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ETSU doctoral student wins national environmental health research competition

Contributed • Sep 7, 2018 at 11:22 PM

A doctoral student in East Tennessee State University’s College of Public Health recently was selected as a winner of the 2018 Association of Environmental Health Academic Programs Student Research Competition.

AEHAP sponsors the competition every year to support students enrolled in and conducting research through National Environmental Health Sciences and Protection Accreditation Council accredited programs.

Joseph Kusi, a student in the Department of Environmental Health, received a $1,000 award and his travel expenses were paid to present his research at the National Environmental Health Association Annual Educational Conference in California earlier this summer.

Kusi’s research is titled “Silver Nanoparticles: Emerging Environmental Contaminants in the Aquatic Environment.” Silver nanoparticles are widely used in consumer products such as sprays, fabrics, detergents, toothpaste and food storage containers due to their antimicrobial properties.

While these properties effectively kill detrimental microorganisms, there have been growing concerns about the risks to beneficial microorganisms, particularly in aquatic systems.

This is the second time in his past four years at ETSU that Kusi has won a national award for his research. In 2015, he was among 30 students selected across the nation to participate in the inaugural National Environmental Public Health Internship Program. Through the program, Kusi interned with the Northeast Regional Health Office in Johnson City on a project aimed at promoting physical activity.

“These honors and experiences have reinforced in my mind that this is the right program of study for me and that ETSU is the right university for me,” said Kusi, an international student from Ghana. “Ultimately, I am interested in teaching environmental toxicology to college students and conducting more environmental health research.”

Kusi holds a master’s degree from ETSU in biology and a bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. He also serves as the vice president of the Graduate and Professional Student Association at ETSU.

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