Environmental Geochemistry and Geomicrobiology Laboratory
Water-rock interactions control mass transport in virtually all near-surface geologic systems. The research conducted in my laboratory isolates and studies reactions that control the fate and transport of heavy metals and radionuclides in groundwater and surface water environments. The results of the research can be used to construct quantitative models of the effects of bacteria on mass transfer in water-rock systems, improving our ability to understand contaminant transport in the environment and to design effective remediation approaches. Students who conduct research in my group obtain a firm grounding in chemical thermodynamics and kinetics, and they gain considerable expertise in experimental aqueous geochemistry, geomicrobiology techniques, and a wide range of analytical approaches. My previous students have been highly successful in obtaining research positions either as postdoctoral researchers, university professors, or in the environmental industry.
Problems we are working on
The overarching goals of the research being conducted in my group can be summarized under four major categories:
1) Measuring and modeling the effects of bacteria and other microbes on the speciation, fate, and bioavailability of heavy metals in the subsurface.
2) Determining the environmental behavior of engineered nano-particles in water-rock systems.
3) Quantifying the thermodynamic stabilities and solubilities of uranyl peroxide nanoclusters in aqueous systems.
4) Testing the ability of ionic liquids to extract bitumen from geologic matrices in order to design environmentally-friendly methods of harvesting oil shales and tar sands.
My laboratory is equipped to conduct a range of aqueous geochemical and geomicrobiological procedures. Available instrumentation inside my laboratory includes:
Cary 300 uv-vis spectrophotometer
PTI flourometer with both steady state and xenoflash lamps
Mettler-Toledo T70 double burette titration system
Denver instruments PI-314 analytical balances
Zeiss Axiostar Plus Microscope with bright field and phase contrast
Denver instruments APX-1502 balances
Sorvall WX-100 ultracentrifuge
Sorvall RC-6 floor model centrifuge
Sorvall Legend 23 centrifuge
Fisher Marathon 21000 centrifuges
Plas-Labs anaerobic chamber
New Brunswick Innova 4300 incubator shaker
Yamato SM510 autoclave
Fisher drying oven
Fisher FS140 sonicator
In addition to the instruments in my laboratory, my students regularly use a range of facilities on campus for analytical needs.
· Center for Environmental Science and Technology (CEST)
· Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) at Notre Dame
· ICP-MS Facility
· Mass Spec Facility