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Researchers from Mercer University and University of Belize discuss future collaboration

Posted: Tuesday, October 10, 2023. 3:20 pm CST.

By Zoila Palma Gonzalez: On October 4 and 5th, 2023, researchers from Mercer University in the United States visited the University of Belize (UB) to seek research collaboration in heavy metal contamination.

The Mercer University team consisting of Distinguished University Professor Adam Kiefer, Dr. Addie Buerck, Dr. Adrian Vasquez, and undergraduate student Ben Stewart, met with UB administrators and senior staff of the Department of the Environment (DOE) to identify high-level areas of research collaboration.

The meeting was followed by a tour of the Hummingbird Analytical Laboratory and a meeting with faculty and staff at the Faculty of Science and Technology (FST) for a presentation by Mercer University on their research work and discussions around faculty-level collaboration areas.

Then on October 5, the Mercer University researchers trained UB faculty, staff, Bachelor-level thesis students, and DOE staff on the use of a portable X-ray Fluorescence (pXRF) spectrometer and its applications in heavy metal contamination research to complement the already existing research capacity in mercury analysis at UB.

Subsequently, Professor Adam Kiefer delivered a seminar talk to UB undergraduate thesis students on his research work in mercury contamination in artisanal gold mining and lead contamination in paint.

The University of Belize noted that this initial visit will forge future ties among UB, Mercer University, and the Department of the Environment in developing research capacity in heavy metal contamination to make meaningful impacts in Belize, addressing current national gaps in heavy metal pollution, environmental health, and human health.


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