My research is mainly focused on two areas: 1) characterizing exposure of pollutants and investigating adverse health effects of these pollutants in urban environments and 2) apportioning contamination sources and assessing environmental impact related to human activities (e.g., the fate of contaminants after Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and impact of hydraulic fracturing on water and air quality).
The ability to unambiguously identify and measure trace organics is a prerequisite for testing mechanisms that impact their behavior and fate. At LDEO, I have established an organic geochemistry laboratory from scratch with the ability to extract organic contaminants from environmental samples (waters, soils, sediments, aerosols) and biological samples (e.g., fish tissue and human exhaled breath condensate), to conduct purification and separation of organics of interest from the complex mixtures and matrices, and to identify and quantify those compounds using modern chromatography techniques. As I have built up these abilities at LDEO, I have continued my research in Environmental Geochemistry (e.g., source apportionment in the NY metropolitan area) and expanded into other areas, including tracing spilled oil in Gulf of Mexico, bioaccumulation and bioavailability of PAHs, bioremediation of contaminated soil/sediments, and the relationships between indoor and personal exposures to these contaminants and adverse respiratory outcomes related to the exposure among children living in NYC and Beijing, China.
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