We are pleased to announce that CEE Graduate student Chiara Smorada wins a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) Award. She is one of approximately 2,000 outstanding U.S. Graduate Students and the selection was based on merit peer review by external scientific experts. The GRFP is a National Science Foundation-wide program that provides Fellowships to individuals selected early in their graduate careers based on their demonstrated potential for significant research achievements in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) or in STEM education.
Chiara is studying the biodegradation of PFAS (per and polyfluorinated alkyl substances). Water pollution by PFAS is, at this time, the most challenging problem related to the fate/transport/remediation of emerging contaminants. Perfluorinated compounds, those PFAS that have all their non-functional carbons saturated with fluoride, are especially stable. Chiara is focusing her research on determining the mechanism by which a novel bacterium, Acidimicrobium sp. Strain A6, discovered by members of the Jaffé lab, does defluorinate these compounds.