Current lab members

Graduate students

Raymond Leibensperger

Raymond joined the Prather Group in 2020 after graduating from the University of Miami. He is part of the Climate Sciences curricular group at Scripps Institute of Oceanography. His research focus is the transmission of particles from the sea surface into aerosols via bubble formation and bursting.

Email: rleibens@ucsd.edu

Benjamin Rico

I am currently developing a field deployable online mass spectrometer utilizing continuous chemical ionization techniques and a cylindrical ion trap mass analyzer. Application of the cylindrical ion trap mass analyzer allows for a significant reduction in size by reducing the total volume of the instrument as well as the vacuum requirements needed to pump down to acceptable pressures. Coupled with chemical ionization, the cylindrical ion trap will allow for time resolved measurements of gaseous species. Other areas of research include the development of a peristaltic pump adapted marine aerosol reference tank (MART) for in lab simulation of breaking waves in coastal marine ecosystems.

Email: berico@ucsd.edu

Ke'La Kimble

Ke'La Kimble is a second year graduate student in the Prather Group. She is a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and received her B.S in Chemistry from Xavier University of Louisiana. There she was both a NASA and McNair Scholar doing research in depositing thin films as electrodes in coin-cell batteries. Here at UC-San Diego, Ke'La studies changes in chemical composition of sea-spray aerosols. She is a member of the External Advisory Committee for the UC-ACS Bridge Program and holds the following fellowships: San Diego, Sloan, and UC-HBCU.

Email: kkimble@ucsd.edu

Tyler Price

Tyler joined the Prather Group in 2019 and is currently a Masters student researching the effects of marine microbes on the chemical composition of the atmosphere. Specifically, his research focuses on the enzymatic degradation pathways of DMSP into DMS and other biomolecules identified in the genome of Phaeobacter La5.

Email: t1price@ucsd.edu

Lucia B. Cancelada

I am a PhD student in Analytical and Atmospheric Chemistry. I was born in Argentina, where I did my undergraduate studies in Chemistry at University of Buenos Aires. I joined the Prather group in 2020. My research is oriented to study the emission of volatile organic compounds from marine sources and their impact on aerosol formation and climate.

Twitter: @cancelada_lucia

Email: lcancela@ucsd.edu

Alexia Moore

Alexia joined the Prather group in Fall 2018 after graduating from Howard University. Her research interests focus on using Chemical Ionization Mass Spectrometry to detect Volatile Organic Compounds emitted from the ocean and monitor their role in secondary aerosol formation.

Email: anmoore@ucsd.edu

Brock A. Mitts

Brock joined the lab in 2016 after graduating from UCLA. He is currently a PhD candidate studying the release of biological particles from sea spray aerosols. His expertise is in instrumentation designed to detect and characterize single particles. The instruments he utilizes are the Wideband Integrated Bioaerosol Sensor which measures the fluorescence of biological molecules in single particles, and the Aerosol Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer (ATOFMS) which measures the size and chemical composition of single particles. Through his experience working with both instruments, Brock is developing a novel ATOFMS designed to detect biological particles, including single viruses, and measure their high resolution mass spectra.

Email: bmitts@ucsd.edu

Kathryn joined the Prather Group in 2015 after graduating from the College of William and Mary. Her research interests focus on the formation and properties of secondary marine aerosol, and its role as a cloud condensation nuclei.

Email: kjmayer@ucsd.edu

Jon Sauer

Jon joined the lab in 2014. His research revolves around the usage of mass spectrometry towards two different directions: Firstly, the analysis of complex matrices, like sea salt, where high concentrations of cation salts interact with organic molecules such as lipids. Secondly, the usage of high frequency (1hz+), long acquisition time chemical ionization to characterize gases released by microalgae as they proceed through their life cycles, interact with other organisms, and their environment. Better understanding how algae produce these gases aims to shed light on how algae not only affect the environment, but also how we as people can better cultivate them for commercial purposes. In his spare time, Jon likes to repair the lab's zero air generator and fish San Diego's beaches.

Twitter: @MethaneThiol

Email: jsauer@ucsd.edu

I am a PhD student in the Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry curricular group at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. There are two branches of my research that both fall under the umbrella of sea spray aerosol. Seawater is full of heterotrophic bacteria and I research the enzymes the bacteria produce, as they are catalysts that shape seawater chemistry. The enzymes also transfer into sea spray aerosol, a newly discovered reaction pathway for atmospheric aerosols. In the other branch of my research, I look at the transfer of coastal water pollution into the atmosphere. All of my research is a team effort and I enjoy working with the great people in the Prather group and from other groups.

Email: mpenderg@ucsd.edu

Charlotte Beall

Charlotte joined the Prather Group in 2014 from the University of Texas at Austin. Currently a PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, she studies ice nucleating particles (INPs) in coastal and remote ocean environments with a focus on characterizing number distributions and composition of biogenic INPs.

Email: cbeall@ucsd.edu

Mitchell Santander

Mitch joined the Prather Group in 2012 after graduating from the University of San Francisco. His interests focus on using spectroscopic techniques to chemically characterize organic matter in seawater and sea spray and investigating the factors controlling transfer of organic and biological material across the air-sea interface.

Email: msantand@ucsd.edu

Senior personnel and postdocs

Chris Lee, PhD

Chris is the Managing Director of NSF funded Center for Aerosol Impacts on Chemistry of the Environment (CAICE) with interests in understanding the role of atmospheric aging and marine-derived enzymes on the chemistry of sea spray aerosols. He joined the Prather Group in 2011 after graduating from the University of Wisconsin - Madison.

Email: leechris@ucsd.edu

Daniel did is PhD in Roderich Suessmuth lab at the Technical University Berlin (Germany), working on the in discovery, structure elucidation and biosynthesis of albicidins, a group of antimicrobial natural products from sugarcane pathogens. His current research is mainly focused on large scale environmental metabolomics of marine microbial communities and ocean-atmosphere interactions. Besides the application and further development of mass spectrometry based metabolomics, Daniel is interested in community proteomics and next generation sequencing methods and the integrative data-analysis of this different layers of “multi-omics” information.

Email: dpetras@ucsd.edu

Rebecca Simpson, PhD

I am a marine microbial biogeochimist from France, I did my PhD in Sweden and Danemark, then moved to San Diego with a postdoctoral Marie-Curie grant and never left! My research focuses on the cycling of volatile organic compounds in marine ecosystems. My interest lies into bridging marine biology and biogeochemistry with atmospheric chemistry, to better understand the roles of marine microorganisms in key processes impacting air-sea fluxes of trace gases, affecting radiative budget and climate.

Twitter: @microcean

Email: jdinasquet@ucsd.edu

Staff

Clare Morris

Clare is interested in the potential impact sea spray aerosols have on public health by studying how coastal water pollution transfers from the sea to the air.

Email: ckmorris@ucsd.edu





Undergrads