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My Chem/Biochem

  • posing with a fake alligator

    Fripp Island Trip

    Rebekkah and Joy subdue an alligator statue on a field trip to Fripp Island.

  • unleash sciece on the salt marsh near Sol Legare Island

    Unleashing science on the salt marsh

    Meagan, Shane and Ben are prepared to unleash Science on the salt marsh near Sol Legare Island.

  • Scouting for sampling sites

    Sampling Sites

    Ben returning to the dock after scouting for sampling sites.

  • Collecting a sample from Folly Beach

    Folly Beach trip

    Sarah collecting a sample from Folly Beach.

  • Collecting surface water samples at the Congaree River

    Congaree River Trip

    The team collects surface water samples at the Congaree River.


Our environmental remediation research focuses on developing strategies to decontaminate water and soils by using oxidants to mineralize pollutants.  Atmospheric oxygen is the most abundant oxidant in the biosphere so is potentially the greenest, least expensive reagent we could use to remove organic contaminants.

 We work on ways to initiate reactions between organic molecules and oxygen through the intermediacy of reactive oxygen species, a collection of highly reactive free radicals that can be generated in surface water, groundwater or soils.  The goal is to convert organic contaminants to carbon dioxide, water and mineral acids.

Another strategy for environmental remediation is immobilization, which is the focus of our polymerization-in-place research. We are researching strategies to increase the fugacity of organic contaminants in the aqueous phase, ultimately reducing their solubility and immobilizing them in the soil. This research is a transformative and novel approach for in-situ chemical remediation of contaminated groundwater. We perform experiments in the laboratory to investigate how natural conditions can influence this process. 

Our environmental fate research focuses on redox and photochemical processes that govern the ultimate disposition of organic molecules and materials in the ‘built’ and ‘natural’ environment.  Typically we will study a contaminant or class of related contaminants to learn the mechanisms by which it naturally decompose and what decomposition products are generated.  We often work with toxicologists to estimate the ecological effects of contaminant degradation.     

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.