2016 SEMINARS


Reductive Conversion of Lignin with Copper-doped Catalysts

Marcus Foston, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Dept. of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering
Washington University, St. Louis, MO

3:30 PM
Friday December 2, 2016
Room 121 Butler-Carlton Hall
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Abstract:
The lignin component of biomass has potential as a renewable source for industrially useful aromatic chemicals. While technologies for the selective conversion of the carbohydrate components have been successful, lignin is generally treated as waste and burned for low grade heat. We have developed a catalytic system, based on a copper-doped porous oxide, which can reductively disassemble lignin in supercritical methanol with little to no char formation. While the copper-doped porous oxide catalyzes C-O hydrogenolysis of aryl-ether bonds linking lignin monomers, it also catalyzed ring methylation and hydrogenation, leading to lignin disassembly product proliferation. We have found that adding dimethyl carbonate can significantly suppress the hydrogenation of the phenolic intermediates responsible for much of the undesirable product diversity by methylation of phenolic hydroxyl groups to form a more stable aryl ether species. Using the methanol and dimethyl carbonate solvent system with the copper-doped porous oxide catalyst, O-methylation of phenolic hydroxyl groups was effective at increasing aromatic yields from a number of lignin model polymer systems and poplar organosolv lignin. These results demonstrate the promise of our copper-doped porous oxide catalyst when used in the presence of methanol and dimethyl carbonate to facilitate aromatic compound production from lignin.

Biography:
Marcus Foston is an assistant professor in the Energy, Environmental, and Chemical Engineering Department at Washington University in St Louis. He received his PhD in polymer chemistry in the Material Science and Engineering Department at the Georgia Institute of Technology and soon after completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the Georgia Institute of Technology. His current research program is directed at the development of innovative and novel routes to exploit and utilize biomass resources. Dr. Marcus Foston primary research themes are: (1) the characterization of biomass in an effort to understand, design, and optimize its downstream conversion, (2) the development of processes that are designed to convert lignin into value-added chemicals and materials, and (3) the synthesis novel biomass-derived synthetic polymers for specific applications.


Toxicological Characteristics of Ambient Particulate Matter - An assessment of the relative contributions from various aerosol components and their emission sources

Vishal Verma, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

3:30 PM
Friday November 11, 2016
Room 121 Butler-Carlton Hall
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Abstract:
A number of epidemiological, toxicological and clinical studies indicate a strong link between ambient particulate matter (PM) exposure and adverse health outcomes. Despite commendable progress in particle-related toxicological research for the last few decades, the exact mechanisms by which PM inflicts health injuries are still largely unknown. The core objective of this work is to identify the components of ambient PM and their emission sources, which are most responsible for inducing the adverse health effects in humans. The capability of the ambient particles to generate reactive oxygen species (ROS) and its linkages with their source-specific components are investigated. The role of organic compounds in the ROS activity of PM was assessed by their removal using thermodenuder and solid phase extraction technique, while the contribution of metals was quantified by chelation technique. A class of water-soluble organic compounds characterized by their strong hydrophobicity known as humic-like substances or HULIS, and transition metals particularly Fe, Cu and Mn were identified as the major species driving the ROS generation mechanism in ambient particles. Source apportionment of the ROS generation using positive matrix factorization revealed that biomass burning and secondary organic aerosol formation as the strongest sources of ROS activity in southeastern United States. Further studies in this direction should help to develop the useful insights on the origin of PM toxicity leading to a better assessment of the human health effects of ambient particulate pollution. This in turn would facilitate devising effective control strategies targeted on combating toxic PM emission sources and protecting public health.

Biography:
Dr. Verma is an assistant professor at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign and his current work is focused on measuring the toxicological properties of ambient air pollutants, investigating their emission sources and linkages with the observed health effects. Before joining here in last August, he was a research scientist at Georgia Tech. He completed his PhD from the University of Southern California in 2011. In his 8 years of research career, he has published 20 peer-reviewed articles and has presented his work in more than 25 various seminars/meetings and conferences, including several invited talks.


Wastelands to Production: Amendment Strategies for Biomass Crops on Mine Tailings

Mariam Al-Lami
Senior Doctoral Student
Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
Missouri University of Science and Technology

3:30 PM
Friday November 4, 2016
Room 121 Butler-Carlton Hall
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Abstract:
As we extract resources such as commercial minerals from our earth, byproducts inherently result. Mine tailings are typically produced by mining and processing commercial minerals. Mine tailings are of environmental concern due to the potential threat to surrounding environment arising from eolian and water dispersion of tailings, which are often enriched in multiple metals. To stabilize tailings materials and promote in situ immobilization of heavy metals (HMs) revegetation efforts are undertaken, but is difficult due to poor soil properties, high pH, lack of nutrients, and elevated content of HMs. Soil amendments can improve physicochemical and biological properties of tailings, and in this work, novel amendments and combinations are considered for the production of biomass crops to turn the liability of tailings into potential energy production. Amending tailings with biosolids (BS) dramatically improved plant growth and tailings properties. Combinations of BS with other soil amendments further improved plant growth which promotes the use of lower application rates of BS, as typically high application rates are required. BS treatments significantly increased microbial activity of the tailings which is considered a good index of changing in soil quality. BS treatments also stimulated the growth of beneficial fungi in soil and resulted in higher root colonization rate of mycorrhizal fungi (MF) compared to unamended tailings. Lower HMs uptake was associated with BS treatments especially when combined with biochar (BC) or MF. On-going analyses are conducted to test the impact of BS on tailings physicochemical properties, metal bioavailability and leachability. Findings of the study will be tested in pilot scale experiment under field conditions.

Biography:
Mariam Al-Lami is a senior doctoral student in Dr. Joel Burken’s research group in the department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering at Missouri S&T. She earned a B.S. in environmental engineering (2006) from Al-Mustansiriya University, Baghdad- Iraq, and M.S. in water resources (2008) from the University of Technology, Baghdad- Iraq. Her research interests include reclamation and restoration of abandoned mine lands. Specific areas include revegetation and phytostabilization of mine tailings, ecosystem restoration, and concurrent biomass production. She is working closely with DoeRun Company to mitigate environmental impacts of tailings by phytostabilization techniques.


Is Your Home a Toxic Waste Site?

Human Exposures to SVOCs in the Indoor Environment

Ying Xu
2009 Ph.D. Civil Engineering
Associate Professor, Ph.D.
Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin

3:30 PM
Friday October 28, 2016
Room 121 Butler-Carlton Hall
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Abstract:
Semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) are widely used as plasticizers, insecticides, and flame retardants in building materials and consumer products, but may have serious adverse health effects on humans. Effective strategies to limit exposures to SVOCs remain hamstrung by our poor understanding of their sources and fate and transport in indoor environments. We developed a novel, rapid method to measure SVOC emissions. The mechanisms governing emissions were further elucidated through systematic chamber studies. We then extended the mechanistic understanding of emissions to an actual indoor environment through a fate and transport model and assessed the exposure of building occupants. Finally, a particular scenario, the infant sleep microenvironment, was investigated.  We found that infants are likely to be exposed to elevated concentrations of various chemicals emitted from their crib mattresses.

Biography:
Dr. Ying Xu is an Associate Professor in the Building Energy and Environments program in the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research is focused on understanding the relationships among sources, indoor environments, and human health for semi-volatile endocrine disrupting compounds. She has served as principal investigator and co-principal investigator on approximately $1.4 million funded research projects. Dr. Xu and her research team have published over 60 papers in top journals of environmental engineering and in conference proceedings. Recently, two of her journal publications were selected for special honors, one as the Editors’ Choice Article by the American Chemical Society and the other in the “Science Selections” by the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. Dr. Xu is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Yaglou Award from the International Society of Indoor Air Quality and Climate (ISIAQ) for being the most promising young (under age of 37) researcher in the field of indoor air sciences, National Science Foundation’s CAREER Award, New Investigator Award from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the Air and Waste Management Association (A&WMA) Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award, Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Scholar Abroad, and Best Paper Awards from ISIAQ, A&WMA, the International Society of Exposure Science and in Healthy Buildings conferences.


Missouri State Parks and Historic Sites: Challenges for our Time

Susan Flader, Ph.D.
Professor Emerita
Department of History
University of Missouri-Columbia

3:30 PM
Thursday October 27, 2016
Room 121 Butler-Carlton Hall
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Abstract and Biography:
Susan Flader is professor emerita of environmental and western history at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She was a founder and president of the American Society for Environmental History and of the Missouri Parks Association and a leader in securing and renewing the state's Parks, Soil and Water Sales Tax, which led to a renaissance of Missouri’s state parks. She will be discussing the new book on the system, Missouri State Parks and Historic Sites: Exploring Our Legacy, of which she is editor and co-author, in the context of challenges facing the state park system in recent decades and in its centennial year. Copies of the book will be available for sale and signing after the talk at a special price.


Energy and water sustainability in urban environments

Ashlynn S. Stillwell, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

3:30 PM
Friday October 21, 2016
Room 121 Butler-Carlton Hall
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Abstract:
Water and energy are two vital and interconnected resources, especially in urban environments. Thermoelectric power generation depends on water for cooling, and the urban water system (of drinking water, stormwater, and wastewater) depends on energy for adequate treatment and conveyance. Consequently, decisions regarding one resource affect the other. This presentation will discuss the energy-water nexus in urban areas, focusing specifically on green stormwater infrastructure and residential energy and water consumption. Tradeoffs and synergies exist between energy and water, informing sustainable management of both resources.

Biography:
Dr. Ashlynn Stillwell is an Assistant Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Missouri (2006), and an M.S. in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering (2010), M.P.Aff in Public Affairs (2010), and Ph.D. in Civil Engineering (2013) from The University of Texas at Austin. Her previous work experience includes consulting engineering at Burns & McDonnell (2006-2007) and policy research at the Congressional Research Service (2009). Dr. Stillwell received the 2015 Girl Scouts of Central Illinois Woman of Distinction Award in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, and has been among the List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by their Students. Her research interests include the water impacts of thermoelectric power generation, urban water and energy sustainability, and environmental policy.


Remote Data Collection of NOx Emissions from Surface Mine Blasts using UAVs

Catherine E Johnson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Dept of Mining and Nuclear Engineering
Missouri University of Science and Technology

3:30 PM
Friday October 14, 2016
121 Butler-Carlton Hall
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Abstract:
Gas emissions, primarily nitrogen oxides (NOx), released from blasts at surface mine sites are gaining increasing regulatory interest and speculation.  The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) is considering new regulations on visible NOx clouds leaving the blast site after a surface blast.  The regulations originate from a petition from Wild Earth Guardians.  They allege that the existing regulations are not adequately addressing NOx emissions and that blasting creates orange and red clouds that exceed federal health and environmental standards. No data is available on the quantity of NOx in these clouds, or whether there is a severe health risk associated with cloud color.   Measuring gas emissions on site has previously been difficult due to the destructive nature of blasting and ability to retain instrumentation and the safe proximity people can get to the site before dissipation.  UAVs are becoming increasingly utilized for personal and industry use and are ideal to fly through NOx clouds after a blast for remote data collection.

Biography:
Dr. Catherine Johnson joined the Missouri S&T faculty in January of 2015 as an Assistant Professor of Mining and Explosives Engineering.  She received her Ph.D. in Mining Engineering in December of 2014 from the University of Kentucky under Professor Braden Lusk.  Originally from the United Kingdom, Catherine gained her bachelors and masters degrees in Mining Engineering from the University of Leeds.   Catherine has established an explosives and blasting research group at Missouri S&T.  She is working on projects related to coal dust explosions, spontaneous combustion of fine powders used in the nuclear industry, explosive taggants and mild traumatic brain injury through external sponsors.  Her research interests include explosive propagation in air, shock physics, fragmentation prediction, environmental considerations of blasting, and the advancement of blasting practices and technologies.


Implication of Manufactured Nanomaterials to Drinking Water Resources

Endalkachew Sahle-Demessie, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist
U.S. EPA, Office of Research and Development,
National Risk Management Laboratory, Cincinnati, OH

3:30 PM
Friday October 7, 2016
Room 121 Butler-Carlton Hall
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Abstract:
As manufactured nanomaterials (MNMs) become increasingly part of everyday consumer products, it is necessary to measure their potential release during their production, use, and disposal. When nanoparticles are released from their matrix, the high surface-to-volume ratios and reactivity makes them dynamic in the environment and could impact on the health of humans and the ecosystem systems. This compels the research to understand better how the properties of manufactured nanomaterials (MNMs) lead to their accumulation and redistribution in the environment, whether they could become emerging pollutants or can affect the mobility and bioavailability of other contaminants. In this presentations, examples of photooxidation polymer nanocomposites that have a broad range of applications such as food packaging, automotive parts, sporting goods and structural parts will be discussed.  The discussion will include how environmental transformations of MNMs affect their fate, transport, and toxic properties.  Approaches to model and predict the degradation of nanocomposites and implication of nanoparticles in drinking water treatment processes will be examined.  This presentation discusses environmental policy and regulatory development for emerging contaminants of concern.

Biography:
Dr. Sahle-Demessie is a senior scientist at the US Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development.  He has received his M.S. and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Oregon State University. His current research focus includes implications of engineered nanomaterials on human health and the environment, developing biosensor for drinking water and sustainable stewardship of used electronics. He holds five U.S. patents, has authored more than 100 scientific papers, and has given 220+ presentations. He has received several awards including: the 2003 EPA/STD Individual Achievement Awards, the 2004 IGERT Award, multiple EPA’s Science and Technology Achievement Awards; the 2009, U.S. EPA, Honor Awards, four U.S. EPA Path Forward Innovative Project awards, and the 2013 US EPA Silver Medal award for Superior Service.


Rapid Analytical Methods Development for Disinfection By-products Analysis and Evaluation of Trihalomethanes and Haloacetic Acids Formation during Peracetic Acid Treatment

Runmiao Xue
Doctoral Student
Department of Chemistry
Missouri University of Science and Technology

3:30 PM
Friday September 30, 2016
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Abstract:
Haloacetic acids (HAAs) and trihalomethanes (THMs) are two groups of commonly found water disinfection by products (DBPs). Iodinated DBPs are much more toxic than their chlorinated and brominated analogs. General screening methodology is lacking for simultaneously monitoring chloro-, bromo- and iodoacetic acids. A rapid and sensitive high-performance ion chromatography – tandem mass spectrometry (HPIC-MS/MS) method for simultaneous determination of chloro-, bromo-, and iodo- acetic acids and related halogenated contaminants including bromate, bromide, iodate, and iodide was developed to directly analyze water samples after filtration, eliminating the need for pre-concentration and chemical derivatization. Satisfactory accuracies and precisions were obtained, as well as comparable or lower detection limits to similar techniques.

Peracetic acid (PAA) is a strong antimicrobial disinfectant that has the potential to reduce THMs and HAAs formation. The formations of HAAs and THMs, especially the iodinated forms, have been investigated during PAA disinfection. The formation under different iodide concentrations, pHs, and contact times were systematically studied. Two types of PAAs containing different compositions of PAA and H2O2 were used, and chlorine disinfection was also tested in parallel as comparison. THMs were detected by a newly optimized SPME-GC/MS method. HAAs were analyzed by the newly developed HPIC-MS/MS method mentioned above. Results show that the ratio of PAA and H2O2 concentration significantly affected the formation of THMs and HAAs. During PAA disinfection with lower PAA than H2O2, no detectable levels of THMs and HAAs was observed. During PAA disinfection with higher PAA than H2O2, low levels of monoiodoacetic acid, diiodoacetic acid and iodoform were formed, and enhanced with the increase of iodide concentration.

Biography:
Runmiao Xue is a senior doctoral student in Dr. Honglan Shi’s research group in the department of Chemistry at Missouri S&T. She received a BS degree in chemistry in 2012 from Dalian Polytechnic University, China. Her research fields mainly focus on drinking water analysis and improving drinking water quality. Specific areas include new method development or method optimization for detections of specific disinfection byproducts, disinfection by-product formation study, and regulated/emerging water contaminants screening and removal study. She is working closely with water treatment facilities in Missouri to solve their real drinking problems.


An overview of public drinking water systems and monitoring requirements in Missouri

Todd Eichholz
Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Public Drinking Water Branch, Chief
Water Monitoring Section

3:30 PM
Friday, September 23, 2016
Room 121 Butler-Carlton Hall
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Abstract:
Drinking water has been in the news a lot lately.   This seminar will give an overview of monitoring requirements of public water systems in Missouri, what they test for, where different contaminants are found and  how geology plays a part in the quantity and quality.  In addition, the importance of best management practices to maintain the long term viability of public water systems viability will be stressed.

Biography
Todd has worked for the Department of Natural Resources for over 20 years in the Public Drinking Water Branch.  He is currently  the Chief of the Water Monitoring Section, which over sees the implementation of the monitoring requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act. He has a BS Degree in Agriculture from Lincoln University and a minor in Biology.

 Promoting, Protecting and Enjoying our Natural Resources. Learn more at dnr.mo.gov


Modeling Residential Buildings on Expansive Soils in Response to Climatic Conditions

 Xiong Zhang, Ph.D., P.E.
Associate Professor
Dept. of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
Missouri University of Science and Technology

3:30 PM
Friday, September 16, 2016
Room 121 Butler-Carlton Hall
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Abstract:
Expansive soils are some of the most widely distributed and costly natural hazards. Expansive soils often lead to cracking and buckling of the structures built on expansive soils and result in billions of dollars of damage annually. Though expansive soils have been studied for several decades, it remains a great challenge to accurately predict expansive soil movement and subsequent structural performance under real climatic conditions due to the complex nature of structures built on expansive soils. In this study, an integration of multi-disciplinary techniques was established to investigate the behavior of residential buildings on expansive soils. The analysis incorporated the effects of climate, vegetation, soil, structure and their interactions. The approach was further verified using measured data at an experimental site. The presentation uses residential buildings built on expansive soils as an example. However, the approach proposed can be used for other structures/infrastructure built on both saturated and unsaturated soils.

Biography:
Dr. Xiong Zhang, P.E., is an associate professor in the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. He received his Ph.D. degree in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M University. He has been teaching and conducting research in the field of geotechnical engineering since 1992. His studies focus on development of advanced laboratory techniques to rapidly characterize geomaterials, constitutive modeling coupled hydro-mechanical behavior of unsaturated soils, numerical modeling of climate-soil-structure interaction, slope stability analysis, soil stabilization and ground improvement, and frozen ground engineering. He was one of the two speakers of ASCE Geo-Institute Unsaturated Soils Committee Webinar on “Introduction to Constitutive Modeling of Unsaturated Soils.”


Nanostructured Materials for Catalysis and Lithium-ion Battery Applications

Rajankumar Patel
Chemical Engineering Ph.D. Student
Missouri University of Science and Technology

3:30 PM
Friday, April 29, 2016
Room 121 Butler-Carlton Hall
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Abstract
Atomic/molecular layer deposition (ALD/MLD) has emerged as an important technique for depositing thin films in both scientific research and industrial applications. ALD/MLD was used to create novel nanostructures for two different applications, catalysis and lithium-ion batteries. MLD was used to prepare ultra-thin dense hybrid organic/inorganic polymer films. Oxidizing the hybrid films removed the organic components and produced the desired nanoporous films. Both porous alumina and titania films can be prepared by such a way. A novel nanostructured catalyst (Pt/SiO2) with an ultra-thin porous alumina shell obtained from the thermal decomposition of an aluminium alkoxide film deposited by MLD for size-selective reactions was developed. The molecular sieving capability of the porous metal oxide films was verified by examining the liquid-phase hydrogenation of n-hexene versus cis-cyclooctene.

For lithium-ion battery cathodes, ultrathin and highly-conformal conductive CeO2 films were coated on LiMn2O4 particles using ALD process. The initial capacity of the 3 nm CeO2-coated sample showed 24% increment compared to the capacity of the uncoated one, and 96% and 95% of the initial capacity was retained even after 1,000 cycles with 1C rate at room temperature (RT) and 55 °C, respectively. The separation of ionic and electronic conductivities of the coated and uncoated materials helped explain the improved performance of CeO2 coated materials. 

Biography:
Rajankumar Patel joined the Chemical and Biochemical Engineering Department in 2012 as a PhD student. He earned his B.E. in Chemical Engineering from Sardar Patel University in India and M.S. in Chemical Engineering from San Jose State University in California. His research interests include nanostructured films and devices, surface functionalization, energy storage and environmental applications. He has a total of 12 peer-reviewed papers published.


THE LIFE CYCLE OF AEROSOL PARTICLES: ENABLING ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGIES

Pratim Biswas, Ph.D.
The Lucy and Stanley Lopata Professor
Department of Energy, Environmental and Chemical Engineering
Washington University in St. Louis

3:30 PM
Friday, April 22, 2106
Room B12 A/B Bertelsmeyer Hall
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Abstract
Aerosols, particles that are suspended in a gaseous medium, are ubiquitous and found in nature and engineered systems.  They occur in a range of sizes, shapes and compositions and are relevant to important phenomena such as climate change, human health, environmental and energy processes.  These particles are both inadvertently and intentionally produced in a variety of systems.  The inadvertently produced particles maybe problematic and their emissions need to be controlled.  The intentionally produced particles have applications in a variety of fields, and form the backbone of the field of nanotechnology. The presentation will describe an understanding of the formation of these particles in gas-phase processes, and report on recent scientific advances.  A description of aerosol science and engineering that enables fundamental studies both mechanistically, and by the availability of well controlled particles to understand property-function relationships will be presented.  The second part of the talk will focus on aerosol science and engineering enabling environmental and energy technologies. 

Biography:
Dr. Pratim Biswas received his B.Tech. degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay in 1980; his M.S. degree from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1981 and his doctoral degree from the California Institute of Technology in 1985.  He joined Washington University in St. Louis in August 2000 as the inaugural Stifel and Quinette Jens Professor and Director of the Environmental Engineering Science Program. In 2006, he became the Chair of the newly created Department of Energy, Environmental and Chemical Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis.  He has won several Teaching and Research Awards: was the recipient of the 1991 Kenneth Whitby Award; the Neil Wandmacher Teaching Award of the College of Engineering in 1994; the David Sinclair Award by the American Association for Aerosol Research in 2013, and the Lawrence K. Cecil Award in Environmental Chemical Engineering by AIChE in 2015.    His research and educational interests are in aerosol science and technology, nanoparticle technology, energy and environmental nanotechnology, air quality and pollution control and the thermal sciences.  He has published more than 300 refereed journal papers with his 45 PhD graduates, and presented more than 150 invited talks all across the globe.


Water Scarcity: Supply Reliability, Uncertainty and Financial Risk

Gregory W. Characklis, Ph.D.
Professor, Dept. of Environmental Sciences & Engineering
Director, Center for Watershed Science & Management,
Institute for the Environment
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

3:30 PM
Monday, April 18, 2106
Room 216 Butler-Carlton Hall
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Abstract:
Hydrologic variability often gives rise to substantial fluctuations in the costs and revenues of both the public and private sector actors.  The financial instability that results can be very disruptive and thereby influence decisionmaking in a number of ways.  Understanding the nature of the financial risks posed in terms of both their frequency and severity requires integrated modeling of the natural and human systems involved.  Once these risks have been characterized, financial instruments (e.g., index insurance) can be designed to mitigate them, with attention focused on developing actuarial analyses and effective contract structures.  Example analyses from several different economic sectors will be presented, including urban water utilities, hydropower generators and commercial (inland) shipping.  Results suggest that environmental financial risk can often be substantially reduced through the use of innovative financial instruments.  Mitigation of these risks can lead to more efficient management of hydrologic uncertainties, while also having the potential to promote more sustainable behavior.         

Biography:  
Dr. Characklis is a Professor of Environmental Sciences and Engineering at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His primary research interests involve developing solutions to environmental engineering challenges through interdisciplinary systems-based approaches that integrate both engineering and economic principles. Specific areas of interest include the developing cost-effective urban water systems, understanding water-energy linkages/tradeoffs, and formulating new strategies for managing environmental financial risks. In addition to his faculty appointment, Dr. Characklis also serves as Director of the Center for Watershed Science and Management within the UNC Institute for the Environment. Dr. Characklis is the current President of the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP), he is also an Editor with the journal Hydrology and Earth Systems Sciences, and a former Associate Editor of Water Resources Research. Prior to joining UNC, Dr. Characklis spent two years as Director of Resource Development and Management at Azurix Corp., and another two years as a Fellow with the U.S. National Academy of Engineering.


Trends in Minimizing and Treating Industrial Wastes for Sustainable Environment: The Role of Multiphase Reactors and the Needed Advanced Measurement and Computing Techniques

Muthanna Al-Dahhan, Ph.D.
Chair, Chemical and Biochemical Engineering
Missouri University of Science and Technology
Rolla, MO

3:30 PM
Friday, April 15, 2106
Room B12 A/B Bertelsmeyer Hall
Missouri University of Sciencen Technology

Abstract:
Minimizing or eliminating the pollutions at the source via developing and selecting proper catalytic multiphase reactors are the focus of this presentation. These reactors are complex and opaque and they can take various complex configurations and types with or without internals to achieve the desired phases contacting and interaction. In our laboratory sophisticated measurement techniques, facilities, scale up methodologies and benchmarking CFD have been developed, verified and implement on various complex multiphase reactors and flow systems that are extensively used in a wide range of processes including energy, water, products and environmental applications. These are augmented with advanced mathematical algorithms and programs that have been developed in our laboratory for data gathering, processing and image reconstruction and are unique in USA and in the world which can be considered a unique global resource.

In this presentation, an overview of the processes used for treating the wastes and the role of multiphase reactors and the needed advanced measurement techniques will be discussed.

Biography:
Professor Al-Dahhan has BS, MSc, and doctoral degrees in chemical engineering. He is a Fellow of AIChE. He was a Professor at Washington University in St. Louis (1994-2008). He has published over 150 peer reviewed papers and presented a large number of plenary/keynote lectures, invited talks including over 350 conference presentations. His work and findings have been used in industry and heavily cited in the literature.


Nanoparticles: From Pollution to Energy Applications

Adam Boies, Ph.D.
Lecturer in Energy, Fluid Mechanics and Turbomachinery Engineering Division, University of Cambridge
Director, Advanced Nanotube Application and Manufacturing
Research Director, Catalytic Instrument GmbH

3:30 PM
Friday, April 8, 2016
Room 121 Butler-Carlton Hall
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Abstract
        Nanoparticles have existed in the natural environment since fires first burned. While historically particles in the gas phase (aerosols) were studied because of their impact as pollution, there is an increasing interest in harnessing gas-phase production of particles for beneficial purposes.
     This seminar will demonstrate how gas-phase particle sensing techniques give insight into the nature of emissions and reveal the potential for nanoparticle synthesis approaches to transform how energetic materials are produced. Our group has sought to characterize transportation emissions, with an emphasis on aerosols, through a series of initiatives spanning from gas turbine exhaust to train and hybrid natural gas/diesel engines.
     The application of aerosol science to engineered materials will be discussed in the context of large-scale carbon nanotube (CNT) manufacturing. Individual CNTs have thermal conductivities greater than any known bulk material; specific electrical conductivity twice that of copper; and the highest ultimate tensile strength ever measured. Bulk CNTs offer extremely useful functional material properties via their strength, electrical and thermal conductivity, and could revolutionize a number of applications – if they could only be produced in large quantities.
     Results from the last five years will be discussed in terms of large-scale CNT manufacturing and pathways forward for CNT prototype development and deployment will be detailed as a part of the Advanced Nanotube Application and Manufacturing (ANAM) Initiative.

Biography
Dr. Adam Boies is a Lecturer in the Energy, Fluid Mechanics and Turbomachinery Engineering Division at the University of Cambridge, Director of the Advanced Nanotube Application and Manufacturing (ANAM) Initiative and Research Director at Catalytic Instrument, GmbH. His research focuses on characterizing the evolution, dynamics and impacts of gas-phase nanoparticles and gaseous pollutants. The applications of his research extend to air quality, transportation emissions and engineered nanoparticles for energy applications.


Systems Biology Assessment of the Safety of Antimicrobial Drug Residues in Food

Carl E. Cerniglia, Ph.D.
Director, Division of Microbiology
National Center for Toxicological Research,
U.S. Food and Drug Administration,
Jefferson, AR72079 

3:30 PM
Friday, March 11, 2016
Room 121 Butler-Carton Hall
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Abstract:
The human gastrointestinal tract ecosystem consists of complex and diverse microbial communities, collectively termed the intestinal microbiome. Recent effective systemic approaches of meta-omics and bioinformatics have expanded our knowledge on microbial community composition, functional and metabolic activities, and host interactions of the intestinal microbiome, responsible for human health and disease. An area of public health interest has been the concern of the use of veterinary antimicrobial agents in food–producing animals may result in the presence of low–level of drug residues in edible foodstuffs.

Please attend to learn more about an integrated systems biology approach used for the safety evaluation and risk assessment of antimicrobial residues and their effect on the intestinal microbiome with the goal of insuring safety of the human food supply. Critical issues associated with the impacts of antimicrobial agent residues in foods on the intestinal microbial community and the potential increase in the population of drug-resistant bacteria will be discussed.

Biography:
Dr. Carl E. Cerniglia is a Senior Biomedical Research Service (SBRS) Research Microbiologist, Director of the Division of Microbiology at the National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR), US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and elected member of the American Academy of Microbiology. He is also an adjunct Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR. Dr. Cerniglia leads a team at the NCTR that has impacted public health in a variety of research areas including food safety, antimicrobial resistance, environmental biotechnology, nanotechnology, women’s health and human intestinal microbiome-host interactions. Dr. Cerniglia's research has resulted in over 400 scientific publications and numerous book chapters and review articles.


Spatiotemporal Variability of Cyanobacterial Harmful Algal Blooms with Respect to Changing Environmental Conditions

Jennifer L. Graham
U.S. Geological Survey

Kansas Water Science Center
Lawrence, KS

3:30 PM
Friday, March 4, 2016
Room 121 Butler-Carlton Hall
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Abstract:
Cyanobacteria cause a multitude of water-quality concerns, including potential production of taste-and-odor compounds and toxins. Taste-and-odor compounds cause malodorous or unpalatable drinking water and fish, resulting in increased treatment costs and loss of aquacultural and recreational revenue. Cyanotoxins have been implicated in human and animal illness and death in over fifty countries worldwide, including at least 36 U.S. States. The study of cyanobacteria and associated compounds presents several unique challenges. For example, 1) complex mixtures of cyanotoxins and taste-and-odor compounds are common in mixed-assemblage cyanobacterial blooms, 2) spatiotemporal variability is characteristic of blooms, and occurrence of cyanobacteria, cyanotoxins, and taste-and-odor compounds may vary substantially within relatively short distances and periods of time, and 3) relations between spatiotemporal dynamics and environmental conditions are unique to individual systems and are the complex result of the interactions between biological, physicochemical, and hydrologic factors. In the face of these challenges, continuous-water-quality monitors, remote sensing, genetic techniques, and in situ field experiments have supplemented traditional limnological studies. These new approaches have facilitated the development of tools to provide early warning systems for occurrence that guide management and public health decisions.

Biography:
Jennifer Graham, PhD, has been a research hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Lawrence, Kansas since 2006. Since 1997, Jennifer’s research has focused on the effects of anthropogenic influence on aquatic ecosystems. She also is a nationally recognized expert in cyanobacteria and associated nuisance compounds. For the past seventeen years she has conducted research on environmental factors influencing the occurrence of cyanotoxins in the United States. She has conducted both regional and single system studies at a variety of spatiotemporal scales.


The Warm and Fuzzy Side of the Environment:  Wild Animals on the Overland Trails, 1840-1869

Diana L. Ahmad, Ph.D.
Curators’ Teaching Professor, History and Political Sciences
Missouri University of Science and Technology
Rolla, MO

3:30 PM
Friday, February 26, 2016
Room 121 Butler-Carlton Hall
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Abstract
Between the 1840s and 1860s, nearly 300,000 emigrants crossed the Great Plains to California, Oregon, and Utah.  On the three to four month journey, the overlanders encountered animals saucy like prairie dogs, savory like buffalo, or scary like wolves.  The travelers quickly learned that the wild animals enhanced their lives in ways they never anticipated.  Placing animals into the history of the movement west increases our appreciation and understanding of the emigrants’ journeys and the wild animals they encountered on the way west.

Biography
Diana L. Ahmad is a Curators’ Teaching Professor at Missouri University of Science and Technology.  She specializes in the relationship between emigrants on the overland trails and the domestic and wild animals on the journey.  In addition, Ahmad studies the impact of smoking-opium on the demands for Chinese exclusion.  Prior to coming to Rolla, Ahmad taught in New York and Texas, as well as for the University of Maryland’s Asian Division in Korea, Japan, the Marshall Islands, and the Territory of Guam.  Her newest book, Success Depends on the Animals:  Emigrants, Livestock, and Wild Animals on the Overland Trails, 1840-1869 will be released in February 2016.  Ahmad’s first book, The Opium Debate and Chinese Exclusion Laws in the Nineteenth-Century American West was published in 2007.  Ahmad received her BA and MA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and her PhD at the University of Missouri-Columbia.  She is the recipient of over thirty teaching, advising, and service awards since she has been at Missouri S&T.


Interfacing Label-Free Optical Biosensors for Detection and Identification of Water-borne Pathogens

Heather K. Hunt, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Bioengineering
University of Missouri
Columbia, MO

3:30 PM
Friday, February 19, 2016
Room 121 Butler-Carlton Hall
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Abstract
Current fungal and bacterial detection techniques in food safety and water quality monitoring are relatively slow, require bulky instrumentation, and usually require some form of specialized training. The gold standard for bacterial detection is culture testing, which can take several days to receive a viable result.  Therefore, simpler detection techniques that are both fast and sensitive could greatly improve bacterial detection and identification. Label-free biosensors that combine high sensitivity and high specificity characteristics have shown tremendous potential for such applications.  A unique type of label-free, optical sensor, based on Whispering Gallery Mode microresonators, has tremendous potential to revolutionize biodetection due to its extreme sensitivity.  The primary limitation of these devices, however, is that they require the addition of biorecognition elements to specifically target a biological species of interest.  Therefore, the ability to selectively functionalize the microresonator for a specific target molecule, without degrading device performance, is extremely important, and represents the next step in translating these devices from laboratory to field environments.  Here, we demonstrate a variety of straightforward bioconjugation strategies that not only impart specificity to optical microresonators, but also allow for the creation of multi-use platforms for complex environments.  Of particular interest is the ability to detect harmful bacteria, such as Helicobacter hepaticus, a common food- and water-borne bacteria that causes food poisoning, and fungi, which can destroy crops.  The resulting surface chemistries are illustrated with XPS, SEM, and fluorescence and optical microscopy, and the device sensitivity is determined via quantitative microcavity analysis.  The ability to minimize non-specific adsorption and target unique molecules in complex environments is demonstrated via ellipsometry and in situ device testing.  The resulting devices can be recycled several times without loss of sensitivity.  By combining these high sensitivity sensors with appropriate biochemistries, the resulting platforms can be extended to address broader issues in environmental biosensing that directly impact food and water quality.


Membrane Contactors for CO2 Capture and Bio-mimetic High-purity O2 Production

Shiguang Li, Ph.D.
Research & Development Manager
Gas Technology Institute (GTI)
Des Plaines, IL

3:30 PM
Friday, Feburary 12, 2016
Room 121 Butler-Carlton Hall
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Abstract:
Supported by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), a novel hollow fiber membrane contactor technology for carbon dioxide capture from flue gases has been developed. The pilot field test was conducted at a coal-fired power plant; mass transfer coefficient was 1.2 (sec)-1, which is over an order of magnitude greater than that of conventional column contactors. In a separated project also funded by DOE, we are developing an innovative bio-mimetic oxygen production technology using membrane contactor. A membrane module with hollow fibers and O2 carrier solution mimics “blood vessels” and “blood” in the bio-mimetic process. A promising synthetic O2 carrier, poly(ethyleneimine)-cobalt complex (PEI-Co), was successfully developed.

Biography:
Shiguang Li is currently a R&D Manger at GTI, leading a Research Group focused on CO2 capture, gas separation, natural gas processing, energy storage and energy conversion. He has 22 years of experience in environment, energy and sustainability relevant research with expertise in membrane science and technology.  He is the PI for R&D grants totaling over $17 million including an active CO2 capture project, an active bio-mimetic O2 production project, an active pilot-scale CO2 capture project, and a previous natural gas storage project; all supported by DOE. He earned his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the Nanjing University of Technology, and completed a three-year post-doctoral training at the University of Colorado. Dr. Li has published 55 peer-reviewed papers (2,600 citations, H-index: 33). He also has 12 patents/12 patents pending.


Microbial Application in Subsurface CO2 Sequestration

Dr. Varun Paul
Assistant Adjunct Professor
Geosciences & Geological & Petroleum Engineering
Missouri University of Science and Technology
Rolla, MO

3:30 PM
Friday, February 5, 2016
Room 121 Butler-Carlton Hall
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Abstract:
Microbial activities, either by natural attenuation or artificial stimulation, hold much potential in solving several of the current environmental issues. The application of bacterial activity to sequester carbon in soil and subsurface is a novel field that is gaining immense attention. Several known bacterial members influence carbonate mineral (calcite, dolomite, etc.) precipitation by modifying pH, alkalinity, Ca2+ activity and by providing nucleation sites for mineralization. The ability of one such bacterial member, the sulfate-reducing bacteria, to induce carbonate mineralization was investigated as a means to enhance mineral sequestration of CO2 (i.e., converting CO2 from gaseous to solid carbonate phases). Sulfate-reducing bacteria, enriched from three hypersaline lakes, were tested in reactors under varying CO2 headspace concentrations. Carbonate mineral precipitation was successfully achieved with the bacterial community and under a pCO2 of 20 psi. Hydrogen, lactate and formate served as electron donors for the microorganisms. Carbon isotopic studies confirmed that carbon in the carbonate minerals was derived from electron donors, CO2 or bicarbonate ions in the solution. Sulfate-reducing bacteria’s ability to induce immobile carbonate mineralization can be potentially applied to enhance long-term storage of CO2.

Biography:
Dr. Varun Paul’s graduated with Ph.D. and M.S. degrees from Missouri S&T, and completed his undergraduate degree in India. He interned at various research institutions in India and also at the NASA Space Life Science Laboratory in Florida, USA. After his Ph.D. degree, he worked at an Environmental/Construction firm in Virginia for a year, and has returned to Missouri S&T as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Geosciences Department, teaching Geochemistry. His research focuses broadly on investigating the interaction between microorganisms and minerals, and how such processes affect the surrounding environment. The underlying goal of his research is to (i) find answers to fundamental questions that help interpret past environmental/geological conditions, and (ii) identify potential applications, such as in CO2 sequestration, bioremediation, and alternate energy.


Urinary Metabolite Biomarker Discovery and Validation for Early Cancer Detection

Casey Burton
Research Fellow, Department of Chemistry
Missouri University of Science and Technology
Rolla, MO

3:30 PM
Friday, January 29, 2016
Room 121 Butler-Carlton Hall
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Abstract:
Development of biochemically relevant and accurate biomarkers for early cancer detection remains one of the foremost challenges facing modern cancer research. Central to this challenge is the development and application of advanced analytical techniques to facilitate biomarker discovery and validation. This understanding is best realized in the emerging urinary metabolomics field which is concerned with small molecule analysis in highly complex matrices.

This seminar will introduce urinary metabolomics as a novel approach to cancer biomarker research with an emphasis on the development of advanced analytical techniques for urinary metabolite screening. Novel methods for the quantitation of several biomarker panels, including sarcosine, pteridines, taurine, modified nucleosides, and urinary metals, will be discussed. Emerging analytical challenges, such as the need to adjust biomarker levels to patient hydration, and clinical translation of this work will also be presented. Finally, the similarities between the analytical aspects of urinary metabolomics and environmental chemistry will be discussed.

Biography:
Mr. Burton is a third year doctoral student under Dr. Yinfa Ma in the Department of Chemistry. He received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Chemistry from Missouri University of Science and Technology. He was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship that aims at the development and application of advanced analytical techniques in urinary biomarker research. More recently, Casey received a National Science Foundation East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes Fellowship that enabled him to conduct international research at the Beijing National Laboratory for Molecular Sciences at Peking University.