Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Professor Heileen (Helen) Hsu-Kim is an environmental engineer who specializes in environmental aquatic chemistry and geochemistry. Her research tackles problems related to pollutant metals and the biogeochemical processes that alter their distribution in water, soil, and air. The applications of this work include environmental remediation technologies, the impacts of energy production on water resources, global environmental health, and the environmental implications and applications of nanotechnology.
Dr. Hsu-Kim's current research projects are focused on mercury biogeochemistry, the impacts of coal ash disposal on water quality, recovering valuable materials from geological wastes, and health impacts of trace metal/metalloid exposures. A central theme to her work is the utilization of chemical speciation for understanding and predicting the persistence, mobility and bioavailability of metals and minerals in the aquatic environment.
The methodologies her group employs for this research include laboratory techniques for quantifying trace element speciation, functional measures of reactivity and bioavailability of contaminant metals, and techniques to probe interactions at mineral, water and microbial interfaces.
Appointments and Affiliations
- Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
- Associate Professor of Environmental Sciences and Policy
- Office Location: 118A Hudson Hall, Box 90287, Durham, NC 27708
- Office Phone: (919) 660-5109
- Email Address: email@example.com
- Ph.D. University of California - Berkeley, 2004
- M.S. University of California - Berkeley, 1999
- B.S. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1998
Aquatic chemistry and geochemistry, trace element environmental chemistry, nanogeoscience, mercury biogeochemistry, water-particle surface processes.
Awards, Honors, and Distinctions
- Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers. President of the United States of America. 2011
- CEE 393: Research Independent Study in Civil and Environmental Engineering
- CEE 394: Research Independent Study in Civil and Environmental Engineering
- CEE 461L: Environmental Aquatic Chemistry
- CEE 493: Research Independent Study in Civil and Environmental Engineering
- CEE 494: Research Independent Study in Civil and Environmental Engineering
- CEE 560: Environmental Transport Phenomena
- CEE 561L: Environmental Aquatic Chemistry
- CEE 666: Aquatic Geochemistry
- CEE 691: Independent Study: Advanced Topics in Civil and Environmental Engineering
- ENERGY 395T: Bass Connections Energy & Environment Research Team
- ENERGY 795T: Bass Connections Energy & Environment Research Team
- ENVIRON 393: Research Independent Study
- ENVIRON 542L: Environmental Aquatic Chemistry
- ENVIRON 666: Aquatic Geochemistry
- ENVIRON 899: Master's Project
- MENG 550: Master of Engineering Internship/Project
- MENG 551: Master of Engineering Internship/Project Assessment
In the News
- Prenatal Exposure to Lead Linked to Lower Birth Weights, Earlier Births in Gold Mining Communities (Oct 25, 2023 | Nicholas School of the Environment)
- Ph.D. Student Investigates Mercury Contamination in the Amazon (Oct 2, 2023 | Duke Pratt School of Engineering)
- Thinking Small to Address Coal Ash Toxins (Jun 13, 2023 | Pratt School of Engineering)
- Identifying Exposure Risks from Common Household Chemicals in Durham Homes (Nov 19, 2021 | Pratt School of Engineering)
- An Exciting Step Toward a Shared Research-Policy Agenda in 'Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining' (Jul 27, 2021 | International & Global Studies)
- Re-Engineering the Consumer Product Life Cycle (Feb 10, 2021 | Pratt School of Engineering)
- Where Gold Mining Grows in Peru, Deforestation, Erosion and Toxic Mercury Follows (Dec 12, 2019 | Pratt School of Engineering)
- What Researchers Are Watching Out For This Hurricane Season (May 28, 2019 | Pratt School of Engineering)
- Studying Superfunds: Duke Environmental Engineers Investigate How Super-Polluted Areas Affect Early Human Health (Jul 20, 2017 | Pratt School of Engineering)
- Duke researchers: N.C. coal ash could be a resource, not just a hazard (Jun 27, 2016 | The News & Observer)
- Appalachian Coal Ash Richest in Critical Rare Earth Elements (May 27, 2016)
- Oxygen Key to Containing Coal Ash Contamination (Apr 13, 2016)
- Going for the gold sends mercury down the river (Jan 22, 2015 | NPR’s “All Things Considered)
- Mercury from Gold Mines Accumulates Hundreds of Miles Downstream (Jan 9, 2015)
- Study Eyes Health Risks Of Drilling And Mining In Peru (Aug 5, 2014)
- Jiang, C; Castellon, BT; Matson, CW; Aiken, GR; Hsu-Kim, H, Relative Contributions of Copper Oxide Nanoparticles and Dissolved Copper to Cu Uptake Kinetics of Gulf Killifish (Fundulus grandis) Embryos., Environmental Science & Technology, vol 51 no. 3 (2017), pp. 1395-1404 [10.1021/acs.est.6b04672] [abs].
- Schwartz, GE; Redfern, LK; Ikuma, K; Gunsch, CK; Ruhl, LS; Vengosh, A; Hsu-Kim, H, Impacts of coal ash on methylmercury production and the methylating microbial community in anaerobic sediment slurries., Environmental Science. Processes & Impacts, vol 18 no. 11 (2016), pp. 1427-1439 [10.1039/c6em00458j] [abs].
- Taggart, RK; Hower, JC; Dwyer, GS; Hsu-Kim, H, Trends in the Rare Earth Element Content of U.S.-Based Coal Combustion Fly Ashes., Environmental Science & Technology, vol 50 no. 11 (2016), pp. 5919-5926 [10.1021/acs.est.6b00085] [abs].
- Schwartz, GE; Rivera, N; Lee, SW; Harrington, JM; Hower, JC; Levine, KE; Vengosh, A; Hsu-Kim, H, Leaching potential and redox transformations of arsenic and selenium in sediment microcosms with fly ash, Applied Geochemistry, vol 67 (2016), pp. 177-185 [10.1016/j.apgeochem.2016.02.013] [abs].
- Diringer, SE; Feingold, BJ; Ortiz, EJ; Gallis, JA; Araújo-Flores, JM; Berky, A; Pan, WKY; Hsu-Kim, H, River transport of mercury from artisanal and small-scale gold mining and risks for dietary mercury exposure in Madre de Dios, Peru., Environmental Science. Processes & Impacts, vol 17 no. 2 (2015), pp. 478-487 [10.1039/c4em00567h] [abs].
- Hsu-Kim, H; Kucharzyk, KH; Zhang, T; Deshusses, MA, Mechanisms regulating mercury bioavailability for methylating microorganisms in the aquatic environment: a critical review., Environ Sci Technol, vol 47 no. 6 (2013), pp. 2441-2456 [10.1021/es304370g] [abs].