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UB chemist studying environmental pollutants receives national awards

Emanuela Gionfriddo (center) with her students in her lab.

Emanuela Gionfriddo (center) with her students, from left, Aghogho A. Olomukoro, Charutha Dassanayake, Héctor Martínez-Pérez-Cejuela, and Madison Williams. Photo: Meredith Forrest Kulwicki


Published April 25, 2024

“These awards recognize the effort of my research group at the national and international levels, and this makes me very proud of the team of scientists I am mentoring. ”
Emanuela Gionfriddo, associate professor
Department of Chemistry

Emanuela Gionfriddo, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry, has been recognized for her scientific accomplishments with two national awards: the Rising Star in Measurement Science from the American Chemical Society (ACS) and the Young Investigation Award (YIA) from the Chinese American Chromatography Association (C.A.C.A.)

Gionfriddo’s research centers on analytical chemistry, which focuses on measuring chemicals and developing new methodologies to increase the precision of measurements. Her research is largely funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF); over the course of her brief career, she already has published more than 60 articles in peer-reviewed publications, and holds a patent.

Her team works to develop miniaturized separation technologies that use minimal amounts of toxic chemicals and produce limited laboratory waste, promoting “green” and environmentally friendly analytical chemistry practices that are critical for resource conservation and minimizing the impact on the environment. 

“We focus on developing methods to separate and identify different substances in complex chemical mixtures,” says Gionfriddo, who joined UB in January as part of the university’s historic “Advancing Top 25: Faculty Hiring” initiative. “Then, we use our methods to measure and understand how emerging pollutants spread in the environment, how they reach living organisms and how they distribute in the body. By applying our methodologies to biological tissues and biofluids, we aim to elucidate the chemical relationship between environmental exposure and disease.”

The ACS recognizes early-career scientists from across the globe who are “making significant contributions to the field of measurement science.” Gionfriddo’s work was included in a special issue of ACS Measurement Science Au that also highlights 19 other outstanding researchers from across the globe, selected from a pool of more than 300, showing the diversity in the field of measurement science. Her research featured in the journal is titled, “Enhancing Quantitative Analysis of Xenobiotics in Blood Plasma through Cross-Matrix Calibration and Bayesian Hierarchical Modeling.”

Similarly, C.A.C.A.’s Young Investigation Awards are “selected annually to recognize outstanding scientists who have contributed exceptionally to the development of separation science and its applications.” This is the inaugural award for the category.

“These awards recognize the effort of my research group at the national and international levels, and this makes me very proud of the team of scientists I am mentoring,” says Gionfriddo. “Our research necessitates high levels of precision, which is not always straightforward to obtain,” she adds. “These awards definitely pay off for the hard work that went into publishing our findings.”

Gionfriddo is no stranger to such recognition. She received the 2023 LCGC Emerging Leader in Chromatography Award; the 2023 Eastern Analytical Symposium Young Investigator Award; and the 2022 ACS Analytical Division Satinder Ahuja Award for Young Investigators in Separation Science.

She is also one of the founding members of the Nina McClelland Laboratory for Water Chemistry and Environmental Analysis at the University of Toledo and was appointed to the Ohio Attorney General’s Environmental Council of Advisors. She serves as chair-elect of the ACS Analytical Chemistry Subdivision on Chromatography and Separation Chemistry.

In addition to her research and accomplishments in the field, her team is active in outreach activities aimed at promoting participation of young women and underrepresented minorities in STEM fields.

Last year she founded “Girls in STEM, Together we CHEM,” “where we provide young women with exposure to STEM opportunities,” says Gionfriddo. “Witnessing individuals like themselves achieve success in STEM fields, as well as opportunities to have hands-on experience in a scientific setting, can profoundly influence young women’s aspirations, empowering them to challenge damaging stereotypes and overcome anxieties.”  She hopes to resume this program at UB this summer.

Gionfriddo earned a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and PhD in chemistry from the University of Calabria in Italy. She then joined the University of Waterloo (Ontario, Canada) as a postdoctoral fellow and manager of the Gas-Chromatography section of the Industrially Focused Analytical Research Laboratory (InFAReL). She joined the UB faculty in January 2024.