Christina Arnaout is a honorable mention recipient for the 2010 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program Competition. An environmental engineering Ph.D. student at Duke University, Arnaout is a member of the Environmental Molecular Biotechnology Laboratory and a student of Dr. Claudia Gunsch.
A brief summary of the Arnaout's NSF proposal:
The use of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) in a wide range of consumer products has furthered the need to characterize AgNPs, determine their interaction with complex media and ascertain how their presence affects the growth of ecologically important microorganisms. The discharge of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) is of particular concern in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) where nitrogen removal is carried out through a series of biodegradation pathways by contaminant sensitive bacteria called nitrifiers. The overall objective of Arnaout's doctoral research is to monitor inhibition of sensitive nitrifying bacteria found in wastewater treatment as well as track community-wide effects. Specifically, focusing on the microbial toxicity of AgNPs on these sensitive microorganisms and ascertain how nitrogen removal is affected.
This research falls under Theme 3 of CEINT which is evaluating how ecosystems respond to nanomaterial infiltration.