Ecological Impacts of Emerging Contaminants

We are studying the effect of emerging contaminants on the microbial ecology in natural and engineered systems as well as their environmental and human health toxicological effects.

In our research, we are focusing on several classes of emerging contaminants including pharmaceutically active compounds (PhACs), nanomaterials,  brominated flame retardants and surfactants.  We are also studying the fate of genetically modified transgenes to investigate them as a potential emerging contaminant (through the use of genetically modified crops in agriculture).  These compounds are being introduced into the environment via community and on-site wastewater treatment facilities, through the overflow or leakages of storage facilities and land application of untreated animal wastes, and through manufacturing residues. The transgenes may also be spreading antibiotic resistance if they persist in the environment.

The ecological impacts of emerging contaminants in wastewater biosolids is currently being investigated through a grant from the National Science Foundation and is being performed in collaboration with Dr. Heather Stapleton

The ecological impacts of nanomaterials project is funded by the National Science Foundation and the USEPA through CEINT. Recently, we have evaluated nanoceria and nanosilver.

The ecological impacts of transgenes in agricultural settings is funded by the National Science Foundation.

TEM Images of Nitrosomonas europaea