Research Activities

Research Topics

Research Summary Figure 2014


Research Overview

The objective of our research activities is to obtain a mechanistic understanding of the “why” and “how” of the environmental behavior of biologically-active organic molecules with implications for environmental contamination, soil fertility, agricultural productivity, and ecosystem health. We are particularly interested in the fate and effects of organic contaminants including herbicides, antibiotics and natural toxins and in the reactivity and fate of important organic substrates and macromolecules in environmental matrices. Our investigative approaches employ a combination of experimental and computational techniques to resolve the mechanisms of the chemical and biochemical interactions relevant to the environmental chemistry and toxicology of these molecules. The long-term goal of our research is to achieve a mechanism-based quantitative evaluation of the potential implications of these bioactive molecules for environmental fate and exposure, chemical transformation, biotechnology, ecosystem health, and carbon dynamics in aquatic and terrestrial environments.


Research Techniques

Environmental Chemistry: X-ray diffraction; Solid-State NMR; Liquid-State NMR; Fluorescence quenching spectroscopy; Infrared spectroscopy; Molecular dynamics simulations.

Environmental Biochemistry: Metabolomics; Liquid-chromatography-mass spectrometry, liquid-state NMR; Flux modeling of metabolic network; Molecular docking simulations.


Current Research Activities

Microbial Carbon Metabolism of Organic Substrates
Personnel:
Rebecca Wilkes (Graduate researcher)
Caroll Mendonca (Graduate researcher)
Annie Werner (Undergraduate researcher)

Biochemical Responses to Organic Contaminants
Personnel:
Rebecca Wilkes (Graduate researcher)
Caroll Mendonca (Graduate researcher)
Bridget Jones (upcoming undergraduate researcher)

Molecular Chemistry of Natural Organic Matter and Macromolecules
Personnel:
Annaleise Klein (Postdoctoral researcher)
Mina Sohltalab (Graduate researcher)
Reid Balkind (Undergraduate researcher)
Yeon soo Park (Undergraduate researcher)

Organic Contaminants and Organic Matter at Mineral Interfaces
Personnel:
Annaleise Klein (Postdoctoral researcher)
Eleanor Bakker (Postdoctoral researcher)
Sabrina Kelch (Graduate Researcher)
Michael Glaser(Graduate Researcher)
Irene Sarri (Undergraduate researcher)
Ananya Gangadhar (Undergraduate Research)


FA2015_(4)

FA2015_(4)

Photo credit: Jesse Winter, Cornell OVPR.