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Former CENR Researchers

Kamelia Afshinnia, PhD

Kamelia Afshinnia was a postdoctoral fellow working under the supervision of Professor Lead. She earned her Master’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Iran University of Science and Technology and her PhD in Environmental Health from the University of South Carolina in 2018. Her research interests include understanding the transformation, deposition and aggregation behavior of nanomaterials in the environment. She is also interested in investigating how the interaction of nanomaterials with natural environmental components impact on these processes.

Amna Al-Hashmi 

Amna Al-Hashmi is a PhD student at CENR studying mentored by  Dr. Jamie Lead. She earned a B.S. degree in Biology with a cognate in Chemistry from the University of South Carolina (USC) in December, 2005. She worked as an environmental advisor for a National Mining Company in Oman for several years and then continued her higher education at USC and received a Master’s degree in Earth and Environment Resources Management (MEERM) from the College of Arts and Sciences. Her earlier research in MEERM program focused on assessing the impact of mining activities on the water quality of a local open pit copper mine. She also worked as an environment and sustainability specialist in the waste management sector in Oman and was in charge of assessing the environmental impacts of the waste management projects and implementing the environment and sustainability strategies adopted by the sector. Recently, she joined the CENR and her research focuses on understanding the role of nano-remediation in mitigating nanoparticle toxicity to fish.  


Shelby Butz, PhD

Shelby Butz became part of the CENR team in August 2015 as a Ph.D. candidate under the supervision of Dr. Jamie Lead. She earned her Masters degree in Marine Science from the University of South Carolina in 2015, and Bachelors degree in Marine Science from Coastal Carolina University in 2013. Her current research couples the synthesis of silver nanoparticles and the potential of associated risks that exposure may have on the environment. She is investigating the toxicity of silver nanoparticles to organisms within the primary producer and primary consumer communities, with the intent to determine the transfer between trophic levels. Her other interests include fate and behavior of nanomaterials, estuarine ecology, and toxicological consequences of pollutants to estuarine organism. 

Dipesh Das, PhD

Dipesh Das was working under the direct supervision of Dr. Navid Saleh at the University of Texas, Austin TX, along with Dr. Jamie Lead. His research interests are the synthesis of nanohybrids and the study of their potential applications in the field of environmental science and engineering, especially in water and wastewater treatment. He is investigating the applications of carbon nanotube and exfoliated graphene supported nanohybrids in this sector. He is also interested in the fate and transport studies of these nanohybrids and their impacts on the environment. Previously, he worked on wastewater sludge treatment and their potential application and disposal systems.

Kamal Kadel, PhD

Dr. Kamal Kadel was  a postdoctoral fellow in Professor Lead’s group at the CENR. He earned his Ph.D. in Physics from Florida International University, Miami, FL. During his Ph.D., he gained the expertise in synthesis and characterization of various inorganic nanomaterials, which find applications in various fields such as clean energy production and environmental remediation. His current research in CENR focuses on the large scale synthesis and characterization of polymer coated iron oxide nanomaterials and their application to the environmental remediation.

Ruth Merrifield, PhD

Dr. Ruth Merrifield was a Research Assistant Professor within the CENR. She earned her PhD in nanoscale physics at the University of Birmingham (UK) followed by a postdoctoral position in nanoecotoxocology at the same university, combining her interest in the environment with her love of physics. Her research interests are based around the effect of environmental and toxicological media on the state of nanoparticles (particularly oxidation states, surface interactions and dissolution rates) and how this affects the transport, uptake and toxicity of nanoparticles. Current projects include; The synthesis of core-shell structured metal nanoparticles and their transformations; Algal and daphnid uptake and toxicity of ceria nanoparticles; The effect on ceria nanoparticle chemistry due to ecotoxicological and environmental conditions; The fate and behavior silver nanoparticles in waste water treatment plants and surface waters.

Seyyedali Mirshahghassemi, PhD

Dr. Mirshahghassemi was a postdoctoral fellow working under the supervision of Professor Lead. He earned his masters degree in Environmental Engineering at University of Tehran (Iran) in 2013 and his PhD in Environmental Health from the University of South Carolina in 2018. His research interests are in synthesis and characterization of novel nanoparticles and the study of their potential applications for the environmental remediation techniques. He is also interested in understanding the aggregation behavior of nanomaterials like iron oxide NPs.

Soubantika Palchoudhury, PhD, MS

Dr. Soubantika Palchoudhury was a postdoctoral fellow at the CENR. Her research investigated novel, surface-engineered nanostructures for environmental remediation techniques. She is highly skilled in the synthesis and surface modification of anisotropic nanoparticles, DNA-nanoparticle interaction, and characterization techniques such as transmission electron microscopy. Prior to her research at USC, she was a postdoctoral researcher at Yale University. She completed her Ph.D. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Alabama on the synthesis and characterization of Pt decorated iron oxide nanoparticles for biomedical applications. She has published over 10 articles in nanoscience journals such as Nano Letters, Langmuir, and ChemComm. She has authored a book chapter and has reviewed for APL, JAP, Nanotechnology, and Nanomater, Nanotechnol.

Sahar Pourhoseini, PhD

Sahar Pourhoseini is a PhD student at the CENR and started her research under the supervision of Dr. Jamie Lead in May 2015. She earned her master’s degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology at the Science and Research Branch, Azad University of Tehran. Her current research interest is in the use of isotopically-labeled, three-layer core-shell nanoparticles to investigate the relative importance of ionic and particulate uptake into mammalian models.

Daniel Ross, PhD

Dr. Daniel Ross was a research assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences in the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina.  His research interests involved bioenergy, the use of microorganisms for the production of biofuels, and the interaction of bacteria with solid surfaces (e.g. minerals in the environment, electrodes in electrochemical systems, and nanoparticles/nanomaterials in the environment).   Dr. Ross examined the effects of nanomaterials on microbial populations and their metabolisms to elucidate microbial mechanisms involved in the fate and transport of nanomaterials in the environment. 

Mithun Sikder, PhD

Mithun Sikdur was a PhD student at CENR and started his research under the supervision of Drs. Mohammed Baalousha, Jamie Lead and Tom Chandler in January, 2015. He earned his Master’s degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of Nottingham, UK in 2013. His current research interest centers on investigating the effect of metal and metal oxide nanoparticle size dispersity on their properties, uptake and toxicity. 

Caixia Yan, PhD

Caixia Yan was a Ph.D. candidate studying at East China Normal University (ECNU) in Shanghai, China. She visited the University of South Carolina for one year. Her research was primarily related to the occurrence, distribution and fate of emerging organic contaminants (EOCs) in the aquatic environment, especially their sorption behavior to naturally occurring carbonaceous geosorbents and nanoparticles (NPs). The aim of her work with the CENR was to characterize aquatic colloids and NPs in different size fractions in order to better understand the formation and transport of the NP-EOC complexes. In addition, she aimed to help to unravel the underlying mechanisms of NP-controlled EOCs behavior in estuarine aquatic system.

Amal Zaidan

Amal Zaidan was a PhD student at the CENR, and started her research under the supervision of Jamie Lead in October 2014. She earned her Master’s degree in Public Health from Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, Atlanta, GA in 2014. Her current research interest is in the synthesis and characterization of polymer coated iron oxide nanomaterials, and their effectiveness in removing food oil derivatives from biological media. Specifically, she is researching their possible applications on weight gain in vivo.

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