Cole is pursuing a PhD in the Materials Science and Engineering Department with a focus on biogeochemical cycling governed by nanophase particles in soil systems. Studying complexation of organics and nutrients by clay minerals using Cryo-TEM, XRD, and other spectroscopic methods, Cole hopes to uncover how clays act as reactive sites for microbial metabolism and nutrient exchange in soils. In addition, iron oxyhydroxides nanoparticles have high sorption capacities for metal contaminants and govern dispersal and remediation processes. Using atomic resolution HRTEM, Cole hopes to discover the complex surface crystal structures that mediate arsenic, chromium, mercury, lead, and selenium sorption, with an ultimate focus on bioavailability and transport kinetics.
He is a member of Jillian Banfield’s lab and affiliated with the Bowles lab through his interest in urban agroecology and soil processes.