Asst. Research Scientist

The University of Iowa
IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering
4105 Seamans Center for the Engineering Arts and Sciences
Iowa City IA 52242
rachel-f-marek@uiowa.edu

Rachel Marek, Ph.D.
Rachel Marek, Ph.D.

My research involves analysis of PCBs, their breakdown products, and other environmental contaminants such as siloxanes and pesticides in sediment, air, and human serum. I am interested in whether people, especially children, are exposed to harmful chemicals. I have been part of the Iowa Superfund Research Program (isrp) since 2007 and am a contributor to four different isrp Projects and the Analytical Core with a focus on identifying PCBs and their breakdown products in complex environmental and biological matrices. My efforts outside the isrp include collaborations on passive air monitoring of pesticides at farm houses, lab experiments with siloxanes, and novel instrument applications for monitoring environmental contaminants. My expertise is in wet and analytical chemistry, including method development. I have broad interests in sustainability and contaminant research.

Education and Certification

  • Ph.D Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of Iowa, 2013
  • E.I.T., National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying, 2010
  • M.S. Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of Iowa, 2009
  • B.A. Chemistry, Grinnell College, 2006

Publications

  • Marek, R.F.; Thorne, P.S.; Herkert, N.J.; Awad, A.M.; Hornbuckle, K.C. "Airborne PCBs and OH-PCBs inside and outside urban and rural U.S. schools", Environ. Sci. Technol. 2017, accepted
  • Koh, W.K.; Marek, R.F.; Hornbuckle, K.C.; Thorne, P.S. "Hydroxylated polychlorinated biphenyls in human sera from adolescents and their mothers living in two US midwestern communities", Chemosphere, 2016. DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2015.12.113.
  • Award, A.M.; Martinez, A.; Marek, R.F.; Hornbuckle, K.C. "Occurrence and distribution of two hydroxylated polychlorinated biphenyl congeners in Chicago air" Environ. Sci. Technol. Lett. 2016. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.estlett.5b00337.
  • Marek, R.F.; Thorne, P.S.; DeWall, J.; Hornbuckle, K.C. “Variability in PCB and OH-PCB serum levels in children and their mothers in urban and rural U.S. communities”, Environ. Sci. Technol. 2014. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/es502490w.
  • Marek, R.F.; Wang, K.; Thorne, P.S.; DeWall, J.; Hornbuckle, K.C. “PCBs and OH-PCBs in serum from children and mothers in urban and rural U.S. communities”, Environ. Sci. Technol. 2013, 47, 3353-3361. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/es304455k.
  • Marek, R.F.; Martinez, A; Hornbuckle, K.C. “Discovery of Hydroxylated Polychlorinated Biphenyls (OH-PCBs) in sediment from a Lake Michigan waterway and original commercial Aroclors”, Environ. Sci. Technol. 2013 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/es402323c.
  • Zhu, Y.; Mapuskar, K.A.; Marek, R.F.; Wu, W.; Lehmler, H.-J.; Robertson, L.W.; Hornbuckle, K.C.; Spitz, D.R.; Aykin-Burns, N. “A new player in environmentally induced oxidative stress: Polychlorinated biphenyl congener, 3,3’ dichlorobiphenyl (PCB 11)”, Toxicol. Sci. 2013 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/toxsci/kft186.

Presentations

Thirteen presentations (4 invited) and 12 posters at national and international meetings, including:

  • International Dioxin Symposium
  • Society of Toxicology, Central States
  • American Chemical Society
  • Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
  • Superfund Basic Research and Training Program Annual Meeting
  • The American Society for Mass Spectrometry
  • International Association for Great Lakes Research
  • International PCB Workshop
  • Association for Environmental Engineering and Science Professors

External Honors and Awards

  • Student Travel Award, Conference on Great Lakes Research, International Association for Great Lakes Research, May 2008, May 2009
  • SETAC-ACS Graduate Student Exchange Award Finalist, SETAC Annual Meeting, Boston, MA Nov 2011
  • U.S. Dept. of Education GAANN Fellowship, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, Jan 2011-Dec 2013 (research, tuition, and conference travel funding awarded for 3 years)
  • C. Ellen Gonter 2013 Graduate Student Paper Award, Environmental Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society, Feb 2013
  • Certificate of Merit, for high quality presentation at the American Chemical Society Meeting, Environmental Division, Indianapolis, IN, Sept 2013
  • SETAC-ACS Graduate Student Exchange Award, SETAC Annual Meeting, Nashville, TN Nov 2013 for the ACS Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA Aug 2014

Internal Honors and Awards

  • Training Core Student Grant, Iowa Superfund Basic Research Program, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, August 2007
  • Graduate Student Travel Award, The Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, January 2008, July 2009, July 2010, July 2013
  • Best Poster Award, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering Open House, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, April 2008, April 2010, April 2013
  • William W. Kersten-IWPCA Scholarship, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, June 2008
  • Travel Funds Award, Graduate Student Senate, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, April 2009
  • Scholarly Presentation Grant, Executive Council of Graduate and Professional Students (ECGPS), The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, June 2009
  • Neil B. Fisher Environmental Engineering Fellowship, Dept. Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, September 2010
  • Archie A. Alexander Outstanding Scholarship Award, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, April 2011
  • Luther H. Smith Honorable Service Award, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA April 2013
  • Student Supervisor of the Year Nominee, The University of Iowa Office of Student Employment, Iowa City, IA, April 2017
  • Stanley International Travel Award, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA August 2017

Memberships

  • American Chemical Society, 2004-present
  • International Association for Great Lakes Research, 2008-present
  • Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 2009-present
  • National Postdoctoral Association, 2014-2016
  • Engineers for a Sustainable World, 2010-2013