Welcome to the Gray Research Group
We conduct both fundamental and applied research in the broad areas of environmental catalysis and physicochemical processes in natural and engineered environmental systems with particular focus on energy and sustainability applications. In engineered systems, we investigate the synthesis, characterization and performance of photo-active materials, principally TiO2-based nanocomposites. In natural systems, we investigate chemical fate in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. We probe the role of periphyton (algal biofilms) in contaminant accumulation and in denitrification in stream sediments and wetlands. We study the ways in which the detailed understanding of ecological relationships (periphyton structure, dynamic food web descriptions) improves our ability to predict chemical transfer (bioaccumulation) in aquatic systems and ultimately human health risks. We are also combining our expertise in nanoscience and ecotoxicology in a new project to study the unintended consequences of nano-titania in benthic systems. Another newer area of inquiry is biofuel production on marginal land.
The overarching theme of this research program is urban sustainability and I am involved in a number of collaborations to explore the design of ecologically inspired, truly sustainable cites that can accommodate the unprecedented demographic shifts occurring in Asia, as well as the redevelopment of shrinking, post-industrial cities in developed countries, in the face of a rapidly changing climate.
To learn more see my research page