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Research Experience in
Urban Environmental Biogeochemistry

The Urban Environmental Biogeochemistry Laboratory at Towson University offered summer research experiences in 2008, 2009 and 2010 supported by the National Science Foundation (CHE-0754947).

No applications are being accepted at this time.

I regret to announce that the National Science Foundation has declined to fund our renewal of the Biogeochemistry REU. Therefore we will be unable to offer this program for Summer 2011. I would like to thank all of you for the time you put into your application materials and also for the time put into references by your faculty supporters.

If you havenít already, I encourage you to apply for other REU programs. There are a lot of great opportunities out there but deadlines are fast approaching.

Thanks again for your interest.

Dr. Casey

Towson University is situated in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area and is ideally sited to study environmental issues associated with urbanization. Ongoing biogeochemistry projects include:

  • evaluation of trace element transport, bioavailability and accumulation associated with highway infrastructure
  • influence of road salt on trace metal speciation and toxicity to aquatic organisms
  • determination of the relative importance of contaminated sediment and contaminated diet in trace metal accumulation by grazing aquatic organisms
  • influence of road salt on cation exchange and cation storage in stormwater ponds and urban streams
  • development of photo-activated spiropyran imprinted polymers for metal ion detection in urban runoff

The word "biogeochemistry" reflects the fact that the investigation of complex environmental questions often requires a multi-disciplinary approach. These projects involve multiple disciplines as well as collaborations between faculty in different departments. Students can benefit from the input of multiple experts on a project and will begin to appreciate the different tools that these experts bring to bear on complex issues.

Program Structure

This 9 week program will bring 7 students to Towson University for hands-on biogeochemistry research with a focus on urban issues. Ancillary activities include training in professional presentations, seminars by regional researchers and a workshop on environmental ethics. We will also offer organized outings to local areas of interest such as the Chesapeake Bay, Appalachian Trail and the nearby cities of Baltimore and Washington, D.C.


Participants must be US citizens or permanent residents. Students must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and have completed sophomore level courses in Chemistry, Biology, Geology or Environmental Science. Prior experience in multiple disciplines is not necessary but students should be interested in working within an interdisciplinary environment. Participants in the REU must have undergraduate status for the duration of the program.

Stipends and Benefits

Students will earn a $4500 stipend over the 9 week program. Housing will be provided in 2 to 4 bedroom apartments on Towson University campus along with a meal allowance that can be used at campus dining facilities. Travel to and from Towson will be supported by the program as will travel to subsequent professional conferences where students may present their work.

Contact Us

For more information contact the program director:

Dr. Ryan Casey
Department of Chemistry
Towson University
Towson, MD 21252-0001
T: 410-704-3051

REU Program

Department of Chemistry
Smith Hall 543
Towson University
8000 York Road
Towson, MD 21252