Dr. Jennie Christensen, Ph.D., R.P.Bio.
Dr. Christensen is the CEO/Founder of TrichAnalytics Inc. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of Victoria and an M.Sc. from the University of British Columbia, both in toxicology. She has over 20 years of industry experience including 12 years of environmental consulting experience, mainly related to wildlife biomonitoring. Understanding metal uptake by wildlife and humans is one of Jennie’s professional passions and is reflected in her commitment to these types of projects over the last decade. She has conducted contaminant and metal uptake projects related to bears, humans, otters, small mammals, fish, amphibians, invertebrates, algae, and osprey, and in 2013, won Best Paper Award in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry for her non-invasive approach to monitoring contaminant uptake in grizzly bears.
Jennie started studying metal exposure and nutritional elements in humans eight years ago. It began by analyzing hair and nails from two deceased crew members from the 1845 Franklin Expedition. She used a combination of stable isotope analysis, laser ablation, and micro-X-ray fluorescence to analyze lead, zinc, and copper exposure during the early expedition. Jennie has also been studying elements and heavy metals in children and adults, and the impacts of external contamination from poor air quality and hair treatments. She has developed all the methods and reference materials used for hair mineral analysis at TrichAnalytics Inc.
Through Jennie’s previous experience as an environmental toxicology consultant, certain challenges and inefficiencies became apparent in environmental monitoring programs for industry. Specifically, she abhorred the need for lethal sampling (e.g., fish tissue) in order to obtain enough sample volume for bulk analysis. Additionally, collecting enough smaller organisms such as algae or invertebrates was challenging, and the smaller volumes typically resulted in substantially poorer analytical detection limits. Typical laboratory turnaround times were frustratingly slow, in the order of multiple weeks or months, with costs doubled or tripled for expedited results. As Jennie realized the opportunities of using laser ablation analysis to address these issues and challenges through decades of research and method development, she opened the only commercial lab in the world that conducts this analysis, TrichAnalytics Inc., where the team is committed to providing our clients non-lethal, small sample size, cost-effective and accurate analysis, with fast turnaround times.
For more information on Dr. Christensen’s environmental work, click here for a list of her publications.