Ke He extends water safety research through UM School of Medicine postdoc fellowship

Ke He
Ph.D., Chemical, Biochemical and Environmental Engineering
Hometown: Taizhou, Zhejiang, China
Plans: Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Maryland School of Medicine

As an international student, the diverse and friendly circumstances in UMBC really helped me to settle down in this completely new environment.

Over the six years that Ke He has been a Ph.D. student at UMBC, he has conducted research alongside many passionate peers and faculty who, like him, are committed to improving water safety.

He explains that his faculty advisor Lee Blaney, associate professor of chemical, biochemical and environmental engineering, has had a profound impact on his research. He studied contaminants of emerging concern, such as antibiotics, hormones, and UV-filters, and their effects on the environment. To understand how these substances impact human and ecological health, He examined crayfish collected from a watershed in Baltimore.

The work that He conducted has been featured in media outlets, including an article in The Conversation (republished by CBS News) about commonly-used personal care products that have been found to impact water sources. He traveled to Hawaii to do research, and this work will likely play a role in regulating sunscreens that have been shown to harm coral reefs.

Ke He, pictured in the lab, researched the ecological effects of antibiotics, hormones and UV-filters in the environment. He also developed analytical models to show how these substances interact with the environment. Photo by Marlayna Demond ‘11 for UMBC.

For three years, He served as a senator in the Graduate Student Association (GSA) at UMBC. The GSA recognized He’s distinguished service to the organization by presenting  him with the 2016 Outstanding Senator Award. He also was the chair of the Chinese Student and Scholar Association at UMBC, and served on the Chemical, Biochemical and Environmental Engineering Graduate Student Association’s executive board.

He has received notable awards supporting and recognizing research papers delivered at academic conferences across the United States. In 2017, He received a Travel Award from the National Environmental Monitoring Conference, in recognition of his distinguished presentation. The American Chemical Society’s (ACS) Division of Environmental Chemistry awarded He a Certificate of Merit Award in 2016, a Best Poster Award in 2014, and a Certificate of Merit Award in 2014.

While He has contributed significantly to the university, GSA, and his field in his six years at UMBC, he shares that he is also grateful for the support he has received from the UMBC community in that time, saying, “The research and travel grant from Graduate Student Association and the support from Graduate School for parental leave offered me more opportunities and balanced my life and doing research.” He plans to continue research in environmental engineering through a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Portrait by Marlayna Demond ‘11 for UMBC.