Thursday, May 2, 2013

Honors project focuses on flame retardants

Dr. Weidenhamer, Megan Liggett, and Dr. Mohney
Senior Biochemistry major Megan Liggett conducted her Honors Capstone Research with Dr. Brian Mohney, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Dr. Jeff Weidenhamer, Trustees’ Professor of Chemistry.  Their research involved the development of a method for the measurement of flame retardants in environmental samples.  Flame retardants have been added to many items including computers, plastics, and fabrics.  Accumulation of these compounds in the environment may lead to bioaccumulation in the human body and potential adverse health effects.  Megan used silicone tubing microextraction and HPLC to extract, concentrate, separate, and quantify halogenated flame retardants.  This project provides a new analytical approach to understanding the environmental and public health issues resulting from the widespread exposure to these compounds.  In addition to a successful honors thesis defense, Megan presented this research at the national ACS Meeting in New Orleans.  Her future plans include graduate study and a career in public health.

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