Feature: ORNL Scientists Study Mercury in the Environment. Local television news features ORNL's mercury research. Video provided by WATE, Nexstar Broadcasting, Knoxville, Tennessee. (April 11, 2018) [link expired]
News Release: Newly Identified Microbial Process Could Reduce Toxic Methylmercury Levels
A team led by the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory has identified a novel microbial process that can break down toxic methylmercury in the environment, a fundamental scientific discovery that could potentially reduce mercury toxicity levels and support health and risk assessments. (ORNL Research Highlight, May 31, 2017) Also reported by ChemEurope, June 1, 2017; Bioengineer.org, May 31, 2017; News Medical Life Sciences, June 1, 2017; and others. Related video
Baohua Gu was elected a 2016 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for his distinguished contributions to molecular-scale mechanisms that control cycling of natural organic matter, contaminants, and toxic metals and for technology innovations to remediate contaminants in the environment. Dr. Gu received this honor at the February AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting in Boston. News Release: Seven ORNL Researchers Elected AAAS Fellows, ORNL News (November 22, 2016)
Baohua Gu has been selected by the Geological Society of America (GSA) Council as a GSA Fellow, an honor bestowed annually in recognition of distinguished contributions to the geosciences. Baohua was chosen for seminal work on elucidating key molecular-scale mechanisms that govern biogeochemical cycling of contaminants, trace metals, and natural organic matter that have made significant contributions to our understanding of soil organic and metal cycling in terrestrial ecosystems and contaminated sites.
Mercury Science Focus Area (SFA) Annual Report: July 2015-June 2016 PDF
BBC Program Spotlights ORNL Mercury Research The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) recently featured ORNL mercury research as part of its series on Pollution Solutions: Reversing the Effects of Pollution. SFA accomplishments—including discovery of the two-gene cluster responsible for microbial mercury methylation—were highlighted, along with other mercury-focused research within ORNL's Environmental Sciences Division, such as fish-sample collection to assess methylmercury bioaccumulation in the food web.
Senior Scientist Eric Pierce noted the potentially far-reaching effects of basic research to understand the biochemical mechanisms of methylmercury production. “The knowledge . . . as well as the technology that we develop out of these various projects solves mercury problems not only here, but really globally,” he said. "The work that we're doing provides knowledge for mercury challenges worldwide." [video last aired Feb 14, 2016]
Staff award: Baohua Gu received the 2014 UT-Battelle Researcher of the Year Award for sustained, significant contributions to advancing fundamental knowledge of the biogeochemical cycling of metals, other pollutants, and carbon in the environment and for related technological achievements. Dr. Gu also received the Excellent in Review Award from the editor and associate editors of Environmental Science and Technology. This award recognizes significant contributions made to Environmental Science and Technology by reviewers for 2014.
Joint news release from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center on the confirmation of novel methylators greatly expanding the phylogenetic and environmental diversity of methylating organisms (Sept. 12, 2013)