Amelia RobinsonNanomaterials in the Environment, Agriculture, and Technology IGERT
University of California, Davis
The IGERT program has been instrumental in forging new boundaries associated with my core research. The interdisciplinary nature of the courses and the program has allowed me to develop an application of quantum dot technology to the geological sciences. For example, the size-specific luminescence and the ability to load different organic compounds may provide a better understanding of mineral specific organic matter complexation. Long-term carbon sequestration, particularly that associated with organic matter-clay mineral assemblages, is instrumental for refining climate change models.
The travel funds from IGERT allowed me to attend a stable isotope short course at the University of Utah. This short course provided interaction with leaders in various fields associated with applications of stable isotopes. Both field experiments and classroom instruction facilitated a more thorough understanding of isotopic techniques and applications.
The IGERT program has allowed me to see very different aspects of nanoscience and technology. Interactions on the nanoscale are quite different than those approximated are larger scales, particular for the geological science. I think the interdisciplinary nature and focus of the NEAT-IGERT program has been conducive for defining and focusing my research here at UC Davis.
My research is focused on the specific interactions between clay minerals and organic matter. The ability of clay minerals to sequester carbon, and their control on the reactivity and stability of the organic compounds through diagenesis, has important implications for long-term carbon burial. The release and cycling of carbon have been linked to climate change. The results from this work will likely help better define the role of marine sediments, specifically clay minerals, in long-term sequestration of carbon. The current debate associated with clay mineral-organic matter assemblages has been established in soils, but has only recently been explored for marine settings in the geologic literature. To further test currently debated issues related to the nature of the interactions between organic matter and clay minerals, I have chosen to utilize quantum dot technology as a tool for addressing these questions. This portion of my research began as a possible lab rotation, but may likely become a significant portion of my thesis work. The IGERT program has allowed me to see the utility of quantum dot technology, and attempt to apply these relationships in a novel and innovative way to geologic problems.
Internship or Partner Interaction:
I have not yet had the opportunity to complete an internship. I have spent my first year in graduate school and in the IGERT program defining my research project and defining possible lab rotations.
B.S., Geology, University of Tennessee-Martin, 1997
B.S., Natural Resources Management, University of Tennessee-Martin, 1997
M.S., in Geology, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, 2002
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