Current Group Members
Dr. Eser Yilmaz - Postdoctoral Scholar
Eser received her PhD in neurobiology from Pitt's School of Medicine. She was as postdoctoral scholar in our group from July 2016 through June 2017, and was responsible for setting up our cell culture laboratory and worked on toxic effects of per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) in the human liver. She was also a gifted mentor to our graduate students. She is currently a science teacher and Research Seminar Instructor at The Neighborhood Academy in Pittsburgh.
Manoochehr Khazaee - Graduate Researcher
Manoochehr received both his Bachelor and Masters degrees in Environmental Sciences from the University of Tehran, Iran. His current focus is to investigate the bioaccumulation of per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) in fish and in plants and explore opportunities for remediation of contaminated water. Manoochehr joined the group in August 2016.
Weixiao Cheng - PhD Candidate
Cheng received his Bachelor degree in Environmental Science from Shandong University, and a Master's Degree in Environmental Engineering from Zhejiang University. The focus of his PhD project is on the development and validation of computational approaches to predicting the behavior of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in biological systems. Cheng joined the group in August 2016.
Dr. Carla A. Ng
Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
University of Pittsburgh
203 Benedum Hall
3700 O'Hara Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15262
Former Group Members
Megha Bedi - Graduate Researcher
Megha Bedi, a biologist by roots,has a Masters in Environmental Science and Technology from Thapar University, India. Her pursuit of knowledge led her to the University of Pittsburgh, where she is now enrolled as a doctoral student. She has published research in the field of groundwater and surface water pollution, modelling of ecosystems, stormwater management and wastewater treatment. Megha joined the group in August 2017; her current focus is on the accumulation of brominated flame retardants in traded seafood.
Zhaokai Dong - Graduate Researcher
Zhaokai received his Master's Degree in Hydraulics and River Dynamics from the China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research in 2017, and his Bachelor's in Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering from Shandong Agricultural University in 2014. He joined the group in August 2017 and is currently working on developing environmental fate models of emerging contaminants.
Trevor Sleight - PhD Candidate
Trevor Sleight received his Bachelors in Engineering from Geneva College in Beaver Falls, PA, and his Master from the University of Pittsburgh. Trevor is co-advised by Dr Leanne Gilbertson and joined the groups in August 2018. His research focuses on modeling the degradation of Polyaromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) mixtures.
Hajar Smaili - Graduate Researcher
Hajar received her Bachelors degree in Engineering and Environmental Sciences from Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco. She joined the group in September 2019 and plans to work on the removal of per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) from driking water using model-aided design of novel sorbents.
Dr. Traci Clymer - Postdoctoral Scholar
Traci received her PhD in Computational Chemistry from Duquesne University in 2015, and joined the group in December 2018 after a 2-year postdoctoral position at The George Washington University. She was co-advised with Dr. Leanne Gilbertson.
Rachel Fay - Undergraduate Researcher
Rachel Fay was an MCSI Summer Fellow co-advised by the Ng and Gilbertson groups. She worked on the analysis of PAH compounds and understanding the physicochemical properties of large chemicals that could straddle the molecular-material divide. She graduated with an Environmental Engineering major in December 2019.
Jailyn Dorsett - Undergraduate Researcher
Jailyn Dorsett was an REU Research Fellow through the Particle-Based Functional Materials REU program at Pitt. She worked with graduate student Manoochehr Khazaee on ddPCR analysis for PFAS impacts on the microbiome research using a murine model.
Yuexin (Cara) Cao - Graduate Researcher
Cara received her Bachelors degree in Environmental Engineering from Industrial & Commercial College, Anhui University of Technology, China. She joined the group in Jan, 2020, first as an MS student and now pursuing a PhD. Her current focus is on molecular docking to understand PFAS interactions with membrane transporters.
Lacey W. Heinsberg, PhD, RN – Postdoctoral Scholar
Lacey is a Civil Engineer turned Nurse Scientist with Bachelor of Science degrees in both Civil Engineering (2009) and Nursing (2012) and a PhD in Nursing (2020). Lacey’s research seeks to uncover biological and environmental targets for intervention to improve health outcomes in chronic and complex conditions. In particular, she is interested in using omic and bioinformatic approaches to understand how environmental chemicals impact health across the lifespan. Lacey is actively involved in a number of research projects using omics including studies of subarachnoid hemorrhage, traumatic brain injury, preeclampsia, and obesity. Her postdoctoral training is supported by Pitt’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute TL1 Fellowship and the Heilbrunn Family Center for Research Nursing at the Rockefeller University. Her work in the Ng lab will include investigating the relationships between exposure to PFAS, the metabolome, and obesity status in a longitudinal sample of infants.