CERA Current Projects

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Current Projects

Use of Boron-Doped Diamond Electrodes for Treatment of Perfluorinated Compounds
C Higgins (PI at CSM), C Schaefer (PI, Shaw Environmental), US Air Force, October 2011 - August 2013

Treatment of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) in groundwater poses a significant challenge to the Air Force due to their introduction into the subsurface from the use of aqueous film forming foams (AFFFS) at fire training facilities. Conventional (e.g., carbon sorption) and innovative (advanced oxidation) remedial technologies have been shown to have limited effectiveness for treating PFC contaminated water. Electrochemical treatment of PFCs in groundwater using boron-doped diamond (BDD) electrodes shows great promise as a potential cost-effective remedy for PFC-impacted plumes. The overall goal of this project is to verify and assess treatment of PFCs in groundwater from a well characterized site using a BDD electrochemical treatment system. Specifically, both the rate and extent of PFC treatment will be measured, and potential accumulation of any harmful daughter products will be evaluated. The effectiveness of the BDD electrochemical treatment approach will be assessed in terms of energy consumption (to evaluate the economic feasibility of the technology) and in terms of electrode longevity. The rate of hydrogen generation from the electrochemical treatment also will be measured to determine the potential for energy recovery by means of a hydrogen fuel cell.
 
Collaborative Research: Biological Controls on Reactive Oxygen Species in the Oligotrophic Ocean
B Voelker (PI at CSM) with C Hansel (PI at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution), National Science Foundation (NSF), September 2011 - August 2014
Ambient levels of the reactive oxygen species hydrogen peroxide can affect the growth of the most abundant photosynthesizer in the oligotrophic ocean, prochlorococcus. In addition, the reactive oxygen species superoxide can change the oxidation state of biologically important metal ions. The goal of this work is to determine the extent to which biological production and destruction of hydrogen peroxide and superoxide are significant, and which organisms are responsible for these processes.
 
PAH Interactions with Soil and Effects on Bioaccessibility and Bioavailability to Humans
AL Bunge (PI at CSM), Y Lowney (Exponent Inc.) and M Ruby (Integral Inc) co-PIs, Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) through a subcontractor to Exponent, March 2011-March 2013.
The goal of this task of the larger SERDP project is to generate meaningful data regarding the dermal absorption of PAHs that have been identified as risk drivers in soils at DoD sites, and to investigate the influence of soil characteristics and the source of contamination on skin permeation.
 
Collaborative Research: Biological Production of Reactive Oxygen Species in Freshwater
B Voelker (PI at CSM) with C Hansel (PI at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution), National Science Foundation (NSF), September 2010 - August 2013
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) can break down organic contaminants and change the speciation of both toxic and nutrient metals.   A main goal of the CSM portion of this collaborative study is to determine the extent to which biological production of ROS contributes to these processes.
 
Using Molecular Modeling to Determine Structure and Organization in Skin Lipids
C McCabe (PI, Vanderbilt University) and AL Bunge (co-PI and PI at CSM on subcontract to Vanderbilt University), National Institutes of Health (NIH), April 2010-March 2013
The goal is to perform molecular modeling studies using both atomistically detailed and coarse-grained models of the lipids in the stratum corneum (free fatty acids, ceramides, and cholesterol) to probe the molecular arrangement of the lipid molecules and their self-assembly into lamellae.  Simulations (molecular dynamics and Monte Carlo) will be performed to analyze the nano-scale structures that are formed and the interactions that drive the self-assembly process.  Transport of topical agents, including water, in the SC lipids and their effect on lipid organization will also be studied.
 
Detection of Engineered Nanomaterials in Drinking Water, Food, Commercial Products, and Biological Samples
JF Ranville (PI), Christopher Higgins (Co-PI), National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), (Subcontractor to Arizona State University), October 2009-August 2011.
Methods are to be developed to allow the extraction and quantification of TiO2 and ZnO nanoparticles in a number of complex matrices that are relevant to human health concerns.
This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5).
 
Using Pulsed-Field Gradient Spin-Echo NMR to Determine Permeation Mechanisms in Human Stratum Corneum
AL Bunge (PI), National Science Foundation (NSF), July 2009-June 2013.
The aim of is to use pulsed-field gradient spin-echo (PGSE) nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to study diffusion of a model lipophilic chemical and water within the outermost layer of human skin called the stratum corneum. Human stratum corneum is a multi-phasic membrane consisting of layers of flattened, dead skin cells filled with keratin surrounded by a lipid phase organized into thin layers. The project will demonstrate a new capability for using PGSE-NMR to measure diffusion of chemicals other than water in the stratum corneum (which is the rate-limiting barrier for chemical permeation through skin) and to ascertain the location within the stratum corneum of the PGSE-NMR diffusion measurements.
This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5).
 
Characterization of Metal-Containing Nanoparticles Using FFF-ICP-MS
JF Ranville (PI), US Army Corp of Engineers (USACE), April 2009-December 2012.
Methods are being developed to examine the ecological exposure of terrestrial organisms to nano-Ag and quantum dots.  Nanoparticles will be enumerated using novel ICP-MS methods including FFF-ICP-MS and real time single particle ICP-MS (RTSP-ICP-MS).

 


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