238783By Natalie Saleh

Baylor professors and graduate students make up some of the nation’s leading researchers in environmental science, discovering solutions to global challenges and public health. Because graduate students have been so successful, a new PhD program in Environmental Science will be available in spring 2015.

“Though we are presently approaching the top tier of environmental programs in the USA, we further strive to be the leading global environmental science program at a Christian university,” says Dr. Bryan Brooks, professor of Environmental Science and Biomedical Studies and director of the Environmental Health Science Program.

Currently, environmental science faculty and staff are working on projects in Texas, all over the United States, and on five continents. Elias Oziolor, for example, is conducting ground-breaking research on toxicology.

“I am working with Cole Matson in the Environmental Science department, and we look at evolutionary toxicology, which is just a small subset of environmental sciences studying the effect of toxicant in different places. For us, it’s the Houston Ship Channel, and how toxicants affect the populations of organisms of fish in the channel,” says Elias.

In addition to this project, environmental science faculty and students are engaging in research on a variety of topics such as air pollution, chemical contaminants in fish and whales, and designing more sustainable industrial chemicals.

Previously students pursued environmental research through other interdisciplinary programs, like the Biomedical Studies program and The Institute of Ecological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (TIEEES). With the new PhD program, however, graduate students will have even greater resources to aid in their research by pursuing the nationally normative terminal degree in the field.

“They are trying to make a program that would not compete with Biomedical Studies or TIEEES, but would give an extra opportunity for students to go into labs in the environmental science department,” explains Elias Oziolor.

The environmental science curriculum will include courses such as statistics, toxicology, environmental chemistry, and ecological risk assessment. Beyond these core classes, the degree will be customizable, allowing students to pursue their unique research interests.

This new program, with its strong curriculum and award-winning faculty members, will strengthen the already flourishing projects in the environmental sciences.

“I think it’s a great thing for environmental science that it’s starting up, and it’s a promising program that has a very strong curriculum. And I’m looking forward to seeing how the students like it,” says Elias.

To learn more about the environmental science research at Baylor, visit the department’s website. If you have further questions regarding the PhD in Environmental Science, contact the graduate program director, Dr. Sascha Usenko.