Wright State University
College of Science and Mathematics

Department of Chemistry

202 Oelman Hall
(937) 775-2855
yellow springs

News and Events:

Congratulations to Dr. Audrey McGowin  Dr. McGowin was awarded the 2014-15 CoSM Teaching Innovation Award, for her development and implementation of a service learning course that incorporates hands on chemical testing of water out in the local community.

Current Dr. McGowin Research Members

Former Dr. McGowin Research Members

audrey mcgowin, ph.d - research


Professor McGowin’s current research projects involve the determination of sources of air particulate matter and water pollutants in the Dayton Metropolitan area.  Particles in the air can come from many sources such as industrial emissions and traffic.  Recent spikes in particulate matter are under investigation to determine how much comes from the burning of wood as opposed to dust and industrial processes. 

This is the fifth year for the assessment of water quality in Glen Helen Nature Preserve by Dr. McGowin’s Environmental Chemistry class.  Each fall, the class has performed sampling and analysis of water at more than a dozen sites in and around Glen Helen in Yellow Springs, OH.  This long-term monitoring project is shedding light on improvements in water quality in the area but also showing decreases in water quality, especially due to stormwater runoff into the glen. 

In addition, Dr. McGowin continues to investigate how water pollution is related to tumor formation in Sea Turtles.  An alarming number of sea turtles that forage in lagoons with poor water quality such as the Indian River Lagoon in Florida have developed fibropapillomas on their skin and eyes impairing their ability to see, swim, and feed.  Fibropapillomatosis (FP) has become a panzootic with disease outbreaks at similar sites in Hawaii, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Australia, and others.  Fibropapilloma-associated turtle herpes virus (FPTHV), an alphaherpesvirus, has been identified as the likely infectious agent yet many of the factors associated with disease etiology have not been discovered such as 1) how the virus is transmitted between turtles, 2) why some turtles that have been exposed to the virus develop tumors while others do not, and 3) what factors initiate tumor formation.  FPTHV is a latent virus that appears months after infection and in immune-compromised turtles.  Unfortunately, attempts to fulfill Koch’s postulates by culturing the virus in vitro have been unsuccessful.  For sea turtles, the bite of an attached leech could potentially provide a site of injury that could contribute to initiating tumor formation.  There are two known leech species that are specific to sea turtles.  We have developed a DNA method to identify leech species at all stages of their lifecycle, that does not depend on morphology, to discern between the species.  This method could be used to determine if tumor formation is related to leech species.





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