Welcome to the Pratt Lab blog! Dr. Kerri Pratt is an assistant professor in the Departments of Chemistry and Earth & Environmental Sciences and faculty associate of the Program in the Environment at the University of Michigan. We study atmospheric trace gases, particles, snow, and clouds and their interactions with the biosphere (forests) and cryosphere (snow and sea ice). Our interdisciplinary research has relevance to climate change, air quality, and human health. As an analytical chemistry lab, we primarily use novel mass spectrometry techniques during our field research. We invite you to follow our adventures in (and outside!) the lab!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Congrats to PhD student Nate May!

Congratulations to Chemistry Ph.D. student Nate May for passing his candidacy exam!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

New Fall Group Photo!

Front row (left to right):
Zhuoyu Peng (senior, Chemistry & Program in the Environment)
Rachel Kirpes (fall graduate rotation student, Chemistry)
Jennifer Berry (senior, Chemistry & Program in the Environment)
Natalie Cleaveland (fall graduate rotation student, Chemistry)
Olivia Sieggreen (fall graduate rotation student, Chemistry)

Back row (left to right):
Nate May (2nd year Ph.D. student, Chemistry)
Eric Boone (2nd year M.S. student, Chemistry)
Prof. Kerri Pratt
Matt Gunsch (3rd year Ph.D. student, Chemistry)
Stephen McNamara (fall graduate rotation student, Chemistry)
Garrett Welshofer (fall graduate rotation student, Chemistry)
Evan Schwartz (senior, Biochemistry)

Monday, November 3, 2014

Matt attends AAAR 2014 Conference

I (Matt Gunsch) recently attended the 33rd Annual American Association for Aerosol Research Conference in Orlando, Florida to present a poster on my research. The poster focused on results from our July 2014 field campaign to the University of Michigan Biological Station, where I focused on detecting and characterizing single aerosol particles using the ATOFMS. During this field campaign, we were able to characterize the influence of long range transported particles on the remote region where we were stationed. We are currently preparing a manuscript on this research as well.  This was my first national conference attended in graduate school, and it was a great experience to interact with so many other research groups within the field. I also can't complain about the location of the conference, which allowed me to escape to Florida from the cold Fall of Michigan!

I was also a student assistant for the duration of the conference, which allowed me to get a better understanding on what it takes for a conference to run. A benefit of being a student assistant was that we were allowed to attend tutorial sessions for free. It also allowed me to talk with the presenters of the sessions I was helping out with, which was a nice bonus. I'd recommend that when given the chance graduate students offer to be a student assistant so they are more integrated with the conference than they would be otherwise.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Undergraduate Chemistry Symposium at the University of Michigan

Last Saturday, October 18th, senior undergraduate student Zhuoyu Peng (me) presented a poster "Characterization and Seasonal Variation of Cloud Water Chemistry at Whiteface Mt." about my research at the 2nd Annual Undergraduate Chemistry Fall Conference at the University of Michigan!

 Undergraduate student Zhuoyu Peng

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Congratulations to Matt!

Congratulations to Chemistry PhD student Matt Gunsch for being awarded an University of Michigan Rackham Conference Travel Grant ($800) to attend the 33rd Annual American Association for Aerosol Research (AAAR) Conference in Orlando, FL later this month!  Matt will present a poster on his research on the chemical composition of individual particles in northern Michigan from fieldwork at the University of Michigan Biological Station this past summer.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Congrats to Nate!

Congratulations to second-year PhD student Nate May for receiving a Graduate Student Research Grant from the University of Michigan Rackham Graduate School!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Welcome Natalie, Olivia, & Stephen!

Welcome Natalie Cleaveland, Olivia Sieggreen, and Stephen McNamara!  Natalie, Olivia, and Stephen are incoming Chemistry PhD students who are doing their fall research rotations in the Pratt lab!  Natalie graduated recently from the University of North Florida, Olivia from Saginaw Valley State University, and Stephen from Michigan State University.  We are excited to have you in the lab this fall!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Welcome Evan!

Welcome Evan Schwartz as a new undergraduate researcher in the Pratt Lab!  Evan is a senior biochemistry major and will be studying Arctic snow chemistry this semester.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Congrats to Eric!

Congratulations to rising second-year PhD student Eric Boone for receiving a Graduate Student Research Grant from the University of Michigan Rackham Graduate School!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Prof. Pratt gives invited talk at ACS Mtg

Prof. Kerri Pratt gave an invited talk today about graduate student Eric Boone's cloud water chemistry research project at the 248th American Chemical Society National Meeting ("Chemistry of Atmospheric Nitrogen-Containing Compounds" session) in San Francisco, CA!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium at Notre Dame

On Friday Summer REU Chemistry student Michael Weber, Summer SURP students Wuliang Zhang and Zhuoyu Peng, and high school students Jackelyn Rodriguez and Desmond Madu presented their summer research at the Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium (SURS) at the University of Notre Dame! We were able to present their work at the poster session, discuss research performed by fellow undergraduate researchers, and network with professors at the University of Notre Dame. It was also excellent practice for future presentations at larger conferences. Congratulations to all!
Summer REU Chemistry student Michael Weber

Summer SURP student Zhuoyu Peng

Summer SURP student Wuliang Zhang

High school students Desmond Madu (left) and Jackelyn Rodriguez (right)

Thank you to Dr. Jess Axson (Ault group post-doc) for accompanying Desmond and Jackelyn to this symposium!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Summer Research Students Visit UMBS!

Summer REU Chemistry student Michael Weber, summer REU Physics student Katherine De Los Santos, and summer SROP student Clarence Pace III (Ault Lab) all had to opportunity to visit and tour the University of Michigan Biological Station and the PROPHET Tower last week! Guided by Prof. Kerri Pratt, Prof. Andy Ault, and graduate student Nate May, we saw how the researchers work and live at a field site. Aside from exploring the facilities, staying on-site in UMBS cabins, and meeting other summer researchers, we also had the opportunity to climb PROPHET tower and investigate how the labs collect atmospheric air samples!

Summer SROP student Clarence Pace III (left) and REU Chemistry student Michael Weber (right) atop the PROPHET tower at UMBS

Summer REU Physics student Katherine De Los Santos atop the PROPHET tower at UMBS

Thanks to all who made the trip possible including Prof. Kerri Pratt, Prof. Andy Ault, Nate May, and Dr. Kirsti Ashworth, as well as Prof. Myron Campbell for suggesting the trip early on!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Congratulations to Matt!

Congratulations to graduate student Matt Gunsch for being awarded a conference travel award at the University of Michigan Department of Chemistry Vaughan Symposium!

New Summer Group Photo!

Front row (left to right):
Jackelyn Rodriguez (summer student joint with Ault Group, Cass Tech High School, Detroit, MI)
Zhuoyu Peng (rising senior, Chemistry & Program in the Environment)
Rachel Kirpes (summer graduate rotation student, Chemistry)
Jillian Cellini (graduated senior, Earth Systems Science)

Second row (left to right):
Wuliang Zhang (rising senior, Chemistry)
Michael Weber (summer Chemistry REU student, Muhlenberg College)
Garrett Welshofer (summer graduate rotation student, Chemistry)
Eric Boone (rising 2nd year graduate student, Chemistry)
Prof. Kerri Pratt
Matt Gunsch (rising 3rd year graduate student, Chemistry)

Back:
Desmond Madu (summer student joint with Ault Group, Cass Tech High School, Detroit, MI)

Missing:
Nate May (rising 2nd year graduate student, Chemistry) - at the UM Biological Station!
Jennifer Berry (rising senior, Chemistry) - on the Juneau Icefield in Alaska!
Katherine De Los Santos (summer Physics REU student, Queens College) - at the Physics Electronics Shop!
Stephanie Schmidt (summer UMBS REU student joint with Ault Group, Michigan State Univ.) - at the UM Biological Station!



Thursday, July 24, 2014

Halfway through UMBS Field Study

~ Two weeks down, two more to go! At the halfway point of our field study at the University of Michigan Biological Station (UMBS), everything is moving along very nicely. For the first two weeks, I (Matt Gunsch), with the help of our UMBS REU student Stephanie, was stationed at the PROPHET lab at UMBS running the instrumentation installed by the Pratt and Ault labs. I have been working primarily with the ATOFMS and have been ensuring its successful operation and collection of data. Initial data analysis has begun, and some very early results will be presented next week at the University of Michigan's Vaughan Symposium!
The PROPHET Lab and Tower. My home for the past two weeks.
Another Pratt lab graduate student, Nate May, recently arrived at UMBS to relieve me of my ATOFMS duties. He is now in charge of its operation until we travel back up in early August for the conclusion of the field study. It has been a fun and productive two weeks for me, and I'm sure it will continue for him!
Nate May (left) and Matt Gunsch (right) watching over the ATOFMS.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

UMBS PROPHET Tower Instrumentation Set Up

Last week Pratt Group graduate students Nate May and Matthew Gunsch, recent graduate Jillian Cellini, and Professor Kerri Pratt traveled to the University of Michigan Biological Station in Pellston, MI for our summer aerosol field study. Professor Andrew Ault and Ault group graduate students Daniel Gardner and Becky Craig also came up for the instrument set-up portion of the field campaign occurring this summer at the PROPHET tower site. UMBS Summer REU student Stephanie Schmidt from Michigan State University was also present to assist our team in setting up our instrumentation.

From left to right: Graduate Students Nate May, Dan Gardner, Matthew Gunsch, Garrett Welshofer, Eric Boone, and Professor Ault helping to load the ATOFMS before departing from Ann Arbor.
Among the instruments present during this field campaign that was set up last week was an ATOFMS (Aerosol Time-of-Flight Spectrometer), on loan from Prof. Phil Hopke at Clarkson University (Thank you!!). The ATOFMS will sample from the top of the PROPHET tower, above the forest canopy, from the sampling line that was installed during the group's last visit to the PROPHET site.  We also set up a MOUDI (micro-orifice uniform deposit impactor) to collect atmospheric particles for later off-line analysis.  These instruments now accompany the aerosol sizing instrumentation that was set-up in June.  Atmospheric measurements are also being made by Prof. Eric Kort's group from the University of Michigan and Prof. Tim VanReken's group from Washington State University, so it should be a productive study!

The first day of the set-up process on the ground at the PROPHET lab.
With the set up of the instruments complete thanks to the help of everyone present, the field study at the PROPHET tower has gotten off to a fantastic start!


Recent Pratt lab graduate Jillian Cellini and Ault lab graduate students Becky Craig and Dan Gardner prepped to scale the PROPHET tower.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Welcome Rachel!

Welcome Rachel Kirpes!  Rachel recently graduated from Iowa State University and received a Davis Graduate Fellowship for her summer rotation as a graduate student in the Pratt lab!  We are excited to have you in the lab this summer!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

UMBS PROPHET Tower



Earlier this week, Nate May (me) and Professor Kerri Pratt, along with Professor Andrew Ault and Ault lab member Dan Gardner, traveled to the University of Michigan Biological Station (UMBS) in Pellston, Michigan for four days to begin a summer long field research campaign. There to assist our team from the University of Michigan were summer REU student Stephanie Schmidt of Michigan State University and Professor Steve Bertman of Western Michigan University.
Nate May, Dr. Bertman and REU student Stephanie Schmidt at the base of the PROPHET tower.
The main sampling site for the summer will be the PROPHET (Program for Research on Oxidants: PHotochemistry, Emissions, and Transport) tower and laboratory, which is located in a forested area on the (UMBS) property. The tower, erected in December of 1996, is 103 feet and 5 inches tall, reaching above the treetops and offering views from the top of the Mackinac Bridge over 15 miles away. Most of the work this week was focused on preparing the PROPHET site for the official start of research in July. Battling merciless swarms of mosquitoes, our team was productive and enjoyed the experience of being out in the field for the first time together.One of the first tasks to prepare the site for the upcoming research was to clean the glass manifold that runs the full length of the tower and the full length of the lab to deliver gases for analysis. Dr. Bertman's years of experience with the PROPHET tower were invaluable during this process and for many other tasks over the week.
Nate May and Dr. Pratt removing a bend in the glass manifold for cleaning.
Next, a new copper tube for aerosol sampling was run to the top of the tower and wrapped in insulation. During this process I made my inaugural trip to the top of the tower, an exhilarating experience to say the least. The copper sampling line was then connected to a steel manifold installed in the wall of the lab that will allow us sample atmospheric aerosols with a variety of instruments at once, including our Aerosol Time of Flight Mass Spectrometer which will be brought up to UMBS in July.

Dan Gardner, Dr. Bertman and Nate May starting to install the copper tubing that will be used for aerosol sampling. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Prof. Pratt awarded ASMS Research Award

At the recent Annual American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS) Conference in Baltimore, MD, Prof. Kerri Pratt was awarded the ASMS Research Award, given to two young assistant professors for promise in the field of mass spectrometry.  Thank you very much to Thermo Scientific for sponsoring this award!



Welcome Stephanie!

Welcome Stephanie Schmidt!  Stephanie just finished her junior year at Michigan State University, where her majors are Chemistry, Mathematics, and Environmental Sciences & Management.  As part of the University of Michigan Biological Station REU program (Biosphere-Atmosphere-Hydrosphere Interactions in a Changing Global Environment), Stephanie is working with the Pratt and Ault labs to measure atmospheric particles at the University of Michigan Biological Station in northern Michigan!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

ASMS Annual Conference

This past week graduate student Eric Boone (me) and Professor Kerri Pratt traveled to Baltimore, MD to attend the American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS) annual conference. Professor Pratt received one of two young researcher awards presented by ASMS to new professors who propose new and innovative research techniques utilizing mass spectrometry, which was very exciting!

I presented a poster of my work on aerosol and cloud chemistry in the southeastern United States as a part of the SOAS field campaign. The conference presented a unique opportunity to discuss the work with colleagues who are not necessarily familiar with environmental chemistry, but have a vast knowledge on applications of mass spectrometry. Also, I was able to meet several people who authored scientific papers my work is based on, which makes reading papers take on a new experience as I can place faces with the names on the page. Being in an atmosphere full of scientists and cutting edge technology was an interesting experience to say the least!

Overall, ASMS was a fantastic time and I will be very excited if I return in the future!

Presenting my poster on the first day of the conference

Monday, June 2, 2014

Welcome Katherine!

Welcome Katherine De Los Santos!  Katherine is a sophomore Physics major at Queen's College in New York City and joined the Pratt lab this summer as a Physics REU participant!  Katherine will be working in the University of Michigan Physics Electronics Shop to help build the custom electronics for our aircraft aerosol time-of-flight mass spectrometer.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Welcome Garrett and Michael!

Welcome Garrett Welshofer and Michael Weber!  Garrett just graduated from Elon University this spring and received an Albaugh Graduate Fellowship for his summer rotation as a graduate student in the Pratt lab!  Michael is a junior Chemistry and Environmental Science undergraduate student at Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania and joined the Pratt lab this summer as a Chemistry REU participant!  We are excited to have you both in the lab this summer!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Congratulations to Jenny!

Congratulations to Pratt lab undergraduate student Jennifer Berry who has been awarded Individual Academic Enrichment Funding from the University of Michigan Program in the Environment to help fund her field research this summer as part of the Juneau Icefield Research Program!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Congratulations to Matt Gunsch & Nate May!

Congratulations to Pratt lab Ph.D. students Matt Gunsch and Nate May who were each awarded Marian P. and David M. Gates Graduate Student Fellowships to help pay for their research expenses this summer at the University of Michigan Biological Station!!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Congratulations to PhD student Eric Boone!

Congratulations to Chemistry PhD student Eric Boone for being awarded an University of Michigan Rackham Conference Travel Grant ($700) to attend the 62nd American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS) Conference on Mass Spectrometry and Allied Topics in Baltimore, MD in June!  Eric will present a poster on his research on the molecular composition of atmospheric particles and cloud water collected during the Southern Oxidant and Aerosol Study (SOAS)!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Congratulations to Graduating Senior Jillian Cellini!

Congratulations to Jillian Cellini, who is graduating this weekend with a B.S. with honors in Earth Systems Science!  Her honors thesis was titled "New particle formation and growth events in the Arctic."  Jill will continue to work in the Pratt lab over the summer, funded by a Michigan Space Grant Consortium Fellowship and the MCubed program, so luckily we don't have to say goodbye quite yet!
Jillian and Prof. Pratt at the Earth & Environmental Sciences Commencement Reception

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Congratulations to PhD student Matt Gunsch!

Congratulations to Chemistry Ph.D. student Matt Gunsch for passing his candidacy exam!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program Poster Symposium

Ryan Tedd, a freshman undergraduate student in the Pratt lab, participated in the University of Michigan Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) during the 2013-2014 academic year.  The culmination of this program was a poster symposium where Ryan described his research!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earth Day - Arctic short film screening TODAY online!

For Earth Day, our video "Young Ice" (about our research and the community in Barrow, AK) is open to public viewing today (only)!  Please watch and share!
http://vimeo.com/76758948

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Award from the Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh!

Prof. Pratt was awarded the 2014 Starter Grant Award ($40,000) from the Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh (SACP)!  The award is given each year to one analytical chemistry assistant professor, within the first three years of starting their position. Prof. Pratt will be honored at the annual SACP/ACS Awards Night at Duquesne University in May.

Monday, April 14, 2014

URG Ambient Ion Monitor

AIM used for training at URG Headquarters in North Carolina.

Earlier this semester we added a new instrument to our lab, the URG 9000D Ambient Air Monitor (AIM). The AIM features a sampling unit in the center that samples chemical species in the particle and gas phase simultaneously. The collected samples are then sent to the two ion chromatography (IC) systems on each side, one for anion analysis and one for cation analysis. The ICs can also be detached from the sampling unit for direct injection analysis of water or melted snow samples. Over winter break, Nate May (me) and Dr. Kerri Pratt flew to URG headquarters in Chapel Hill, North Carolina for training. A week was spent with URG staff Julie Stone and Anwar Nicola, and Dr. Russell Long from the EPA, learning the ins and out of initial setup and operation. Thank you to Julie, Anwar, and particularly Russell for teaching us! Dr. Russell Long's years of field work for the EPA with this instrument was particularly helpful in giving us advice for taking the instrument out on our own future field campaigns. It felt like information overload at times, but we learned a ton and at the end felt prepared to put our AIM to good use back in the lab at the University of Michigan and on future field research campaigns.

As a special end of the week treat, Dr. Russell Long gave Nate a tour from of the atmospheric chemistry laboratories at the EPA Research Triangle Park campus. It was a great chance to see how some of the most advanced laboratory techniques and instrumentation are being used in the atmospheric chemistry field!

Our AIM in the process of installation at the University Of Michigan

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Michigan Geophysical Union Poster Session

This past Monday, Pratt lab graduate student Eric Boone and undergraduates Jill Cellini, Wuliang Zheng and Zhuoyu Peng took part in the Michigan Geophysical Union (MGU) poster session. MGU is a great organization that allows many types of environmental researchers to display their work with their peers. Our group presented our current work on aerosol and cloud interactions in the southeast United States, particle growth events in the Arctic, and chemical analysis of cloud water from Whiteface Mountain (quite the diverse subject matter!). The session was very exciting, with many good discussions with researchers and faculty. In addition, Eric was honored to have his poster judged as 1st place in the Atmospheric and Climate Sciences category!
Eric with his poster on aerosol and cloud interactions in the southeast United States
Jill  with her poster on particle growth events in the Arctic.
Wuliang and Zhuoyu with their poster on chemical analysis of cloud water from Whiteface Mountain.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Jillian Cellini to attend grad school at the University of Illinois at Chicago!

Pratt lab undergraduate Earth Systems Science major Jillian Cellini will be attending the University of Illinois at Chicago starting this fall to pursue a Ph.D. in Earth and Environmental Sciences!  She will be joining the research group of Prof. Kathryn Nagy to study mercury impacts on the environment.  Congratulations Jillian!!!  We will miss you this fall!
Jillian at the University of Michigan Biological Station in summer 2014

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Congratulations to Wuliang, Zhuoyu, & Jenny!

Congratulations to Pratt lab undergraduate students Wuliang Zhang, Zhuoyu Peng, and Jenny Berry for being awarded 2014 University of Michigan Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships for summer research in the Pratt lab!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Collaborative Funding from the University of Michigan Water Center!

Together Prof. Andy Ault (lead principal investigator) and Prof. Kerri Pratt (co-investigator) were awarded a leveraging grant ($50,000) from the University of Michigan Water Center for the proposal "Lake spray aerosol emissions of toxins and pollutants to the atmosphere in the Great Lakes Region"!  The UM Water Center awarded six leveraging grants during this round of funding.  We are quite excited!

Announcements:
http://graham.umich.edu/water/news/capacity-awards-round2
http://graham.umich.edu/water/projects/tier1

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Congratulations to Jenny!

Congratulations to Pratt lab undergraduate student Jenny Berry, who was awarded an Arctic Internship Grant ($2,000) from the University of Michigan Program in International and Comparative Studies!  Jenny and Prof. Pratt will participate in the Juneau Icefield Research Program this summer to conduct air and snow chemistry research on the Juneau Icefield!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Michigan Space Grant Consortium Funding!

Congratulations to Pratt lab undergraduate students Jennifer Berry and Jillian Cellini who were recently awarded Michigan Space Grant Consortium Undergraduate Fellowships ($2,500 each) for their proposed summer research!  In addition, Prof. Kerri Pratt was awarded a Michigan Space Grant Consortium Research Seed Grant ($5,000) to examine links between Arctic snow chemistry and atmospheric reactive halogen species!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Shipping snow from Barrow to Michigan

Research in Arctic is an adventure.  Lucky for us Alaska Airlines flies all of the way to Barrow, AK.  This time my flight itinerary was Detroit, MI to Chicago, IL to Seattle, WA to Fairbanks, AK to Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay, AK to Barrow, AK and back via Barrow, AK to Fairbanks, AK to Seattle, WA to Detroit, MI!  The airport "terminal" in Barrow, AK consist of one room with a baggage claim "slide".  Luggage arriving in Barrow consists of lots of large boxes and coolers since there are no roads to Barrow!  My luggage included three bags/boxes with aerosol sampling equipment and three coolers for snow samples.  Two of my coolers have lots of insulation to prevent the snow from melting and are even bear-proof (which means that so far they haven't gotten damaged from all of the shipping, unlike the regular cooler)!
"Baggage claim" at Barrow, AK
My "luggage" back in Detroit after its' second trip to Alaska this year!

Heavy-duty YETI cooler with snow samples from Alaska!  We put -20C blue ice packs in the coolers for shipment to keep the snow frozen.  (Photo by request for students at Scranton High School (PA)!)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Trip out to the Sea Ice

Today Kyle, Angela, and I rode snow machines out onto the sea ice with our ice guide and bear guard Glenn Roy (thank you!).  It was really windy (~30 mph), so it was pretty cold (wind chill of approx. minus 30F)!  Many folks have said "it's colder here in Ann Arbor!" with the polar vortex dipping down, but there is something about wind whipping across the frozen tundra and sea ice and blowing snow that makes it really cold!  We bundled up in many layers, my face mask froze solid, and we had duct tape on our faces in places that might be exposed (like between my face mask and ski goggles) to prevent frostbite.  The bits of uplifted blue sea ice were beautiful out by the lead (open water in a large crack in the sea ice).  Here are a few photos of our adventure to collect snow samples!
Uplifted sea ice with clouds over the open lead in the background
Our bear guard Glenn Roy keeping watch for polar bears while we collect snow samples
Kyle and Angela with our snow machines

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Heading back to Barrow!

From Saturday to Sunday, I (Prof. Pratt) flew back to Barrow, AK for air and snow sampling!  Here are a few photos from the trip:
"Baggage" (apparently someone really needs some soda!) being loaded during a stopover in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska
Prudhoe Bay (largest oilfield in North America)
Open leads in the ice near Barrow, AK
  
The "Barrow lead" opened in a big way on Sunday - approximately one month earlier and at a faster rate than previously. 
Watch a video of the dramatic lead opening on Feb. 23: Barrow Sea Ice Radar. 



Sunrise over the tundra and a herd of caribou

Monday, February 24, 2014

UMBS Winter Research Meeting

This past Friday Nate May (me) and Dan Gardner, accompanied by Professors Kerri Pratt and Andrew Ault, attended the University of Michigan Biological Station Winter Research Meeting in preparation for our upcoming field campaign in northern Michigan this summer. This event brought together a diverse group of scientists for a day of discourse on current and future research plans, collaborations, and the state of the University of Michigan Biological Stations, located in Pellston, Michigan. It was a great time to discuss research plans with collaborators Professor Eric Kort and post-doctoral researcher Dr. Mackenzie Smith of the College of Engineering, Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences. Their work is focused on measuring methane emissions in North America to identify the impact of the recent boom in the natural gas industry and is a part of an MCubed research project with Professors Kerri Pratt and Andrew Ault to investigate the effects of greenhouse gases and atmospheric particles on climate and air quality in Northern Michigan. While it was great to be exposed to so many different researchers about their exciting new projects, the highlight of the day was arguably the morning hand-drawn poster session. Dan, Mackenzie and I were given an hour, a set of markers, a large sheet of paper and the opportunity to use our artistic talents to communicate our research interests. The result, shown below, creatively displayed how a variety of anthropogenic (natural gas drilling, shipping, industry, etc.) and natural (lake spray particles, biogenic volatile organic compounds from trees, etc.) sources effect the atmospheric composition of northern Michigan. While drawing we were able to speak more about our research plans, gave each other some great ideas, and fostered future collaboration. Overall the day was a great exposure to the University of Michigan Biological Station and made us all very excited for this summer and all the great research we have planned!
The result of an hour of hard work on our hand-drawn poster!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

New Winter Group Photo!

Group photo after scaling the giant mount of snow!
Left to Right:
Prof. Kerri Pratt
Ryan Tedd (freshman UROP student, Engineering)
Jillian Cellini (senior, Earth Systems Science)
Wuliang Zhang (junior, Chemistry)
Zhuoyu Peng (junior, Chemistry)
Nate May (first-year graduate student)
Matt Gunsch (second-year graduate student)
Eric Boone (first-year graduate student)
hiding: the dancing cat

Thursday, February 6, 2014

We have moved into our new lab!

After being stuck in temporary lab space since July, the Pratt Lab has moved into our new, permanent home! Renovations were completed recently, and we are now completely moved in. It is nice to have a brand new, much more spacious lab to continue our research in!
Boxes of equipment laying throughout the new lab. 
After some organizing and moving our instruments down, it looks more like a lab and less like a storage locker.
Our new lab comes complete with an office/kitchen room (left) and wet lab (right).

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Trip to Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

For two weeks in early January, graduate students Eric Boone (me) and Amy Bondy, accompanied by Professors Andrew Ault and Kerri Pratt, traveled to the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory in Richland, WA. There we collaborated with Dr. Alex Laskin and Dr. Julia Laskin to examine aerosol, cloud water and rain water samples from the Southern Oxidants and Aerosol Study (SOAS), as well as cloud water from Whiteface Mountain in New York. The Pratt Lab utilized an Orbitrap mass spectrometer to get very detailed information about the chemical composition of the samples, also using a recently developed technique called nano-desorption electrospray ionization (nano-DESI).

We collected a huge amount of data and are very excited to begin looking through the results with the help of new lab undergraduates Wuliang and Zhuoyu! Thank you very much Dr. Alex Laskin and Dr. Julia Laskin for all of your help and for teaching us!
Arriving at the Guest House!
Eric Boone and Prof. Kerri Pratt working with Dr. Alex Laskin on the Orbitrap Mass Spectrometer

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Leaving Barrow

Before leaving Barrow, I (Prof. Kerri Pratt) stopped by the "Top of the World" sign for an obligatory photo op... :-)
Alaska Airlines has a sense of humor given their plane choice for my Barrow-Anchorage flight, especially since the plane was full of oil workers from Prudhoe Bay, its previous stop!
Good luck Kyle and Angela!  I enjoyed my visit and will miss our time out on the tundra!