Facebook logo Twitter logo YouTube logo Podcast logo RSS feed logo

Where Are They Now?

Brian Looney

Brian Looney

Which Sea Grant researcher did you work with as a graduate student and what did you work on?

I worked with Steve Eisenreich, who at the time was with the University of Minnesota Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Tom Johnson, Director of the Large Lakes Observatory, as well as other professors. I studied the deposition and cycling of PCBs and other chlorinated organic compounds in the Great Lakes. This work spanned many years and several students contributed to the effort including Greg Hollod, Paul Capel, and Joel Baker. I believe that the resulting data and our interpretation about the dynamic relationships between atmospheric deposition, sedimentation, mixing, and uptake have contributed to a more informed and rational policy for protecting this important ecosystem.

What do you do now?

I am a Senior Fellow Research Engineer in the Savannah River Laboratory a Department of Energy Laboratory in South Carolina, where I have worked for about 18 years since I graduated from the University of Minnesota. I develop and demonstrate innovative technologies to clean up contaminated soil, including applications of horizontal wells; ways to examine hazardous waste sites with chemical and mathematical methods; and ways to improve bacterial, thermal, and electrical clean up techniques. I have six patents related to this work and many publications. I recently edited, with Ron Falta of Clemson University, a scientific book entitled, Vadose Zone Science and Technology Solutions.

How did your graduate work prepare you for your current job?

Sea Grant provides a unique opportunity to work in coastal and large lake environments where a systematic viewpoint is essential. Learning the importance of the various interrelationships and then incorporating them into attempts to understand or manipulate a system have been critical in my career as I evaluate problems and try to develop creative solutions.

Have you received any noteworthy awards in the last few years?

I have received a variety of awards, including the Research and Development 100 Award in both 1994 and 1996 (these awards recognize the 100 most significant achievements in applied research and development during each year and are presented by Research and Development magazine), and the Federal Laboratory Consortium National Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer in 1996 and 1999.

Why do you think Sea Grant is a worthwhile organization?

Sea Grant provides a unique opportunity and culture that encourages the interdisciplinary and systematic perspective that is critically important in successful environmental programs. I am grateful that I benefited from this unusual and visionary concept.

When you were in college, did you ever think you would be doing your current work?

I hoped to work in applied research and development and to benefit environmental protection efforts by being part of a positive scientific solution. I enjoy my current job and I enjoy the opportunities I have had to teach college classes, and to mentor students and young professionals.

By Sea Grant Staff
March 2002

Return to March 2002 Seiche

This page last modified on March 01, 2018     © 1996 – 2019 Regents of the University of Minnesota     The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
Facebook logo Twitter logo YouTube logo Podcast logo RSS feed logo
Logo: NOAA Logo: UMD Logo: University of Minnesota Logo: University of Minnesota Extension