Professor Susan Richardson

University of South Carolina

Identifying True Unknowns in Water Using High-Resolution Mass Spectrometry

Potentially harmful by-products from hydraulic fracturing, including bromide, iodide and fracking chemicals, can contaminate drinking water. Dr. Susan Richardson, Professor of Chemistry at the University of South Carolina and ASMS President for 2020, shares her team’s research on the impact of fracking on the safety of drinking water. She explains how, by using high-resolution mass spectrometry, GC-MS and LC-MS, they are able to capture and assess all unknown chemicals to ensure drinking water is as safe as possible.

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Professor Susan Richardson
Mass Spectrometry Environmental

Professor Susan Richardson

Biography

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Professor Susan Richardson

University of South Carolina

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. 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.