I am working with Prof. Fabien Kenig of UIC OGL and Prof. Luke Hanley, Head of the Department of Chemistry at UIC, to develop a new method of studying organic carbon in the geologic record.
Using the system that Prof. Hanley developed, femtosecond-Laser Desorption Post Ionization-Mass Spectometry (fs-LDPI-MS), we are attempting to map organic molecules across the surface of a previously characterized ~2.7 billion year old metasedimentary series from the Abitibi Greenstone Belt in Ontario, Canada. If the method proves effective, we will have a method to determine the spatial distribution of biomarkers within rock samples. By coupling the spatial distribution of the biomarkers with known information about the depositional history of the samples, we will be able to effectively date the emplacement of the biomarkers within the samples.
After completing my Master's project, I will stay to further develop the use of fs-LDPI-MS for my PhD.
My first research project was in collaboration with Fabien Kenig, Peter Doran, and Hilary Dugan. I performed a petrographic analysis on a suite of sand samples collected from various locations surrounding Lake Vida in the Dry Valleys of Antarctica.
My second project was to determine the molecular composition of a suite of lubricating oils using traditional geochemical techniques (i.e. GC/MS).