Angela Gutierrez, a doctoral student at the University of Kentucky Superfund Research Center was one of six promising trainees nationwide awarded K.C. Donnelly Externship Award Supplements to fund their research at other institutions. The $10,000 annual award, sponsored by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) for Superfund Research Program (SRP) trainees, honors the memory of environmental health researcher Kirby “K.C.” Donnelly.
Gutierrez will spend her externship at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Engineering Technical Support Center, focusing on quality assurance and laboratory procedures for evaluating new cleanup technologies.
“This opportunity will enhance my knowledge of emerging environmental remediation technologies and give me the skills required to successfully transfer laboratory work into field-scale studies,” Gutierrez said.
“My research at UK focuses on developing new nanocomposite materials that are used for capturing organic pollutants, mostly PCBs in contaminated water sources. We’re incorporating naturally occurring antioxidants, like polyphenols, things you find in berries and turmeric, as our binding capacity. So, we’re developing a material that’s easy to make, it’s cost effective, and it’s also a greener approach than current technologies.”
Watch this video, with Gutierrez and colleague Rohit Bhandari, to learn more about nanoparticle capture of pollutants. See all of the research under way at the UK Superfund Research Center by visiting their site: http://www.uky.edu/superfund.