Research Projects

My research projects are generally in the area of analytical chemistry, usually environmentally-based. Some recent/ongoing projects include:

  1. Measuring polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) compounds in sediment from water bodies. This is usually done using HPLC-Fluorescence after extraction from dried sediment samples. The data is used to assess whether there is a risk to animal life (sediment dwellers and higher forms) and/or to determine the likely sources of the contamination. Similarly, I have done some work measuring pesticides and heavy metals in sediments to assess risk.
  2. Characterization of fuels produced from biogas. This project is in support of a larger project developing a technique to convert biogas from the Allen Farms biodigester into liquid fuels. In the laboratory we measure the density and olefin content of the liquid samples, conduct a simulated distillation of the liquid samples, and I maintain the inline GC at the farm site for measuring the biogas and syngas composition.
  3. Enzyme discovery for protection from bacteria. I work with a Biology professor to discover and develop proteins that are capable of inhibiting quorum sensing by bacteria. These proteins would help inhibit bacterial colonization and biofilm formation on food crops in storage. My role is detection of the homoserine lactone molecules produced by the bacteria as quorum signaling molecules.
  4. I also do contract consulting work which can involve paid student help. Most recently I helped a client set up an HPLC system for measurement of active ingredients in hemp (cannabis) plant material and extracts. I also worked with a client to measure the hypochlorous acid and other ingredients in their hard-surface disinfectant product. Further in the past I measured oak-derived flavors for a wine-related company.