A talk by Diana Aga, director of the Renew Institute, USA.
The chemical pollution of surface waters in the US and around the world has become a major concern because of their adverse human health and ecological effects. Residues of pharmaceuticals and other synthetic organic compounds have been detected in the environment at trace concentrations, but with long-term deleterious effects on humans and wildlife. In this presentation, results from a global reconnaissance of antimicrobials and other pollutants (such as perfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS), aka Forever Chemicals) in surface waters and drinking water will be presented. Antimicrobials are of particular interest since the presence of these compounds in the environment plays a role in the development of antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs), creating “Superbugs” that are hard to treat. This presentation will also provide information on persistent organic chemicals that are present in many of our consumer products that we use in our daily lives, which end up in the environment and effect our health.
Diana Aga is the Henry Woodburn Professor of Chemistry and the Director of RENEW (Research and Education in eNergy, Environment and Water) Institute at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York. Her research involves studying the fate, transport, effects, and treatment of Chemicals of Emerging Concerns and Persistent Organic Pollutants. She is an expert in developing trace analytical methods for organic contaminants and heavy metals in complex environmental matrices based on chromatography and mass spectrometry. She is very active in developing methods for non-target analysis of unknown contaminants in the environment, especially in identifying degradation products and novel forms of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Her research includes evaluating the efficiencies of various advanced biological, physical, and chemical treatment processes in removing PFAS, pharmaceuticals, antimicrobials, and antibiotic resistance genes in municipal wastewater treatment plants, and in agroecosystems. In addition, she is involved in studies assessing bioaccumulation and effects of contaminants in humans, fish, and wildlife.
Diana Aga obtained her B.S. Agricultural Chemistry degree from the University of the Philippines, Los Baños in 1988, and her Ph.D. degree in Analytical Chemistry at the University of Kansas (USA) in 1995. Dr. Aga did her postdoctoral training (1996-1998) at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Switzerland. Dr. Aga is recipient of various prestigious awards including the National Science Foundation CAREER award, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Research Fellowship, Fulbright Fellowship, SETAC Menzie Environmental Education Award, ACS AGRO Fellow, ACS Jacob F. Schoellkopf Medal, UB Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring Award, SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities, to name a few. She served as Editor of the Journal of Hazardous Materials for 10 years, until December 2021. She recently received a Fulbright Global Scholar award to support her research visits at the Universidade Católica Portuguesa (Porto, Portugal) and at the University of the Philippines at Diliman (Manila, Philippines).