People

Lab Members

Dr. Reto Gieré

Dr. Reto Gieré

Professor

Reto received his PhD from ETH Zürich, Switzerland. He has held appointments at Purdue University, the Australian Nuclear Science & Technology Organization, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, and the Carnegie Institution for Science, amongst others. His broad research interests involve environmental geochemistry, energy and waste, mineralogy and petrology, and health impacts of atmospheric pollution. Reto is a member of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Excellence in Environmental Toxicology (CEET). Additionally, Reto is an Editor of the Journal of Petrology and the Chief Editor of the European Journal of Mineralogy. He has supervised theses of 22 PhD, 36 Masters, and 63 Bachelors students.

email: giere@sas.upenn.edu

ResearchGate

 Jonas Toupal

Jonas Toupal

PhD Candidate

Jonas got his B.S. in Geoscience and B.A. in Planetary Science from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in 2019. His research interests are environmental geochemistry and remediation. He’s especially interested in lithium deposits due to the recent sharp rise in lithium demand for battery production. Currently, his research focuses on analyzing the chemical composition of stream waters near hard-rock lithium deposits with field sites in three different countries in Europe. The project heavily uses geochemical modeling with software such as PHREEQC and Geochemist’s Workbench. 

email: toupal@sas.upenn.edu

ResearchGate

Maria Micaela Ninni

Maria Micaela Ninni

PhD Candidate

Micaela got her B.S. in Geology and Earth Sciences from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, in June 2020. As part of her senior thesis and graduation requirements, she worked alongside Dr. Diana Mutti and Dr. Carolina Mendez in the mineralogical and structural description of the Au-rich hydrothermal veins at the Farallón Negro Volcanic Complex in Catamarca, Argentina.

Her topics of interest are mineralogy, petrology, ore genesis, and geochemical characterization.

email: ninni@sas.upenn.edu

ResearchGate

Jaydee Edwards

Jaydee Edwards

PhD Candidate

Jaydee received her B.S. in chemistry from John Brown University in May 2020. Graduating during COVID was certainly a challenge however she is thrilled for the opportunity to be working with the Giere Lab group for graduate school. Her research interests fall within the sphere of environmental pollution through a chemical background. Currently, her research is focused on the characterization and identification of microplastics and investigation of their environmental and health implications.

email: jaydeee@sas.upenn.edu

ResearchGate

Carissa Root

Carissa Root

PhD Student

Carissa received her B.S. in Geology and a certificate in GIS and Remote Sensing from the University of Pittsburgh. During her time at Pitt, she worked in a paleoclimate lab where she worked with sediment cores. Now at Penn, she plans to study urban environmental issues using geochemical techniques. Specifically, she is interested in urban contaminants and their effects on the environment and public health.

email: carissar@sas.upenn.edu

Qingzi (Melissa) Wang

Qingzi (Melissa) Wang

MCS Student

Melissa got her B.S in Chemistry and minor in Physics from Emory University in 2021. As professional free diver, she decided to focus on environmental chemistry, especially on water. During her last year of undergraduate study, she had to go back to China due to COVID. But she managed to work as a researcher at East China University of Science and Technology and Shanghai Research Institute of Chemical Industry at that time. Currently, her research focus is on analyzing organic contaminants from tire-abrasion particles in road runoff to local rivers in Philadelphia.

email: qingzi@sas.upenn.edu

Alumni

Catherine Nabukalu

Catherine Nabukalu

MES Graduate

Catherine’s research focuses on secondary energy and the global charcoal supply chain. Her main question is whether international energy markets have indeed responded positively to traditional solutions, such as more electrification. The research explores why charcoal is still a popular energy alternative even where grid connections are prevalent because charcoal production has several implications, mainly energy-related forest loss, acute in the sub-Saharan region. Furthermore, she examines the status of waste management along this value chain, as well as public health implications from charcoal consumption.

Currently, she works as a Project Coordinator for energy efficiency at the District of Columbia’s Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU).

email: catn0371@gmail.com

Dr. Ruggero Vigliaturo

Dr. Ruggero Vigliaturo

Research Fellow

Ruggero received his PhD from the University of Torino (Italy) conducting part of his research at the Néel Institute (CNRS – Grenoble, France) and in the Department of Mineralogy and Geochemistry of the Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena (Germany). He held postdoc positions at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Durban, South Africa) and at the National Institute of Chemistry of Ljubljana (Slovenia), which was funded by a Rotary Global Grant. His research applies state-of-the-art scanning/transmission electron microscopy techniques for biogeochemistry, medical, and environmental mineralogy.

email: ruggero@sas.upenn.edu

ResearchGate

Michael J. O'Shea

Michael J. O'Shea

PhD Graduate

Mike received his B.A. in Geological Sciences from SUNY Geneseo in 2016. His current research involves characterizing and investigating environmental media, such as road dusts and soils, in Philadelphia. Mike is also experimentally assessing environmental and human interactions with potential human health hazards such as traffic paints and the previously mentioned media. Broadly, he is interested in the intersection between urban geochemical issues and human health as well as medical mineralogy.

Mike is currently a physical scientist for the Environmental Protection Agency in R3 Philadelphia in the air and radiation division.

email: michajo@sas.upenn.edu

ResearchGate

Hope Elliot

Hope Elliot

MSAG Graduate

Hope got her B.S. in Environmental Science from Rhodes College in 2018 and focuses on environmental chemistry at Penn. She is particularly interested in the detection of inorganic contaminants, how they cycle through geologic systems, and their subsequent impacts on public health. She is working on a project that involves detecting trace metals in artisanal charcoal from Uganda to evaluate the potential for exposure to these metals when charcoal is burned as a domestic fuel source (this project mainly involves using ICP-OES to detect the metals, but also examining the mineral composition of the samples using X-ray diffraction).

Hope has been named School of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Scholar at Penn. She is joining the PhD program at Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at University of Miami.

email: hopeliz@sas.upenn.edu

Ahmad Kamal Mubarok

Ahmad Kamal Mubarok

MSAG Graduate

Kamal received his B.S. in Geology from Bandung Institute of Technology, Indonesia, in 2017. He is specifically interested in environmental geochemistry and its relation to human health, leading him to investigate road dust near one of the parks in Philadelphia. The project is focused on geochemical characterization by utilizing optical microscopy, XRD, XRF, ICP-OES, and SEM, and its effect on the environment and human body through experiments using synthetic rainwater, Gamble’s solution (artificial lung fluid), and simulated gastric solution.

email: kamalmu@sas.upenn.edu

Jonathan Szeto

Jonathan Szeto

Undergraduate Graduate

Jonathan Szeto is a sophomore undergraduate studying Earth science and political science in the University of Pennsylvania’s College of Arts and Sciences. His research focuses on aerosol pollution in indoor environments and its potential health ramifications. His current project aims to characterize fine and coarse particulate matter in Philadelphia’s public subway network.

email: jonszeto@sas.upenn.edu