PhD Candiate – Started Fall 2012
Advisor/Lab: Joel Pedersen
Research Interests: I am interested in the mechanisms of plant root uptake of pharmaceutical and personal care product ingredients and other contaminants from treated wastewater.
2012 – BS in Biochemistry/Environmental Studies with a concentration in Conservation Biology from Warren Wilson College
Current Research – Spring 2015
I study the mechanisms of plant root uptake of pharmaceutical and personal care product ingredients (PPCPs). These contaminants are not effectively removed during wastewater treatment, and so can make their way into agricultural systems via water used for irrigation and/or biosolids used for fertilizer. Many studies have shown that PPCPs can be taken up by at least some crop plants in some systems, but these studies have not been sufficient to elucidate mechanisms of uptake/bioaccumulation. Due to the high number of PPCPs found in treated wastewater and the continuing development of new pharmaceuticals, models predicting uptake and bioaccumulation are imperative for risk assessment. Comparison of results from descriptive studies indicates that more than just the lipophilicity of the contaminant governs uptake, yet discrepancies in methodology and reporting have so far hindered development of models to predict plant uptake of these compounds. Current predictive models do not account for many important plant and environmental processes, and are often designed solely for nonpolar, neutral organic contaminants. My research focuses on elucidating uptake and bioaccumulation pathways within the plant. We focus not only on contaminant lipophilicity, but also effects of plant physiology, soil properties, and contaminant physicochemical properties other than octanol-water partitioning on uptake, and with an eye towards developing predictive models.
Why I Joined MET at UW-Madison
As an undergraduate, I took a class in toxicology and fell in love with the subject; as someone who is interested in environmental science as well as chemistry, biology, and math, environmental toxicology offered the perfect intersection of all these fields. I chose to come to UW Madison because I was excited by the combination of environmental and human-health related toxicology, on top of which, METC offered the small community feel that I felt comfortable with (coming from a tiny college), while also giving its students access to all of the amazing resources of a huge research university. Plus, Madison is a great place to live!
I practice capoeira (an Afro-Brazilian martial art disguised as a dance and played to music) and am part of the group Raízes do Brasil here in Madison. I love traveling and learning other languages; I have spent time in 11 countries and have studied Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Hebrew. I also play an active part in Madison’s LGBTQ community, including acting as current president of one of the LGBTQ student organizations on campus.
- Miller EL, Nason SL, Karthikeyan KG, Pedersen JA. Root Uptake of Pharmaceutical and Personal Care Product Ingredients. Environ Sci Technol. 2015 Nov 30.
Presentations and Posters
Miller, E.L., Nason, S.L, Karthikeyan, K.G., Pedersen, J.A. 2015. Influence of Casparian strip thickness and energy production on root uptake of pharmaceutical and personal care product ingredients. 4th Young Environmental Scientist Meeting. 14-19 March, Petica Science Center
- Serbia.Nason, S.L, Miller, E.L., Karthikeyan, K.G., Pedersen, J.A. 2015. Assessment of pharmaceutical phytotoxicity in Arabidopsis thaliana. 4th Young Environmental Scientist Meeting. 14-19 March, Petica Science Center, Serbia.
- Miller, E.L., Nason, S.L, Karthikeyan, K.G., Pedersen, J.A. 2014. Influence of transport barriers on the uptake of pharmaceutical and personal care products via plant roots. TP056. SETAC North America 35th Annual Meeting. 9-13 November, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
- Nason, S.L, Miller, E.L., Karthikeyan, K.G., Pedersen, J.A. 2014. Analysis of commercially available produce for pharmaceutical and personal care products. TP038. SETAC North America 35th Annual Meeting. 9-13 November, Vancouver, BC, Canada.