NSERC Chair for
Women in Science & Engineering

Qingye (Gemma) Lu

Dr. Qingye (Gemma) Lu

Girls and young women should be courageous, creative, and passionate about their work.

Assistant professor, Chemical and petroleum engineering
University of Calgary

Dr. Qingye (Gemma) Lu is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Calgary. Her research focuses on bioadhesion, colloid and interfacial chemistry, polymers, nanomaterials/nanotechnology and their applications in biomedical and industrial processes such as anti-fouling, oil sands process water treatment, tailings settling enhancement, emission controls, soil remediation, etc. She also has strong expertise in microfluidics, fuel cells and electrochemistry. She did both her BSc and MSc in Chemistry at Wuhan University, China and obtained her PhD in Analytical Chemistry at University of Alberta. After her PhD, she worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Alberta.

As an academic, what is your favourite part of your job?

As an academic, what is your favourite part of your job? I can work on some research projects which I am interested in to benefit our world and train and uplift young generations with better capabilities and living purpose.

What are you researching and what excites you about it?

I work on development of bioinspired functional materials in environmental remediation, and understanding of fundamental surface and interfacial interactions by molecular-level force probes. I find the fundamental interaction studies are important for guiding the material design and learning from nature can resolve some problems we faced and advance the sustainability of the world.

What types of professions can students graduating in your field enter?

Students graduating in my field can become environmental engineers, chemical engineers, environmental consultants, laboratory research and development specialists, governmental and non-profit researchers.

Is your workplace male-dominated? If so, how do you negotiate being a woman in a male-dominated workplace and/or field?

Yes. It is important to make everyone aware of the diversity issues. When hiring, evaluating and promoting female researchers/faculties, it is necessary to overcome bias and prejudice.

How do you foster and encourage diversity in your workplace?

Advocating hiring more female faculties.

What kinds of systemic support could institutions provide to help encourage girls and women to pursue careers in science and engineering?

Institutions should encourage girls and young women to pursue careers in science and engineering by providing financial support like fellowships for female graduate students, PDFs, hosting workshops to help females connect with industry sponsors.

What advice would you give to girls or young women who are interested in careers in science or engineering?

Girls or young women should be courageous, creative, and passionate about their work if they want to pursue their careers in science or engineering.

As a professional in science or engineering, who are your role models and mentors?

I have been fortunate to have some female role models during my graduate studies and my career, such as my PhD supervisor, and a couple of female colleagues.