Katherine T. Alben

Katherine T. Alben

Research Assistant Professor
Environmental Health Sciences


Wadsworth Center, Biggs Lab, Room d300/c353

Postdoctoral training: Yale University, Engineering and Applied Science (1977)

Postdoctoral training: Washington State Department of Health (1976)

PhD, Physical Chemistry, Yale University (1976)


Chromatographic and spectrometric methods of analysis are of major interest, for application to complex mixtures of natural and anthropogenic organic contaminants in drinking water, as well as organic natural products synthesized by algae.

Pilot-scale experiments have been conducted to investigate granular activated carbon (GAC) adsorption of hydrophobic organic contaminants from drinking water, with partial funding from the American Water Works Association Research Foundation and the Hudson River Foundation. Purification of drinking water using GAC was demonstrated for a wide range of compounds: disinfection byproducts (trihalomethanes; haloacetic acids; aldehydes; TOX) and their natural-product precursors, as well as synthetic organics (solvents; pesticides and herbicides; polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons).

Biomarkers of phytoplankton classes and their uptake by diverse aquatic organisms from the Great Lakes have been investigated with partial funding from US EPA Great Lakes National Program Office and New York Sea Grant.  Carotenoid biomarkers and their interactions with complex neutral lipids in biological specimens remain of ongoing interest, using liquid chromatography, wavelength and mass spectrometry for analysis, as well as molecular modeling methods to support compound identification.


Additional Information

Courses Taught

EHS 605    Water Quality and Public Health

EHS 621    Chromatography

EHS 690    Lab Rotations



M. Bridoux, M. Sobiechowska, R. Briggs, A. Perez-Fuentetaja, K. T. Alben.  LC-PDA/APCIitMS identification of algal carotenoid and oxysterol precursors to fatty acid esters in hydrolyzed extracts of the freshwater mussel Dreissena bugensis  Anal Bioanal Chem. 2017. 409(29):6745-6760.    DOI:  10.1007/s00216-017-0562-9M.

Bridoux, M. Sobiechowska, R. Briggs, A. Perez-Fuentetaja, K. T. Alben.  Separation and identification of fatty acid esters of algal carotenoids in the freshwater mussel Dreissena bugensis, by liquid chromatography with visible-wavelength and mass spectrometric detectors in series.   J Chromatogr A.  2017. 1513:93-105.  DOI:  10.1016/j.chroma.2017.07.021

M. Sobiechowska, M. Bridoux, A. Perez-Fuentetaja, A. H. Ferreira Ferreira, K. T. Alben.  Biomarkers of algal populations in phytoplankton, filamentous algae, and sediments from the eastern basin of Lake Erie 2003-2005.  J. Great Lakes Research. 2010. 36(2):298-311.  DOI:  10.1016/j.jglr.2010.03.006M.

Bridoux, M. Sobiechowska, A. Perez-Fuentetaja, K. T. Alben.  Algal pigments in Lake Erie dressenids, pseudofeces and sediments, as tracers of diet, selective feeding and bioaccumulation.  J. Great Lakes Research. 2010. 36(3): 437-447.  DOI:  10.1016/j.jglr.2010.06.005

K.T. Alben, J Kaczmarczyk, E Shpirt, D Brezniak, D Kinney.  Treatment of the Hudson River to Supply Potable Water: Fate of Select Trace Organics. Final Report. Hudson River Foundation, NY. (1996) 150 pp.

K.T. Alben, E Shpirt, L Mathevet, J Kaczmarczyk, S Notthakun, S Bhuvendralingam, D Hand, JC Crittenden. GAC Adsorption of SOCs Under Dynamic Conditions in Surface Water Treatment. AWWA Research Foundation Final Report. (1995) 375 pp.