Tuesday, August 28, 2018

OSCAR Student Sabrina Barkat Investigates the Fate of Emerging Contaminants in Gunston Cove

My name is Sabrina and I was involved in the summer 2018 OSCAR program. My work is about the investigation and fate of emerging contaminants in Gunston Cove of Potomac River in Alexandria. We extract micropollutants from water, sediment and fish samples and then use the liquid chromatography-mass spectrum (LC-MS/MS) method to analyze the extracts. We use solid phase to extract the micropollutants from water samples and QuEChERS to extract them from sediments and fish and then run the extracts in the LC-Ms/MS instrument and then we analyze the results. After that, we apply the KABAM model to predict the bioaccumulation of chemicals in organisms’ tissues. More interestingly, the work is collaborative, and this gives me a good opportunity to interact with people of different backgrounds as well as being more involved in teamwork. This research is the best experience in my academic pathway because I feel that I absorbed a lot of information related to my field and I am surrounded by a huge, friendly, and experienced team working with me in the lab. Moreover, this research involves a lot of data analysis and uses a lot of literature resources where I learn about my research and related topics as well as develop skills in data analysis and time management. I learn from every single step I process, I'm strengthening my experience in lab work, interacting with people with high experience and I've learned to work under the pressure of time which I can apply in my daily life. I also should admit that after what I've learned about the potential risk of micropollutants on the aquatic environment and human health, this search is a guide for me to pursue my graduate program in the same field of study.