PROTECT Researchers Study Sociodemographic Patterns of Household Water-Use Costs in Puerto Rico

PROTECT Postdoctoral fellow Dr. Xue Yu published a paper on “Sociodemographic patterns of household water-use costs in Puerto Rico” in Science of The Total Environment.  The variability of household water-use costs across different sociodemographic groups in Puerto Rico was evaluated using census microdata from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series. Through multivariate analyses such as multiple linear regression and factor analysis, the study reveals that the high water-use household in Puerto Rico tends to be that of renters, people who live in larger or older buildings, people living in metro areas, or those with higher education level and higher income.  The findings will help decision makers to plan holistic and integrated water management to achieve water sustainability.

Spatial distribution of the Public Use Microdata Areas (PUMAs) in Puerto Rico (plot a; 30 PUMAs), the average household water-use cost of each PUMA in year 2000 (plot b) and year 2010 (plot c). Note that due to the high population densities, the municipal of Bayamón is divided into 2 PUMAs (00801, 00802) and San Juan into 4 PUMAs (01001–01004).

First Time Mom with Kelsey Nixon – One Mom’s Story of Delivering a Preemie

This 4:15 video of “One Mom’s Story of Delivering a Preemie” chronicles first time mom Kelsey Nixon’s journey through the birth of her son Oliver at 28 weeks gestation.  In this video, Kelsey describes the “pure shock” of learning that she would be delivering her baby 3 months early due to complications from liver pain and the challenges to “feel like a mother” while visiting the NICU.  Her greatest takeaway?  Manage your expectations, whether your child is born healthy or prematurely.

One Mom’s Story of Delivering a Preemie

PROTECT Trainees Attend Tricholorethylene (TCE) Vapor Intrusion Workshop

PhD students Reza Ghasemizadeh, Shirin Hojabri and Roya Nazari together with Postdoctoral Fellow Xue Yu and Associate Research Scientist Lily Rajic attended the TCE Vapor Intrusion: State of the Science, Regulations, & Technical Options workshop on Tuesday, April 14, 2015 at UMass Lowell in Lowell, MA. The workshop was organized by the Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Association (NEWMOA) which is a non-profit, non-partisan interstate association representing Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. NEWMOA members include state environmental agency directors of hazardous waste, solid waste, waste site cleanup, emergency response and pollution prevention programs.


Professor Eric Suuberg, Co-Director of the NIEHS Superfund Research Program at Brown University, presented the basics of TCE vapor fate and transport and introduced a novel method for modeling vapor intrusion that has the potential to improve site investigation and remediation efforts. From the policy side, Paul Lock (MassDEP) presented the experiences addressing TCE vapor intrusion through regulations and policies. David Shea (Sanborn, Head & Associates), and Robin Mongeon (NH DES) showed practical aspects of vapor intrusion and managing health risks associated with TCE vapor intrusion.vapor intrusion

Undergraduate students joined the Alshawabkeh lab

This fall semester, undergraduate students Joanna Sullivan and Gabriela Rovalino joined the Alshawabkeh research group to investigate electrochemical technologies for contaminated groundwater remediation. Joanna and Gabriela were introduced to our research field and goals at the Engineering Research Fair held in September 2014 and wanted to get involved.

Joanna is a second year Civil Engineering major with a minor in Environmental Science. She has an interest in water quality and believes that being a part of groundwater study will expand her knowledge in the field and help her to better understand Environmental Engineering and Environmental Chemistry in real applications.

Gabriela is a second year Civil Engineering major with a focus in Environmental Engineering and is excited for the opportunity to work in the lab: “I wanted to explore the environmental issues concerning the groundwater and the aspects of water treatment. I believe that participating in Professor Alshawabkeh’s research will be a great experience!”

Welcome Joanna and Gabriela!

Joanna Gabriela

Local students, teachers perform research in Alshawabkeh lab

Akram Alshawabkeh hosted local high school students and a teacher as part of Northeastern Center for STEM Education’s summer programming through the PROTECT Center.  The month-long program gives opportunities for hands-on research.  This year, Dr. Alshawabkeh hosted Rocco Cieri, a teacher from Medford High School, as part of the Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) program, and  Diana Abbas, a student at Commonwealth School, and Michael Wagner, a student at Belmont High School, as part of the Young Scholars Program (YSP).  The three worked closely with PROTECT Project 5 trainees, particularly postdoc Lily Rajic.  Pictures from their time at Northeastern are below, as well as a video prepared by Rocco Cieri.

Electrokinetics in Civil and Environmental Engineering Course in Denmark

The Technical University of Denmark will be hosting a Doctoral course on electrokinetics in civil and environmental engineering November 5-9, 2012 in Lyngby, Denmark. The course has been organized by Lisbeth Ottosen and Pernille Jensen of the Technical University of Denmark and Marta Castellote of the Institute of Construction Science Eduardo Torroja, Spain. PROTECT PI and co-Director Akram Alshawabkeh will be one of the lecturers in the course.

More information on the course can be found here.

Alshawabkeh work profiled in NIEHS SRP Research Brief

Akram Alshawabkeh and his PROTECT Project 5 team recently saw their work in novel methods for groundwater decontamination published by the Superfund Research Program as part of its Research Briefs series.

The Research Brief, published in July, highlights a recent paper by the Project 5 team which developed a method to remediate TCE.

Read the full research brief here and the article here.

Changes to Alshawabkeh Lab Team

Alshawabkeh Lab Postdocs Dr. Chris Butscher and Dr. Xuhui Mao have both recently secured professorships in their respective home countries of Germany and China.  Dr. Butscher will be at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.  Dr. Mao is at Wuhan University.  Congratulations!!

Visiting Scholar Kitae Baek also recently returned to his home country of Korea.

Learn more about the team here.

Learn more about open postdoctoral positions within the lab here.