Environmental Soil Science, Environmental Chemistry, PFAS

Job Type
Job Institution
Auburn University
Job Description

Graduate research assistantships are available starting in Fall 2023 in the Department of Crop, Soil & Environmental Sciences at Auburn University to study the fate and transport of poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in soils.

Project description:
PFAS are a group of synthetic compounds with various applications such as non-stick cookware, waterproof textile, and aqueous film-forming foams. Emerging environmental concerns have been raised due to their widespread presence in the environment and potential toxicity to humans and other organisms. PFAS contamination of agricultural soils occurs mainly by contaminated irrigation water and organic amendments, which also elevates dissolved organic matter (DOM) concentration in the soil solution. This project will investigate the interactions between PFAS and DOM and their impact on PFAS transport in soils.
The successful applicants will conduct adsorption and column experiments with different soil, DOM, and PFAS combinations to determine the transport characteristics of PFAS. The work will include chemical and physical characterization of a model system and developing and validating a reactive transport model for PFAS under variable conditions.

Applicant qualifications:
A degree in soil science, environmental engineering, chemistry, or geosciences is necessary. Preference will be given to students with a background in soil chemistry and physics, prior knowledge and experience in molecular spectroscopy and chromatography, strong writing and oral communication skills, and proficiency in the programing language R.
Interested applicants should send a cover letter, CV, transcripts, and a statement of their interest in the position and relevant education and experiences to Dr. Yaniv Olshansky (yzo0015@auburn.edu), or Dr. Thorsten Knappenberger (knappi@auburn.edu)