Chemical Instrumentation at the Limerick Institute of Technology in
Ireland. His undergraduate research focused on the study of matrix effects on
the absorption of heavy metals by macro algae.
Since then, his research interests have expanded towards atmospheric
chemistry. Max joined the Zhao Group as a PhD student in 2018. His research
is now focused on the study of organic aerosol particles emitted from solid fuel
burning. He is now one step closer to completing the ancient Greek Water,
Earth, Wind and Fire transition.



Undergraduate Students:

5041538957944_.pic_hdJeff Ma 
Jeff was born in Xi’an, China, a place with similar dryness as in Edmonton but much warmer in the winter. He moved to Canada with his family in 2009 and since then this place has become his home. Jeff is currently a 4th year undergraduate student in Chemistry Specialization at UofA. He joined the Zhao’s group in September 2018 for his first undergraduate research experience as a CHEM 399 student and continued as a CHEM 401 student. His research topic is focused on the development of a novel methods for the detection of organic peroxides present in solution. Off the school, he loves snowboarding and enjoys the

Meng Wang Meng Wang

Meng is a 4th-year undergraduate student in B. Sc. Specialization in chemistry. During her 2nd year of undergraduate studies, she joined Dr. Alex Brown’s group for Chem 299 on the analysis of dihedral energy scan of 3 modified nucleoside molecules. She joined the Zhao Group as a Chem 401 student in 2019, followed by a summer research student position with an NSERC Undergrad Student Research Award.

Her current project encompasses the characterization of the organic pollutants emitted from pyrolysis of solid fuels, such as firewood, grass, as well as cow dung cake.



IMG_20190307_114905756_BURST000_COVER_TOPChester Lau
Chester is a first year undergraduate student attending the University of Alberta in the Faculty of Science. After a high-achieving high school career, Chester was admitted to U of A with a prestige entrance scholarship. Chester‘s thirst for knowledge and commendable work ethic have already provided him with opportunities to participate in many science workshops before he joined the Zhao Research Group as an undergraduate research assistant in September 2018. His work in the group is focused on 1) the determination of light flux in a photo-reactor using chemical actinometry and 2) household humidifiers as a potential source of indoor air pollutants. Chester enjoys table tennis and plays competitively in tournaments across Alberta.

rptWayne Cheng 
Wayne is in his last year of Bsc. General Chemistry Major and Biology Minor. He joined the Zhao Research Group in Fall 2019 as a CHEM 399 student. His work in the group is focused on improving a detection and quantification method of for herbicides in aquatic environments using LC-MS.







Keifer Klimchuk
Keifer is in his third year of his B.Sc. with a double major in chemistry, and earth and atmospheric sciences. He joined the Zhao Research Group in September 2018 as a CHEM 399 student to participate in undergrad research.  His work is focused on the development of an LC-MS method for organic compounds present in secondary organic aerosol.



Sophie Shi – undergraduate student, now at U of A Materials Engineering