Student wins Fellowship to Model Nanoparticle Fate

2013-14 Dowd-ICES Fellowship recipients: Pengfei Li, Tong Lu, Hang-Ah Park, and Amy Dale (photo by: Tim Kelly)

Amy Dale, a 3rd year Ph.D. student at Carnegie Mellon University, was recently awarded a 2013-2014 Dowd-ICES Fellowship to develop a watershed-scale computer simulation of nanosilver fate and transport.

The Philip and Marsha Dowd Engineering Seed Fund, administered by Carnegie Mellon University’s Institute for Complex Engineered Systems (ICES), provides one year of funding for ambitious new research projects in any engineering discipline. Amy was one of four students to receive the award this year.

Amy’s research focuses on the development of computer models that describe the transport and chemical transformations of nanoparticles in rivers and aquatic sediments after they escape to the environment during the manufacturing, use, or disposal stages of a product’s life cycle. Her research focuses primarily on nanosilver, which is highly toxic to many aquatic organisms. By modeling the processes that affect the location and form of nanosilver in the environment, she hopes to advance scientific understanding of nanosilver toxicity, bioavailability, and ultimately risk. This information can be used to develop more efficient and effective policies.

This summer, Amy did a research rotation at the Chesapeake Bay Program Office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in order to learn how to adapt their watershed model for her research. On December 10, she presented the modeling approach and preliminary results from this work at the 2013 annual meeting of the Society for Risk Analysis in Baltimore, MD.

Amy is co-advised by Dr. Elizabeth Casman in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy (EPP) and Dr. Gregory Lowry in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) at Carnegie Mellon University.