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Postdoctoral Researchers and Graduate Students

Postdoctoral Researchers

Linkel Boateng, PhD

Dr. Boateng is currently a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Jamie Lead’s group at the CENR. Linkel received his Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of South Carolina. During his Ph.D., his research focused on in silico investigation of membrane-based water treatment processes and the influence of water quality parameters on environmental processes at the nanoscale. Before joining CENR, he served as a postdoctoral research associate at Clemson University where he collaborated with experimentalists to develop a computational framework to understand nano-and macro-scale fouling behavior of membranes. His research interests include atomistic and process simulations of environmental systems including membrane and nano-based water treatment technologies. Currently, his research work at the CENR focuses on using computational techniques to investigate the interactions of nanoparticles in aqueous systems.

Jie Hong, PhD

Dr. Jie Hong is currently a postdoctoral fellow in Professor Lead’s group at the CENR. He earned his doctoral degree in environmental science and engineering from the University of Texas at El Paso. He performed studies of the toxicity of ceria nanoparticles (NPs) to cucumber plants. Now in the CENR, his research interest is studying mobilization and dynamics of trace metal pollutants in South Eastern coast area, and developing new remediation strategies based on nanotechnology.

Frédéric Loosli, PhD

Dr. Frédéric Loosli is currently a postdoctoral fellow, supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation, in Dr. Mohammed Baalousha's group at the CENR. He earned his Ph.D from Geneva University, Environmental Physical Chemistry and Soft Matter Science group (Dr. Serge Stoll), Switzerland. During his Ph.D., he investigated the importance of complexation processes on the fate, reactivity and transport of manufactured nanoparticles in aquatic systems. Then he joined the MSC lab (Dr. Jean-François Berret), Paris 7 Diderot, France as a postdoctoral researcher to study the rheological parameters of complex media and epithelium cells by active microrheology using magnetic wires. His current research focus on developing a multi-method approach for detection, quantification and characterization of engineered nanoparticles in natural waters.

Guiying Rao, PhD

Dr. Guiying Rao is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Vejerano group at the CENR. She earned her Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Nevada, Reno, Reno, NV. During her Ph.D., she worked on membrane distillation technology for desalination and water/wastewater treatment. After graduation, she worked as postdoctoral fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and at Texas A&M University. Her research was focused on synthesizing nanomaterials for water treatment applications including the degradation of organic contaminants, the adsorption of inorganics contaminants, and the synthesis of nanomaterial-based membranes. Her current research in CENR focuses on the effect of aerosols on the fate and transport of volatile organic compounds in air and the application of nanomaterials for remediating air pollution.

JingJing Wang, PhD

Dr. Jingjing Wang is currently a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Mohammed Baalousha’s group at the CENR. She earned her Ph.D in Applied Chemistry from Colorado School of Mines, Dr. James Ranville’s group, Golden, CO. During her Ph.D, she gained expertise in nano-analytics, in particular field flow fractionation and single particle-inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy, which were applied to her research to understand the environmental behaviors of manufactured carbon (biochar and carbon nanotubes).  Dr. Wang’s current research focuses on monitoring engineered nanoparticles in surface waters.

 

Visiting Scholars

Brett Knowles

Brett Knowles is a visiting PhD scholar at the CENR supported by the Australian Posgraduate Award, the University of Wollongong, and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation of Australia. He earned his Bachelor's degree in Science, majoring in Chemistry, at the University of Wollongong. He is working at the CENR under the supervision of Dr. Jamie Lead, and his current research interest is in the synthesis and use of isotopically-labeled, three-layer core-shell nanoparticles to study the unique and various transformations of silver nanoparticles in natural freshwaters, and their resulting fate and bioavailability in these environments.

Zebang Yi

Zebang Yi is a visiting PhD scholar at the CENR, supported by the Chinese Scholarship Council. He started his PhD degree at Sun Yat-sen University, School of Earth Science and Geological Engineering, China in September 2015. He is working under the supervision of Dr. Mohammed Baalousha since January, 2017. His research focuses on developing a multi-method approach for detection, quantification and characterization of engineered nanoparticles in natural samples.

 

Graduate Students

Kamelia Afshinnia

Kamelia Afshinnia is a PhD student at the CENR and has been working under the supervision of Dr. Mohammed Baalousha since August, 2014. She earned her Master’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Iran University of Science and Technology. Her research interests include understanding the transformation, deposition and aggregation behavior of nanomaterials in the environment. She is also interested in investigating how the interaction of nanomaterials with natural environmental components impact on these processes.

Amjed Alabresm

Amjed Alabresm is a PhD student at CENR. My project is related to the assessment of toxicity of NPs used in environmental remediation of oil. Toxicity to bacteria and daphnia will be assessed, including effects on gene expression. This project is supervised by Professor Lead. He previously worked at the Marine Science Centre, University of Basra, Iraq as a researcher for seven years. He received his masters degree in Microbiology at University of Baghdad, Iraq in 1999.

Badria Almurshidi

Badria Almurshidi is a PhD student at the CENR, working under the supervision of Dr. Mohammed Baalousha and Dr. Saurabh Chatterjee. She earned her Master’s degree in Environmental and Molecular Toxicology from Oregon State University and a BSc in Biological Sciences from UAE University. Her research interests focus on the field on Nanotoxicology.

Hana Alhmeed

Hanaa Alhameed is a CENR, PhD Candidate studying under Dr. Mohammed Baalousha and Dr. Geffrey Scott, since August 2015. She earned a B.S. degree in Biology from Basra University. She received a M.Sc. in ecology pollution in 2005. Her project concentration is the fate of manufactured nanomaterials in the aquatic environment and toxicity of nanomaterials on aquatic species, including studying aggregation of nanomaterials.  

Amna Al-Hashmi 

Amna Al-Hashmi is a PhD student at CENR studying mentored by  Dr. Jamie Lead. She earned a B.S. degree in Biology with a cognate in Chemistry from the University of South Carolina (USC) in December, 2005. She worked as an environmental advisor for a National Mining Company in Oman for several years and then continued her higher education at USC and received a Master’s degree in Earth and Environment Resources Management (MEERM) from the College of Arts and Sciences. Her earlier research in MEERM program focused on assessing the impact of mining activities on the water quality of a local open pit copper mine. She also worked as an environment and sustainability specialist in the waste management sector in Oman and was in charge of assessing the environmental impacts of the waste management projects and implementing the environment and sustainability strategies adopted by the sector. Recently, she joined the CENR and her research focuses on understanding the role of nano-remediation in mitigating nanoparticle toxicity to fish.  

Amar Yasser Al-Rshim

Amar Yasser Al-Rshim is a PhD student at the CENR under the supervision of Dr. Mohammed Baalousha. Amar earned a Master’s of Food Science and  Biotechnology at the University of Basra (Iraq). Previously, Amar worked as researcher in the Marine Vertebrate Department at the Marine Science Center. His current research interest is in the biosynthesis of engineered nanoparticles and their application  as antimicrobial agent together with understanding their environmental health and safety. 

Shelby Butz

Shelby Butz became part of the CENR team in August 2015 as a Ph.D. candidate under the supervision of Dr. Jamie Lead. She earned her Masters degree in Marine Science from the University of South Carolina in 2015, and Bachelors degree in Marine Science from Coastal Carolina University in 2013. Her current research couples the synthesis of silver nanoparticles and the potential of associated risks that exposure may have on the environment. She is investigating the toxicity of silver nanoparticles to organisms within the primary producer and primary consumer communities, with the intent to determine the transfer between trophic levels. Her other interests include fate and behavior of nanomaterials, estuarine ecology, and toxicological consequences of pollutants to estuarine organism. 

Dipesh Das

Dipesh Das is currently working under the direct supervision of Dr. Navid Saleh at the University of Texas, Austin TX, along with Dr. Jamie Lead. His research intrests are the synthesis of nanohybrids and the study of their potential applications in the field of environmental science and engineering, especially in water and wastewater treatment. He is investigating the applications of carbon nanotube and exfoliated graphene supported nanohybrids in this sector. He is also interested in the fate and transport studies of these nanohybrids and their impacts on the environment. Previously, he worked on wastewater sludge treatment and their potential application and disposal systems.

Stacie Gantz

Stacie Gantz is a first year graduate student at CENR. She is currently pursuing her Masters of Science in Environmental Health Sciences, with a focus in the Aquatic Sciences.  Stacie earned her Bachelors of Science degree in Environmental Science, and a German minor, from the University of South Carolina in December of 2013. Stacie is the Soil Health Science Lab Manager and a Graduate Research Assistant to Dr. Robin “Buz” Kloot. For four years, she worked in the Sustainable Agriculture industry as a Greenhouse Manager growing high yield and high turnover rate salad greens for retail markets in the Southeast region.  Currently, as an assistant to Dr. Kloot, she works on several different grant funded agricultural projects in cooperation with agencies such as NRCS and Dillon County Soil and Water Conservation District.  The goal of these projects is to evaluate the fluctuations in soil microbiology and chemistry in thousands of acres of farmed fields across the state of South Carolina, educate farmers and promote different land management strategies such as cover cropping and reduced tillage, and decrease the overall chemical input of modern agricultural practices therefore reducing pollutants to our waterways.

Gabriel Kenne

Gabriel Kenne is a PhD Candidate at CENR as of August 2016 studying under Dr. Robin “Buz” Kloot and Dr. Anindya Chanda. He earned a B.S. degree in Biology from the University of Nebraska at Omaha where he focused on molecular genetics, followed by an M.P.H. in Infectious Diseases and Zoonosis from Kansas State University. His early PhD research on fungal molecular biology and toxicology is being applied to a new focus on soil microbiology and soil health. His current research is to better understand what defines a healthy soil and how to promote healthy soils and crops naturally rather than through the use of agricultural chemicals. He is examining the soil microbiome and crop health under various controlled field conditions (such as cover crops, tillage practices, and the use of irrigation water hyperoxygenated with nanobubbles) to determine the best ways to optimize food production to feed a growing global population while decreasing dependencies on synthetic chemicals.

Shibani Kulkarni

Shibani Kulkarni is a PhD candidate in the Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior. She earned her MPH in Global Health from Emory University. Her current graduate assistantship is with Dr. Daniela Friedman and Dr. Jamie Lead, focused on an NIEHS-funded qualitative study to examine strategies for the communication of environmental risks associated with breast cancer among African-American communities in South Carolina.

Kaleea Lewis

Kaleea Lewis is a doctoral candidate in the Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior department. Her academic advisor is Dr. Emily S. Mann. She earned a B.S. degree in Biology from Converse College and a Master of Science in Public Health from the University of South Carolina – Arnold School of Public Health (Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior). Ms. Lewis’ current research interests include racial health inequities, racial justice/equity, and the health ramifications of internalized and institutionalized racism as it relates to the mental health of millennial African Americans. Her current research with Dr. Daniela Friedman and Dr. Jamie Lead is a qualitative study of communication of environmental risks associated with breast cancer among African-American communities in South Carolina.

Samantha McNeal

Samantha McNeal is a PhD student at the CENR and started her research under the guidance of Dr. Mohammad Baalousha in June 2015. She earned her Master’s degree in Public Health from Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health at Georgia Southern University and her Bachelor's degree in Chemistry from Norfolk State University. Her research interests include nanomaterials in addition to other contaminants of emerging concern present in environmental media and the potential risks associated with exposure. Her current project is investigating contaminant levels including nanomaterials, metals, microbial, nutrients, and organics present in urban water runoff and stormwater ponds and their impact on human health and the environment.

Seyyedali Mirshahghassemi

Seyyedali Mirshahghassemi is a PhD student at the CENR and has working under the supervision of Professor Lead since January 2014. He earned his masters degree in Environmental Engineering at University of Tehran (Iran) in 2013. His research interests are in synthesis and characterization of novel nanoparticles and the study of their potential applications for the environmental remediation techniques. He is also interested in understanding the aggregation behavior of nanomaterials like iron oxide NPs.

Mohammed Othman

Mohammed Othman is a PhD student at the CENR, which he joined on October 2016 and is supervised by Dr Jamie Lead. He earned his Master's degree in Global Environmental Health Sciences from the School of Public Health at Tulane University, New Orleans. His current research interest is in the biodistribution of Silver Nanoparticles (AgNP) in the body using animal models and investigating the uptake processes and response of microbiome to the AgNP.

Sahar Pourhoseini

Sahar Pourhoseini is a PhD student at the CENR and started her research under the supervision of Dr. Jamie Lead in May 2015. She earned her master’s degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology at the Science and Research Branch, Azad University of Tehran. Her current research interest is in the use of isotopically-labeled, three-layer core-shell nanoparticles to investigate the relative importance of ionic and particulate uptake into mammalian models.

Mithun Sikder

Mithun Sikdur is a PhD student at CENR and started his research under the supervision of Drs. Mohammed Baalousha, Jamie Lead and Tom Chandler in January, 2015. He earned his Master’s degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of Nottingham, UK in 2013. His current research interest centers on investigating the effect of metal and metal oxide nanoparticle size dispersity on their properties, uptake and toxicity.