Dr. Choi & Student Receive Awards and Publish Paper
Posted: Tue Aug 23 13:04:42 2011
Assistant Professor Hyeok Choi received the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s Scientific and Technological Achievement Award for his research on the remediation of sediments contaminated with toxic and persistent polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). His research and related publications were evaluated by a subcommittee of the EPA's Science Advisory Board and recommended for Level III recognition in the category of Risk Management and Ecosystem Restoration. His research team, for the first time, demonstrated a possibility of in situ cleanup of the EPA's Superfund sites contaminated with PCBs using nanomaterials. In fact, the research was highlighted in scientific news and media due to its scientific significance and practical application potential. Dr. Choi is currently collaborating with researchers in the National Risk Management Research Laboratory of EPA.
Prince Nfodzo, Ph.D. student under supervision of Dr. Choi received 2011 Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) Graduate Student Program Grant supported by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) for his study on polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) cleanup in the Trinity River in North Texas. Based on a state study by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Dallas Morning News reported on February 4, 2010 that fish in the Trinity River located in the North Texas will not be safe for people to eat until the levels of PCBs in the river come down by more than half. Mr. Nfodzo will develop an innovative strategy for in situ remediation of the Trinity River Sediment contaminated with PCBs using nanomaterials. The USGS through TWRI will sponsor $5,000 and UT-Arlington will match with $10,319. Dr. Choi says the funding is small, but enough to initiate such an important research activity at UT-Arlington to contribute to the associated local communities.
Nfodzo and Choi published a paper in Environmental Engineering Science in August 2011 for their finding that sulfate radicals are effective to decompose pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs). Some environmental contaminants in PPCPs have been classified as emerging chemicals of concern and endocrine disrupting compounds. Most of researchers have been using hydroxyl radicals as a strong oxidant for the decomposition of PPCPs while Dr. Choi's research team, for the first time, demonstrated that sulfate radicals-based advanced oxidation technologies are also promising as a new environmental risk management option for PPCPs-contaminated water.