Meet our talented team
“In the Inukshuk statue, each stone is a separate entity, each individual with its own significance; yet each is also supporting and being supported by the stones above and below it. It’s strength lies in its unity; its significance comes from its meaning as a whole.”
Dedication. Expertise. Passion.
Dr. Sara Beck joined the Department of Civil Engineering of the University of British Columbia as an Assistant Professor in April of 2021 with a research group focused on understanding and preventing pathogen transmission at the confluence of public health, water quality, and innovative water treatment solutions. She and her team use microbiology tools to improve water treatment and reuse processes and bridge the gap between knowledge and practice. Before joining UBC, Dr. Beck evaluated cost-effective decentralized water reuse technologies at the Asian Institute of Technology near Bangkok, Thailand, and at Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology near Zurich, Switzerland.
Dr. Beck earned her Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2015. Her doctoral dissertation on Wavelength-Specific Effects of UV Light on Microorganisms and Viruses for Improving Water Disinfection received the Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation award from the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP) in 2016. She received an M.S. in Environmental Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a B.S. / B.A. in Aerospace Engineering / Studio Art from the University of Colorado Boulder. She supported the Space Shuttle and International Space Station programs in her first career as a NASA flight controller.
Research Associate and Postdocs
Post doctoral researcher
Dr. Paul Onkundi Nyangaresi
Dr. Nyangaresi earned a Bachelor's Degree in Education Science (Physics and Mathematics) and a Master of Science degree in Electronics and Instrumentation, both from Kenyatta University, Kenya. He completed his Doctorate of Engineering Degree in Electronics Science and Technology from Xiamen University in China. More
Dr. Leili Abkar
Leili received Master’s degrees from Iran University of Science and Technology and New Mexico State University (US) and a Ph.D. from Dalhousie University (Canada). She has a background in desalination and membrane technologies. At UBC, she’s working on a project to analyze the effect of microbial communities in membrane systems in rural communities.
Dr. Nataliia Stepova
Nataliia is joining us from Kyiv, Ukraine where she’s been working at the National Science Academy as a senior researcher at the Institute of Hydromechanics. She received her PhD from the Kyiv National University of Construction and Architecture and has expertise in water and wastewater treatment including computational modeling, fluid mechanics, and wastewater legislation
Patrick has broad experience in water treatment and epidemiology working with the WHO in their Infection Prevention and Control group preventing the spread of hemorrhagic fevers. He is from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and investigating virus detection, transmission and prevention methods.
Thusitha received his M.Sc in Environmental Engineering and Management from the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) in Thailand, where he specialized in Water and Wastewater Engineering, and his B.Sc in Biology from the University of Ruhuna in Sri Lanka. His research interests include membrane-based water and wastewater treatment... MORE
Stephen is a dedicated environmental engineer with a passion for novel clean water treatment techniques. Holding an M.Sc in Environmental Engineering and Management from the prestigious Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). During his academic journey, he specialized in optimizing the UV/UVLED Photo-Fenton reaction and the Electro-Fenton reaction... MORE
Folawe is from Nigeria and has experience working as a lab analyst and Quality, Health, Safety, and Environment Officer. She also founded a United for Health WASH group in Nigeria. She's researching fouling and scaling UV lamps in rural communities, working with a non-governmental organization in Mexico, and will one day be the head of UNICEF. 😊
Graduate Academic Assistant
Graduate Academic Assistant
Haiqa is a civil engineer who is pursuing her masters in environmental systems engineering. She is working on studying biofilms on membranes in drinking water membrane filtration systems in rural communities and the use of UV-LED’s for water treatment. She is also working in the Liquid Waste Services Department at MetroVancouver as a Co-op student. MORE
Undergraduate Academic Assistant - 2023
Harkirat is studying biochemistry with a focus on neuroscience. He has a variety of research experiences ranging from cognitive psychology to biological fieldwork. His first paper was published in his first year at UBC in which Harkirat explored the air permeability of face masks using fluid dynamics (https://dx.doi.org/10.14288/1.0398551). At the Beck Lab, Harkirat's focus is on quantifying the viral load before and after disinfection via different methods.