Dr. Nicole Heshka

Image Heshka, Nicole
Research Scientist

Upstream and Environment

Current research and/or projects


In 2007, after completing my Honors degree in Chemistry, I entered the Ph.D. program at the University of Alberta. I finished my doctorate in analytical chemistry in 2012, focussing on the separation and characterization of heavy oil samples. Following graduation, I began an NSERC Visiting Fellowship at CanmetENERGY in Devon, where I now work as an analytical chemistry research scientist. I enjoy the creative challenge that research presents, and am passionate about improving the representation and equity of women in STEM fields and the oil and gas industry.  


Research and/or project statements

Current Research Projects:

  • Analytical method development applied to water samples from oil spill test scenarios, including PAHs and oxygenated hydrocarbons
  • High resolution mass spectrometric analysis of environmental water samples related to oil spill test simulations
  • Physico-chemical characterization of froth treated tailings by advanced multidimensional gas chromatography methods
  • Creation of biomass coprocessing technologies using fluid catalytic cracking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Professional activities / interests

  • Serving as an expert reviewer of manuscripts for publication in scientific journals
  • Scientific writing, and the communication of science to expert and non-expert audiences
  • Gender equality and the mentoring of women in STEM fields

Education and awards


Ph.D in Analytical Chemistry, University of Alberta, 2012. 

BSc in Chemistry with First Class Honors, University of Alberta, 2007.   


Sector Recognition Award for Excellent Science (IETS), 2017

Governor General’s Gold Academic Medal, University of Alberta, 2012.

Faculty of Science Dissertation Award, University of Alberta, 2012.

Profiling Alberta’s Graduate Students Award, 2012.

Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship (Doctoral), 2011.

President’s Doctoral Prize of Distinction, University of Alberta (2010, 2009, 2008).

NSERC PGS-D3 Graduate Scholarship, 2008.

Alberta Ingenuity Graduate Student Scholarship, 2008.

University of Alberta Centennial Award, 2007.

Dean’s Silver Medal in Science, University of Alberta, 2007.

Gold Medal in Chemistry, University of Alberta, 2007.

NSERC Canadian Graduate Scholarship (masters), 2007.

NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award, 2006.

Governor General’s Bronze Academic Medal, Archbishop Jordan High School, 2003.    

Key publications

  • Heshka, N.E., Baltazar, M., Chen, J., “Separation and Quantification of Olefins and Diolefins in Cracked Petroleum Fractions Using Silver-Ion High Performance Liquid Chromatography”, Petroleum Science and Technology, 2019, 37, 1808-1816.
  • Heshka, N.E., Choy, J.M., Chen, J., “Gas chromatographic sulfur speciation in heavy crude oil using a modified standard D5623 method and microfluidic Deans switching”, Journal of Chromatography A, 2017, 1530, 241-246.
  • Heshka, N.E., Hager, D.B., “Measurement of H2S in Crude Oil and Crude Oil Headspace Using Multidimensional Gas Chromatography, Deans Switching and Sulfur-Selective Detection”, Journal of Visualized Experiments, 2015, 106, e53416, DOI: 10.3791/53416 *Invited submission
  • Heshka, N.E., Hager, D.B., “A Multidimensional Gas Chromatography Method for the Analysis of H2S in Crude Oil and Crude Oil Headspace”, Journal of Separation Science, 2014, 37, 3649-3655.