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Featured Research Projects

The following is a running collection of ICP-MS affiliated research projects highlighting significant findings.



Identifying spatial heterogeneity in the elemental concentration of Early Jurassic dinosaur bones

Adam Marsh – Ph.D. candidate Supervisor: Tim Rowe Fossil bone records a wealth of data used to explore the evolutionary history of vertebrate life, the growth and development of individuals during their lifetime, and the taphonomic processes that occur before organismal remains become a part of the fossil record. As geochemical technology advances, fossil bone…

REE Analysis of Anhydrite Veins in Porphyry Copper Deposits

Mark Cloos – Advisor Aaron Hantsche – Undergraduate, Jackson School of Geosciences Porphyry copper deposits are created by hydrothermal mineralization as fluids from the intrusive body precipitate metal-rich minerals. These sulfur rich systems have anhydrite in the veined mineral assemblage, as well as quartz, pyrite, and chalcopyrite. Using dissolved anhydrite from veins from the Ertsberg…

Fish Otoliths as Natural Geochemical Records

Fish Otoliths as Natural Geochemical Records

Walther Fish Ecology Lab John Mohan, UT Marine Science Institute Otoliths (oto=‘ear’; lith=‘stone) are biogenic carbonates that functioning as hearing organs in teleost fish and accrete permanent growth bands on daily to annual timescales.  The elemental composition of fish otoliths are derived from the ambient environment and influenced by physiology, providing detailed chemical chronologies of…

Assessing Migratory Habits of Southern Flounder Using Otolith Chemistry

Benjamin Walther & Megan Nims, UT Marine Science Institute Project summary: Because some trace elements vary predictably across salinity gradients, and these elements can be reliably incorporated into biogenic carbonates such as fish ear stones (otoliths), we can reconstruct fish movements in estuaries using laser ablation ICP-MS.  This project examined movements of southern flounder, an…

High Field Strength Element Partitioning in Peridotites and its Implications for the Interpretation of Hf Isotopic Compositions

Benjamin Byerly and John Lassiter, UT Austin Clinopyroxene is generally regarded as the primary host of incompatible trace elements in spinel peridotites. This is reflected in the general agreement between cpx and whole-rock trace element patterns in peridotite xenoliths. Clinopyroxenes in peridotite xenoliths from Cerro Chato, NM, USA are LREE-enriched and have large negative HFSE…

Monitoring Gold Nanoparticle Labeled Mesenchymal Stem Cells For Ischemic Repair

Laura Ricles, Seung Yun Nam, Stanislav Emelianov, and Laura Suggs (Dept. of Biomedical Engineering) Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death globally. Current research is focused on using stem cell-based therapy for cardiovascular diseases in order to promote neovascularization and rescue ischemic tissue. However, a major challenge to the development of these cellular therapies…

Quantitative Photoacoustic Imaging

Quantitative Photoacoustic Imaging

Jason Cook, Wolfgang Frey, and Stanislav Emelianov UT Austin Dept. of Biomedical Engineering We designed a custom photoacoustic microscope with optical resolution to image and quantify nanoparticles in cells and thin tissue slices. Quantitative photoacoustic (qPA) imaging is based on the dependence of the photoacoustic signal with both the nanoparticle quantity and the laser fluence….

Triblock Polymer System Designed with High Selectivity for Trivalent Actinides in Nuclear Waste

Lauren E. Avery, Brad J. Holliday Holliday Research Group Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry The University of Texas at Austin Spent fuel from nuclear reactors contains several radioactive isotopes with long lived half lives. With the advent of fast spectrum reactors many of these long lived products can be transmuted into shorter lived radioisotopes, creating…

Evolution of the Mantle Below the Colorado Plateau, Southwestern U.S.

Doug Smith, UT Austin Extraordinary serpentine-rich diatremes occur in the interior of the Colorado Plateau. These diatremes have a matrix of serpentinized ultramafic microbreccia; within the matrix are inclusions of  sedimentary rock, granite, granulite, eclogite, peridotite, and many other rock types. Discrete grains of forsterite, pyrope, and pyroxene are also scattered throughout the matrix. LA-ICP-MS…

Trace Elements in Icelandic Rhyolite

Trace Elements in Icelandic Rhyolite

Jason Keiser (MS Candidate – U. Mass) I am using the full array of chemical analytical techniques to characterize individual basalt flows as well as felsic ash flows from an 8-9 million year old Oxnadalur bimodal volcanic complex in north-central Iceland.  Felsic eruptions in Iceland are rare, but can be quite voluminous.  Many studies have…

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Site Last Modified: December 15, 2014