Author Archive

Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts Collections

Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts (ESPI) is the home for high-impact research that advances our understanding of environmental chemistry in natural matrices. Here, we’ve brought together all of our latest Article Collections, Themed Issues, and Editor’s Choice collections to enable you to easily navigate to content most relevant to you. We hope you enjoy reading the papers in these collections!

Ongoing Collections:

Themed Issues: 

Editors’ Choice Collections: 

 

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Emerging Investigator Series – Ryan Sullivan

Ryan Sullivan is an Associate Professor at Carnegie Mellon University, with a joint appointment in the Departments of Chemistry and Mechanical Engineering, and a courtesy appointment in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He is also a faculty member in the Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies, and the Associate Director of CMU’s Institute for Green Science. His primary interest is understanding the sources and chemical evolution of atmospheric aerosol particles, and how this evolution in turn alters the particle’s ability to nucleate clouds and thus alter climate. His research group at CMU develops analytical techniques for real-time analysis of individual aerosol particle composition used in his research. These include laser ablation single-particle mass spectrometry, aerosol optical tweezers, and microfluidic devices for ice nucleation measurements. The multi-phase chemical evolution of biomass burning aerosol from wood smoke is a major current focus. Ongoing experimental investigations include the alteration of the ice nucleation properties of smoke particles induced by chemical aging; and the activation of photo-labile chlorinated gases from heterogeneous reactions of nitrogen oxides with chloride salts emitted in the smoke. He has recently started new initiatives to develop and rigorously test advanced oxidation methods for the biosafe removal of micropollutants from wastewater.

Ryan obtained his Hon.B.Sc. in chemistry from the University of Toronto, and his M.Sc. and Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, San Diego. Before moving to Carnegie Mellon University in 2012, he completed his postdoctoral research in atmospheric chemistry at Colorado State University. Ryan is the recipient of a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation, and the National Academy of Science’s Cozzarelli Prize.

Read his Emerging Investigator Series article “Determination of biphasic core–shell droplet properties using aerosol optical tweezers” and find out more about him in the interview below:

Your recent Emerging Investigator Series paper focuses on the determination of biphasic core–shell droplet properties using aerosol optical tweezers . How has your research evolved from your first article to this most recent article?

The aerosol optical tweezers technique is a powerful approach to studying individual levitated particles. I started using optical tweezers six years ago, and we built two custom systems in my lab. One is for low temperature work to study ice nucleation, and the other has better controlled mixing and flow regimes for studying organic aerosol particles; that is the system used here. We recently reported the first aerosol optical tweezers experiments on complex secondary organic aerosol (SOA) that was produced and condensed onto a droplet directly in the tweezing chamber. We found that most of the SOA phase separated from the original droplet, be it a hydrophobic or aqueous phase, to form a core-shell morphology. We also observed strong evidence for a stable emulsified state of small SOA particles circulating in an aqueous droplet core. To more deeply investigate the chemical properties of these core-shell particle morphologies required us to develop the sophisticated analysis algorithm that we report here. This allows us to determine the properties of both the core and shell phases by analyzing the whispering gallery modes present in the Raman spectrum that form a standing wave around the droplet’s core and shell phases. It was Kyle Gorkowski who advanced upon the existing WGM analysis algorithms, drawing on his aerosol optics background to improve the accuracy and computational efficiency of this fitting algorithm.  I have never worked on spectral analysis algorithms before and this research is a nice example of how new scientific discoveries drive the creation of advanced data analysis methods, allowing us to probe environmental chemical systems more deeply.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment?

There has been a lot of interest in atmospheric chemistry recently in the role that particle morphology plays in determining how particles interact with and affect their surrounding environment. This changes how particles interact with radiation, with water vapor and clouds, and with trace gases that can react heterogeneously with particle surfaces, and the partitioning of gases into organic or aqueous particle phases. As each particle’s composition and morphology can be quite different from one and other, it is important to determine these properties at the individual particle level. Determining particle morphology is quite difficult, but aerosol optical tweezers provides a powerful way to do this in a direct manner on single levitated particles. The analysis algorithm we reported here allows us to better and more quickly determine the properties of core-shell morphologies. I’m excited to continue to use optical tweezers as a powerful physical chemistry experiment to investigate complex and realistic atmospheric particle systems. We’re now starting to use our core-shell analysis algorithm to investigate the interplay between a particle’s morphology and how it reacts heterogeneously with trace reactant gases.

In your opinion, what are the biggest advantages of the new algorithm presented in your paper over previous methods of analysing data from core-shell biphasic droplets?

When we first started analyzing core-shell droplets it would take hours just to fit one Raman spectral frame. We acquire a new droplet spectrum every 2 seconds, and often conduct experiments on a single droplet for hours, so this analysis was completely impractical. Thanks to the clever approaches that Kyle worked out, our new algorithm is much more efficient and can fit each spectrum in much less than a minute. We’re now able to analyze hours-long experiments and observe the properties of core-shell droplets evolve during these long experiments that simulate how particles might evolve during atmospheric transport. We now also have a much deeper understanding of the accuracy of our algorithm’s analysis of core-shell droplets and how this accuracy changes with the quality of the spectral data and number of whispering gallery modes present. This gives us much more confidence in the accuracy of any properties that we determine from biphasic droplets.

What do you find most challenging about your research?

Aerosol particles are really tough to do experiments on. This makes this research a fun challenge, but it can be very challenging indeed. A whole suite of expensive instruments is often required to determine all the different aerosol properties you need to know to understand their chemistry. As the submicron particles are so small and have very little mass, they are difficult to study at the individual particle level, and prone to change during analysis. If you just look at the particles they will change; they are constantly evolving. So you have to design your experiments very carefully, and always be open to unexpected surprises. That’s what makes the aerosol optical tweezers approach so powerful. We are constantly determining the properties of an individual particle as it continues to evolve so we know its entire life history. That allows us to answer important questions in a unique way, such as how do particles evolve as they move through the atmosphere and interact with light, water, other particles, and condensible or reactive gases?

In which upcoming conferences or events may our readers meet you?

This summer I’m helping to run a Workshop on “Aerosols and Clouds: Connections from the Laboratory to the Field to the Globe” at the Telluride Science Research Center in Colorado. Then in September I’ll be attending the International Aerosol Conference in St. Louis, Missouri. There I’m organizing a Special Symposium on “Unraveling the Many Facets of Ice Nucleating Particles and Their Interactions with Clouds”, and I’m the Chair of the working group on Instrumentation & Methods and helped organize more than 150 abstracts submitted to that topic. The International Aerosol Conference only takes place every 4 years, and comes to North America every 12 years, so it’s a great opportunity to interact with a wide range of international scholars who are all advancing our understanding of these complex, tiny, airborne particles.

How do you spend your spare time?

These days I play a lot of volleyball (indoor, on grass, and beach). Playing sand volleyball is the closest we get to going to the beach in Pittsburgh! Being 6’3” is a slight advantage in volleyball, but less so for the olympic lifting I also do. I also like to go hiking on the many trails we have in Appalachia.

Which profession would you choose if you were not a scientist?

I had to think about this one for awhile. I would probably work more on developing technology to help tackle important environmental problems, such as improved methods to remove pollutants from our air and water, and to prevent them from being produced in the first place. I suppose that still sounds like science though… A career working with environmental advocacy groups and NGOs to help raise awareness of environmental issues and educate young students and the general public about the environment would also be very satisfying.

Can you share one piece of career-related advice or wisdom with other early career scientists?

It’s really important to find research questions and topics that greatly speak to you. All research is hard to complete, especially when you’re starting your own lab, so why work on science that doesn’t really excite you? That passion will help propel you through the challenging parts. It’s also important to carve out your niche in research – what will you become known for? That doesn’t mean you have to try doing completely different new-to-you research from the start. Having a good balance of safer close-to-home and riskier but more innovative research projects is a good approach.

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Emerging Investigator Series – Ning Dai

We are delighted to introduce our latest Environmental Science: Processes and Impacts Emerging Investigator, Ning Dai!

Dr. Ning Dai is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering at the University at Buffalo. Her research areas include disinfection processes for wastewater reuse and the fate of agrochemicals in natural systems. Ning received her B.S in Environmental Science and Engineering from Tsinghua University in China, M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Stanford University, and Ph.D. in Chemical and Environmental Engineering from Yale University. She joined the University at Buffalo in 2014 after a brief postdoctoral training in Stanford University. Dr. Dai is a recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER Award.

Read her Emerging Investigator Series article: ‘Sunlight photolysis of 2,4-D herbicides in systems simulating leaf surfaces’ and find out more about her in the interview below:

Your recent Emerging Investigator Series paper focuses on sunlight photolysis of herbicides in systems simulating leaf surfaces. How has your research evolved from your first article to this most recent article?

This is actually my first article on photochemistry in natural systems. My past research mainly focused on engineering systems such as amine scrubbers for carbon capture and disinfection and oxidation processes for water reuse. As a PhD student, I only had a short project on tetracycline photolysis in my first semester; however, I was continuously exposed to photochemistry from group meeting presentations and from the discussions with one of my lab mates, who is an excellent photochemist. After I started my own group at University at Buffalo, I thought it would be interesting to pursue some projects in this topic. I still have a lot to learn in photochemistry, but I think that is the exciting part to be in academia – there are always new things to learn and discover!

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment?

I am generally excited about learning. My students and I are learning new methods and analytical tools to try to answer new research questions. I find that a rewarding experience.

In your opinion, what is the biggest environmental impact presented by the photolysis of herbicides on leaf surfaces?

I believe further understanding of herbicide photolysis on leaf surface can improve the environmental fate model for pesticides. Currently, pesticide transformation on plant surface is not considered in the fate model, but it can be important for some pesticides. For example, we showed in this study that the photolysis of 2,4-D herbicides on surface can proceed at comparable rates as their biodegradation. This is noteworthy because biodegradation is considered to be the most important degradation pathway in the current fate model.

What do you find most challenging about your research?

To study photochemistry on plant surface, it is challenging to create well-controlled and yet environmentally relevant experimental conditions. This, I believe, also applies to any research involving heterogeneous systems.

In which upcoming conferences or events may our readers meet you?

I will be attending the American Chemical Society Fall Meeting in Boston this August. My student Lei Su (first author of this paper) will be presenting at the ARGO division.

How do you spend your spare time?

I enjoy swing dance, although I don’t get to dance as frequently as I did in graduate school. I guess it is somewhat busy to be a new faculty!

Which profession would you choose if you were not a scientist?

I believe I would be a full-time teacher (that is part of the university faculty job description as well). I enjoy the process of sharing knowledge.

Can you share one piece of career-related advice or wisdom with other early career scientists?

In my own experience as a PhD student, I learned a lot from my research group; not only on my dissertation projects, but also on the research topics I was not involved in. Similarly, I also learned from friends in other research groups and even other departments. The benefits extend beyond scientific knowledge, and include many great advices on career development. I consider peer learning a crucial component of the graduate school experience, and I would recommend everyone to fully engage in it.

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Dioxin 2018

The 38th International Symposium on Halogenated Persistent Organic Pollutants & 10th International PCB Workshop: 

DIOXIN 2018 

This year, the conference will take place between 26th – 31st August, 2018 in Kraków, Poland.  

Dioxin 2018 highly promotes the involvement of industry in fighting POP pollution and interaction of industry representatives with potential and existing customers and clients in all areas of investigation: analytical, regulatory, exposure assessment, and toxicological aspects relating to Persistent Organic Pollutants. Therefore, the message of the DIOXIN 2018 is: no boundaries in POPs pollution, research and control.

Further information about the conference, including a full list of plenary speakers can be found on the main conference website

 

Register before 30th June 2018 and check the conference website for full details on registration fees.

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Canadian Ecotoxicity Workshop 2018


 

The Canadian Ecotoxicity Workshop 2018 takes place this year from 30th September – 3rd October at the Sheraton Wall Centre in Vancouver, BC.

The three day workshop aims to progress the field of ecotoxicology by reflecting the work done on the preservation of our natural ecosystems and mitigate the harmful effects of pollutants.  It will provide the opportunity to share information on current and emerging topics of regional, national and international importance related to contaminants in ecosystems, both aquatic and terrestrial. It covers a range of sessions which are fully listed on the conference website here.

 

Abstracts must be submitted before 6th July 2018

 

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27th Symposium on Environmental Chemistry Prize Winners!

The 27th Symposium on Environmental Chemistry was held in Naha, Japan between 22-25 May 2018. The conference was chaired by Professor Kiwao Kadokami and was comprised of a number of plenary lectures, talks and posters on topics covering the breadth of environmental chemistry.

On behalf of the Environmental Science Journals, we would like to congratulate the following prize winners for contributing their outstanding posters.

Left to Right: Hiromitsu Urakami (RSC) , Sumika Ono (Ehime University), Alto Sonoda (Kagoshima University), Collins Nimako (Hokkaido University), Mai Shindo (Shizuoka University) and Professor Kiwao Kadokami (Committee Chair)

Environmental Science: Nano winner: 

Alto Sonoda (Kagoshima University)
Poster title: ‘Device for Measuring Dermal Exposure Rate of Flame Retardants via Direct Contact with Products.’

Environmental Science: Water Research and Technology winner: 

Sumika Ono (Ehime University)
Poster title:‘Development of highly sensitive analytical method for thyroid hormones in the brain using LC-MS/MS’

Environmental Science: Processes and Impacts 

Collins Nimako (Hokkaido University)
Poster title: ‘Evaluation of Neonicotinoid Insecticide exposure in the humans in Kumasi, Ghana’

Mai Shindo (Shizuoka University)
Poster title: ‘Analysis and leaching of trace elements in Sakurajima ash fall samples’

Congratulations once again to all awardees! 

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The Geochemistry and Mineralogy of Contaminated Environments 2018

The Geochemistry and Mineralogy of Contaminated Environments

6th June, Burlington House, London

Image result for the-geochemistry-and-mineralogy-of-contaminated-environments

 

The aim of this meeting is to explore how understanding the geochemistry and mineralogy of the natural environment can help us to predict the fate and behaviour of contaminants, and mitigate their impacts.

The deadline for standard registration closes on 18th May. Please register using the RSC booking portal and find further information about the meeting including confirmed speakers and contact details on our Conference and Events database.

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Congratulations to the winner of NOSA Early Career Scientist Aerosologist Award 2018

We are delighted to announce the winner of the NOSA Early Career Scientist Aerosologist Award 2018. Jana Johansson (pictured below) from Stockholm University has been awarded the prize for the best Ph.D. thesis of 2017 by the Nordic Society for Aerosol Research (NOSA).

“I have a MSc in Chemistry and a PhD in Applied Environmental Science, both from Stockholm University. I defended my thesis in June of 2017. Its title is ‘Sources, transport and fate of perfluoroalkyl acids in the atmosphere’. Perfluoroalkyl acids are persistent anthropogenic chemicals present in humans, biota and in the abiotic environment globally. Several potential sources have been proposed to explain the presence of perfluoroalkyl alkyl acids in the atmosphere. My research is focused on increasing our understanding of their relative importance on the global scale. One of the main findings presented in my thesis is that perfluoroalkyl acids are strongly enriched in sea spray aerosol. Consequently, the global oceans may act as an important source of perfluoroalkyl acids to the atmosphere. As a post doc, I am now setting up studies to test this hypothesis as well as studies aimed at determining the importance of sea spray as a vector for ocean-to-atmosphere transport of other anthropogenic and biogenic substances.”

“During my time as a PhD student I noticed that there is quite a big divide between contaminant scientists and aerosol scientists. As a result, our view of the atmospheric transport of pollutants is sometimes overly simplistic. To address some of the questions which have remained unanswered in my field during the last decade, I collaborated with scientists from the atmospheric aerosol unit of the Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry (Stockholm University). Receiving recognition from the aerosol community has encouraged me to continue this work as part of my post doc”, says Jana Johansson.

Congratulations to Jana on this outstanding achievement. We wish her all the best with her future research on sea spray aerosols.

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Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography Summer Meeting (ASLO) 2018

Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography Summer Meeting (ASLO) 2018 takes place in Victoria, BC, Canada from 10-15th June 2018.

This meeting will encourage you to bring your knowledge, curiosity, and creativity to connect with each other and to share your passion for water!

 

The full scientific program will be posted in April 2018 so keep checking the conference website here for details. To register for the conference, click here.

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International Conference on Computational Chemistry and Toxicology in Environmental Science 2018

The International Conference on Computational Chemistry and Toxicology in Environmental Science 2018 will be held at the National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan from 4th May 2018 to 6th May, 2018.

 

Topics of interest include Environmental multimedia model, Environmental Computational Chemistry and Computational Toxicology. For further details including other topics of interest, invited speakers, plenary lectures and information on the organising committee, see the conference website.

Organizer: National Chung Hsing University

Implementer: Department of Soil and Environmental Sciences, National Chung Hsing University

Contact personProfessor Chia Ming Chang

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