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Training at ALEC

Lab Safety


Instrument Users

Users of ALEC facilities can be trained to operate particular instruments of interest to them. To independently operate a particular instrument you must have a ďDriverís LicenseĒ issued by our lab for that instrument. To obtain a license you must:

  • (1) attend a training session (see schedule below)
  • (2) pass a written test
  • (3) pass an operatorís test on the instrument (you will have sufficient practice on the time instrument to hone your skills before the operatorís test).

A training session will be scheduled each semester:

  • The next session for UPLCMSMS and/or GCMSMS will be held in Spring and/or Fall 2013.
    • please check back for more details or inquire (abrell @
    • see calendar
  • You are highly encouraged to attend the next (June 24-26, 2013) UofA Chemistry Department mass spectrometry workshop in June (2012 workshop linked) to receive basic and introductory information about mass spectrometry before joining an Instrument User course in ALEC. Especially useful will be the Introduction, Sample Prep, Scan Modes, and MS/MS Small Molecule sections.
  • Other individual trainings may be arranged by special request depending upon available time.


Other recommended courses

Analysis of Emerging Environmental Contaminants (3 credits)
ChEE 482/CHEE 582
Instructor: Dr. Shane Snyder                      (preferred)

Course description:
Contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) have become major scientific and political issues.  Many of these environmental contaminants have been detected in air, water, soil, and/or biota.  Most CECs are identified and quantified based on non-standardized methods, often with limited or questionable quality assurance and quality control. At times, public policy and resource allocation are based on these uncertain data. Moreover, there are thousands of potential contaminants for which no analytical methodologies have yet been developed.  Through this course, students will become familiar with the diversity of analytical (instrumental) and bioanalytical (bioassays) tools currently available, and will gain knowledge as to the pros and cons of each approach.  The class also will discuss future opportunities, such as development of on-line sensors and miniaturization of environmental methods.  While the emphasis of the course will be on water analysis, the class will also briefly discuss implications for other environmental matrices such as biosolids, sediments, solids, tissues, body fluids, and aerosols. Contaminants will be discussed in terms of classes (i.e., pharmaceuticals, steroid hormones, nanoparticles, metals, disinfection byproducts) as well as physical chemical properties (i.e., water solubility, acid/base, volatility, molecular weight, molecular geometry).  This class will provide a hands-on experience with the key instrument platforms such as gas chromatography with mass spectrometric detection, inductively coupled plasma with mass spectrometric detection, liquid chromatography with diode array UV, fluorescence, and mass spectrometric detection.  Instruction on select instrumental software platforms will also be demonstrated and basic integration, calibration, and data export will be discussed.  Cellular and whole animal bioassays for the screening of complex mixtures of contaminants will be discussed and demonstrated.  The key principals of toxicity identification and evaluation (TIE) will be covered in this class, along with real world examples of how TIE is used to determine causes of observed environmental toxicity.  Students will work independently and as groups to investigate a key issue relative to environmental analysis, write a paper on this topic, and present and defend their findings before the class.


Emerging Issues in Water Quality - ChEE 525
Instructor: Dr. Shane Snyder (preferred)

Course description:
Burgeoning human population and urbanization is creating increased demands on fresh water resources and generating larger and more concentrated waste streams.  Droughts throughout many parts of the world also have placed unique challenges on historically abundant river systems.  Therefore, many communities are considering the utilization of alternative water resources, including desalination of brackish waters and the reuse of wastewater for potable and non-potable applications.  This course will investigate, discuss, and debate major emerging water quality issues which threaten our water sustainability and the regulatory paradigms to address these challenges.  Specific issues include endocrine disrupting chemicals, pharmaceuticals, unregulated disinfection by-products, perfluorinated organic compounds, algal toxins, nanoparticles, and others.  Through this course, students will become educated as to the Federal and State paradigm for addressing emerging water contaminants, as well as discuss key examples from other countries (i.e., Australian Guidelines for Water Reuse).  Students will also learn the history which led to major discoveries related to emerging contaminants (i.e., endocrine disruptors and pharmaceuticals) and the path forward in terms of analytical and bioanalytical quantification techniques, water treatment, and green chemistry.  Students will work independently, and as groups, to investigate a key issue relative to water, write a term paper on this topic, and present and defend their findings before the class.


Graduate-level course: SWES 563 - Advanced Soil and Water Chemistry(3 credits)

This course, which is offered every other year, builds on SWES 462/562 by focusing particularly on surface and colloid chemistry of aqueous systems. This year (Spring 2012) we will emphasize the behavior of micro-pollutants at mineral and organic interfaces, particularly metal(loid)s and trace organic contaminants.

For more information, contact Dr. Jon Chorover.


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  • engineering
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  • SBRP
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