Panithi Saktrakulkla, Ph.D. student, Human Toxicology
Detects dangerous pollutants
“Kong (Panithi) is an expert mass spectrometrist and analytical chemist who has developed novel methods for the detection of pollutants addressed by the Stockholm Convention as persistent, bioaccumulating, and toxic.” – Keri Hornbuckle, Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering
• Hometown: Bangkok, Thailand
• Faculty mentor/advisor: Dr. Keri C. Hornbuckle.
• What is your degree program and expected graduate date? PhD in Human Toxicology, Fall 2021.
• Please describe your research: Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are a set of persistent toxic environmental pollutants. Our understanding of the contemporary prevalence, sources, exposures, and toxicities of these chemicals and their toxic breakdown product is limited by our ability to measure them accurately and precisely. My research is therefore focused on the development of measurement techniques and the determination of contamination levels.
• In simple terms, why does this research matter? Through reliable measurements, the better understanding of the toxic pollutants will accurately and precisely inform us how likely the chemicals will be harmful to humans, thereby improving our decision making on how to properly handle the contaminations in different locations and environmental matrices.
• How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? I started my research in the second year of my program at the University of Iowa.
• How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? My time at the University of Iowa taught me that the importance of collaboration. You indeed have to be an expert in your field; however, working together will make you see further and beyond.
• What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? I would like to go back to Thailand and contribute towards research and education of analytical chemistry in pharmaceutical sciences.
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