Events Calendar

Lessons Learned from Two Decades of Research on Uncovering Emerging Contaminants and their Ecological Impacts

This is a past event.

Monday, November 15, 2021 3 pm

This is a past event.

Environmental Engineering Graduate Seminar Joint with Chemistry Department

Diana S. Aga, PhD, Henry Woodburn Professor of Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, Buffalo, NY USA


In the last twenty years, our research has focused on emerging contaminants- from development of sensitive analytical methods, to environmental monitoring, mitigation, and assessment of ecological effects. Emerging contaminants are environmental pollutants that have been investigated only in the last 20 years, and include man-made and naturally occurring chemicals such as pharmaceuticals, personal care products, illicit drugs, and engineered nanomaterials, detected in the environment at trace concentrations that are typically in the ng/L to µg/L range. The advancement in our knowledge on emerging contaminants has been driven by the introduction of highly sensitive and powerful analytical instrumentation that allowed trace quantification and identification of contaminants in complex environmental matrices. High-efficiency chromatographic separations coupled to high-resolution mass spectrometers have become commonplace in environmental laboratories, increasing our understanding and awareness of the presence of emerging contaminants in the environment, their transformation and fate, and the complex ecological consequences that they pose on biological systems. The chemical pollution of surface waters around the world has become a major concern because of adverse human health and ecological effects. In this presentation, an overview of important research milestones in the area of emerging contaminants, focusing on the fate and treatment of pharmaceuticals and endocrine disrupting compounds in municipal and agricultural wastewater, will be presented. Results from a global reconnaissance of antimicrobials and other emerging contaminants in wastewater and surface waters from Asia and other parts of the world will be highlighted. 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) in non–clinical settings. Antidepressants, personal care products, and pesticides, are also important because they may contribute to the selection pressure that affects the evolution of antimicrobial resistant bacteria. This study provides a snapshot of the impacts of insufficient wastewater treatment in Asia, both from industrial and domestic wastes, that potentially contribute to the emergence of antibiotic resistance in the environment.


Diana Aga is the Henry Woodburn Professor of Chemistry and the Director of RENEW Institute at the University at Buffalo. Her research involves studying the fate, transport, effects, and treatment of Chemicals of Emerging Concerns, such as pharmaceuticals and personal care products and PFAS. She is also very interested in non-target analysis of unknown contaminants in the environment. She obtained her BS Agricultural Chemistry degree from the University of the Philippines, Los Baños in 1988, and her PhD 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, prior to her first academic position at the University of Nebraska-Kearney (UNK) (1998-2000). After two years of being an assistant professor at UNK, Dr. Aga joined Bayer Corporation as Research Chemist (2000-2002). Then she left industry, and joined the faculty at SUNY-Buffalo (2002-present). 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, and the PAASE Koh Lectureship Award in Science. She is an editor of the Journal of Hazardous Materials, an internationally recognized Elsevier journal that publishes full-length research papers, reviews, and case studies that improve our understanding of the hazards and risks that certain materials pose to public health, wildlife, and the environment.

Recorded Presentation: 

Topic: Environmental Engineering Graduate Seminar
Start Time: Nov 15, 2021 02:56 PM

Meeting Recording:

Access Passcode: $rg1ZmsN


Additional Details



  • Donni Fuller

1 person added

User Activity

No recent activity