Professor Susan Richardson

Professor of Chemistry at the University of South Carolina and ASMS President for 2020

ASMS President, Prof. Susan Richardson, shares insights into the power of mass spectrometry for drinking water analysis

In this video, Prof. Susan Richardson, President of ASMS, and Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of South Carolina, discusses the impact of pollen on disinfectant by-product formation in drinking water. Her team has found that presence of pollen can exacerbate the levels of disinfectant by-product in water and has developed a sensitive gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analytical method that has allowed the quantification of about 70 target disinfection by-products at the low part per trillion level. Richardson also describes further technology that powers her research, how she’s identified previously unknown disinfection by-products that are formed through pollen precursors, and hints at what she’s excited for in the future of mass spectrometry.



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Professor Susan Richardson
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Professor Susan Richardson

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Professor Susan Richardson

Professor of Chemistry at the University of South Carolina and ASMS President for 2020

Susan Richardson is the Arthur Sease Williams Professor of Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC, and has been President of ASMS, 2020-2022. Prior to coming to USC in January 2014, she was a research chemist for several years at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Exposure Research Laboratory in Athens, GA. For the last several years, she has been conducting research in drinking water and in swimming pool water—specifically in the study of toxicologically important disinfection by-products (DBPs). These are the unintended consequence of trying to kill harmful microorganisms in drinking water and in pools. She works on identifying new DBPs or other unknown chemicals in the environment, drinking water, and pools using mass spectrometry and also studies wastewater treatment plants and the effects of disinfectants on river water. Most recently, she has started to investigate the impact of hydrofracking on DBPs in water. She has B.S. in chemistry and mathematics from Georgia College & State University, a Ph.D. in chemistry from Emory University, and an honorary doctorate from Cape Breton University in Canada and was recently named an ACS Fellow. She also serves as an Associate Editor for Water Research, on the Editorial Advisory Board for Environmental Science & Technology, and writes on emerging contaminants in water/environmental analysis for Analytical Chemistry.