Dr. Michael Ihde, who was a graduate student in our group when this work was carried out, led a collaboration with the Azoulay polymer synthesis group at the University of Southern Mississippi. He worked closely with Dr. Joshua Tropp (also a graduate student at the time), and with the Shiller trace metal detection group at Stennis Space Center. The collaborative work resulted in a new method for low-cost and rapid detection of multiple heavy metal pollutants at extremely low concentrations.
The work combined the multivariate array sensing methods developed in the Bonizzoni group with highly emissive conjugated fluorene polyelectrolytes, developed in the Azoulay group and decorated with strong metal binding groups. The work also greatly benefited from the Shiller group's genuine environmental sample collected from the Gulf of Mexico and expertise in trace metal detection techniques.
Michael has since completed his PhD at UA and, after spending a year as a visiting assistant professor at Hamilton College, has accepted a faculty position at Williams College starting in Fall 2022. Josh graduate from USM in Fall 2020 and is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Rivnay research group at Northwestern University.