Dr. Santschi Receives more than $700,000 toward Research Projects

November 18, 2009

Dr. Peter Santschi, professor of Marine Sciences at Texas A&M University at Galveston and of Oceanography at Texas A&M University has received funding for two major research studies. Santschi, who specializes in Environmental RadioBioGeoChemistry, will be heading both grant-funded projects through 2012. Both projects are funded by the National Science Foundation. He will serve as the Principal Investigator on each project.

The first study is a collaborative research project titled “Effects of exopolymeric substances (EPS) on engineered nanoparticles (EN) into marine phytoplankton cells” will focus on the effects of EPS and EN stability in aquatic systems and the mechanisms of EN transport across the marine phytoplankton membranes. He will be joined on this study by Dr. Antonietta Quigg, Associate Professor of Marine Biology at TAMUG, Dr. Wei-Chun Chin, Assistant Professor with the School of Engineering at the University of California, Merced, and Dr. Kathy Schwehr, Assistant Research Scientist at TAMUG Laboratory for Oceanographic and Environmental Research. All will serve as co-Principal Investigators. In addition, Dr. Aijin Miao, Associate Professor with the School of Environment at Nanjing University, as well as other scientists, will be involved in various aspects of this research.

This study will help to expand scientists’ knowledge in this emerging field of nanoparticle toxicity and assist in increasing local and scientific community awareness of the studied environmental risks associated with the focus of this study. The grant for this study is $248,158.

The second study is a collaborative research project titled “Examining the Binding of Radionuclides with Marine Biopolymers, A Comparative Study on Th, Pa, Be, Po and Pb Isotopes.” It will focus on the exploration of the elucidation of the chemical basis of oceanographic tracer applications of different natural radioisotopes. The unique findings of this project will be critical to our basic comprehension of biologically mediated ocean scavenging mechanisms and carbon cycling in the oceans.

Dr. Santschi will be joined in this study by Dr. Kathy Schwehr, Assistant Research Scientist with the Marine Sciences department at TAMUG and Dr. Laodong Guo, Associate Professor with the Marine Sciences department of the University of Southern Mississippi who will both serve as co-Principal Investigators. The grant for this study is $460,487. Other collaborating scientists include Dr. Liang-Saw Wen, Associate Professor of Oceanography, National Taiwan University, and Dr. Chin-Chang Hung, National Taiwan Ocean University, both from Taiwan. Both graduate students participating in this project will benefit from gaining access to state-of-the-art analytical and intellectual resources in the laboratories, and being a part of a project that may significantly impact chemical oceanography studies and practices.

The funded work on both projects will constitute an integral part of the research education of the three graduate students who will be able to take advantage of the diverse state-of-the-art analytical and intellectual resources available in TAMUG laboratories, and will enhance training programs at TAMUG, UC Merced, University of Southern Mississippi, and the other associated institutions, for postdoctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduate students.