Research

As a environmental scientist, I am interested in chemical pollutants that may pose threat to public health and ecological systems. Since the industrial revolution, human beings are changing the world as well as the environment around ourselves. We purified or synthesized thousands of chemicals to improve the productivity and quality of our life, but also caused severe pollution and threat people’s health. So I am curious about what are the these compounds, how they are transformed or transported in the environment, and how they are exposed to us.

Current research focus

  • Stormwater characterization

While we are used to the convenient highway system and paved parking lots in the cities, stormwater runoff from these hard surfaces may contain a variety of chemicals that would pollute our water, and sometimes these chemicals are toxic enough to kill big fish like coho salmon (news 1, news 2).

Working with Prof. Edward Kolodziej at University of Washington, we are trying to find out the identities of pollutants in stormwater, and what pollutants are responsible for the pre-spawn mortality (PSM) of salmon.

  • Emerging contaminants in Puget Sound

Puget Sound is an estuary in which salt water from the nearby Pacific Ocean mixes with fresh water runoff from the surrounding watershed in western Washington. Except for its beauty and economic value, Puget Sound serve as a big “dilutor” for the Great Seattle area, mitigated the water pollution that are more severe in some other areas. However, as the population in this area is expected to grow in the coming decades, it is crucial to monitor the changes in the marine environment as well as the organisms.

Working with Dr. Andy James at the Center for Urban Waters, I will use non-target and suspect screening methods to prioritize and quantify pollutants that might threat the ecosystem of Puget Sound.

Previous research projects

  • Non-target analysis of bioremediated soilPAH-contaminated sites are affected by extremely complex mixtures, like coal tar or creosote, and biotransformation products or co-occurring compounds could contribute to the overall toxicological effects of contaminated soil before and after bioremediation. The objective of this project is to use non-target analysis workflows to identify the genotoxic transformation products, important co-occurring pollutants, and the unrecognized biotransformation pathways that could contribute to explain the toxicological effects observed beyond parent PAHs.
    NTA_letzelbook

    Source: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/book/10.1021/bk-2016-1241

    As the picture above suggested, non-target analysis is a method that

  • Less chlorinated dioxins and furans