The Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) and the
International Copper Association (ICA) are pleased to announce the Chris Lee Award for Metals Research
to Tamzin Blewett, who graduated with a PhD from McMaster University in 2015. Her main research
interests to date have focused on the effect of water chemistry on nickel toxicity to marine and estuarine
Blewett is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Alberta, where she is currently investigating
the fate and effects of metals within hydraulic fracturing flow back and produced water in sensitive aquatic
model species. Her work supports the development of regulatory tools that set appropriate limits for industry
by accounting for levels of aquatic metal contaminants that are likely to cause harm. Blewett is being
acknowledged for the excellence of her research in metals, as well as her commitment to mentoring young,
particularly female, researchers.
Blewett did not start out with a passion for metals research. While studying chemistry and biology in her
undergraduate years, she volunteered in Deborah MacLatchy’s laboratory, working on a project examining
the fate and effects of organic toxicants in aquatic ecosystems. The challenge of the work, coupled with the
enthusiastic encouragement from MacLatchy, created a passion for protecting aquatic systems from
anthropogenic toxicants. Later, during her PhD, Chris Wood, an internationally recognized environmental
metals researcher, assumed this mentoring role.
Her multidisciplinary training, with technique competencies in biology, physiology, toxicology, chemistry
and biogeochemistry has afforded Blewett numerous opportunities for collaboration and has resulted in
several scientific papers. Despite her heavy workload, she continues to find time to mentor undergraduates,
volunteer with science outreach groups, organize symposia and seminars, and contribute to five
professional, scientific societies, including SETAC, at both the national and regional levels.
The SETAC/ICA Chris Lee Award for Metals Research, which was established by the society and
sponsored by the ICA, provides financial support to a graduate student or recent graduate who has focused
on research related to the fate or effects of metals in the environment. The society named the award in honor
of the late Chris Lee, who provided many technical contributions and served as a leader in the field.