One West University Boulevard, Brownsville, Texas 78520 | 956-882-8200



Our faculty is focused on environmental aspects of sediment, air and water. Chemistry research focus areas include environmental, organic, inorganic, physical, nano-, bio- and analytic chemistry. We integrate undergraduate students into our current and prospective research projects (see below). Our research themes are closely integrated with our teaching, providing inspiring courses led by professors that are at the forefront of their respective fields. We believe that undergraduate research experiences are key to engaging students in science and integral to their learning experiences.

Current and Developing Research Projects

We are involved in a variety of projects, and always interested in integrating students, academics, and community members into our existing projects.

There are several projects for which professors are currently seeking students with interest. If you are interested in any of the projects below, please contact the associated professor.

For general questions about undergraduate research opportunities in Environmental Science please contact Elizabeth Heise or Jude Benavides. For undergraduate opportunities in chemistry, please contact Celia Flores-Feist or Arnulfo Mar.

Research Project Professor
Arroyo Colorado Water Quality Assessment Elizabeth Heise

Bahia Grande/Laguna Atascosa Wetland Restoration

Elizabeth Heise, Mary Jane Shands or Jude Benavides

Biogeochemistry of the Gulf of Mexico

Tamara K. Pease

Border Wall Spatial
and Demographic Analysis

Jeff Wilson
or Jude Benavides

Coral Reef Bleaching and Recovery

Tamara K. Pease

Dune Restoration on South Padre Island

Elizabeth Heise
Experimental and Computational Studies on Thioxanthone and Thiepinone

Wei Lin

The JASON Project

Mary Jane Shands

Mexican American Neighborhoods and Health Jeff Wilson
Novel A H1N1 Influenza (Swine Flu) Outbreak Spatio-Temporal Analysis

Jeff Wilson

Rio Grande Bacteria Impairment Study Elizabeth Heise
Sediments in San Martin Lake Elizabeth Heise

Texas Clipper Offshore Operations

Carlos Cintra Buenrostro

Welch Foundation Chemistry Research

Celia Flores-Feist

Recent Department Publications*

J. Gaines Wilson, S. Kingham, and J. Pearce. 2010. Air pollution and restricted activity days among New Zealand school children. International Journal of Environment and Pollution 41: 140-154.

Elizabeth A. Heise, J. A. Benavides, M. Contreras, A. Cardenas, and J. Lemen. 2009. Hurricanes Dolly and Ike damaged the Town of South Padre Island from two different directions in 2008. Shore and Beach 77(3): 30-36.

Wei Lin, T. A. Blake, W. C. Pringle, and S. E. Novick. 2009 (in press). Microwave spectrum of Ar-tropolone van der Waals complex. J. Phys. Chem. A.

Wei Lin, A. Ganguly, A. J. Minei, G. L. Lindeke, W. C. Pringle, S. E. Novick, and J. R. Durig. 2009. Microwave spectra and structural parameters of equatorial-trans cyclobutanol. J. Mol. Struct. 92: 83-87.

Jo Cavanaugh, P. Zawar-Reza and J. Gaines Wilson. 2009. Spatial attenuation of winter particulate matter air pollution by an urban forest patch. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening 8:21-30.

James R. Durig, J. J. Klaassen, A. Ganguly, T. K. Gounev, G. A. Guirgis, and W. Lin. 2008. The R0 structural parameters of equatorial and axial chlorocyclobutane, conformational stability from temperature dependent infrared spectra of xenon solution, and vibrational assignment. Strut. Chem. 19(6): 935-948.

Raphael E. Arku, J. Vallarino, K. L. Dionisio, H. Choi, R. Willis, J. Gaines Wilson, C. Hemphill, A. Quaye, S. Agyei Mensah, J. Spengler, and M. Ezzati. 2008. Characterizing air pollution in two low-income neighborhoods in Accra, Ghana. Science of the Total Environment 402: 217 31.

Wei Lin, J. Gayle, W. C. Pringle, and S. E. Novick. 2008. Determination of the structure of methylene cyclobutane confirming a non-planar ethane and the structure of the argon-methylene cyclobutane van der Waals complex. J. Mol. Spectrosc. 251: 210-216.

Zheng Fang, P. Bedient, and J. Benavides. 2008. Enhanced radar-based flood alert system and floodplain map library. Journal of Hydrologic Engineering 13(10): 926-938.

Wei Lin, J. Han, L. K.Takahashi, H. A. Harker, F. N. Keutsch, and R. J. Saykally. 2008. Terahertz VRT spectroscopy of the water tetramer-d8: Combined analysis of vibrational bands at 4.1 THz and 2.0 THz. J. Chem. Phys. 128: 094302.

L. J. Rodriguez, A. G. Grottoli, and T. K. Pease. 2008. Lipid class composition of bleached and recovering Porites compressa Dana, 1846 and Montipora capitata Dana, 1846 corals from Hawaii. J. Exp. Mar. Biol Ecol. 358: 136-143.

A. A. Alexander, A. A. B. S. Day, H. J. Moore, T. R. Lee, J. P. Morris, and D. Troya. 2008. Experimental and theoretical studies of the effect of mass on the dynamics of gas-/organic-surface energy transfer. J. Chem. Phys. 127: 1-9.

K. Cimatu, H. J. Moore, D. Barriet, P. Chinwangso, T. R. Lee, and S. Baldelli. 2008. Sum frequency generation imaging microscopy of patterned self-assembled monolayers with terminal -CH3, -OCH3, -CF2CF3, -CdC, -phenyl, and -cyclopropyl groups. J. Phys. Chem. C 112: 14529–14537.

J. Gaines Wilson, J. Benavides, A. Reisinger, J. Lemen, Z. Hurwitz, J. Spangler, and K. Engle. 2008. An analysis of demographic disparities associated with the proposed U.S.-Mexico border fence in Cameron County, Texas. Briefing paper to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States. June.

Herrero-Pérezrul, M.D., H. Reyes-Bonilla, A. González-Azcárraga, C. E. Cintra-Buenrostro and A. Rojas-Sierra. 2008. Chapter 12: Equinodermos. In: Ezcurra E. and G.D. Danemann (Eds.). Bahía de los Angeles: recursos naturales y comunidad. Línea base 2007. PRONATURA, México.

Karen I. Peterson, D. P. Pullman, W. Lin, A. J. Minei, and S. E. Novick. 2007. Microwave spectra and ab initio studies of Ar-propane and Ne-propane: Structure and dynamics. J. Chem. Phys. 127: 184306.

Jude Benavides. Severe Storm Impacts and Flood Management. Chapter 13 of Hydrology and Floodplain Analysis, 4th, Ed. (P.B. Bedient, W.C. Huber, and B. Vieux). Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2007.

C. E. Sabel, J. Gaines Wilson, S. Kingham, C. Tisch, and M. Epton. 2007. Spatial implications of covariate adjustment on patterns of risk: Respiratory hospital admissions in Christchurch, New Zealand. Social Science and Medicine 65: 43-59.

K. Cimatu, H. J. Moore, T. R. Lee, and S. Baldelli. 2007. Sum frequency generation of microcontact-printed monolayers derived from aliphatic dithiocarboxylic acids: contrast based on terminal group orientation. J. Phys. Chem. C 111: 11751-11755.

Wei Lin, J. Han, L. K. Takahashi, J. G. Loeser, and R. J. Saykally. 2007. Terahertz vibration-rotation-tunneling spectroscopy of the ammonia dimer II: A-E states of an out-of-plane vibration and an in-plane vibration. J. Phys. Chem. A 111: 9680-9687.

J. M. Beebe, H. J. Moore, T. R. Lee, and G. J. Kushmerick. 2007. Vibrational contributions to charge transport in semi-fluorinated alkanethiols: Implications for selection rules in inelastic electron tunneling spectroscopy. Nano Letters 7: 1364-1368.

Wei Lin and S. E. Novick. 2007. The microwave spectrum and structure of the argon trifluoroacetonitrile complex. J. Mol. Spectrosc. 243: 32-36.

C. Romero, H. J. Moore, T. R. Lee, and S. Baldelli, S. 2007. Orientation of 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium based ionic liquids at a hydrophobic quartz interface using sum frequency generation spectroscopy. J. Phys. Chem. C 111, pp. 240-247.

Carlos E. Cintra-Buenrostro. 2007. Trampling, peeling and nibbling mussels: an experimental assessment of mechanical and predatory damage to shells of Mytilus trossulus (Mollusca: Mytilidae). Journal of Shellfish Research 26 (1): 221-231.

Simon Kingham, M. Durand, J. Harrison, J. Gaines Wilson, and M. Epton. 2006. Winter comparison of TEOM, MiniVol and DustTrak PM10 monitors in a wood smoke environment. Atmospheric Environment 40: 338 47.

S. G. Wakeham, A.P. McNichol, J. Kostka, and T. K. Pease. 2006. Natural-abundance radiocarbon as a tracer of assimilation of petroleum carbon by bacteria in salt marsh sediments. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta. 70: 1761-1771.

Jeff Gaines Wilson, S. Kingham, and A. Sturman. 2006. Intraurban variations of particulate matter air pollution in Christchurch, New Zealand: Implications for epidemiological studies. Science of the Total Environment 367: 559-72.

John C. Keske, W. Lin, W. C. Pringle, S. E. Novick, T. A. Blake, and D. F. Plusquellic. 2006. High resolution studies of tropolone in the S0 and S1 electronic states: Isotope driven dynamics in the zero-point energy levels. J. Chem. Phys. 124: 074309.

G. E. Avila-Serrano, K.W. Flessa, M.A. Téllez-Duarte and C. E. Cintra-Buenrostro. 2006. Distribución de la macrofauna intermareal del Delta del Río Colorado, norte del Golfo de California, México. Ciencias Marinas 32 (4): 649-661.

M. Durand, and J. Gaines Wilson. 2006. Spatial analysis of respiratory disease clusters on an urbanized geothermal field. Environmental Research 101: 238-45.

Jia-xiang Han, L. K. Takahashi, W. Lin, E. Lee, F. N. Keutsch, and R. J. Saykally. 2006. Terahertz vibration-rotation-tunneling (VRT) spectroscopy of the water trimer (D2O)3: Complete characterization of the 2.94 THz torsional band (kn = ±21 00). Chem. Phys. Lett. 423, 344.

Jeff Gaines Wilson and P. Zawar-Reza. 2006. Intraurban-scale dispersion modelling of particulate matter concentrations: Applications for exposure estimates in cohort studies. Atmospheric Environment 40: 1053-63.

Wei Lin, J. Han, L. K. Takahashi, J. G. Loeser, and R. J. Saykally. 2006. Terahertz vibration-rotation-tunneling spectroscopy of ammonia dimer: Characterization of an out of plane vibration. J. Phys. Chem. A 110: 8011-8016.

Jeff Gaines Wilson, S. Kingham, J. Pearce, and A. Sturman. 2005. A review of intraurban variations in particulate air pollution: Implications for epidemiological research. Atmospheric Environment 39: 6444–62.

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