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!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Congratulations Rashad - 4th Place at International Science Fair!

Congratulations to summer 2016 D-RISE Pratt Lab researcher Rashad Prendergast (Cass Technical High School) for being awarded 4th Place in Earth & Environmental Sciences at the 2017 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles, CA! He presented his summer research poster titled "Impact of Road Salt Usage on Atmospheric Concentrations of Cl and Na PM2.5"! Great job Rashad, and thank you to his mentor Pratt Lab post-doc Dr. Katie Kolesar!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Pratt Lab Arctic research news story published!

We are really excited about the recent write-up about our Arctic aerosol research! This journalist received an investigative journalism grant to write this story, which included visiting our Arctic field site in summer 2015!
https://ensia.com/features/black-carbon/


Teaser - read the story to learn about 'Maverick' and the 'Death Star'! :-)

Friday, April 28, 2017

Anna and Annie Graduate!

Congratulations to senior undergrads Anna Leemon and Annie Barget on their graduations from the University of Michigan!! Anna graduated with a B.S. degree in Chemistry and will be joining the Stanford University Teacher Education Program in the fall to earn a M.S. in Education to teach high school chemistry! Annie graduated with a B.S. degree in Biomolecular Science and will be continuing research with us this summer as a Michigan Space Grant Fellow! Congratulations! We are so proud!
Prof. Pratt and graduate Anna Leemon
Prof. Pratt and graduate Annie Barget

Arctic snowpack molecular halogen production paper published!

Congratulations to former Purdue Univ. PhD student Kyle Custard and current student Angela Raso for their paper detailed the first measurements of snowpack Br2 and Cl2 fluxes - and observation of the Arctic snowpack as a source of Cl2 and BrCl! "Production and Release of Molecular Bromine and Chlorine from the Arctic Coastal Snowpack" was recently published in ACS Earth and Space Chemistry. Please check out the paper! 

Congratulations to Alexa, Claire, Logan, and Maddie!

Congratulations to Pratt Lab undergraduate students Alexa Watson, Claire Mattson, Logan Vear, and Maddie Parks who were all awarded HHMI summer research fellowships to continue research in the Pratt Lab! These fellowships were for alumni of the HHMI-sponsored Authentic Research Connection.

Rachel Goes to Washington!

Earlier this month, Pratt Lab graduate student Rachel Kirpes was sponsored by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) to attend the AAAS Catalyzing Advocacy for Science and Engineering (CASE) workshop in Washington, D.C. To read more about what she learned from this experience, check out her post on AGU's science and policy blog, The Bridge!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Congratulations to Annie, Stephen, and Rachel!

Graduating senior Annie Barget and PhD students Stephen McNamara and Rachel Kirpes were awarded fellowships from the Michigan Space Grant Consortium! Congratulations!!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Stephen Volunteers in "You Be the Chemist" Event at UM

I (Stephen) gave a presentation about research in the Pratt Lab to regional elementary and middle school students participating in the "You Be the Chemist" Challenge held at the University of Michigan on March 23rd. This event, put on by local firm PVS Chemical, is part of a national program in which 5-8 grade students participate in a chemistry academic challenge, similar to a quiz bowl, supported by local industry and academic institutions. For more information, visit their website!

Before the competition, the students learned about research at UM through presentations and demonstrations by lab groups in the Chemistry department. It was a great opportunity for students to see what a career in chemistry research would look like!
Learning about polymers by making Shrinky Dinks!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Pratt Lab featured in Pacific Northwest National Lab highlight!

Pratt Lab PhD student Rachel Kirpes and rotation student Nicole Olson are featured on the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory website!
https://www.emsl.pnl.gov/emslweb/news/u-michigan-researchers-gain-insight-arctic-atmospheric-particles

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Alaska Dispatch News covers Pratt Lab paper!

The Alaska Dispatch News (Anchorage daily newspaper) covered Katie's recent paper on Prudhoe Bay emissions impacting ultrafine particle growth on the North Slope!
https://www.adn.com/arctic/2017/04/09/what-tiny-particles-blowing-in-north-slope-air-tell-us-about-oil-field-pollution-impacts/
Link to paper published in Atmospheric Environmenthttp://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1352231016309785

Friday, April 7, 2017

Pratt Lab presents research at the Michigan Geophysical Union meeting

At the 14th Annual Michigan Geophysical Union meeting, six graduate students and five undergraduate students from the Pratt Lab presented their research. The topics highlighted the diversity of research that we are pursuing in our group. PhD student Matt Gunsch won first place in the Chemistry Section for his research on "Chemical Characterization of Atmospheric Particulate Matter from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska" and PhD rotation student Nicole Olson won second place in the Chemistry section for "Single Particle Analysis of Ambient and Laboratory Generated Lake Spray Aerosols". Senior Annie Barget won first place for the Michigan Geophysical Union Undergraduate category for her work on "Effects of Wind Speed and Sea Ice Conditions on the Chemical Composition of Coastal Arctic Snow". Congratulations to everyone who presented!

Matt Gunsch presenting his first place research on the single particle chemical composition in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska

Nicole Olson with her award winning research on lake spray aerosols

Annie Barget with her award winning research on the connections between wind speed, sea ice leads and the chemical composition of snow

Anna Leemon presenting on Arctic snow composition during the spring melt

Logan Vear presenting research on the influence of wildfires on cloud water 

Ryan Cook talked about the organic composition of aerosols observed at the University of Michigan Biological Station during summer 2014

Alexa Watson discussed her work calibrating the ATOFMS using relative sensitivity factors

Nate May presented on the physical and chemical characteristics of lake spray aerosol

Rachel Kirpes discussing her research using microscopy to identify elemental composition and functional groups present in particles from Utqiagvik, Alaska

Stephen McNamara presented data on atmospheric chlorine chemistry in the springtime Arctic 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Grand Prize for Rashad at 60th Science & Engineering Fair of Metropolitan Detroit!

Congratulations to summer 2016 D-RISE Pratt Lab researcher Rashad Prendergast (Cass Technical High School) for being awarded in the Grand Prize in the Senior Division (Category: Earth & Environmental Sciences) at the 60th Science & Engineering Fair of Metropolitan Detroit for his summer research and poster titled "Impact of Road Salt Usage on Atmospheric Concentrations of Cl and Na PM2.5"! Rashad will now go to compete at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles in May! Good luck Rashad!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

New paper on dust composition in the Taylor Glacier (East Antarctica)!

Congratulations to Sarah Aarons (recent PhD in the Aciego group at the University of Michigan) on her recent paper on "Dust composition changes from Taylor Glacier (East Antarctica) during the last glacial-interglacial transition: A multi-proxy approach" published in Quaternary Science Reviews! Pratt lab PhD student Nate May and Prof. Pratt are co-authors.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Welcome Natasha!

Welcome Natasha Garner! Natasha is a third-year PhD student in Prof. Hans Osthoff's group at the University of Calgary. She is visiting for two months to learn about Arctic halogen chemistry and participate in analysis and interpretation of our gigantic chemical ionization mass spectrometry dataset from Utqiaġvik, Alaska in spring 2016!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Pratt/Ault Lab Weekend Getaway at UMBS

Pratt and Ault lab members took a weekend away from the lab to get out and explore the beautiful University of Michigan Biological Station (UMBS) during the winter. There was plenty of snow for skiing and snowshoeing during the day. We also took a trip across the Mackinac Bridge to the Upper Peninsula for lunch and to get a view of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. In the cabin there was a wonderful fireplace to keep us warm while we exercised our creative skills by putting together puzzles and playing Trivial Pursuit. It was nice to spend some time outside and to relax with fellow group members!
A view of the cabins
Rachel on skis
Katie jumping on the frozen lake
Kerri teaching Oskar how to ski
Puzzling
Stephen made a fire to keep us all warm - perhaps in the future we can study biomass burning aerosols here!
Ryan on the edge of Lake Huron
Matt copying Ryan

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Pratt Lab attends the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting

Prof. Kerri Pratt and post-docs Dr. Peter Peterson and Dr. Katheryn Kolesar, along with Ph.D. students Matt Gunsch, Rachel Kirpes, and Stephen McNamara, presented their results from a number of different Arctic research projects currently ongoing in the group! The 2016 Fall Meeting was a week-long conference in San Francisco (Dec 12-16, 2016) that attracted tens of thousands of scientists in earth science-related fields to share their work and engage in productive discussions. It was also a great opportunity to network and touch base with many of our collaborators!

The following presentations were given by Pratt Lab members:

Prof. Kerri Pratt: The poster "Influences on Summertime Arctic Aerosol Chemical Mixing States" highlighted work by Rachel Kirpes and Matt Gunsch. Prof. Pratt also co-organized the "Chemical Exchange Between the Air, Snow, and Ice: From the Micro to the Global Scale" Cryosphere session.

Dr. Peter Peterson: The oral presentation "Airborne Observations of Reactive Bromine Transport in the Arctic" featured airborne reactive bromine and particle measurements collected during the BROMEX 2012 study near Utqiagvik (Barrow), AK.

Dr. Katheryn Kolesar: The oral presentation "Prudhoe Bay Emissions Drive Particle Growth Events Observed in Utqiagvik (Barrow), AK" highlighted our recently published analysis of years of aerosol data that show evidence of influence by the oil fields at Prudhoe Bay upwind from Utqiagvik (Barrow), AK.

Matt Gunsch: The poster presentation "Chemical Characterization of Atmospheric Particulate Matter from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska" featured results from our 2016 summer field study in the Prudhoe Bay oil fields of Alaska's North Slope.
Matt Gunsch and his poster
Rachel Kirpes: The poster "The Chemical Composition and Mixing State of Sea Spray Aerosol and Organic Aerosol in the Winter-Spring Arctic" examined particles collected on recent Arctic field studies for their unique chemical characteristics to aid our understanding of their effects on radiative forcing and cloud formation.
Rachel Kirpes and her poster
Stephen McNamara: The poster "The Influence of Nitrogen Oxides on Chlorine Chemistry in Utqiagvik (Barrow), Alaska" presented results from our 2016 winter-spring field study at Utqiagvik (Barrow) in which high amounts of chlorine species were observed episodically using chemical ionization mass spectrometry.
Stephen McNamara and his poster

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Welcome Nicole, Garret, Annie, Guy, Logan, and Madeline!

Welcome winter semester graduate rotation students Nicole Olson and Garret Verwer! Nicole received her B.S. degree in Chemistry in 2016 from Edgewood College, and Garret received his B.S. degree in Chemistry in 2016 from Mercyhurst University.

Belated welcome to Annie Barget, a senior undergraduate student (major: Biomolecular Sciences), who joined the Pratt Lab in Fall 2016 to study Arctic snow chemical composition using ion chromatography!

Welcome to new Pratt Lab undergraduate students Guy, Logan, and Madeline! Guy Burke is a junior undergraduate student (majors: Chemistry & Spanish) who previously completed research in environmental engineering. Logan Vear and Madeline Parks are first-year undergraduate students who completed the Chem 125-Snow (General Chemistry Laboratory - Authentic Research Experience in Snow Chemistry) course with Prof. Pratt in Fall 2016.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Feature in UM Program in the Environment Fall Newsletter!

Check out the write-up (page 4) in the UM Program in the Environment (PitE) Fall 2016 Newsletter about our CHEM 125-Snow (General Chemistry Laboratory - Authentic Research Experience in Snow Chemistry) course!


Tuesday, January 3, 2017