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:
Krista Barzen-Hanson (Postdoctoral researcher)
Caroll Mendonca (Graduate Researcher)
Rebecca Wilkes (Graduate researcher)

Biochemical Responses to Organic Contaminants
Personnel:
Rebecca Wilkes (Graduate researcher)
Cloelle Danforth (Visiting Scholar)

Molecular Chemistry of Natural Organic Matter and Macromolecules
Personnel:
Krista Barzen-Hanson (Postdoctoral researcher)
Annaleise Klein (Postdoctoral researcher)
Mina Sohltalab (Research Assistant)
Reid Balkind (Undergraduate researcher)

Organic Contaminants and Organic Matter at Mineral Interfaces
Personnel:
Annaleise Klein (Postdoctoral researcher)
Sabrina Kelch (Graduate Researcher)
Reid Balkind (Undergraduate Researcher)
Irene Sarri (Undergraduate researcher)


FA2015_(4)

FA2015_(4)

Photo credit: Jesse Winter, Cornell OVPR.