Tucker Lab Research

Dr. Tucker’s research focus lies at the nexus of food, energy, and water. Specifically there are projects concerned with the fermentation process of corn to ethanol, the quality of soil and its affect on agriculture, and on pollution in bodies of water. We focus on the detection of pharmaceutical and personal care products and other contaminants of emerging concern within local and regional waterways and the surrounding soil systems including agricultural fields. These compounds include antibiotics and endocrine disruptors, and agricultural products. The environmental effects of many of these compounds and the concentrations at which these effects begin to be observed is currently not well known or regulated. Through environmental investigations and laboratory modeling, our research aims (1) to determine the environmental levels of various compounds and the geographical relationship between those levels, (2) to elucidate the critical concentration level at which biological and ecological effects begin to take effect for various compounds, and (3) to understand the biological effect of the compounds on various model organisms using environmental samples and models. Students in my lab will learn a variety of techniques including solid-phase extraction, mass spectrometry, and environmental sampling. I also have active collaborations with several faculty on campus including Dr. Robert Dixon, Dr. Brianne Guilford, Dr. Yun Lu, Dr. Carrie Butts-Wilmsmeyer, and Dr. Chaya Gopalan, and externally with SLU Water Institute; SIU School of Medicine's Department of Medical Microbiology, Immunology, and Cell Biology's Dr. Andrea Braundmeier-Fleming and the Department of Pharmacology's Dr. Don Caspery; and NIU Department of Geology's Dr. Megan Brown and Dr. Melissa Lenczewski.

I am always interested in recruiting independent, self-motivated, bright freshman and sophomore Chemistry and Biochemistry majors as well as majors from Environmental Science and Biology. Please reach out if you have an interest in the types of work that we are performing.