The Mitch Laboratory   

   RESEARCH                                           BACK 

Employing a fundamental understanding of organic chemical reaction pathways, our research explores links between

public health, engineering and sustainability. Topics of current interest include:

Public Health and Emerging Carcinogens: Recent changes to the disinfection processes fundamental to drinking and recreational water safety are creating a host of highly toxic byproducts linked to bladder cancer.  We work closely with toxicologists to understand which products are toxic.  Our lab focuses on determining how these compounds form so we can adjust the disinfection process to prevent their formation.
Oceanography and Marine Photochemistry:  Oceanic dissolved organic matter is an important global carbon component, and has important impacts on the net flux of CO2 between the ocean and atmosphere.  We seek to understand some of the important abiotic chemical reaction pathways responsible for carbon turnover.
Sustainability and Persistant Organic Pollutants (POPs): While PCBs have been banned in the US, we continue to produce a host of structurally similar chemicals.  We seek to understand important chemical pathways responsible for POP destruction in the environment, so we can design less persistent and problematic chemicals in the future.
Engineering for Sustainable Wastewater Recycling:  The shortage of clean water represents a critical challenge for the next century, and has necessitated the recycling of wastewater. We seek to understand ways of engineer this process in ways to minimize harmful byproduct formation.
Carbon Sequestration: Amine-based carbon capture currently is the only tested technology to economically capture CO2 from power plant exhaust gases. We are working with the Norwegian government on the Mongstad project, the first large-scale carbon capture facility to be installed post-combustion. We are evaluating the potential for the formation and release of nitrosamine and nitramine carcinogens from flue gas NOx reactions with the amines.