The Environmental Sciences Ph.D. is a research degree. Research is carried out in one of following three locations on campus: 1) The Department of Biology, 2) The Department of Chemistry, or 3) The Center for Management, Utilization and Protection of Water Resources (Water Center). This section of the Handbook is meant to acquaint you with each of these in order that you may more easily see how they can work to strengthen one another. Possibilities for collaboration between these areas will essentially strengthen any dissertation research you undertake. Additional information can be attained by studying the Environmental Sciences Faculty home pages on the EVS web site.
The Biology Department houses a wide variety of equipment and laboratories to carry out a diverse array of environmental research. Recent acquisitions include field monitoring/analysis equipment and a DNA auto sequencer for molecular level studies. A student computer laboratory with 30 state-of-the-art desk-top computers, laser printer, projection system, and teaching station has been constructed as well. In addition to facilities, equipment, and personnel within the Biology Department, technical support is provided by the Tennessee Cooperative Fishery Research Unit (The Unit) and Center for the Management, Utilization, and Protection of Water Resources (Water Center) at Tennessee Tech. The Unit is a fisheries research facility that functions as a research partnership between the University, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. The Water Center is a research facility on campus that investigates all phases of water quality and resource management associated with aquatic environments (described below). Currently, the Unit is staffed with three full-time Ph.D. fisheries biologists, and the Water Center is staffed with five full-time Ph.D. environmental scientists. Several full-time research associates and technicians work at both facilities. Most graduate students with wildlife and fisheries research topics work closely with personnel from The Unit or Water Center. The Department is also affiliated with the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Personnel from these units provide additional expertise in a wide range of biological disciplines.
Over the past several years, faculty members have been successful in obtaining major research grants from EPA, USDA, TVA, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, U.S. Forestry Service, Tennessee Department of Transportation, TDEC, CI, NFWF, and the National Science Foundation. Many faculty have had their research supplemented by the Tennessee Tech Faculty Research Fund or through collaborations with the Water Center.
In summary, the Department of Biology at TTU provides all of the tools and opportunities needed for the academic development of a professional in a wide range of careers within environmental sciences. Our programs and courses are administered and taught by a caring faculty whose primary mission is to teach students a diversity of topics in the fascinating area of biological sciences.
The Department of Chemistry is located on University Drive behind the Roaden University Center. Presently the Department of Chemistry has sixteen full-time Ph.D.-bearing faculty members. These positions are evenly distributed among the five major disciplines of chemistry. The Department is strongly committed to providing a balanced program of teaching, research, and service to our students.
The Department also has a strong commitment to research and scholarly activities. The faculty are actively engaged in research in many exciting areas on the frontiers of chemical science, including: protein chemistry, environmental chemistry, organometallic chemistry, medicinal chemistry, molecular modeling of proteins, radiochemical separations, fuel chemistry, quantum mechanics, enzymology, organic synthesis, atmospheric chemistry and spectroscopy, coal liquefaction, and others. Over the past several years, faculty members have been successful in obtaining major research grants from DOE, NIH, NSF, Research Corporation, The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, and ACS-PRF, totaling $1.8M in the past five years. Two faculty members have received the University's Caplenor Research Award for Outstanding Research Accomplishments, and three have received the Sigma Xi Research Award from the local chapter. Our faculty members have been published in prestigious journals such as Science, Nature, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and others, with a total of 35 publications in refereed journals in the past five years. Scholarly activities as well as teaching performance are important factors in promotion and tenure decisions at Tennessee Tech.
Our department has an excellent array of instrumentation for teaching and research. Most recently we installed a Varian Mercury 300 MHz FT-NMR with a super-conducting high-field magnet and multinuclear capabilities obtained by a major research instrumentation grant from NSF. Our students also benefit from a new state-of-the-art computing facility containing 19 Dell Pentium II 400 MHz PC s. Our spectroscopy capabilities include a research grade laser facility (PhaseR DL1400 pump dye laser, McPhearson Model 207 0.67 m monochromator, and a Spex 1680 0.22 m double monochrometer), Nicolet 20 DXB, Mattson Galaxy Series 3000, and Bomem MB-Series Mid- and Near-IR FTIR spectrometers, a component UV-DAD system with gas sampling capability, a Cary 3E UV-visible spectrophotometer. For elemental analysis, we have two PE 5000 atomic absorptions spectrometers equipped with MHS-20 vapor and HGA 500 graphite furnace accessories. We have a complete array of separations instruments, including a Perkin-Elmer 8500 gas chromatograph equipped with capillary column/FID and packed column/NPD modules, a Hewlett Packard 5890 capillary gas chromatograph with FID and ECD detectors, a Suprex SFC/200A supercritical fluid chromatograph, a Perkin-Elmer Series IV HPLC, and a Beckman P/ACE System 2000 capillary electrophoresis instrument. For biochemistry applications, we also have a Pharmacia Biotech Gradi-Frac liquid chromatograph. Our outstanding radiochemistry laboratory facility has recently been updated with a Packard Cobra II gamma counting system and a PERALS spectrometer. We have several other counters, including a Packard Tri-Carb 460C liquid scintillation counter. For electrochemistry, we have an EG&G/PARC electrochemistry system (Model 264A polarographic analyzer, Model 362 scanning potentiostat and Model 379 coulometer). Other notable apparatus of our department is an Orion 960 Autochemistry titration system and a Labconco controlled atmosphere glove box. Our instruments have been acquired through NSF-ILI and other grants, donations, and College expenditures.
Graduate students and faculty in the Departments of Biology and Chemistry conducting research in environmental science have the opportunity to interact with the staff and facilities of the Center for the Management, Utilization, and Protection of Water Resources (the Water Center) at TTU. The water center is located on the fourth floor of Prescott Hall located at the corner of University and Stadium Drive. The Water Center is a state-supported Center of Excellence administered through the College of Engineering and involves the participation of University faculty and students from the departments of Engineering, Chemistry, Biology, Earth and Soil Sciences, and the Cooperative Fishery Unit. The Water Centers emphasis on water quality includes the utilization of water by municipalities, industries, energy, agriculture, transportation, and recreation. Water resource protection research efforts are concerned with the impacts of industrial, municipal, and hazardous wastes; landfill leachates; waste spills, accidents, and energy residues such as heat, water-carried wastes, and acid rain.
It maintains a staff with expertise in geographic information systems (GIS), modeling, and database management. It offers a professionally staffed laboratory, capable of general wet chemistry/physical parameter analyses, organic analyses, metal analyses, and biological/mutagenicity/toxicity testing. Basic techniques on solid-liquid phase interactions, chemistry, and the biological sciences provide support for fundamental and applied research. Current faculty research emphasizes biodiversity; surface and ground water protection, use, and availability; domestic, industrial, and recreational water use; conservation and reuse of finite water supplies; public education and examination of socioeconomic problems of water treatment and distribution; wastewater treatment and disposal; and water pollution and the protection of aquatic organisms and other wildlife form point and non-point resources. Some Environmental Science faculty members are associated with our Centers of Excellence in Manufacturing and our Center for Electric Power.