Tulane Researchers to Study Oil’s Effects on the Gulf

The crew of a Basler BT-67 fixed wing aircraft release dispersant over an oil discharge from the mobile offshore drilling unit, Deepwater Horizon, off the shore of Louisiana, May 5, 2010. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Stephen Lehmann)

(Click to enlarge) The crew of a Basler BT-67 fixed wing aircraft release dispersant over an oil discharge from the mobile offshore drilling unit, Deepwater Horizon, off the shore of Louisiana, May 5, 2010. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Stephen Lehmann)

Tulane University researchers have been awarded $4 million to study oil’s effects on the Gulf of Mexico, school officials announced last week.

(From The Advocate) — Proposals from three Tulane researchers are among 22 being funded by the latest Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative program.

The money will go to scientists in the School of Science and Engineering, the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the Roger Thayer Stone Center for Latin American Studies.

Vijay John, the Leo S. Weil professor of engineering at Tulane, will be the principal investigator of a project to improve dispersants, which help break up oil into small droplets. The research team received $1.2 million to develop different materials that will better work to disperse weathered oil and high-viscosity crudes.

An award of $1.5 million will fund research headed by Tulane toxicologist Charles Miller. His team will seek to identify the most toxic compounds in fresh and aged crude oil that leaked from the Macondo well in 2010.

Tulane ecologist Sunshine Van Bael and her team received nearly $1.6 million to study how bacteria living in plant roots may help break down oil. The researchers hope to find ways to inoculate plants with oil-degrading bacteria and have the bacteria delivered by plant roots to buried pockets of oil.

BP established the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, an independent, 10-year research program, in 2010 following the Deepwater Horizon explosion. The company committed $500 million to investigate the effect of oil spills on the environment and public health.

Read the full article here: http://theadvocate.com/news/neworleans/neworleansnews/14082256-32/tulane-researchers-to-study-oils

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