Four new faculty join SREL

Floating vegetation on a lake at the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory (SREL).

Four faculty have joined the staff of the University of Georgia’s Savannah River Ecology Laboratory near Aiken, South Carolina.

Avishek Dutta, Brennan O. Ferguson, Daniel Kaplan and Daniel A.H. Peach will expand the SREL’s research, graduate education program and external research partnerships.

Dutta and Ferguson are in the Department of Geology at the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. Peach is faculty in the Department of Infectious Diseases in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Kaplan is a senior research scientist at the SREL.

Dutta, an assistant professor in geomicrobiology, will investigate microbial transformation of contaminants in the environment. He earned a Ph.D. in bioscience from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur, India. Dutta previously worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego.

Ferguson, an assistant professor in environmental geochemistry, will investigate the transport or movement of contamination in subsurface soil using lab and field experiments. She earned a Ph.D. in environmental engineering and earth sciences from Clemson University. Ferguson previously worked as a graduate research assistant at Clemson. She has extensive experience in community outreach.

A senior research scientist in biogeochemistry, Kaplan earned his Ph.D. at the UGA while working as a technician at the SREL. He is interested in terrestrial environmental carbon chemistry and the transport and fate of radioactive elements in groundwater and soil.

Drawing from his previous position as an advisory scientist, at the Savannah River National Laboratory on the U.S. Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site, Kaplan is well equipped in his new role as an associate director for the University of Georgia Research Institute. UGARI is the administrative unit that secures research partnerships with federal mission agencies, such as the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense.

Peach is an assistant professor of mosquito ecology and infectious diseases. He earned a Ph.D. in biology from Simon Frazer University in Burnaby, British Columbia. Most recently, Peach was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia. He has extensive experience in outreach education and mentoring undergraduates. He will investigate mosquitos as hosts of vector-borne diseases.

Dutta will be located in Athens, Georgia. Ferguson, Kaplan and Peach will be located at the SREL.