Trainees

Trainees

Prasadi Adihetty

 Prasadi Adhihetty is pursuing her PhD under the supervision of Prof. M. Nantz at the Department of Chemistry, University of Louisville. She is a part of the University of Louisville Superfund Research Center's Project 3 which is focused on development of gas sensor array technology for measurement of target Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in air. Long term and short term exposure to VOCs can cause several deleterious effects on human health. So far, not a single method available to analyze trace concentrations of these VOC in air. So, their goal is to develop novel technologies for quantitative analysis of VOCs to improve both lab and on-site measurements of toxic VOCs. Since this interdisciplinary project demands knowledge of various fields like Chemistry, Nanotechnology and Chemical analysis, this project provides her the perfect opportunity to develop her research skills. Her experience in Synthesis and chemical analysis aligns with the goal of UofL Superfund Research Center.


Audrey Dang

 Audrey Dang is a graduate student in Energy, Environmental, and Chemical Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis. Her research interests in the Atmospheric Chemistry and Technology Laboratory include instrument development for chemically characterizing organic gases and particles. She is developing a portable, multichannel gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GCMS) instrument for high time resolution, mobile measurements of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The instrument will be deployed to Louisville to understand the spatial variability of VOC Superfund Chemicals throughout neighborhoods.


Sujoy Halder

Sujoy Halder is a graduate student in Chemical Engineering at the University of Louisville. He received a bachelor degree in Chemical Engineering from Shahjalal University of Science & Technology in Bangladesh. He is pursuing his PhD degree under the supervision of Dr. Sean Fu.  His research focuses on fabricating microreactors and gas sensors for the environmental applications of Project 3 of the SRP center at the University of Louisville. These MEMS devices are used to capture and analyze toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air.  The detection of VOCs at trace level has become an important research area for environmental monitoring and biomedical research.


Anuradha Kalani

 Anuradha Kalani received her PhD in Biochemistry from the Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow, India and performed her post-doctoral studies in diabetes, cardiovascular and exosome biology from the Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, India as well as the University of Louisville. In her current project, Project 2, entitled “Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Cardiometabolic Toxicity of VOCs” Anuradha integrates her previous experience in the field by performing state-of-the-art research aimed at elucidating the regulatory roles of cellular and molecular pathways triggered by exposure to VOCs and their impact on cardiometabolic injury. The long-term goal of her career is to explore novel regulatory pathways and establish excellent therapeutic interventions against diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.


Stacey Konkle

 Stacey Konkle is a doctoral candidate in Epidemiology at the University of Louisville. Stacey earned her MPH in 2014 from the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences in Applied Biostatistics and Epidemiology, where her research involved assessing healthcare-acquired infection outbreaks. Her present research interests lie in the study of environmental pollutant exposures as a link to increased cardiovascular and metabolic risk. Her current projects uniquely focus on investigating associations of urinary volatile organic compound (VOC) metabolites with measures of increased cardiovascular and metabolic risk among large complex survey study population such as NHANES. Her work is being used as a benchmark of national VOC exposures and outcomes, which complements the University of Louisville VOC Superfund projects to break the link between chemical exposure and disease. The multidisciplinary research team of the UofL Superfund Research Center provides a diverse professional platform to inform Stacey’s research as well as gives her the opportunity to network and disseminate her unique and informative public health findings.


Qi Li

 Qi Li is a fifth year PhD student major in Chemical Engineering of University of Louisville. He mainly focuses on breath analysis and microfabrication for micro-devices and different chromatography instruments. His PhD project is entitled “Preconcentration and Analysis of Trace Volatile Carbonyl Compounds in breath”, a project that is involved in developing a microdevice for breath analysis to find potential biomarkers of lung cancer for early detection as well as and using mass chromatography to detect volatile organic compounds. He has demonstrated the quantitative analysis of carbonyl volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and identification of lung cancer VOC markers in exhaled breath using unique silicon microreactor technology. This research has given him extensive experience in microfabrication and analysis utilizing different instruments. Within the UofL Superfund Research Center, his expertise helps provide measurements of Superfund VOCs in the air to assist the biomedical research projects. His work on Project 3 “Development of Novel Ultrasensitive Devices for the Measurement of VOCs” assists in the innovation of gas sensor array technology for measurement of target VOCs.


Marina Malovichko

 Marina Malovichko is involved in Project 1-Cardiometabolic Injury due to Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and Project 2- Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Cardiometabolic Toxicity of VOCs. She obtained her doctoral degree from the University of Louisville, Chemistry Department. As a graduate student she studied the regulation and activation of the blood coagulation enzyme thrombin by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry coupled with Hydrogen-Deuterium Exchange technique as well as Nuclear Magnetic Resonance. She joined Dr. Srivastava’s laboratory at the Institute of Molecular Cardiology as a postdoctoral associate, where she is studying the cardiovascular effects of various tobacco products. She is currently performing measurements of VOCs by Liquid Chromatography and Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry and is in the process of establishing biomarkers of tobacco-related cardiovascular injury by Flow Cytometry. She underwent a two-year A-TRAC (American Heart Association Tobacco Regulatory Center) training program to better understand tobacco regulatory science. Because tobacco regulatory science and environmental science have a lot in common, Marina is applying her gained knowledge and experience to elucidate the effects of pollution on human health which has a great potential to significantly improve public health through the Superfund Research Program.


Katlyn McGraw

 Katlyn McGraw is an Environmental Health Science PhD student. She earned her MPH from the University of Louisville in 2016. Her prior expertise includes hazardous waste analysis and recycling, synthesis and quality control of radiopharmaceuticals, and clinical research. Her research interests are environmental pollutants in air and how they may contribute to cardiovascular disease. Her project uses a risk assessment approach to defining volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the environment and human exposure. Currently, she is investigating exposure to VOCs using human biomonitoring data of VOC urinary metabolites and their association with cardiovascular disease risk factors in a local cohort, the Louisville Healthy Heart Study. The project is significant because cardiovascular health effects from exposure to VOCs have not been well studied. Katlyn’s post-doctoral career goal is to work for the National Institute of Environmental Health Science. This project will aid in her professional growth by giving her experience with analyzing human health risks by conducting translational research. Katlyn has an extensive background in hazardous waste, clinical research, and environmental health which aligns her well with the overall goals of the UofL Superfund Research Center.


Jack Pfeiffer

 Jack Pfeiffer is a doctoral student in the Department of Epidemiology and Population Health at the University of Louisville's (UofL) School of Public Health and Information Sciences. His research focuses on environmental epidemiology, including extensive work on the Coal Ash Exposure and Neurobehavioral Symptoms in Children study. In addition, he examines risk factors associated with electronic nicotine and tobacco product usage with the American Heart Association Tobacco Regulation and Addiction Center and perceptions of health and environment with Green Heart Louisville. With UofL's Superfund Research Center, Jack works with the research translation core to communicate study findings to appropriate audiences and stakeholders. His previous experience with field work, study design, and statistical analysis enables him to research translation projects in meaningful and substantial ways.


Pradeep Prathibha

 Pradeep Prathidbha is a doctoral student working with Professor Jay Turner in the Department of Energy, Environmental, and Chemical Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis. She graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 2016. Pradeep's research focuses on characterizing the intra-urban spatial variability and residential level outdoor exposures of select VOC Superfund Chemicals using tools including, but not limited to, land use regression (LUR). This top-down approach is novel in its use of mobile monitoring in LUR modeling of VOCs. This work ties in with Pradeep’s broader interests in characterizing air quality through field measurements and modeling and contributes to the UofL Superfund Research Center’s evaluation of the role of VOCs in cardiometabolic disease and fatty liver disease.


Daniel Riggs

Daniel Riggs is currently pursuing his PhD in the department of Bioinformatics and Biostatistics at the University of Louisville. His research interests are centered in environmental epidemiology with the goal of examining the environmental determinants of cardiovascular disease, along with developing novel statistical methods to analyze high-dimensional environmental data. Dan is involved with Project 1 of the UofL Superfund Research Center, with the aim of evaluating the influence of volatile organic compounds (VOC) on cardiometabolic disease. He is currently investigating how multiple VOC exposures are associated with biomarkers of cardiovascular disease, using multi-pollutant statistical methods.


Tirtha Sibakoti

Tirtha Sibakoti is a doctoral cadidate in the University of Louisville Department of Chemistry working on Project 4 under the joint supervision of Dr. Michael Nantz and Dr. Francis Zamborini.  His interest is to develop arrays of gold nanoparticle-based chemiresistors in order to detect select volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as acrolein, benzene, and vinyl chloride. His first objective is to synthesize novel aminooxy-functionalized aminothiol ligands for incorporation into the surface of gold monolayer protected clusters (Au MPCs) to afford gold mixed monolayer protected cluster (Au MMPCs). With the goal of preparing Au MMPCs that readily can be reacted with carbonyl substrates (aldehydes or ketones) to optimize chemiresistor sensitivity and selectivity, he selected oximation — the selective condensation of aminooxy groups with carbonyls to form oxime ethers — as the means for covalent modification of Au MPC surfaces.  In this way, he aims to exploit both place exchange and "aminooxy carbonyl oximation" reactions to assemble gold nanoparticle chemiresistors. .


Lindsay Tompkins

 Lindsay K. Tompkins is a doctoral candidate and researcher at the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences. Her research utilizes community-engaged and epidemiologic methods to investigate environmentally-related health outcomes. As a member of the Research Translation Core, she works with fellow UofL Superfund researchers as well as community members to translate research findings using methods that are both effective and creative. Working as a member of this core allows her to expand upon and strengthen her research translation abilities in new and exciting ways.


Banrida Wahlang

 Banrida received her PhD from the University of Louisville, Dept. of Pharmacology and Toxicology in 2014 and completed a 2-year postdoctoral training at the University of Kentucky Superfund Research Center. Her research background focuses on studying impacts of environmental exposures in liver and cardiovascular diseases. Her Superfund project includes evaluating cardio-metabolic outcomes resulting from exposures to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and investigating sex-differences in environmental health. This project will provide insight on gene-environment interactions and help identify at-risk populations. Banrida’s focus on sex-differences in environmental health science research will strengthen her career path towards independence and allows her to pursue studies that broadens from women’s health and environmental exposures to transgenerational effects. Having been previously trained at another Superfund Center that emphasized studies of persistent organic pollutants, Banrida hopes to extend her research expertise towards VOCs and public health.


Jamar Wheeler

 Jamar Wheeler is second-year doctoral student in the Department of Sociology with an interest in race, urban development, and social policy. He obtained his Master of Arts from UofL in 2006 and worked for several years in the private sector as an analyst. Currently, Jamar is a Graduate Research Assistant at the Center for Environmental Policy and Management and assists Dr. Lauren Heberle in her role as Director of the UofL Superfund Research Center’s Community Engagement Core. His research connects with the Superfund project through the mutual focus on engaging community members in ways that build knowledge for the benefit of both the academic community and the community at large.


Lindsey Wood

 Lindsey Wood is completing a Master’s of Science degree in Epidemiology at UofL’s School of Public Health and Information Sciences. Her interest centers in Environmental Epidemiology, and her projects have examined links between the environment and human health. Working in Research Translation, she is engaged with the community and examining methods to translate study findings to different audiences. Through her efforts in this core, she will build upon her current skills as well as gain new insights and skill sets.


Zhenzhen Xie

Zhenzhen Xie obtained her master’s degree in chemical engineering at the University of Louisville in 2013 focusing on MOF-based catalytic performance and membrane for gas separation. Then she joined Dr. Xiaoan Fu’s group at the University of Louisville where she obtained her PhD degree in Chemical Engineering. She conducted research on gas sensors and microreactors to analyze trace volatile organic compounds in both environmental air and human breath. She is currently a postdoctoral research associate at University of Louisville. Her research focuses on to develop gas sensor array technology for measurement of target volatile organic compounds and investigate microreactors for analyze trace toxic aldehydes in air. 

 


Ray Yeager

 Ray Yeager is a health geographer with a background in public health and geographic analysis. He obtained his doctoral degree from the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences, where he investigated associations between greenness and cardiovascular health. He is interested in examining influences of the environment on cardiovascular outcomes. He currently works on many projects including the Green Heart Project, designed to examine the effectiveness of a greenness intervention in affecting air pollution and cardiovascular health. His roles include project area demographic analysis, environmental assessment, and project coordination. His expertise enables environmental evaluations in relation to health and coordination of multidisciplinary teams, a necessary component of studies the superfund research center. This project is the first study to stage a greenness-based environmental intervention and may provide evidence of causation in the associations previously found between greenness and health outcomes. Results of this work have a high potential to inform large-scale public health interventions. He plans to continue this work to ensure that environmental associations with public health are well understood, recognized, and utilized to improve population health.


Austin Zachary

 Austin Zachary is a Master’s of Science student in Epidemiology at the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences. His prior research has included examining the effects of discrimination and parentification in Mexican American youth and adults and the moderating and mediating effects of discrimination to depression. His interests center in mental health, including how environmental and social variables influence mental well-being. With this project, he is working to translate the findings of various studies to relevant stakeholders, including community members and individuals and organizations in the larger metropolitan area. Via participation in this core, he has the opportunity to utilize and strengthen his communication skills, especially in terms of translating scientific information, as well as gain new perspectives and research skills.