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Arnold School of Public Health


Dr. Mohammed Baalousha, Associate Professor

Dr. Mohammed Baalousha, Assistant Professor

Dr. Mohammed Baalousha obtained a BSc in Civil Engineering from the Islamic University of Gaza, Palestine in 2001. After that, he moved to France where he completed a Masters degree in Applied Mechanics from the University Bordeaux 1 in 2002 and a PhD in Environmental Biogeochemistry entitled “Environmental role of colloids as carriers of trace elements” in 2006. Between 2006 and 2013, he undertook a variety of postdoctoral research role at the University of Birmingham, UK in the area of the Environmental Nanoscience. He moved to the University of South Carolina as Assistant Professor in Environmental Nanoscience in January 2014. Dr. Baalousha is a recipient of the 2016 NSF CAREER award. Dr. Baalousha’s research interests are interdisciplinary in nature including understanding the role of natural nanoparticles as carriers of trace contaminants and understanding the fate, behavior and biological effects of manufactured nanomaterials in the environment. In particular he is interested in:

  • Understanding the environmental and human health effects of nanomaterials
  • Quantifying the environmental exposure to nanomaterials in the environment
  • Developing analytical tools and methodologies for analysis of nanomaterials
  • Understanding the transformations, fate, behavior and effects of nanomaterials in environmental systems
  • Understanding the interactions between nanomaterials and natural organic matter (NOM-corona)


Dr. Eric Vejerano, Assistant Professor

Dr. Eric Vejerano, Assistant ProfessorDr. Eric Vejerano obtained his B.S. in Agricultural Chemistry from the University of the Philippines Los Banos in 1999. Prior to entering graduate school, he has devoted his professional life as a teacher to a diverse group of students. In 2005, he decided to return to chemistry elucidating the interaction between transition metal oxides and combustion byproducts to understand the role of free radicals in the toxicity of combustion-generated particulate matter. He earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Louisiana State University in 2011. He spent four years of postdoctoral training at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech investigating the effect, fate, and transformation of engineered nanomaterials during combustion, as well as the chemistry of evaporating aerosols. He joined USC in 2016 as an Assistant Professor of Environmental Nanoscience. To date, his research interest has been geared towards air quality which includes understanding: (1) the formation, fate, transport, and transformation of incidental, engineered, and naturally-occurring nanoparticles during thermal processing, (2) the interaction of nanoparticles with environmental contaminants such as air toxics and persistent free radicals, and (3) the environmental and health implications arising from these interactions.


Research Faculty


Dr. Kevin Dreher, Research Associated Professor

Dr. Kevin DreherDr. Dreher received his B.S. degree in Chemistry from Villanova University, M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Dreher is also holds adjunct appointments at the University of North Carolina (Curriculum in Toxicology), North Carolina State University (Cell and Molecular Toxicology), and the University of North Carolina Greensboro (Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering). Dr. Dreher recently joined the Center for Nanoscience and Risk as a Research Associated Professor. His research will pursue the education and application of nanoscience and nanotechnology to address key environmental health issues including climate change and its impact of agriculture, food quality, and economic sustainability. Dr. Dreher has published over 70 peer-reviewed scientific papers, co-authored several federal and international research strategy and regulatory documents related to the environmental, health, and safety research needs and strategy for engineered nanomaterials and their applications, and Organization for Cooperative Economic Development (OECD) harmonized testing guidelines for evaluating the safety of engineered nanomaterials. Dr. Dreher has received numerous awards during his tenure at the US Environmental Protection Agency including the Agency’s highest awards such as: 1 Gold, 3 Silver, and 2 Bronze Service Medals for his research in the areas of: air pollution health effects and safe sustainable chemicals. Dr. Dreher serves on several national and international science advisory boards including NIH’s NIEHS specialty study sections, 4 journal editorial boards, and review boards for 29 toxicology journals. He is past Councilor of the Inhalation Specialty Section of the Society of Toxicology and served as President, and co-founder of the Cardiovascular Toxicology Specialty Section within the national Society of Toxicology. Over the course of Dr. Dreher’s career he has mentored 25 individuals with degrees ranging from B.S. to M.D. Dr. Dreher is a scientific advisor for the Alliances of Veterans and Families Services, a 501c3 non-profit organization whose vision is to assist military veterans to achieve a sustainable transition to family, civilian, and community life by providing training, education, self-empowerment, and well-being as well as eliminating homelessness.


Dr. Robin W. "Buz" Kloot, Research Associate Professor

Dr. Robin W. "Buz" Kloot, Research Associate ProfessorBuz started his professional life as a chemical engineer and spent 12 years in the mining/mineral processing industry in Namibia, Africa. In 1999, he joined the University of South Carolina and has been involved in various projects related to agriculture and environmental quality. Buz is passionate about working directly with farmers on soil health projects and research and how they can leverage the cover crop to improve crop performance both in terms of yield and savings in inputs.  Buz’s passion for soils has moved him into the roles of storytelling through video.  His documentary “Under Cover Farmers” and his recent series on the “Science of Soil Health” and “The International year of Soils”, available on line, are examples of his work and passion. Buz is a research associate professor in the Environmental Health Sciences Department at USC’s Arnold School of Public Health and holds degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cape Town in South Africa, and an MBA and PhD from the University of South Carolina.

Adjunct Faculty


Dr. Simon Apte, Adjunct Professor

Dr. Simon Apte, Adjunct ProfessorDr Simon Apte is a Senior Principal Research scientist at the Centre for Environmental Contaminants Research, CSIRO Land and Water, Lucas Heights, Australia. He received a BSc degree in Environmental Science and a PhD in environmental analytical chemistry from the University of Southampton, UK. Simon has worked for CSIRO for over 25 years and a large part of his work involves the investigation of water quality problems throughout the Asia-Pacific region. This includes assessing the impacts of mining and other developments on tropical locations. His research team investigate the speciation and bioavailability of trace metals in aquatic systems. In particular, his laboratory specialises in the determination of trace elements at ultratrace concentrations in environmental matrices including marine waters. Over the last 10 years, his research has included studies that elucidate the environmental transformations and toxicity of metal and metal oxide nanomaterials in aquatic systems. This includes characterising the toxicity of nanomaterials to unicellular algae and determining the solubility of various nanomaterials in aquatic systems.

Karen Coltrane, Adjunct Professor

Karen Coltrane, Adjunct ProfessorKaren Coltrane is a graduate of the College of William and Mary with a B.A. in economics. After working her way through college as a supervisor at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA, she served as a bank officer with regional bank before returning to work for William and Mary as the director of annual giving and a major gifts officer during the college’s $150 million Campaign for the Fourth Century. Since leaving the college, she has served in external relations positions for healthcare, national trade and membership associations and human service organizations, and was the president and CEO of the Children's Museum of Richmond for seven years. There, she oversaw the opening of four satellites, making it the first children’s museum in the nation to have multiple locations. In 2015, she became the CEO of EdVenture Children’s Museum in Columbia, SC. In addition to her 26 years of professional work for non-profits, she has also been an active volunteer, including service as a regional president and member of the Board of Trustees of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America. She chaired the first Central Virginia Heart Gallery, served on the Board of Trustees of the Henrico Education Foundation and Richmond Regional Tourism and is currently a member of the Boards of Trustees of MEDARVA. She was named the Central Virginia YWCA’s 2012 Outstanding Woman of the Year in the category of Nonprofit Management. Her husband, Rick, works for the Federal Department of Education in Washington, DC and their son, Sam, is a junior at the College of Charleston.

Dr. Marie-Noële Croteau, Adjunct Associate Professor

Dr. Marie-Noële Croteau, Adjunct Associate ProfessorI study the linkages between contaminant bioavailability and toxicity in aquatic organisms exposed to metals, including colloidal metals and engineered nanoparticles. I develop and refine methodologies that employ enriched stable isotope tracers to gain insights into the physiological and geochemical processes influencing bioaccumulation and toxicity. Results showed that all the studied metal forms are bioavailable and potentially toxic to freshwater invertebrates, especially when taken up in the diet. Metal exposure from food might trigger important environmental and human health risks.

Dr. Angela Halfacre, Adjunct Professor

Dr. Angela Halfacre, Adjunct ProfessorAngela C. Halfacre is professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Political Science at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. She serves as the first director of Furman’s David E. Shi Center for Sustainability established in 2008. Before returning to Furman, her alma mater, in 2008, she spent 10 years at the College of Charleston as a political science professor and director of the graduate program in Environmental Studies. She was selected as the College of Charleston's 2008 Distinguished Teacher-Scholar. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Florida in 1997. At Furman, she teaches courses in environmental policy, wetlands policy, conservation, food/farming and culture, sustainability science, environmental justice and research methods. Halfacre also coordinates several curricular and co-curricular programs related to sustainability on campus and in the local community. Her research and publications examine public perceptions of sustainability issues (especially resource use and environmental justice), community governance, and environmental decision-making primarily in the American South.

She has published several peer-reviewed journal articles, and has a University of South Carolina Press book titled A Delicate Balance: Constructing a Conservation Culture in the South Carolina Lowcountry (which examines environmental perceptions and associated social movements in the Lowcountry region of South Carolina).

Dr. David Holbrook, Adjunct Associate Professor

Dr. David Holbrook, Adjunct Associate ProfessorR. David Holbrook is a Research Chemical Engineer with the Surface and Microanalysis Science Division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) located in Gaithersburg, Md, USA. Holbrook received a B.S. degree in biological systems engineering and an M.Eng. degree in civil (environmental) engineering from Cornell University (Ithaca, NY) and a Ph.D. degree in civil engineering from Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, Va). He was a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow with NIST, where he focused on developing and implementing surface sensitive analysis techniques for environmental colloid and engineered nanoparticle characterization. He is a registered professional engineer in North Carolina having spent six years in industry designing biological wastewater treatment facilities, and he was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) in 2009. Dr. Holbrook has authored or coauthored over 40 peer-reviewed manuscripts on topics ranging from colloid-facilitated transport of endocrine disruptors to detection and monitoring of anthropogenic activity in natural aquatic systems, behavior of engineered nanoparticles, and microanalysis of environmental samples.

Dr. Mark Kindy, Adjunct Professor

Dr. Mark Kindy, Adjunct ProfessorDr. Mark Kindy is a biochemist/neuroscientist and Professor in the Departments of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Neurology, Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology and Associate Dean for Research and Innovation in the College of Pharmacy at the University of South Florida and a Senior Research Career Scientist at the James A. Haley VA Medical Center in Tampa,. FL. He received his BS from the University of Massachusetts in Zoology and PhD from Boston University School of Medicine in Biochemistry. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Salk Institute. Dr. Kindy started his faculty career at the University of Kentucky School of Medicine in the Department of Biochemistry and the Center on Aging. He was Professor and Associate Chair for Research in the Department of Regenerative Medicine and Cell Biology at the Medical University of South Carolina from 2002-2015. His area of expertise is neurodegenerative disorders, animal modeling, mechanisms associated with diseases and regeneration of the brain.

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