Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Professor Heileen (Helen) Hsu-Kim is an aquatic chemist whose research investigates biogeochemical processes that affect the fate of trace elements in the environment. In particular, she is interested in the biogeochemical cycling of pollutant metals and interfacial processes controlling the fate and bioavilability of nanoparticles in aquatic systems.
Dr. Hsu-Kim's current research projects are focused on mercury biogeochemistry, the environmental implications of nanomaterials, and the impacts of coal ash disposal and coal mining on water quality. A central theme to her work is the utilization of chemical speciation for understanding and predicting the persistence, mobility and bioavailability of metals and minerals in the aquatic environment.
The methodologies her group employs for this research include laboratory techniques for quantifying trace metal speciation, water-surface interactions, and in-situ applications of solid-state microelectrodes to determine important aquatic constituents in water and sediment.
Appointments and Affiliations
- Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
- Assistant Professor
- Office Location: 127A Hudson Hall, Durham, NC 27708
- Office Phone: (919) 660-5109
- Email Address: email@example.com
- Web Page:
- Ph.D. University of California at Berkeley, 2004
- M.S. University of California at Berkeley, 1999
- B.S. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1998
Aquatic chemistry and geochemistry, trace element environmental chemistry, nanogeoscience, mercury biogeochemistry, water-particle surface processes.
Water, Resources and Treatment
Awards, Honors, and Distinctions:
- Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, 2012
- Early Career Research Award, Department of Energy, Office of Science, 2011
- NSF Ridge 2000 Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2004
- ACS Environmental Chemistry Division Graduate Student Paper Award, 2003
- UC-Berkeley Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award, 2000
- National Physical Science Consortium Graduate Student Fellowship, 1998-2004
- NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, 1998
- CE 120L: Chemical Principles in Environmental Engineering
- CE 197: Projects in Civil Engineering
- CE 242: Environmental Aquatic Chemistry
- CE 399: Special Readings in Civil and Environmental Engineering
- CEE 461L: Chemical Principles in Environmental Engineering
- CEE 491: Projects in Civil Engineering
- CEE 492: Projects in Civil Engineering
- CEE 561L: Environmental Aquatic Chemistry
- CEE 666: Aquatic Geochemistry
- CEE 890: Special Readings in Civil and Environmental Engineering
- ENVIRON 242: Environmental Aquatic Chemistry
- ENVIRON 542L: Environmental Aquatic Chemistry
- ENVIRON 593: Independent Studies and Projects
- ENVIRON 666: Aquatic Geochemistry
Representative Publications: (More Publications)
- Hsu-Kim, H.; Kucharzyk, K.H.; Zhang, T.; Deshusses, M.A., Mechanisms Regulating Mercury Bioavailability for Methylating Microorganisms in the Aquatic Environment: A Critical Review, Environmental Science & Technology, vol 47 no. 6 (2013), pp. 2441-2456 [doi].
- Zhang, T.; Kim, B.; Levard, C.; Reinsch, B. C.; Lowry, G. V.; Deshusses, M. A.; Hsu-Kim, H., Methylation of mercury by bacteria exposed to dissolved, nanoparticulate, and microparticulate mercuric sulfides, Environmental Science & Technology, vol 46 no. 13 (2012), pp. 6950–6958 [es203181m], [doi].
- Gondikas, A. P.; Morris, A.; Reinsch, B. C.; Marinakos, S. M.; Lowry, G. V.; Hsu-Kim, H., Cysteine-induced modifications of zero-valent silver nanomaterials: Implications for particle surface chemistry, aggregation, dissolution, and silver speciation, Environmental Science \& Technology, vol 46 no. 13 (2012), pp. 7037–7045 [es3001757], [doi].
- Deonarine, A.; Bartov, G.; Johnson, T.M.; Ruhl, L.; Vengosh, A.; Hsu-Kim, H., Environmental impacts of the Tennessee Valley Authority Kingston coal ash spill. 2. Effect of coal ash on methylmercury in historically contaminated river sediments, Environmental Science & Technology, vol 47 no. 4 (2013), pp. 2100-2108 [doi].
- Aiken, G. R.; Hsu-Kim, H.; Ryan, J. N., Influence of dissolved organic matter on the environmental fate of metals, nanoparticles, and colloids, Environmental Science \& Technology, vol 45 (2011), pp. 3196-3201 [es103992s], [doi].
- Zhang, T. and Hsu-Kim, H., Photolytic degradation of methylmercury enhanced by binding to natural organic ligands, Nature Geoscience, vol 3 no. 7 (2010), pp. 473-476 [NGEO892], [doi].
- Ruhl, L.; Vengosh, A.; Dwyer, G. S.; Hsu-Kim, H.; Deonarine, A., Environmental impacts of the coal ash spill in Kingston, Tennessee: An 18-month survey, Environmental Science \& Technology, vol 44 no. 24 (2010), pp. 9272-9278 [es1026739], [doi].