On August 16, 2011, Lucía Rodríguez-Freire, a doctoral student in the University of Arizona (UA) Superfund Research Program (SRP) was an invited speaker in the “Superfund Research Program Trainee Webinar Series” sponsored by the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences. This series was developed to feature graduate and post-doctoral trainings performing SRP-funded research. Ms. Rodríguez-Freire and the other speakers in the series are previous poster award winners from the SRP Annual Meeting in 2010.
In her seminar, Ms. Rodríguez-Freire described her work on the “Biotransformation of arsenic: The role of microorganisms in the cycling of arsenic in the environment.” She provided an introduction to the different forms of arsenic that exist in the natural environment, which can be more or less mobile, and correspondingly more or less toxic, depending on environmental conditions and the presence of bacteria. She described her work characterizing the ability of three different forms of arsenic-metabolizing bacteria to oxidize arsenic under various experimental conditions that mimic real-world situations. Her research will help scientists to better understand the biotransformation pathways within the arsenic cycle in the environment and to develop more effective bioremediation processes to deal with arsenic contamination. Her work has also recently been published: (http://www.springerlink.com/content/341800732132586v/).