Diana S. Aga


Diana Aga.

Diana S. Aga


Diana S. Aga


Henry M. Woodburn Chair
SUNY Distinguished Professor

Research Interests

Environmental and Analytical Chemistry: Fate and transport of emerging contaminants and endocrine disrupting chemicals; treatment of pharmaceuticals and personal care products in wastewater; bioaccumulation of halogenated organic contaminants in fish and wildlife; target and non-target analysis of environmental contaminants; bioremediation of perfluoroalkyl substances; antibiotic resistance in the environment.


  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Swiss Federal Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ETH/EAWAG), Zurich, Switzerland, 1996-1998
  • PhD, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 1995
  • BS, University of the Philippines at Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines, 1988

Other Professional Experience

Awards and Honors

2022 ACS Fellow, American Chemical Society
2022 Distinguished Researcher Grant, Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water
2021 Fulbright Global Scholar; Catholic University of Portugal (Porto, Portugal) and University of the Philippines (Manila, Philippines) as Host Institutions
2019 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities
2019 Koh Lectureship Award in Science, Philippine-American Academy of Science and Engineering
2017 ACS AGRO Fellow, American Chemical Society
2017 Jacob F. Schoellkopf Medal of the Western New York ACS
2013 Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring Award, University at Buffalo, SUNY
2012 Menzie Environmental Education Award, Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
2011 Fulbright Teaching and Research Scholar; Ateneo de Manila University (Manila, Philippines) as Host Institution
2010 Elected Member, Philippine-American Academy of Science and Engineering
2007 Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship, Host Institution: Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und –prüfung, Berlin, Germany
2007 American Chemical Society PROGRESS/Dreyfus Lectureship Award
2007 Excellence in Review Award, Journal of Environmental Science & Technology, American Chemical Society 
2006 New York Water Environment Association Kenneth Allen Memorial Award
2003 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Travel Award for Women in International Scientific Cooperation
2000 National Science Foundation Faculty CAREER Award


Fate and transport of pollutants (antibiotics, endocrine disrupting chemicals, engineered nanomaterials); environmental chemistry and toxicology, environmental sampling and analysis, wastewater treatment of micropollutants, capillary zone electrophoresis (CZE), liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS), enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS), inductively coupled plasma/mass spectrometry (ICP/MS).

Research Summary

Our research involves the development and applications of conventional and innovative analytical techniques to study the environmental fate and transport of emerging contaminants. Some of the questions we intend to answer are: (1) how fast and by what means do these chemicals degrade?, (2) what are the major breakdown products of these compounds in the environment?, (3) how do environmental conditions affect the persistence and mobility of these contaminants? and (4) are these compounds of significant ecotoxicological concern?

Analytical Chemistry plays a key role in our investigations to answer several fundamental questions in environmental chemistry. We use modern instruments such as LC/MS/MS, CZE, ICP/MS and GC/MS/MS, in combination with bioassays as tools to study many important environmental processes. Development of effective sample preparation techniques such as solid-phase extraction (SPE), accelerated solvent extraction (ASE), and solid-phase microextraction (SPME) are critical in obtaining reliable and accurate results.

Non-target Analysis of Emerging Contaminants in the Environment

A rapidly growing approach in environmental analysis and toxicology research involves the use of non-target analysis (NTA) with high resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS), where data on accurate masses of molecular and fragment ions are collected without a priori information on the chemicals being analyzed to increase detection coverage. Our group has been developing efficient NTA workflows for various applications ranging from the discovery of unknown contaminants in the environment to global profiling of metabolite composition (metabolomics) in affected organisms. We have applied NTA in metabolomics studies to facilitate the understanding of the effects of chemical perturbations on exposed organisms, such as plants and animals, without focusing on a particular biochemical pathway. We have combined HRMS with in silico approaches for the identification of PBDE metabolites, previously unidentified antibiotics and transformation products, and  unknown Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in biological and environmental samples.

Environmental Fate and Biodegradation of Veterinary Antibiotics and Estrogens

Residues of antibiotics and natural estrogens excreted by animals enter the environment via cropland application of manure that is used as fertilizer. Constant exposure to low levels of antibiotics can lead to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant microorganisms in the environment, while presence of estrogens in surface runoff can cause endocrine disruption in fish in the receiving streams. Due to the potential ecological and human health risks associated with these manure-borne chemicals we are investigating the factors affecting their mobility and persistence in soil. Our research also aims to determine the impact of advanced anaerobic digestion systems in reducing antibiotics, antibiotic resistance genes, and endocrine disrupting chemicals found in animal manure.

Fate and Plant Uptake of Pharmaceuticals from Urine-Based Fertilizers Used in Agriculture

Source separated urine has the potential to become a sustainable nutrient source for agricultural applications. At the same time, removing urine at the source results in lower energy requirements at wastewater treatment plants, a reduction in fresh water consumption from toilets, improvements in wastewater composition that favors biological N removal, and an opportunity to remove contaminants that are concentrated in urine from less complex and reduced volume waste streams. This research will evaluate the feasibility of urine separation technology at the source, and will determine the safety of using precipitated urine as fertilizer for agricultural crops. This approach offers a sustainable and cost-effective step to reducing the amount of pharmaceuticals that reach the aquatic systems, as well as provides a low-cost source of essential nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorous) for crop production. The goals of this research are: [1] to evaluate the removal efficiency of pharmaceuticals in urine and determine how pretreatments (storage, precipitation) impact degradation of pharmaceutical and biological contaminants; [2] compare the efficacy of using natural urine and urine derived products (e.g. struvite) as agricultural fertilizers; and [3] evaluate the potential of agricultural crops to take-up pharmaceuticals.

Treatment of Pharmaceutical Contaminants in Wastewater

Residues of human pharmaceuticals enter the environment from discharges of wastewater treatment plants (WWTP).  Our studies focus on the identification of pharmaceutical metabolites resulting from their biodegradation in activated sludge systems. In many cases, we find that the absence of the parent pharmaceutical from the WWTP effluents does not necessarily mean that the compound has been completely eliminated, but instead has only been partially transformed. We are also investigating the efficiency of pharmaceutical removal by advanced oxidation process using UV/H2O2 followed by biofiltration. We have observed that recalcitrant pharmaceuticals can be converted into more biodegradable transformation products by UV/H2O2 treatment. Our study shows that it is important to identify transformation products that are persistent because long-term exposure to some of them may potentially lead to detrimental ecological effects.

Selected Recent Publications

  1. *Aga, D.S.; Samara, F.; Dronjak, L.; Kanan, S.; Mortula, M. M.; Vahapoglu, L. Rising water, rising risks: The hidden dangers of emerging contaminants in climate-intensified storms. ACS ES&T Water. 2024.
  2. Vilas-Boas, C.; Sousa, J.; Lima, E.; Running, L.; Resende, D.; Ribeiro, A.R.L.; Sousa, E.; Santos, M.M.; Aga, D.S.; Tiritan, M.E.; Ruivo, R.; Atilla-Gokcumen, G.E.; *Correia-da-Silva, M. Preliminary hazard assessment of a new nature-inspired antifouling (NIAF) agent. Science of The Total Environment. 2024. 933, 172824.
  3. *Yang, J.; Vahapoglu, L.; Aga, D.S. Beyond water: Solution-focused communication and regulation are required to address per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances pollution. One Earth. 2024. 7(6), 946-50.
  4. Ali, M.A.; Thapa, U.; Antle, J.; Tanim, E.U.H.; Aguilar, J.M.; Bradley, I.M.; *Aga, D.S.; *Aich, N. Influence of water chemistry and operating parameters on PFOS/PFOA removal using rGO-nZVI nanohybrid. Journal of Hazardous Materials. 2024. 469, 133912.
  5. Kaewnoo, S.; Wongniramaikul, W.; Boonkanon, C.; Taweekarn, T.; Kleangklao, B.; Limwongsakorn, S.; Phawachalotorn, C.; Aga, D.S.; *Choodum, A. Effective recovery of phosphate from wastewater using biodegradable calcium-rich shell wastes composite macroporous cryogel. Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects. 2024. 691, 133857.
  6. *Manaia, C.M.; Aga, D.S.; Cytryn, E.; Gaze, W.H.; Graham, D.W.; Guo, J.; Leonard, A.F.C.; Li, L.; Murray, A.K.; Nunes, O.C.; Rodriguez-Mozaz, S.; Topp, E.; Zhang, T. The complex interplay between antibiotic resistance and pharmaceutical and personal care products in the environment. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. 2024. 43, 637-652.
  7. Zoodsma, J.D.; Boonkanon, C.; Running, L.; Basharat, R.; Atilla-Gokcumen, G.E.; Aga, D.S.; *Sirotkin, H. I. Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) negatively impacts prey capture capabilities in larval zebrafish. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. 2023, 43, 847-855.
  8. Brunelle, L.D.; *Batt, A.L.; Chao, A.; Glassmeyer, S.T.; Quinete, N.; Alvarez, D.A.; Kolpin, D.W.; Furlong, E.T.; Mills, M.A.; *Aga, D.S. De facto water reuse: Investigating the fate and transport of chemicals of emerging concern from wastewater discharge through drinking water treatment using non-targeted analysis and suspect screening. Environmental Science & Technology. 2024. 58, 2468-2478.
  9. Running, L.S.; Olson, J.R.; Aga, D.S.; Travis, S.C.; Daleiro, M.; Queirolo, E.I.; *Kordas, K. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in silicone wristbands of Uruguayan children: Measurement and exposure source exploration. Environmental Science: Advances. 2024. 3(5), 751-762.
  10. Camdzic, D.; Welgama, H.K.; Crawley, M.R.; Avasthi, A.; *Cook, T.R.; *Aga, D.S. Rapid capture of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances using a self-assembling zirconium-based metal-organic cage. ACS Applied Engineering Materials. 2024. 2, 87-95.
  11. Antle, J.P.; Larock, M.A.; Falls, Z.; Ng, C.; Atilla-Gokcumen, G.E.; Aga, D.S.; *Simpson, S. M. Building chemical intuition about physicochemical properties of C8-per-/polyfluoroalkyl carboxylic acids through momputational means. ACS ES&T Engineering. 2023. 4, 196-208.
  12. Marciesky, M.; Aga, D.S.; Bradley, I.M.; Aich, N.; *Ng, C. Mechanisms and opportunities for rational in silico design of enzymes to degrade per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling. 2023. 63, 7299-7319.
  13. *Wallace, J.S.; Edirisinghe, D.; Seyedi, S.; Noteboom, H.; Blate, M.; Balci, D.D.; Abu-Orf, M.; Sharp, R.; Brown, J.; Aga, D.S. Burning questions: Current practices and critical gaps in evaluating removal of per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) during pyrolysis treatments of biosolids. Journal of Hazardous Materials Letters. 2023. 4, 100079.
  14. Farhat, Z.; Scheving, T.; Aga, D.S.; Hershberger, P.A.; Freudenheim, J.L.; Hageman Blair, R.; Mammen, M.J.; *Mu, L. Antioxidant and antiproliferative activities of several garlic forms. Nutrients. 2023. 15, 4099.
  15. Mariano, S.M.; Angeles, L.G.; Aga, D.S.; Villanoy, C.; *Jaraula, C.M. Emerging pharmaceutical contaminants in key aquatic environments of the Philippines. Frontiers in Earth Science. 2023. 11, 1124313.
  16. Tejeda-Benítez, L.; Noguera, K.; Aga, D.S.; *Olivero-Verbel, J. Pesticides in sediments from Magdalena River, Colombia, are linked to reproductive toxicity on Caenorhabditis elegans. Chemosphere. 2023. 339, 139602.
  17. Halwatura, L.M.; *Aga, D.S. Broad-range extraction of highly polar to non-polar organic contaminants for inclusive target analysis and suspect screening of environmental samples. Science of The Total Environment. 2023. 893, 164707.
  18. Camdzic, M.; Aga, D.S.; *Atilla-Gokcumen, G.E. Cellular lipidome changes during retinoic acid (RA)-induced differentiation in SH-SY5Y cells: A comprehensive in vitro model for assessing neurotoxicity of contaminants. Environment & Health. 2023. 1, 110-120.
  19. Camdzic, D.; Dickman, R.A.; Joyce, A.S.; Wallace, J.S.; Ferguson, P.L.; *Aga, D.S. Quantitation of total PFAS including trifluoroacetic acid with fluorine nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Analytical Chemistry. 2023. 95, 5484–5488.
  20. Tarpeh, W.A.; Du, Y.; Carpenter, C.M.; Rodriguez, E.E.; Helbling, D.E.; Aga, D.S.; Love, N.G.; *Wigginton, K.R. A unit process approach to nontarget screening of organic contaminants during urine treatment. ACS ES&T Engineering. 2023. 3(4), 590-601.
  21. Running, L.S.; *Kordas, K.; Aga, D.S. Use of wristbands to measure exposure to environmental pollutants in children: Recent advances and future directions. Current Opinion in Environmental Science & Health. 2023, 32,100450.
  22. Brunelle, L.D.; Szczygiel, B.; Running, L.S.; Su, L.; Naas, K.M.; Dai, N.; Pérez-Fuentetaja, A.; *Aga, D.S. Effects of advanced oxidation on wastewater effluent ecotoxicity: A novel assessment through the life history and lipidomics analysis of Daphnia magna. ACS ES&T Water. 2023, 3, 438–447. (Journal Cover Article)
  23. Congilosi, J.L.; Wallace, J.S.; Neher, T.P.; Howe, A.; Soupir, M.L.; *Aga, D.S. Co-occurrence of antimicrobials and metals as potential drivers of antimicrobial resistance in swine farms. Frontiers in Environmental Science. 2022. 10, 1-13.
  24. Vilas-Boas, C.; Running, L.; Pereira, D.; Cidade, H.; Correia-da-Silva, M.; *Atilla-Gokcumen, G.E.; *Aga, D.S. Impact of tralopyril and triazolyl glycosylated chalcone in human retinal cells’ lipidome. Molecules. 2022. 27, 5247.
  25. Dickman, R.A.; *Aga, D.S. Efficient workflow for suspect screening analysis to characterize novel and legacy per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in biosolids. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry. 2022. 414, 4497-507.
  26. Running, L.; Atilla-Gokcumen, G.E.; *Aga, D.S. Development of a liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry-based in vitro assay to assess changes in steroid hormones due to exposure to per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances. Chemical Research in Toxicology. 2022. 35, 1277-88.
  27. Pal, P.; Millner, A.; Semina, S.E.; Huggins, R.J.; Running, L.; Aga, D.S.; Tonetti, D.A.; Schiff, R.; Greene, G.L.; *Atilla-Gokcumen, G.E.; Frasor, J. Endocrine therapy-resistant breast cancer cells are more sensitive to ceramide kinase inhibition and elevated ceramide levels than therapy-sensitive breast cancer cells. Cancers. 2022. 14, 2380.
  28. Dickman, R.A.; *Aga, D.S. A review of recent studies on toxicity, sequestration, and degradation of per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Journal of Hazardous Materials. 2022, 436, 129120.
  29. Millner, A.; Running, L.; Colon-Rosa, N.; Aga, D.S.; Frasor, J.; *Atilla-Gokcumen, G.E. Ceramide-1-Phosphate is involved in therapy-induced senescence. ACS Chemical Biology. 2022. 17, 822-828.
  30. Halwatura, L. M.; McLerran, I.S.; Weglarski, D.L.; Ahmed, Z.U.; Ye, Y.; Bradley, I.M.; *Aga, D.S. Complementing RNA detection with pharmaceutical monitoring for early warning of viral outbreaks through wastewater-based epidemiology. Environmental Science & Technology Letters. 2022. 9, 567-574.
  31. Prieto Riquelme, M.V.; Garner, E.; Gupta, S.; Metch, J.; Zhu, N.; Blair, M.F.; Arango-Argoty, G.; Maile-Moskowitz, A.; Li, A.D.; Flach, C.F.; Aga, D.S.; Nambi, I.M.; Joakim Larsson, D.G.; Burgmann, H.; Zhang, T.; *Pruden, A.; *Vikesland, P.J. Demonstrating a comprehensive wastewater-based surveillance approach that differentiates globally sourced resistomes. Environmental Science & Technology. 2022. 56, 14982-14993.
  32. Brunelle, L.D.; Huang, I.J.; Angeles, L.F.; Running, L.S.; Sirotkin, H.I.; *McElroy, A.E.; *Aga, D.S. Comprehensive assessment of chemical residues in surface and wastewater using passive sampling, chemical, biological, and fish behavioral assays. Science of the Total Environment. 2022. 828, 154176.
  33. Camdzic, M.; Aga, D.S.; *Atilla-Gokcumen, G.E. Cellular interactions and fatty acid transporter CD36-mediated uptake of per-and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS). Chemical Research in Toxicology. 2022. 35, 694–702.
  34. Angeles, L.F.; Halwatura, L.M.; Antle, J.; Simpson, S.; Jaraula, C.M.B.; *Aga, D.S. In silico-supported non-target analysis of contaminants of emerging concern: Increasing confidence in unknown identification in wastewater and surface waters. ACS ES&T Water. 2021. 1, 1765-1775.
  35. Dickman, R.A.; Brunelle, L.D.; Kennedy, B.; Noe-Hays, A.; Love, N.G.; *Aga, D.S. Increasing accuracy of field-scale studies to investigate plant uptake and soil dissipation of pharmaceuticals. Analytical Methods. 2021. 13, 3077-3085. 
  36. Camdzic, D.; Dickman, R.A.; *Aga, D.S. Total and class-specific analysis of per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances in environmental samples using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Journal of Hazardous Materials Letters. 2021. 2, 100023.
  37. Gupta, S.; Aga, D.; Pruden, A.; Zhang, L.Q.; *Vikesland, P. Data analytics for environmental science and engineering research. Environmental Science and Technology. 2021. 55, 10895-10907.
  38. Majeed, H.J.; Riquelme, M.V.; Davis, B.C.; Gupta, S.; Angeles, L.; Aga, D.S.; Garner, E.; *Pruden, A.; *Vikesland, P.J. Evaluation of metagenomic-enabled antibiotic resistance surveillance at a conventional wastewater treatment plant. Frontiers in Microbiology. 2021. 12, 657954.
  39. Masud, A.; Guardian, M.G.E.; Travis, S.C.; Chavez Soria, N.G.; Jarin, M.; *Aga, D.S.; *Aich, N. Redox-active rGO-nZVI nanohybrid-catalyzed chain shortening of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS). Journal of Hazardous Materials Letters. 2021. 2, 100007.
  40. Guardian, M.G.E.; He, P.; Bermudez, A.; Duan, S.; Kaushal, S.S.; Rosenfeldt, E.; *Aga, D.S. Optimized suspect screening approach for a comprehensive assessment of the impact of best management practices in reducing micropollutants transport in the Potomac River watershed. Water Research X. 2021. 11, 100088.
  41. Travis, S.C.; Kordas, K.; *Aga, D.S. Optimized workflow for unknown screening using gas chromatography high-resolution mass spectrometry expands identification of contaminants in silicone personal passive samplers. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry. 2021. 35, e9048.
  42. Schueler, J.; Naas, K.; Hurst, J.; Aga, D.; *Lansing, S. Effects of on-farm dairy manure composting on tetracycline content and nutrient composition. Antibiotics. 2021. 10, 443.
  43. Congilosi, J.; *Aga, D.S. Review on the fate of antimicrobials, antimicrobial resistance genes, and other micropollutants in manure during enhanced anaerobic digestion and composting. Journal of Hazardous Materials. 2021. 405, 123634.
  44. Schueler, J.; *Lansing, S.; Crossette, E.; Naas, K.; Hurst, J.; Raskin, L.; Wigginton, K.; Aga, D.S. Tetracycline, sulfadimethoxine, and antibiotic resistance gene dynamics during anaerobic digestion of dairy manure. Journal of Environmental Quality. 2021. 50, 694-705.
  45. *Duan, S.; Iwanowicz, L.R.; Noguera-Oviedo, K.; Kaushal, S.S.; Rosenfeldt, E.J.; Aga, D.S.; Murthy, S. Evidence that watershed nutrient management practices effectively reduce estrogens in environmental waters. Science of the Total Environment. 2021. 758, 143904.
  46. Angeles, L.F.; Singh, R.R.; Vikesland, P.J.; *Aga, D.S. Increased coverage and high confidence in suspect screening of emerging contaminants in global environmental samples. Journal of Hazardous Materials. 2021. 414, 125369.
  47. Farhat, Z.; Hershberger, P.A.; Freudenheim, J.L.; Mammen, M.J.; Blair, R.H.; Aga, D.S.; *Mu, L. Types of garlic and their anticancer and antioxidant activity: A review of the epidemiologic and experimental evidence. European Journal of Nutrition. 2021. 60, 3585–3609.
  48. Gonzalez-Gil, L.; Fernandez-Fontaina, E.; Singh, R.R.; Lema, J.M.; *Carballa, M.; Aga, D.S. Feeding composition and sludge retention time both affect (co-)metabolic biotransformation of pharmaceutical compounds in activated sludge systems. Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering. 2021. 9, 105123.
  49. Guardian, M.G.E.; Antle, J.P.; Vexelman, P.A.; *Aga, D.S.; *Simpson, S.M. Resolving unknown isomers of emerging per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in environmental samples using COSMO-RS-derived retention factor and mass fragmentation patterns. Journal of Hazardous Materials. 2021. 402, 123478.
  50. *Oliver, J.P.; Hurst, J.J.; Gooch, C.A.; Stappenbeck, A.; Sassoubre, L.; Aga, D.S. On-farm screw‐press/rotary drum treatment of dairy manure associated antibiotic residues and resistance. Journal of Environmental Quality. 2021. 50, 134–143.
  51. Duarte-Restrepo, E.; Noguera-Oviedo, K.; Butryn, D.; Wallace, J.S.; *Aga, D.S.; *Jaramillo-Colorado, B.E. Spatial distribution of pesticides, organochlorine compounds, PBDEs, and metals in surface marine sediments from Cartagena Bay, Colombia. Environmental Science and Pollution Research. 2021. 12, 14632-14653.