The University of Toledo | Safeguarding Water

Safeguarding Water

Committed to Restoring Our Greatest Natural Resource

Water quality is a major research focus at UToledo where experts are studying algal blooms, invasive species such as Asian carp, and pollutants to ensure continued access to safe drinking water.

Sridhar Viamajala, Ph.D., and others using a device to measure water quality in a greenhouse

Chemical engineering professor Sridhar Viamajala, Ph.D., is advancing technology that speeds up the capture of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to grow algae, a critical part of the process of turning algae into biofuel, with $3.2 million in support from the U.S. Department of Energy. The grant is part of $34 million announced by the Bioenergy Technologies Office to fund 11 projects nationwide.

Sridhar Viamajala, Ph.D. standing in a greenhouse

With a $1.4 million grant from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Youngwoo Seo, Ph.D., professor of civil and environmental engineering and chemical engineering, is advancing technologies for early detection and treatment of harmful algal blooms in collaboration with Thomas Bridgeman, Ph.D., professor of ecology and director of the UToledo Lake Erie Center, and Dae-Wook Kang, Ph.D., assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering.

Youngwoo Seo, Ph.D., Thomas Bridgeman, Ph.D., and Dae-Wook Kang, Ph.D., standing on a beach

Emanuela Gionfriddo, Ph.D., assistant professor of analytical chemistry, is creating a new method to study the chemical compounds in fracking wastewater to better understand the pollutants in produced water that can directly contaminate drinking water sources.

Emanuela Gionfriddo, Ph.D., and Ronald Emmons, Ph.D. candidate, studying water quality

NOAA is supporting next-stage research by medical microbiologist Jason Huntley, Ph.D., with a $1.1 million grant to create new biofilters using native freshwater bacteria that he proved can destroy toxins produced during harmful algal blooms in a way that is not only effective, but also inexpensive.

Jason Huntley, Ph.D., standing on a beach

Environmental and ecological statistics expert Song Qian, Ph.D., associate professor of environmental sciences, played a critical role in NOAA research that used a 30-year data set to investigate how climate change is warming the deepest parts of Lake Michigan.

Song Qian, Ph.D.

Aquatic ecologist Christine Mayer, Ph.D., professor of ecology, has helped physically remove invasive grass carp from rivers that flow into Lake Erie since 2017, but it is not making a dent in the fish population. She is researching their life cycles to find out why.

Christine Mayer, Ph.D.

UToledo is playing a critical role in returning threatened, prehistoric fish to the Great Lakes. Graduate student Jorden McKenna is helping track the newly released juvenile lake sturgeon in Lake Erie that are fitted with acoustic telemetry tags to report the fish’s position for a project that hopefully will reestablish natural spawning in the Maumee River.

Jorden McKenna

Medical microbiology doctoral student Joshua Breidenbach received a prestigious F31 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Health based in part on his research studying how individuals with asthma are affected by the cyanotoxins that get dispersed into the air during harmful algal blooms.

Joshua Breidenbach

UToledo environmental engineering students are joining Defne Apul, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, to remove litter from “trash traps” along the waterways connected to Lake Erie as part of a project to analyze where trash in area water is originating.

Defne Apul, Ph.D., and students sorting through litter collected through trash traps

Learn More

More Features Like This:     Nurturing STEM     Protecting Health     Championing Inclusion