Dr. Amila O. De Silva

Image Amila De Silva
Research Scientist - Environmental chemistry of priority and emerging organic pollutants

Research program focusing on organic contaminants (PFAS, flame retardants, stain repellants, plasticizers, UV stabilizers, antioxidants, etc) in the aquatic environment: method development, bioaccumulation, sediment-water partitioning, long range transport, temporal trends, spatial distribution. 

Current research and/or projects

Develop knowledge on the distribution, fate and bioaccumulation of priority substances for assessment and management of chemicals

  • Application of non-target screening approaches using high resolution mass spectrometry to identify contaminants of interest
  • Conduct bioaccumulation and biotransformation of candidate persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in aquatic organisms including invertebrate
  • Interrogate sources of candidate POPs based on environmental distribution and patterns of pollution
  • Contribute information on the environmental fate and disposition including persistence, bioaccumulation, and long range transport potential of chemicals relating to the Chemicals Management Plan
  • Studies on new contaminants in foodwebs such as those of the Great Lakes and Arctic

Professional activities / interests

Adjunct Professor, Department of Environmental and Physical Sciences, University of Toronto Scarborough

Adjunct Professor, Department of Chemistry, Memorial University

Education and awards

Postdoctoral Visiting Fellow, Environment Canada

Ph.D. Environmental Chemistry, University of Toronto

M.Sc. Analytical Chemistry, McGill University

B.Sc. (Hons.) Environmental Science - Chemistry, Carleton University

International experience and/or work

- Served as Canadian delegate on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Gender Task Group, 2019-20

- Chair of Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Chemistry Interest Group Steering Committee, 2019-20

- Organizing Committee for SETAC Focus Topic Meeting on Perfluoroalkyl Substances, 2019

- Invited speaker, Conference on Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances, Boston, MA, USA June 10-12 2019

- Contributor to Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program Persistent Organic Pollutants Expert Group Meeting, Stockholm, Sweden, 2019

Key publications

  1. Sun, Y., De Silva, A.O.*, St. Pierre, K.A., Muir, D.C.G., Spencer, C., Lehnherr, I., MacInnis, J.J. 2020. Glacial Melt Inputs of Organophosphate Ester Flame Retardants to the Largest High Arctic Lake, Environ. Sci. Technol. 2020, 54, 5, 2734-2743. Open Access.
  2. MacInnis, J.J., Lehnherr, I., Muir, D.C.G., St. Pierre, K.A., St. Louis, V.L., Spencer, C., De Silva, A.O.* 2019. Fate and Transport of Perfluoroalkyl Substances from Snowpacks into a Lake in the High Arctic of Canada. Environ. Sci. Technol. 53, 18, 10753–10762.
  3. Pickard, H.M., Criscitiello, A.S., Spencer, C., Sharp, M.J., Muir, D.C.G., De Silva, A.O.*, Young, C.J.* 2018. Continuous non-marine inputs of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances to the High Arctic: A multi-decadal temporal record. Atmos. Chem. and Physics. 18: 5045-5058. https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2017-1009.