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Bear with me

When Jennie Christensen joined Stantec, she brought with her a passion for bears. Stantec’s R&D fund gave her the resources to explore it

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<p><b>JENNIE christensen</b></p> <p>I’ve had a vision for a research project with grizzly bears and contaminants now for six years. It was looking at the fate and transport of organic contaminants to grizzly bears through the various food webs. For three of those six years I had been trying really hard to get funding, and this was before I was at Stantec, and it was proving very difficult. Although people found the ideas interesting, they didn’t want to financially support it or couldn’t see the application of it. So within two months of being hired at Stantec, I heard about the Research and Development grant at Stantec that supported individuals who wanted to do research. So I put forward my ideas and lo and behold they were interested in it.</p> <p>So we started with that project. It was the development of a laser ablation technique to monitor metals in grizzly bear hair.</p> <p><b>MARIE NOEL</b></p> <p>With the laser technique, we have really high resolution in the type of data that we get. So in conventional methods, usually you need about 10 hairs from grizzly bear or any wildlife, and you get one mercury data for 6 months mercury exposure period. But with the laser, you just need one hair, and you get one mercury data point every four days over a six month period. So that’s the first time that it’s been done in wildlife hair so it’s really exciting.</p> <p><b>JENNIE</b></p> <p>I found out that I won best paper of 2013 for environmental toxicology and chemistry journal. It’s something that I never would have expected to win in a lifetime, so I’m very proud and very excited as that was one of my favourite research topics with the bears and contaminants, it’s something I’m very passionate about.</p>

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