Monique Haakensen, PhD, RPBio, PBiol, EP
President & Principal Scientist
Dr. Monique Haakensen holds a PhD in applied microbiology, and post-doctoral research associateship in environmental microbiology and biogeochemistry. With over a decade of experience, Dr. Haakensen’s expertise in bioremediation and passive/semi-passive water treatment spans from conceptual design, to technical and public regulatory hearings, through to implementation and long-term closure. She has worked on passive treatment systems such as constructed wetlands for more than a dozen mines at various stages of operation including exploration, active, closed and abandoned, many of which are located in Northern Canada. A specialist in passive water treatment, constructed treatment wetlands, biogeochemistry and genetic microbial profiling (microbiome, metagenomics, metatranscriptomics), Dr. Haakensen oversees research programs for technology development in these areas at Contango in addition to their consulting activities. Since founding Contango in 2010, she has grown the company into a thriving environmental firm with laboratories and dedicated pilot facilities. As a result, she has been named one of Canada’s future entrepreneurial leaders by Profit Magazine (2011), and to their W100 list of Canada’s top female entrepreneurs (2015).
Outside of her business activities, Dr. Haakensen serves as an Adjunct Professor in the School of Environment and Sustainability at the University of Saskatchewan and as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences at Clemson University (South Carolina). She previously served as an Academic lead for the University of the Arctic. In 2014, Dr. Haakensen became the youngest person ever appointed to Canada’s Science, Technology and Innovation Council, providing the federal government with confidential, evidence-based advice on key issues that affect Canadian society and our economic development.
Vanessa Friesen, PhD
Partner & Principal Scientist
Dr. Friesen (Pittet) is a specialist in microbial profiling, with over a decade of experience in genetic sequencing and analysis technologies for microbes such as microbiome, genomic, metagenomic, transcriptomic, and metatranscriptomic methods. She has merged this expertise with a passion for the outdoors and the environment (supported by her degrees in microbiology and biochemistry), allowing for unique insights into environmental microbial processes that drive remediation efforts. Vanessa is involved in the scientific design, data analysis, and interpretation for client projects. Passionate about operational effectiveness and quality assurance, she also oversees new technology development by Contango’s team of technologists. Prior to joining Contango, Dr. Friesen successfully lead a multi-million dollar interdisciplinary, multi-stakeholder technology development program that established novel microbial profiling services which are now being applied at Contango to assess environmental and remediation projects around the world.