Kevin Johnson Memorial Lecture will feature Renowned Environmental Chemist

The inaugural Kevin Johnson Memorial Lecture will feature renowned environmental chemist Dr. Jorge Gardea-Torresdey who will talk on “From Gold Phytomining to the Fate of Nanoparticles in Terrestrial Plants: Synchrotron-based Studies.” 

Gardea-Torresdey is the Dudley Professor of Environmental Science & Engineering and Chair of the Department of Chemistry at The University of Texas at El Paso. His research focuses on spectroscopy techniques, the bioproduction of nanoparticles and application of nanotechnology to clean water. His research team discovered a way for alfalfa plants to remove gold from soil and store it as nanoparticles in the plant tissue in 2002, which in addition to environmental implications is useful for cancer research. Dr. Gardea-Torresday received funding from many different government agencies, including the National Institutes for Health, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Science Foundation. He has authored more than 420 publications and five patents have been issued for his research.

Dr. Kevin Johnson died in 2013. An environmental chemist, he was affiliated with both the Department of Chemistry and the Environmental Sciences program at SIUE, and joined both programs in 1997. He was promoted to professor in 2008 and served as the program director for Environmental Sciences, an associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences and a temporary director of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Center. His research focused on analytical and environmental chemistry and he was a noted authority on contaminant movement, degradation and effects on the environment.

The Kevin Johnson Memorial Lecture is slated for 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 7th, in the St. Clair Room in the Morris University Center with the lecture being free and open to the public. A special meeting is also planned for alumni of both Chemistry and Environmental Sciences.

For more information, contact Dr. Leah O’Brien at

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