Professor Kathryn Riley

Professor Kathryn Riley
Department of Chemistry
Swarthmore College

On the march towards environmental relevance: Advancing analytical methods to probe the nano-bio interface

The unique properties of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) have enabled their increased use for a range of environmental, medical, and commercial applications. Owing to their unique antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) are one of the most widely used ENMs, leading to their release into the environment during production, use, and disposal. Upon encountering environmental systems, AgNPs form eco-coronas that can lead to subsequent physicochemical transformations (e.g., aggregation, dissolution, oxidation, sulfidation, etc.) and that ultimately affect the environmental fate, transport, and toxicity of AgNPs. The complex composition of eco-coronas, which includes biomolecules, organic molecules, inorganic ions, and more, poses a significant analytical challenge, including both the availability of suitable measurement techniques and the development of laboratory model systems that mimic the complexity of “real-world” conditions. Work in our group aims to address these shortcomings. Specifically, we have developed a suite of electrochemical and electrokinetic separation techniques to probe the nano- bio interface. More recently, we have developed an environmentally relevant model system using the bacterium Caulobacter crescentus from which we derive complex eco-coronas. This talk will present the application of our analysis techniques to measure the effect of eco-coronas on AgNP reactivity, including preliminary data related to the environmental reactivity of AgNPs based on the C. crescentus model system.

Kathryn Riley

Dr. Kathryn Riley is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Swarthmore College. She received her Ph.D. from Wake Forest University in 2014 and was a National Research Council (NRC) postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) from 2015-2016. Before her current appointment, she was a Consortium for Faculty Diversity (CFD) postdoctoral fellow at Swarthmore from 2016-2018. Dr. Riley’s research involves the development of analytical techniques for the characterization of nanomaterials (NMs) and their dynamic physical and chemical transformations in biological and environmental matrices. Her research group specifically aims to broaden participation in the field by developing techniques that provide new quantitative insights in less time and at a reduced cost when compared to more commonly employed methods. Projects in her group span the analysis of engineered NMs (metal and metal oxide NMs, DNA nanostructures) and incidental NMs (nano and microplastics).

Hosted by Professor Christy Haynes

Start date
Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023, 9:45 a.m.
End date
Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023, 11:15 a.m.

331 Smith Hall
Zoom Link