By: Ashley Duvelius
Pablo Campo-Moreno, PhD and Research Assistant Professor in the college’s School of Energy, Environmental, Biological and Medical Engineering, recently opened the doors to a new and unparalleled Environmental Analysis Service Center. The center’s cutting-edge resources are not only available within UC, but also to government and industry operations.
The University of Cincinnati’s College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS) maintains a number of centers and programs dedicated to areas of specialized research. Many of these operations work closely with industry and other colleges in developing new products and capabilities. Pablo Campo-Moreno, PhD and Research Assistant Professor in the School of Energy, Environmental, Biological and Medical Engineering, recently opened the doors to an extraordinarily well-equipped center specializing in chemical and biological analysis.
The cutting-edge resources of the Environmental Analysis Service Center (EACS) are not only available to UC researchers, but also to public agencies, corporations and tri-state businesses. The center’s innovative capabilities are based on high-definition instruments available within the center, make it a pioneering effort within the tri-state.
The Environmental Analysis Service Center is located in the UC Engineering Research Center. The facility supports the application of instrumental and bio-analytical techniques in the field of environmental science and engineering. When imagining the advantages of the new EACS, one has to think no farther than the likes of the TV show, CSI. The EACS is equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation which allows users to do high-resolution mass spectrometry and DNA sequencing. Such devices are able to identify and quantify any type of chemical, particularly those found in water, air, and sediments (like soil). All one has to do is insert their “evidence” and the machines give back results.
The EACS is devoted to the analysis of emerging contaminants in the environment and to the identification of micro-organisms involved in biotransformation causing a pathogenic response. It implements analytical protocols for the separation, identification and quantification of trace contaminants (organic and inorganic) in environmental mediums, as well as the determination of microbial communities and specific organisms by DNA analysis. This DNA analysis identifies bacteria and specific strains of bacteria to define the best treatments.
EACS’ analytical capabilities provide sufficient means to cover research proposals to achieve funding. Therefore, the EACS proves to be of great interest to corporations like P&G and GE.
Campo-Moreno adds, “Thanks to our high definition instrumentation, our students have already achieved many successes in the center. One group is studying a toxin produce by algae and is identifying its degradation byproducts. Another group is working with the EPA to research dispersed oil degradation. This study is showing unexpected results due to different effects in water depths. The deeper the water (the cooler the water), the dispersant is keeping its form. However, the dispersant is able to dissipate faster in warmer water (the water closest to the surface). The results are of great importance in situations like the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill. Similarly, students are also studying pesticides to identify more effective removal treatments.”
Financial contributions from the Ohio Board of Regents’ Action Fund, UC Vice President for Research, CEAS and SEEBME made possible the implementation of the Center. One of its main objectives consists in supporting the 5-year contract “Treatment, Control and Monitoring of Remediation Technologies, Contaminated Sites and Facilities and Ecosystems” that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded to Pegasus Technical Services, Inc. UC is a teaming partner in this contract, which has a maximum value of $38,584,601.
Campo-Moreno achieved his BS in Chemistry at the Universidad de Valladolid Spain. He began his career at UC at a Graduate Assistant as he earned his PhD in Environmental Science. Campo-Moreno joined the faculty as a Post-Doctoral Fellow in 2009 and finished in 2011. He became a Research Assistant Professor in 2011 and currently serves in this position. To date, he has accumulated numerous achievements in his field, including: the CEE Scarpino PhD Dissertation Award (’10); the CEE John David Eye Scholarship (’07); the Journal of Environmental Engineer’s Editor Award for Service (’04); and the Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, Grant-in-Aid of Research Award (’01).
The highly-anticipated success of the EACS wouldn’t have been possible without the passion and driving force of Campo-Moreno. It’s dedicated and distinguished professionals like Campo-Moreno who maintain UC’s status as a research leader.