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Centers for Disease Control guest researcher to kick off Spring Science Forum

Cold water being poured into a glass.Jess Hendricks, ORISE fellow and guest lecturer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will kick off our Spring 2016 UT Science Forum lecture series Friday, Jan. 29 with her talk, “Using Mass Spectrometry to Identify Toxins and Disease,” at 12 p.m. in the Thompson-Boling Arena Cafe, Rooms C-D.

Estrogens are the primary sex hormones responsible for the development, maturation and function of the female reproductive tract. Previous studies have shown that these compounds induce biological effects in natural waters. These compounds have been found in wastewater treatment plant effluent, river water, surface water and drinking water. The pharmaceutical carbamazepine (CBZ), which is prescribed for seizures and a range of neurological disorders, has been proposed as an anthropogenic marker in water bodies. The sweetener sucralose has also been proposed as a molecular marker due to its ubiquitous nature in wastewater, wastewater influenced surface water and septic samples. For this reason sucralose and possibly CBZ serve as molecular markers of human waste and may be correlated with the concentration of estrogens in the wastewater effluent.

A high performance liquid chromatography-electrospray chemical ionization mass spectrometry method was developed for simultaneous determination of estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), 17α-ethynylestradiol (EE2), CBZ and sucralose. The wastewater influent and effluent of three cities in Tennessee were sampled over a six month period. In her talk, Hendricks will share results of the study and discuss current mass spectrometry methods in development at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The UT Science Forum is free and open to the public. Guests are encouraged to bring their lunch or purchase it from the Arena Cafe. The 40-minute presentations are followed by a Q&A.