The Johns Hopkins Gazette: October 2, 2000
October 2, 2000
VOL. 30, NO. 5


Environmental Research Team Wins National Science Foundation Support

By Arthur Evenchik
Krieger School of Arts and Sciences
Johns Hopkins Gazette Online Edition

A team of four chemists in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and a colleague in the Whiting School of Engineering has received a five-year, $2.71 million grant from the National Science Foundation for basic research in environmental science. The project focuses on a class of industrial chemicals--organohalides--that pose serious threats to air and water quality. Organohalides are among the most widely used industrial chemicals, with applications in such familiar processes as dry cleaning and air conditioning.

Awarded under NSF's Collaborative Research Activities in Environmental Molecular Science program, known as CRAEMS, the grant--among the largest the NSF offers under this program--will support work by project leader Gerald Meyer and colleagues Howard Fairbrother, David Goldberg and Kenneth Karlin of the KSAS Department of Chemistry, and by A. Lynn Roberts of the Whiting School's Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering.

The Hopkins scientists are studying ways to break down the chemicals into less toxic substances. With knowledge to be gained from their research, they hope to develop new techniques for detecting environmental organohalides, predicting and monitoring their rates of natural attenuation and, wherever practical, decontaminating sites in which organohalides are found. The Hopkins team will collaborate with partners in industry and with the U.S. Department of Energy's National Laboratories.

The CRAEMS award also funds special educational initiatives organized by the investigators for students entering the field of environmental chemistry.

For more on the work of Meyer and his colleagues, visit