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Environmental organic chemistry
Trace metal cycling
Understanding the sources, transformations, and biological impact of metals and nutrients in the environment is needed to develop accurate climate models, assess the fate and impact of harmful contaminants, and design sustainable practices for food and bio-fuel crop production. In most cases, however, the metabolic pathways, organisms, and genes involved in these global processes are still unknown. The cornerstone of our research is the development of state-of-the-art analytical approaches (especially mass spectrometry) that provide us with new windows into how elemental cycles are structured at the molecular level. Leveraging these and other 'omics' tools, our goal is to develop predictive knowledge of how metals and organic nutrients impact food webs, evolutionary adaptations, and environmental/human health.
Much of our current research focuses on understanding how microbes and plants impact the mobility and bioavailability of metals in the environment. This work relies on the development of analytical approaches to characterize biologically produced organic metal species and determine their kinetic properties using chromatography coupled with multimodal mass spectrometry.