Research Expertise

Our nineteen faculty direct state-of-the-art and internationally competitive research programs collectively aimed at understanding environmental hazards and their impacts on biological systems in order to protect human health and the environment. EMT research expertise is in 4 areas: Experimental Toxicology, Environmental Chemistry, Extensions Service Pesticide Information and Data Science

Experimental Toxicology

  • Use of zebrafish for high throughput screening to understand gene, diet, and other environmental interactions that cause disease. Employ numerous system biology, imaging, molecular biology, genetics and omics approaches to define gene functions and toxicity mechanisms.
  • Cancer treatment or prevention focuses on: (1) Identifying drug candidates that activate transcription factors that kill or inhibit proliferation of cancer cells in culture. (2) Using three-dimensional cultures of primary human bronchial epithelium to study poly aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) genotoxicity. (3) Utilization of human micro-dosing to examine the role of dietary modulation of PAH pharmacokinetics to assess a cancer prevention option.
  • Aquatic ecotoxicology programs include: (1) Examination of the impact of lipid bilayer shielding of silver nanoparticles (with or without decoration with other functional groups). Endpoints include silver accumulation, growth reduction and mortality in zebrafish and organisms in laboratory microcosms. (2)  Interactions of water chemistry with metals to determine their bioavailability and toxicity in aquatic plants, invertebrates and fish. Interpretation Gulf of Mexico-associated toxicity studies in oil spill ecological risk. (3) Endocrine disruption by pesticides and drugs in wastewater effluents. Hazards of microplastics and nanoplastics in marine organisms.

Environmental Chemistry

  • Quantitative analysis of fluorinated surfactants in groundwater and other environmental media by high pressure liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (3 instruments).
    • Past use of fire fighting foams on military bases is one major concern.
  • Use of passive sampling devices and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GS/MS) for quantitative analysis of up to 1530 chemicals for exposure assessment (5 instruments).
    • Field deployment of samplers for weeks in water and air pollution studies, silicone wristbands for personal exposures.
  • Use of high volume air samplers with GC/MS (3 instruments) to determine concentrations of PAHs and their atmospheric transformation products in 2.5 micrometer aerosol particles.
    • One pathway for particle formation is oil refinery emission-derived PAHs aggregation with monoterpenes from evergreen trees.

Extensions Service Pesticide Information

  • National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC): NPIC provides objective, science-based information about pesticides and pesticide-related topics to enable people to make informed decisions about pesticides and their use. NPIC is a cooperative agreement between Oregon State University and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • A new consulting service to medical professionals to provide pesticide information in collaboration with UC, Davis.
  • Integrated Plant Protection Center programfor pesticide risk management that provides face-to-face education for stakeholders, especially applicators.  Connections to county offices (Extension) and branch stations (AES) are important.

Data Science