Research Opportunities

All undergraduate Environmental Science majors are encouraged to join research groups to work with a faculty advisor on a research project. These projects allow students to gain research experience and to learn about current research in Environmental Sciences. Some undergraduate students may even have the opportunity to attend scientific conferences to present results and/or publish research findings.

Undergraduates can do research for credit through ENSC 498 and ENSC 499 and this research may also used for final projects (ENSC 490). Some students choose to continue their undergraduate research as graduate students.

New graduate students need to select a faculty research mentor before the end of their first semester in the master's program. Graduate students are encouraged to speak with multiple faculty members about how faculty-mentored research can help achieve their educational goals.


Faculty Research Focus Areas:

The SIUE Environmental Science department has state of the art faculty research laboratories to provide students with hand-on research experience in different disciplines, ranging from molecular toxicology to GIS spatial analysis. Individual labs also have a suite of portable instruments for quantifying personal exposure and identifying hazardous locations for environmental pollutants.

To get an idea of what mentorship our faculty can provide, read the informal descriptions of faculty research areas below:


Dr. Nathaniel Femi Adegboyega

Dr. Adegboyega is an environmental analytical chemist. Research in the Adegboyega lab is at the interface of environmental analytical chemistry and nanotechnology. It focuses on the formation of nanoparticles from metal ions-natural organic matter (M+-NOM) interactions under environmentally relevant conditions. Dr. Adegboyega is also exploring cost-effective ways to recycle solid waste from agro-industrial activities.

Dr. Charlie Blake

Dr. Blake is an interdisciplinary scientist interested both in doing science and in studying how we communicate and teach science. Their research has focused on a variety of topics from the behavioral ecology of fish to environmental justice and community-based research through citizen science.

Dr Nicholas Guehlstorf

Dr. Guehlstorf is political scientist whose research generally focuses on environmental democracy, namely, the applicability of theories of deliberative democracy to American environmental public policy, law and politics. Specifically, he has an interest in the challenges of risk-based science about natural resource management which allows people to freely access information on environmental quality and problems, to participate meaningfully in decision-making, and to seek enforcement of practical policy solutions that are just.

Dr. Joseph Kusi

Dr Kusi is an environmental health scientist with a research focuses on monitoring the occurrence of pathogen indicators in surface waters and antimicrobial contamination by nanomaterials to understand how emerging contaminants affect pathogen detection and public health. He is also interested in assessing health risk factors including microbial infection, physical inactivity, diet, and exposure to toxic substances associated with populations at higher risk for morbidity and mortality.. 

Dr. Zhi-Qing Lin

Dr. Lin, a distinguished research professor, is an environmental ecologist with a special interest in developing phytoremediation technology for the cleanup water and soil contaminated with trace elements and biogeochemical cycles of environmentally important trace elements in the air-water-soil-plant system.

Dr. Sharon Locke

Dr. Locke is a geoscientist and the Director of the SIUE STEM Center. Her research focus is in environmental and earth science education, including studying models of field-based and outdoor learning, measuring interests and attitudes toward science and the environment, and understanding how a sense of place shapes our perception of natural areas. She also has interests in long term changes in watershed hydrology with a particular focus on surface water-groundwater interactions.

Dr. Adriana E. Martinez

Dr. Martinez is a physical geographer with GIS expertise. She studies human impacts on rivers using GIS and field survey methods. Her most recent work involves the effects of the U.S.-Mexico border fence on flooding along the Rio Grande.

Dr Bill Retzlaff

Dr. Retzlaff is a distinguished research professor of biological sciences. His research interests are in the performance of green roof and living wall technologies in the Midwest. He, his collaborators, and student researchers conduct experiments on the performance of green roof and living wall technologies and make the research information available to users for the development and establishment of green roof and living wall systems.

Dr. Chris Theodorakis

Dr. Theodorakis is an environmental toxicologist.  His research interests are aquatic ecotoxicology, genetic and molecular toxicology, evolutionary toxicology, thyroid endocrine disruption, nanotoxicology, and water quality.

Dr. Kyong Sup Yoon

Dr. Yoon is an environmental toxicologist whose main research interests span a spectrum of environmental toxicology and medical entomology to protect agriculture, animal and human health in environmentally safe, sustainable and affordable ways. His current research projects focus on addressing various aspects of altered ivermectin sensitivity in multi-generations of fruit flies, adverse effects of microplastics in planarians, and neurotoxicity of PFOS in fruit flies.