Puget Sound Institute collaborator Ed Kolodziej is the recipient of this year’s University of Washington Tacoma Distinguished Research Award for his work to identify toxic contaminants in the Puget Sound watershed. The annual award “recognizes a faculty member who has achieved a record of notable scholarship or creative activity, who has generated new knowledge or creativity that impacts their intellectual discipline, and who has contributed to the intellectual climate of the UW Tacoma campus and its communities.”
Kolodziej has been with the University of Washington since 2014 and holds a joint appointment as an Associate Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering (Seattle) and the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences (Tacoma). He is affiliated with the University of Washington Tacoma Center for Urban Waters where he is a regular collaborator with the Puget Sound Institute.
Kolodziej’s research includes screening of both freshwater and marine sources to identify contaminants that could harm wildlife. Recently, he has been working with scientists at NOAA and Washington State University to isolate the chemicals in tire wear particles that may be killing large numbers of coho salmon as they enter Puget Sound streams to spawn. “Our method allows us to detect hundreds to thousands of chemicals at once in a single sample,” Koldziej told UW News earlier this year. “On CSI when they have these instruments, they turn on the instrument and it tells them: ‘That’s ibuprofen.’ But in reality, it’s a lot of work to get to get to a point where you are absolutely sure you know what that chemical really is,” he said.
Other areas of Kolodziej’s research include “zombie” chemicals that change into dangerous forms after exposure to the environment and the identification of pharmaceuticals that are released into Puget Sound through wastewater.
In an announcement, the award committee recognized Kolodziej’s “impressive record of serving as the Principal Investigator on research grants and acknowledged his extensive publications in high-impact peer review journals and service on advisory and journal editorial boards.”