Author Archive

Emerging Investigators – the latest work from rising stars in Environmental Science

We are delighted to share with you a selection of high-impact papers by Emerging Investigators in the field of environmental science and engineering. These papers, published across Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, Environmental Science: Nano, and Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology, showcase the breadth of exciting research being conducted by rising stars in our field.

The latest work from rising stars of environmental science

Emerging investigator series: bacteriophages as nano engineering tools for quality monitoring and pathogen detection in water and wastewater
Zeinab Hosseinidoust et al

Emerging investigator series: carbon electrodes are effective for the detection and reduction of hexavalent chromium in water
Noémie Elgrishi et al [OPEN ACCESS]

Emerging investigator series: quantifying silver nanoparticle aggregation kinetics in real-time using particle impact voltammetry coupled with UV-vis spectroscopy
Kathryn R. Riley et al

Emerging investigator series: air conditioning filters as a sampler for semi-volatile organic compounds in indoor and near-building air
Lisa Melymuk et al

Emerging investigator series: activated sludge upon antibiotic shock loading: mechanistic description of functional stability and microbial community dynamics
Seungdae Oh and Donggeon Choi

Emerging investigator series: heterogeneous OH oxidation of primary brown carbon aerosol: effects of relative humidity and volatility
Elijah G. Schnitzler et al

Emerging investigator series: onsite recycling of saline–alkaline soil washing water by forward osmosis: techno-economic evaluation and implication
Wenhai Luo et al

Emerging investigator series: molecular mechanisms of plant salinity stress tolerance improvement by seed priming with cerium oxide nanoparticles
Juan Pablo Giraldo et al

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The RSC’s Emerging Investigator Series provides a unique platform for early-career environmental scientists & engineers to showcase their best work to a broad audience. Contact us to apply for consideration in this Series. To be eligible, you will need to have completed your PhD (or equivalent degree) within the last 10 years†, have an independent career and appear as corresponding author on the manuscript.

Across the journals, the Emerging Investigator Series is curated by our Series Editors; David Cwiertny, Long Nghiem, Ligy Philip, Delphine Farmer, Lenny Winkel, Guang-Guo Ying and Peter Vikesland.

Read more of our Emerging Investigator Series papers using the links below.

Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts Emerging Investigator Series

Environmental Science: Nano Emerging Investigator Series

Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology Emerging Investigator Series

Also, read the latest interviews with our Emerging Investigators to find out more about their work and the important research challenges that they are tackling.

We hope you enjoy reading these papers from future leaders in the field of environmental science.

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Nanosafety 2020 – Environmental Science: Nano Prize Winners


Environmental Science: Nano
was delighted to sponsor poster prizes at the Nanosafety 2020 virtual conference, which took place online from the 5th – 7th October 2020.

The ES: Nano Poster Prize was awarded to Steffen Gottschling (Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien) for his work on ‘Differences in experts’ and laypersons’ sourcing when reading about a scientific conflict in nanosafety: an eye-tracking study’.

“The poster presented results from an eye-tracking study comparing the use of source information between laypersons and experts when confronted with a scientific conflict in nanosafety,” says Steffen. “The results of the study suggest that experts show a higher level of attention to and use of source information compared to laypersons. Therefore, we argue that science communication should provide laypersons with easily accessible source information to encourage its use on a regular basis and science education should convey source evaluation as an important aspect of science literacy.”

The second place prize was awarded to Tim Spannbrucker (Leibniz-Institut für umweltmedizinische Forschung) for his work: ‘Repetitive exposure to carbon nanoparticles induce cell cycle arrest, senescence and loss of gap junctional communication in lung epithelial cells’.

Congratulations to both Steffen and Tim!

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Latest HOT, Review and Open Access content from Environmental Science: Nano

We are delighted to share with you a hand-picked selection of papers recently published in Environmental Science: Nano.

HOT papers – as recommended by our Editors & Reviewers

The fabrication of 3D hierarchical flower-like δ-MnO2@COF nanocomposites for the efficient and ultra-fast removal of UO22+ ions from aqueous solution
Xin Zhong et al

Nanoscale observations of Fe(II)-induced ferrihydrite transformation
Odeta Qafoku et al

 Synergistic effects of lanthanide surface adhesion and photon-upconversion for enhanced near-infrared responsive photodegradation of organic contaminants in wastewater
Jiaying Wang et al

Prolonging the antibacterial activity of nanosilver-coated membranes through partial sulfidation
Ana C. Barrios et al

Read more HOT papers at rsc.li/esnano-hot

Reviews – timely overviews of key topics in environmental nanoscience

Probing the immune responses to nanoparticles across environmental species. A perspective of the EU Horizon 2020 project PANDORA
Annalisa Pinsino et al

Opportunities for nanotechnology to enhance electrochemical treatment of pollutants in potable water and industrial wastewater – a perspective
Sergi Gardia-Segura et al

Interplay between engineered nanomaterials and microbiota
Yirong Zhang et al

Read more Reviews at rsc.li/esnano-reviews

Open Access – read for free!

Mechanistic insights into toxicity pathways induced by nanomaterials in Daphnia magna from analysis of the composition of the acquired protein corona
Laura-Jayne A. Ellis and Iseult Lynch

Fragmentation of polymer nanocomposites: modulation by dry and wet weathering, fractionation, and nanomaterial filler
Richard Zepp et al

Organic matter influences transformation products of ferrihydrite exposed to sulfide
Laurel K. ThomasArrigo et al

Read more Open Access content at rsc.li/esnano-oa

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We hope you enjoy reading these papers, and we welcome your future submissions to the journal.

Submit to Environmental Science: Nano

Click here to return to the journal homepage

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Emerging Investigator Series: Andrea Hicks

Andrea Hicks is an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin – Madison in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. Her work broadly focuses on the environmental impacts of emerging technologies. She completed her undergraduate studies at Michigan Technological University in Environmental Engineering, and her M.S. in Environmental Engineering at Clemson University. Dr. Hicks completed her doctoral and post-doctoral work at the University of Illinois at Chicago in Civil Engineering and at the Institute for Environmental Science and Policy. She is a recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER award, UW-Madison Community Based Learning Teaching Award, and the Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization’s Emerging Investigator Award.

Read Andrea Hick’s Emerging Investigator Series article “Emerging investigator series: calculating size- and coating-dependent effect factors for silver nanoparticles to inform characterization factor development for usage in life cycle assessment” and read more about her in the interview below:

Your recent Emerging Investigator Series paper focuses on ‘Calculating size- and coating- dependent effect factors for silver nanoparticles to inform characterization factor development for usage in life cycle assessment’. How has your research evolved from your first article to this most recent article?

My role in the article preparation has changed. I was a PhD student when I wrote my first article, working with my advisor Dr. Tom Theis. Whereas now I am the PhD advisor, writing this work with my student Sila Temizel-Sekeryan. Which is a different experience. In general, I have always been interested in emerging technologies, such as engineered nanomaterials. In my first article, as part of my PhD work, I was studying light emitting diodes, and their potential for energy efficiency rebound. And while the rebound effect, or Jevons’s paradox is still part of some of my work, engineered nanomaterials are another interesting emerging technology which like light emitting diodes, have the potential to influence environmental impact due to their ubiquity.

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

This work is particular is really exciting. I have studied the environmental impacts of nano-scale silver in consumer products before, such as textiles, and a question that was always part of that work was how to model the environmental impacts of the nano-scale silver itself as a part of the life cycle assessment. In this work, we took some of the first steps to better understand how to incorporate the impact of the nano-silver itself into the assessment. This work would not have been possible without a great deal of work having already been done by experimentalists in order to understand the toxicity of nano-silver.

In your opinion, what are the most important questions to be asked/answered in this field of research?

Speaking broadly about emerging technologies, which include engineered nanomaterials, what I think is the most important question is whether or not an advance is societally beneficial. Advances in technology have had a great benefit to society in general, but at the same time there is also an environmental cost. I think that it is critical to evaluate the environmental impacts of  new technologies and potential unintended consequences before they are broadly adopted.

What do you find most challenging about your research?

Emerging technologies are often challenging to study, because they are just that, emerging. It is often difficult to obtain enough information to model these products, either using life cycle assessment or other tools. One way to counter this is to work with other researchers who are actually developing these new technologies and products, to secure the necessary information. What is really exciting about working with people who are researching the technologies themselves allows us to use the life cycle assessment data that we generate, to refine the new technology to make it less environmentally costly.

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

2020 is turning out to be an interesting year for conferences and events, with many being cancelled or moved to fully digital formats, particularly in the United States where I live. In general, I like to attend the North American Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry annual meeting, Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization annual meeting, and the International Society for Industrial Ecology meetings. I was fortunate to be able to attend the second Pan-American Nanotechnology Conference in Brazil early this past spring, before everything shutdown. I’m also a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in our Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and in normal times am on campus.

How do you spend your spare time?

That is a particularly interesting question in 2020. Aside from doing work which I love, I am also a mother to two energetic grade school children and have wonderful husband. I like to spend my spare time with them. In spring 2020 when our school district and daycare shutdown, spare time did not really exist anymore, because I was working and teaching remotely, while supervising my children’s online learning.

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

When I was younger, I thought about a lot of different careers, and my main goal was to do something where I felt I could make a difference in the world. Which I know sounds terribly idealistic. I thought for quite a while about being a journalist and writer, documenting people’s stories and bringing them to a wider audience. Or a photographer, like Dorothea Lange, who used her photos to document the human consequences of the Great Depression. Or maybe a medical doctor, making a difference in the lives of my patients. Or a sculptor, bringing art and beauty to the world. It’s actually a really hard question.. I’m lucky that I have a job I really enjoy, where I get to work on cutting edge science, teach and mentor students, and do service in the community.

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

When you see the career trajectory of someone you admire, and wonder how you could ever be that good, you need to remember that they got there one step at a time. It all starts with a single step, applying for an opportunity, or writing a manuscript or defending a dissertation. They didn’t become who they are overnight, it took time. You just need to keep putting one foot in front of the other, and if you do that diligently you be amazed at the heights you can reach.

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Emerging Investigator Series: Kathryn Riley

Dr. Kathryn Riley is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Swarthmore College. She received her Ph.D. from Wake Forest University in 2014 and was a National Research Council (NRC) postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) from 2015 to 2016. Before her current appointment, she was a Consortium for Faculty Diversity (CFD) postdoctoral fellow at Swarthmore from 2016-2018. Dr. Riley’s research involves the development of analytical techniques for the characterization of nanomaterials and their dynamic physical and chemical transformations in biological and environmental matrices. Her research group specifically aims to broaden participation in the field by developing techniques that provide new quantitative insights in less time and at a reduced cost when compared to more commonly employed methods. Projects in her group span the analysis of silver nanomaterials, including their dissolution, aggregation, formation of bio-coronas, and release from commercial products. To learn more about Dr. Riley’s research, visit her lab website or follow her on Twitter.

Read Kathryn Riley’s Emerging Investigator Series article “Emerging investigator series: Quantifying silver nanoparticle aggregation kinetics in real-time using particle impact voltammetry coupled with UV-vis spectroscopy” and read more about her in the interview below:

Your recent Emerging Investigator Series paper focuses on Quantifying silver nanoparticle aggregation kinetics in real-time using particle impact voltammetry coupled with UV-vis spectroscopy. How has your research evolved from your first article to this most recent article?

My interest in nanomaterials began while I was in graduate school. At the time, I was developing capillary electrophoresis (CE)-based methods for screening DNA aptamer libraries against clinically relevant protein targets and using next generation sequencing (NGS) for identification of candidate aptamers. To support some research questions of our collaborators, I ended up developing CE separation methods for sub-micron and micron-sized plastic particles. I found the work of developing analytical tools to study particles to be incredibly interesting, so I knew that I wanted to dive deeper into the field of nanotechnology during my postdoc at NIST. There, I continued my work applying the separation principles of CE to gain new insights about nanomaterials. Over the past several years, my work with undergraduate students at Swarthmore has sought to add to our analytical toolkit by developing electrochemical methods to probe the reactivity of metal and metal oxide nanomaterials. Looking ahead, we are excited to start applying these tools to increasingly complex nanomaterial chemistries and contribute new insights to the field.

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

Of our current projects, there are two that I’m particularly excited about at the moment. The first builds on the electrochemical techniques we have developed in our lab over the past two years to enable in situ quantification of dissolved and nanoparticulate silver released from textiles. Due to the fast time resolution of the measurement, this technique would allow researchers to quantify release kinetics of the two silver forms simultaneously and without the need for sample preparation. The second project involves evaluation of the silver nanoparticle metabolite corona using a model environmental bacterium. Both of these projects allow us to push our instrumental techniques towards analysis of more complex systems, which is challenging, but exciting.

In your opinion, what are the most important questions to be asked/answered in this field of research?

There are so many! I think one of the biggest challenges is the wide parameter space to be analyzed, including variations in the physicochemical properties of the nanomaterial, changes in its properties as it encounters diverse water, soil, air, and/or biological chemistries, and the varied responses of the environment to the nanomaterial. There are many excellent small-scale benchtop studies and large-scale mesocosm studies, but with so many parameters to explore, what does it all mean and how can we use the rich information gathered from both types of data to predict the behavior of new or unexplored materials?

What do you find most challenging about your research?

Most often the aspects of my work that I find most exciting are also those that are the most challenging. Our lab has spent a lot of time analyzing silver nanomaterials, which can simultaneously dissolve, aggregate, and form bio- and eco-coronas (and form oxides, sulfides, and insoluble chlorides). This complexity presents a significant analytical challenge for our lab and others – how do you ever isolate and study just one of these processes?! Fortunately, as an analytical chemist, these are precisely the challenges that I am most eager to help the community overcome.

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

Whether virtually or in-person, I plan to attend the Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization (SNO) conference in October 2020 and the Environmental Nanotechnology Gordon Research Conference (GRC) in June of 2021.

How do you spend your spare time?

As an alumna of Swarthmore and a former student-athlete, I enjoy spending my free time supporting our athletics teams. I volunteer my weekends to help coach our varsity softball team. In the summer, you can find me tending to my vegetable garden or playing in slow pitch softball leagues.

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

I think I would be an architect or interior designer – I used to spend hours as a child designing homes on graph paper and even when I had the chance to reconfigure my laboratory space at Swarthmore, I pulled out my iPad and drafted a to-scale design of every inch of that space. The builders must have thought I was crazy (if not for that then for overseeing the “building site” on an almost daily basis), but they literally made my lab design come to life!

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

I have had the great fortune of having fantastic mentors throughout my trajectory – some who are in my field, some who are not – some who look like me, some who do not. The single most important characteristic that they’ve all had in common is their ability to be solution oriented as I’ve faced challenges in my career, even as those solutions sometimes pushed me outside of my comfort zone. The deep, mutual respect we built in our mentoring relationship allowed for them to give and for me to receive this advice, and I have become a better leader and mentor to my students because of it. Find mentors like those!

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Emerging Investigator Series: Juan Pablo Giraldo

Dr. Juan Pablo Giraldo is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences at the University of California, Riverside. He initiated working on plant nanobiotechnology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as an NSF postdoctoral fellow. He received his Ph.D. in plant biology from Harvard University (2011), and B.S. in both biology and physics from University of Los Andes in Bogota, Colombia. Since 2015 the Giraldo Lab at UC Riverside works at the interface between plant biology and nanotechnology. Nanomaterials have unique optical, electronic, and chemical properties that have been widely exploited in biomedical research, but their use in plant biology research and agriculture remains largely unexplored. His lab aims to develop nanoparticle-based research tools to study and engineer plant function at levels of organization ranging from organelles to tissues and whole plants. Dr. Giraldo has published 29 peer reviewed articles in leading journals including Nature Materials, Nature Nanotechnology, Nature Communications, ACS Nano, and Nano Letters.

Read Juan Pablo Giraldo ’s Emerging Investigator Series article “Emerging investigator series: Molecular mechanisms of plant salinity stress tolerance improvement by seed priming with cerium oxide nanoparticles” and read more about him in the interview below:

Lab website: http://www.giraldolab.com

 

Your recent Emerging Investigator Series paper focuses on Molecular mechanisms of plant salinity stress tolerance improvement by seed priming with cerium oxide nanoparticles. How has your research evolved from your first article to this most recent article?

My first article on plant nanobiotechnology (Nature Materials, 2014) focused on interfacing plant photosynthetic organelles (chloroplasts) and organs (leaves) to provide them with novel or augmented functions. Since then, I have recently turned my attention to plant structures that play a role in reproduction such as flowers and seeds. By understanding how nanomaterials impact the development of these reproductive structures, we can learn how to induce long term and beneficial modifications of crop plant function through conserved molecular mechanisms.

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

I am most excited about discovering fundamental rules of how nanomaterials interact with plant interfaces and applying this knowledge to develop more efficient agrochemicals, to turn plants into technology that report their health to electronic devices, or to create plants that act as biomolecule factories on demand.

In your opinion, what are the most important questions to be asked/answered in this field of research?

There are many important questions to be answered in the field of plant nanobiotechnology. In my lab, I am currently focusing on understanding how the plant molecular machinery interacts with and transforms nanomaterials. In turn, how do nanomaterials transform plant biomolecule function and structure? The synergy between plants and nanotechnology has the potential to improve human condition and lead to a more sustainable world.

What do you find most challenging about your research?

The diversity of plant structure and function challenges our ability to create nanotechnology-based tools that can be applied across multiple plant taxa. However, plants share multiple common features that we hope are the gates for designing nanomaterials with broad applicability.

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

I enjoy Gordon Research Conferences, especially those on nano-enabled agriculture and environmental nanotechnology, that allow for more in person interactions between researchers. I also present my work at ACS and Sustainable Nanotechnology conferences.

How do you spend your spare time?

With my family and friends exploring the outdoors. We love hiking and camping in natural parks. Being in Southern California, we get to enjoy beaches, mountains and deserts all within a 1-hour drive.

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

I would love to be a nature cinematographer to explore and share the diverse and largely unknown life of all the organisms on this planet.

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

Break boundaries across disciplines, work on an area of your own, and become a leader in your field.

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Latest HOT, Review and Open Access content from Environmental Science: Nano

 

 

 

 

We are delighted to share with you a hand-picked selection of papers recently published in Environmental Science: Nano.

HOT papers – as recommended by our referees

Nanoparticle affinity for natural soils: a functional assay for determining particle attachment efficiency in complex systems
Amalia A. Turner et al

Multivariate analysis of the exposure and hazard of ceria nanomaterials in indoor aquatic mesocosms
Mohammad Nassar et al

A novel and simple method for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) nanoparticle production
Ana G. Rodríguez-Hernández et al

Read more HOT papers at rsc.li/esnano-hot

Reviews – timely overviews of key topics in environmental nanoscience

Strategies for robust and accurate experimental approaches to quantify nanomaterial bioaccumulation across a broad range of organisms
Elijah J. Petersen et al

Emerging investigator series: polymeric nanocarriers for agricultural applications: synthesis, characterization, and environmental and biological interactions
Sheyda Shakiba et al

Critical role of water stability in metal–organic frameworks and advanced modification strategies for the extension of their applicability
Botao Liu et al

Read more Reviews at rsc.li/esnano-reviews

Open Access – read for free!

The rise of the nanomaterial metabolite corona, and emergence of the complete corona
Andrew J. Chetwynd and Iseult Lynch

Interaction of silver nanoparticles with antioxidant enzymes
Wei Liu et al

Reactivity of graphene oxide with reactive oxygen species (hydroxyl radical, singlet oxygen, and superoxide anion)
Hsin-Se Hsieh and Richard G. Zepp

Read more Open Access content at rsc.li/esnano-oa

Sign up for alerts     Latest Issue     Emerging Investigators      Submit

 

 

 

 

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About Environmental Science: Nano
Led by Editor-in-Chief Peter Vikesland (Virginia Tech), Environmental Science: Nano is the premier journal dedicated to nano aspects of environmental science and sustainability. The journal has an Impact Factor of 7.683* and is published on a not-for-profit basis by the Royal Society of Chemistry; as a learned society and professional body, the RSC is committed to supporting the global scientific community by re-investing all surplus into charitable activities such as education, outreach, and science policy. More details about the journal and our scope can be found on our website: rsc.li/esnano

Meet the team

 

 

 

 

* 2019 Journal Citation Reports (Clarivate Analytics, 2020)

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Find out more about the advantages of publishing in a Royal Society of Chemistry journal including our Open Access options

Environmental Science: Nano is complemented by our sister journals, Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology, and Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts; find out more about the these journals at rsc.li/envsci

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Emerging Investigators – the latest work from rising stars in Environmental Science

We are delighted to share with you a selection of high-impact papers by Emerging Investigators in the field of environmental science and engineering. These papers, published across Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, Environmental Science: Nano, and Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology, showcase the breadth of exciting research being conducted by rising stars in our field.

The latest work from rising stars of environmental science

Emerging investigator series: polymeric nanocarriers for agricultural applications: synthesis, characterization, and environmental and biological interactions
Stacie Louie et al

Emerging investigator series: synthesis of magnesium oxide nanoparticles fabricated on a graphene oxide nanocomposite for CO2 sequestration at elevated temperatures
C. A. Gunathilake et al

Emerging investigator series: use of behavioural endpoints in the regulation of chemicals
Marlene Ågerstrand et al [OPEN ACCESS]

Emerging investigator series: critical review of photophysical models for the optical and photochemical properties of dissolved organic matter
Garrett McKay

Emerging investigator series: primary emissions, ozone reactivity, and byproduct emissions from building insulation materials
Elliott Gall et al

Emerging investigator series: membrane distillation and high salinity: analysis and implications
Andrea Achilli et al

Emerging investigator series: phosphorus recovery from municipal wastewater by adsorption on steelmaking slag preceding forward osmosis: an integrated process
Biplob Kumar Pramanik et al

Emerging investigator series: carbon electrodes are effective for the detection and reduction of hexavalent chromium in water
Noémie Elgrishi et al [OPEN ACCESS]

****************************************************************************

The RSC’s Emerging Investigator Series provides a unique platform for early-career environmental scientists & engineers to showcase their best work to a broad audience. Contact us to apply for consideration in this Series. To be eligible, you will need to have completed your PhD (or equivalent degree) within the last 10 years†, have an independent career and appear as corresponding author on the manuscript.

Across the journals, the Emerging Investigator Series is curated by our Series Editors; David Cwiertny, Jeremy Guest, Long Nghiem, Ligy Philip, Delphine Farmer, Lenny Winkel, Guang-Guo Ying and Peter Vikesland.

 

 

 

Read more of our Emerging Investigator Series papers using the links below.

Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts Emerging Investigator Series

Environmental Science: Nano Emerging Investigator Series

Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology Emerging Investigator Series

Also, read the latest interviews with our Emerging Investigators to find out more about their work and the important research challenges that they are tackling.

†Appropriate consideration will be given to those who have taken a career break or followed a different study path

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Latest HOT, Review and Open Access content from Environmental Science: Nano

 

 

 

 

We are delighted to share with you a hand-picked selection of papers recently published in Environmental Science: Nano.

HOT papers – as recommended by our referees

Validation of a field deployable reactor for in situ formation of NOM-engineered nanoparticle corona
Allan Philippe et al

Role of nano-biochar in attenuating the allelopathic effect from Imperata cylindrica on rice seedlings
Xinhua Zhan, Baoshan Xing et al

Leveraging electrochemistry to uncover the role of nitrogen in the biological reactivity of nitrogen-doped graphene
Leanne M. Gilbertson et al

Read more HOT papers at rsc.li/esnano-hot

Reviews – timely overviews of key topics in environmental nanoscience

Strategies for robust and accurate experimental approaches to quantify nanomaterial bioaccumulation across a broad range of organisms
Elijah J. Petersen et al

In situ remediation of subsurface contamination: opportunities and challenges for nanotechnology and advanced materials
Gregory V. Lowry et al

Strategies for determining heteroaggregation attachment efficiencies of engineered nanoparticles in aquatic environments
Antonia Praetorius et al

Read more Reviews at rsc.li/esnano-reviews

Open Access – read for free!

Assessment of Cu and CuO nanoparticle ecological responses using laboratory small-scale microcosms
Stacey L. Harper et al

Plant species-dependent transformation and translocation of ceria nanoparticles
Peng Zhang, Zhiyong Zhang et al

Testing the bioaccumulation of manufactured nanomaterials in the freshwater bivalve Corbicula fluminea using a new test method
Sebastian Kuehr et al

Read more Open Access content at rsc.li/esnano-oa

**************************************************

About Environmental Science: Nano
Led by Editor-in-Chief Peter Vikesland (Virginia Tech), Environmental Science: Nano is the premier journal dedicated to nano aspects of environmental science and sustainability. The journal has an Impact Factor of 7.683* and is published on a not-for-profit basis by the Royal Society of Chemistry; as a learned society and professional body, the RSC is committed to supporting the global scientific community by re-investing all surplus into charitable activities such as education, outreach, and science policy. More details about the journal and our scope can be found on our website: rsc.li/esnano

Meet the team

 

 

* 2019 Journal Citation Reports (Clarivate Analytics, 2020)

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Emerging Investigator Series: Melanie Kah

Melanie Kah is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Environment of the University of Auckland in New Zealand. She graduated with a MSc in Agronomy and Soil Sciences (University of Nancy, France), before completing her PhD at the University of York (UK). She was then recruited by the UK Food and Environmental Research Agency (FERA) where she assessed the exposure and hazard of a wide range of contaminants within projects commissioned by government and industry. After a couple of years, Melanie returned to academia and moved to the University of Vienna (Austria). This is where she started developing projects looking at the interactions between organic contaminants and natural/engineered nanoparticles, and nanopesticides in particular. Melanie was Distinguished Visiting Scientist at the CSIRO (2018, Australia) before moving to the University of Auckland in 2019.

Read Melanie Kah’s Emerging Investigator Series article “Emerging investigator series: Nanotechnology to develop novel agrochemicals: critical issues to consider in the global agricultural context” and read more about her in the interview below:

Your recent Emerging Investigator Series paper focuses on Nanotechnology to develop novel agrochemicals: critical issues to consider in the global agricultural context. How has your research evolved from your first article to this most recent article?

I am an agronomist by training. I started my research career looking at conventional pesticides and in particular, how they behave in soil. When I started working in a group with a strong focus on nanotechnology-related research, I was immediately attracted by the idea of using nanotechnology to improve our current approaches for crop protection and nutrition. There was not much happening in this field when I started…and it is fantastic to see how much is going on now!

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

I am excited to see the current wealth of enthusiasm and creativity around the applications of nanotechnology in agriculture, it is fascinating! Something I really enjoy is the opportunity to navigate across scientific communities that apply different approaches and have different perceptions. I find interactions with people outside of my own field very inspiring. I am currently exploring how social scientists can help increasing our impact by creating stronger engagement with a range of stakeholders. Transdisciplinary collaboration helps us to include end users at the earliest stages of development, recognise their values and co-design nano-enabled products that they really need and that they trust, and this is very exciting for me.

In your opinion, what are the most important questions to be asked/answered in this field of research?

This is a question that our paper intends to address. There are many scientific questions that need to be answered to advance the field, including those around the development of more powerful and accessible analytical techniques, or the improvement in our capacity to synthesize nanoparticles with new functionalities, for instance, particles that can respond to specific stimuli.

If we take a step back and consider the current environmental impact of the agri-food sector, we should also recognise that technology is not always the right avenue to improve efficiency and sustainability. Solutions are multi-faceted and highly context dependent. More work is needed to critically assess the performances of nano-enabled solutions (and other technologies) against the gains achieved by improved agronomic practices for instance, and how this plays out in a given social, economic and political context.

What do you find most challenging about your research?

Analytical challenges. I tend to work with organic nanoparticles that cannot be easily detected once in the environment and techniques that are used for metal or metal oxide nanomaterials are often unsuitable. We constantly face analytical challenges, especially because I like working with soil, which adds another layer of complexity.

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

Definitely, the Gordon Research Conference on Nanoscale Science and Engineering for Agriculture and Food Systems. The meeting was planned for June 2020 but it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The programme was fantastic including very high profile speakers. The meeting is rescheduled to June 2022 and I warmly recommend to attend! More information is available here. This is a great conference to meet a very friendly, multidisciplinary and inspiring community!

How do you spend your spare time?

The last couple months have been mainly home-based as New Zealand has taken very stringent lock down measures to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. We had to invent many new indoor activities to keep our toddler entertained and had a lot of fun! I am now really looking forward to travel again and explore New Zealand with my family, do bush walks and discover the native wildlife.

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

I love travelling so perhaps a specialised travel agent for adventurers.

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

Be kind, respectful and inclusive. Find sponsors and be a good sponsor to others when you can.

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