Morgan Dundon is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Materials Science and Engineering program at UCR.
Previously she was a research fellow with the Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute and Conservation
Biology Institute where she researched two areas: the biocompatibility of plastic additives with mammalian
reproductive tissues and collagen diagenesis in archaeological teeth and bone.
She received her B.S. in
Chemistry and Forensic Chemistry from Towson University in 2015 where she studied trace analysis of organic
airborne particulate matter. Outside of the lab, she enjoys hiking, reading, music, and theater.
Heavy metal contamination of water and soil is an international issue and its sources range from mining activity,
petroleum refining, munitions, pesticides, and more.
Heavy metals are generally difficult to degrade and so will
accumulate in the environment. "Hyperaccumulators" are plants that can absorb much greater levels of heavy metals
into its roots or leaves compared to other species, depending on environmental and biological factors like their
root zone composition, micronutrient needs, protein composition, etc. The focus of her research is to investigate
a plant system known to hyperaccumulate heavy metals from water and soil, understand its absorption, transport,
and conversion mechanisms, and create a simple and scalable synthetic membrane based on lessons learned from these