Dr. Heather Buckley

Dr. Heather Buckley
Associate Professor
Civil Engineering
Office: ECS 418

MSc (UBC), PhD (UC Berkeley)

Area of expertise

Green chemistry, molecular sensors for water contaminants, safer prevention of fouling

Greener Approaches to Safe Drinking Water

I am a green chemist and engineering professor who believes that responsible development of greener technologies is a core component to improving human and environmental health. Designing tools for better environmental monitoring and strategies for the proactive use of safer alternatives empowers communities and industrial partners towards environmental stewardship and better public health outcomes.

We seek to empower communities in Canada and internationally through interventions at all stages of the drinking water supply chain. We are particularly interested in metals and other contaminants introduced through human activity.


Materials for low-cost in-field detection of metals in water

Current methods for detecting metals in water are often costly or complicated. We design and synthesize selective electrochemically or photochemically active sensor molecules to bind and report the presence of metals and other species at low concentrations.

Improving ion selective membranes through a greener approach to biofouling prevention

Many water treatment technologies rely on selective membranes at some stage. Prevention of biofouling is essential to their efficient function, but antimicrobials introduced into water can have hazardous side effects. We are designing low-hazard antimicrobials to integrate into membrane structures, improving efficiency and safety.

Mining conventional and unconventional waste streams

Mining and petroleum tailings and electronic waste contain valuable mineral/chemical resources and valuable water. We are designing effective separations to incentivize better remediation of tailings and provide economic opportunities in electronic waste recycling.

Toxicity reduction to enhance "fit-for-purpose" water use

Potable water is not needed for many applications (cooling, irrigation, etc.) and can be conserved for drinking if the toxicity of industrial effluents is appropriately characterized and managed. We are determining the composition and hazard profile of variable-waste streams, providing opportunities for their treatment and reuse.