Lily Young - Research


Prof. Young’s research focuses on anaerobic microorganisms that degrade harmful organic contaminant chemicals like pesticides and benzene, toluene and xylene (BTX-compounds) from gasoline and other petroleum compounds such as naphthalene, phenanthrene and hexadecane. The microorganisms in the environment are essentially carrying out oxidation and reduction reactions, namely, oxidation of the organic contaminant coupled to the reduction of inorganic electron acceptors. The mechanism by which these bacteria (mainly denitrifiers, iron reducers, sulfidogens and methanogens, respectively) degrade the contaminants is different from aerobic bacteria because they cannot use oxygen to activate the stable hydrocarbon molecules.

In contrast to humans, these bacteria are not dependent on oxygen as an electron acceptor for cellular respiration, but use molecules like nitrate, iron, sulfate and carbonate. During her early research in the Environmental Engineering Program at Stanford University her groups was the first to prove anaerobic oxidation of eleven aromatic lignin derivatives to methane by environmental bacteria.

In 1994, Young’s publication on Degradation of toluene and m-xylene and transformation of o-xylene by denitrifying enrichment cultures. (Appl Environ Microbiol 57:450–454) was noted as one of the 10 most highly cited papers in the field of Ecology and Environmental Sciences. At Rutgers, Professor Young has expanded her work to examine the anaerobic communities from NY-NJ Harbor sediments to degrade alkanes and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. A major research goal is to determine the microbial chemistry of the anaerobic pathways of naphthalene, methylnapthalene and phenanthrene. She was one of the first researchers to use stable isotope labeled compounds to decipher the mechanism of attack of hydrocarbons by anaerobes. This approach is now being widely used.

By understanding the anaerobic biodegradation pathways, Young’s group has developed methods to improve or enhance natural rates of biodegradation in the environment. This has led to the development of biochemical and biomolecular markers for assessing intrinsic biodegradation occurring in difficult to access groundwater aquifers.

In keeping with her interest in microbial processes in the environment, recent work has also focused on the ability of environmental microorganisms to oxidize or to reduce hazardous metals such as arsenic. Through their ability to change the oxidation state of the metal ions the microorganisms can affect the fate and transport of the metals in aqueous habitats such as streams and groundwater.

Read more about this topic:  Lily Young

Other articles related to "research":

Conservatism - Psychology
... Second World War, psychologists conducted research into the different motives and tendencies that account for ideological differences between left and right ... but some of its findings have been confirmed by further empirical research ... A meta-analysis of research literature by Jost, Glaser, Kruglanski, and Sulloway in 2003 found that many factors, such as intolerance of ambiguity and need for cognitive closure, contribute to the ...
Glenn T. Seaborg - Graduate Work
... graduate student in the 1930s Seaborg performed wet chemistry research for his advisor Gilbert Newton Lewis and published three papers with him on the theory of acids and bases ... a major impact on his developing interests as a research scientist ... For several years, Seaborg conducted important research in artificial radioactivity using the Lawrence cyclotron at UC Berkeley ...
Artistic Research
... trend of artistic teaching becoming more academics-oriented is leading to artistic research being accepted as the primary mode of enquiry in art as in the ... One of the characteristics of artistic research is that it must accept subjectivity as opposed to the classical scientific methods ... is similar to the social sciences in using qualitative research and intersubjectivity as tools to apply measurement and critical analysis ...
The Human Embryo - Research
... Their use in stem cell research, reproductive cloning, and germline engineering are currently being explored ... The morality of this type of research is debated because an embryo is often used ...

Famous quotes containing the word research:

    After all, the ultimate goal of all research is not objectivity, but truth.
    Helene Deutsch (1884–1982)

    The great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is “What does a woman want?” [Was will das Weib?]
    Sigmund Freud (1856–1939)

    The research on gender and morality shows that women and men looked at the world through very different moral frameworks. Men tend to think in terms of “justice” or absolute “right and wrong,” while women define morality through the filter of how relationships will be affected. Given these basic differences, why would men and women suddenly agree about disciplining children?
    Ron Taffel (20th century)