Sampling North Wabasca Lake

Bhatnagar Lab (Enviromics Group)

The Enviromics group spans two universities, AthabascaU and UCalgary, where researchers study ecosystems thru omics tools to co-create solutions and mobilize knowledge to address environmental issues


Microplastics in Alberta's Rivers


Microplastics, the tiny pieces of resistant plastics, have invaded every aspect of our lives and our environments. Apart from being sponges for many toxic chemicals, they also harbor a diverse microbiome. By studying the factors that influence their microbial community structure and function, we are identifying not only microbes with plastic bioremediation potential but also studying their roles as vector of microbes of concern in Alberta's watershed. 

Labrador Tea

Glyphosate and Indigenous Medicinal Plants of the Boreal Forest

Glyphosate use in reforestation efforts not only targets broad-leaf plants, but it can persist in soil and then move into the plants, potentially entering humans through foraged foods. Using the microbiome of the Labrador tea, a traditional medicinal plant of many Indigenous communities, we are studying the effect of glyphosate on boreal shrubs, its persistence in the forest soil, and its potential for adverse health effects. This work is being carried out in mutually respectful and reciprocal partnership with the Bigstone Cree Nation.

Arctic Ecosystem

Oceans North

Genomics for Arctic Biodiversity and Indigenous Food Security

The threatened ecosystem of a rapidly warming Arctic needs innovative solutions for estimating and fostering biodiversity on the land and in the ocean to ensure food security for the Inuit and other Indigenous peoples of Canada's North. Using Genomics and other DNA-based tools can enable this from small- to large-scale and from species- to ecosystem-level efforts. Hence, we are working to increase awareness, applicability, and use of DNA-based tools through organization- and community-level engagement and participation of Rightsholders and stakeholders in the vast Arctic Canada, including the Inuit Nunangat.

Other Collaborations

Pan Alberta Network

Wastewater-Based Epidemiology

A collaboration led by Mike Parkins (Cumming School of Medicine, UCalgary) and Casey Hubert (Dept. of Biological Sciences, UCalgary) to study antimicrobial resistance and infectious agents in the municipal wastewaters. 

Arctic Marine Microbiome

Arctic Ocean Microbial Ecophysiology

In collaboration with Casey Hubert, we are studying the microbial ecophysiology of Canada's Arctic Ocean by establishing microbial baselines in the Sea Ice, water column, and sediments using deeply sequenced WGS metagenomics and mining the data for microbial processes involved in oil spill bioremediation,