Current projects as well as future project will be posted here.

 

NEW!!! Currently, I am looking for a well qualified PhD student to start a new project using high resolution mass spec. instruments, sensitive bioassays, and machine learning tools to identify the compounds driving endocrine disruption in surface bodies of water. Please see the announcement here!

 

Endocrine Disruption:

Currently, we are collecting water from the wastewater treatment plant at the nearby city of Philomath. Unlike most WWTPs, Philomath treats their water through a series of ponds. On average, the retention time is >90 days. Wastewater contains many compounds that are bioactive, which elicit cellular responses within the body. Because the retention time is so long, we expect to see a varied chemical gradient along the entire length of the system due to bio-/photo-transformations. This change in bioactivity is also expected to vary seasonally given changes in transformation rates. Using this system, we are hoping to identify the unknown compounds driving estrogen and glucocorticoid activity leaving WWTPs.

 

Geochemical Cycling:

Trace elements like copper, sulfur, and selenium are essential the the health of humans and all vertebrates. Trace element concentrations have typically been thought to be relatively constant on soils and change on geologic time scales. We recently discovered that this is not necessarily true, as trace elements in the soil are affected by climatic processes. By collecting soils that have recently experienced considerable change (arid soils that were recently converted to lawns, forest soils that were recently clear cut), our aim is to determine the factors driving changes in soil trace element concentrations and whether or not soil conditions can be manipulated to increase the concentrations of essential trace elements in agricultural soils.