Saint Louis University

ST. LOUIS -- General Electric has awarded $25,000 to Saint Louis University's College for Public Health & Social Justice in support of research carried about by Brett Emo, Ph.D., MPH, assistant professor of environmental & occupational health. 

This gift was facilitated by Jack Doyle, a nuclear engineering manager at GE Energy, who was among a select few in GE to win the Edison Engineer of the Year award. One of his award benefits was the opportunity to determine which university would receive this gift from General Electric. 

Emo, Doyle check presentation

Jack Doyle, left, presents a check to Brett Emo on behalf of General Electric. 

"Dr. Emo's project represents a unique application of technology that can benefit the environment through the remediation of heavy metal contaminants in soil and ground water," said Doyle. 

The research being conducted by Emo looks to find a more sustainable means of removing metal and metalloid contaminants, such as lead and arsenic, from soil and water. The project utilizes nano-materials to detect environmental contaminants. 

"The overall goal is to create new methods of remediating heavy metals from the environment, whether it's from soil or water," said Emo. 

Emo's research is an opportunity to address long-standing and widespread heavy metal soil contamination in a manner that minimizes energy consumption and allows for the re-use of decontaminated soil and the metals recovered from the remediation process. 

If successful, this technology could be used to treat drinking water in places like Bangladesh and lead contamination in cities like St. Louis. 

"There's a need for a low-cost, efficient technology for the removal of arsenic in drinking water," said Emo. "We are trying to supplement existing technologies to find mechanisms for arsenic removal at the household level."

Emo said that the large systems designed to remove metals are not portable, and therefore, only reach local populations. Portable technology would allow researchers to perform their work in the field, while generating as little waste and consuming as little energy as possible in the process. 

This is the second funding award Emo has received for his research. He has also been a recipient of SLU's Center for Sustainability's Sustainability Research Fund award, which was made possible by a generous grant from the Alberici Foundation. 

About General Electric:

GE powers the world with the cleanest, most advanced technologies and energy solutions. From FlexEfficiency Combined Cycle power, to smart grids that help utilities manage electricity demand, to gas engines that run on organic waste, our technology currently helps to deliver a quarter of the world's electricity. GE Oil & Gas is currently operating in more than 120 countries working on the safest, most reliable and cost-efficient innovations in the field. 

About Brett Emo:

Brett Emo, Ph.D., MPH, joined Saint Louis University, College for Public Health & Social Justice as an assistant professor of environmental & occupational health in 2011. Prior to this appointment, Emo spent more than 10 years working in research laboratories with experience in advanced molecular techniques, method development, and project design and oversight. 

Emo's research to date concerned environmental exposures to children in the form of allergens and respiratory irritants as well as physical and chemical exposures originating in the home. The focus of his research has been enhanced technologies and methodologies for estimating exposures to environmental contaminants and physical hazards. 

About the College for Public Health & Social Justice:

The Saint Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice is the only academic unit of its kind among the nearly 250 Catholic institutions of higher education in the United States.

With a focus on finding innovative and collaborative solutions for complex global health problems, the College offers nationally recognized programs in global public health, social work, health management and health policy, epidemiology, biostatistics, environmental and occupational health, behavioral science and health education, emergency management, biosecurity and disaster preparedness, and criminology and criminal justice