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award recipient
Rupali Datta (left) receives award from Kip Balkcom,
president-elect of American Society of Agronomy,
Southern branch, at Dallas cconference

UTSA scientist honored for agronomy research

By Kris Rodriguez
Public Affairs Specialist

(May 29, 2008)--Rupali Datta, UTSA assistant professor of environmental science, was awarded the 2007 Early Career Award in Research by the Southern branch of the American Society of Agronomy (ASA) for her outstanding contributions and accomplishments in agronomic research.

The largest agronomic society in the world, ASA has more than 21,000 members representing agronomy, crop science and soil science divisions.

As a founding member of the San Antonio Lead Task Force, Datta's local research involves studying ways to remove lead from soils in the San Antonio area by 2010, a goal set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Her research was instrumental in creating a water and sediment quality database of Mitchell Lake, which was a sludge disposal lagoon in the early 20th century on San Antonio's South Side. The Mitchell Lake Audubon Center opened the site in 2004.

Nationally, Datta was part of a team in 2002 that designed a remediation plan to clean up arsenic from EPA-designated Superfund sites contaminated by hazardous waste and identified for cleanup for their risk to human health and the environment.

As an educator, Datta is associate director of the Environmental Geochemistry Laboratory (EGL) and has supervised or assisted with the research activities of five graduate or post-doctoral fellows in the EGL lab. Since 2002, she has helped generate more than $2 million in grant funding and authored or co-authored more than 110 scientific publications.

Serving more than 5,000 students enrolled in nine undergraduate degree programs and 15 graduate programs, the UTSA College of Sciences is poised to prepare the next generation of scientists for careers in business, technology and academia. The college houses the departments of biology, chemistry, computer science, geological sciences, mathematics, and physics and astronomy.

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