Andrew Nelson

Andrew Nelson
Year of graduation: 

I joined the Human Toxicology PhD program in 2012. My main draw to the program is the interdisciplinary nature. Before coming to the University Iowa, I was trained as a biochemist (BA 2009) at the University of Colorado-Boulder and then as an environmental scientist/engineer (MS 2010) at the Colorado School of Mines. The interdisciplinary program provides me with the opportunity to draw upon my previous experiences in the biosciences and applied fields and combine them into the study of xenobiotics in the environment. The goal of my graduate training at Iowa is to prepare for a career in risk assessment.

As a first-year student in the program, I have three rotations with potential mentors. My first rotation was with Dr. Thorne where I worked on an exposure-assessment project for airborne PCBs. My second rotation is with Dr. Mattes, investigating the role of microbes in the metabolism of xenobiotics, like vinyl chloride, as a means for remediating contaminated sites. I have not yet determined with which lab I will do my third rotation. There are many interesting projects on campus so it is difficult for me to narrow down the options.

In my free time I enjoy endurance athletics such as triathlon and climbing. When I’m not moving or studying, I tend to spend my time cooking (hopefully) fabulous meals. Iowa City is really a great place to get outside to play and has affordably priced, high-quality farmer’s markets, making it a wonderful fit for my academic and personal interests.

Previous education:

BA, Biochemistry and Minor in Chemistry
University of Colorado, Boulder, CO
MS, Environmental Science and Engineering
Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO
Current research description: 

Studying radionuclides liberated by unconventional drilling

Thesis title: 

Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials Associated with Unconventional Drilling for Natural Gas


Nelson, A.W., Feazel, L.M., Robertson, C.E., Spear, J.R., and Frank, D.N. (2012). Microbiological water quality monitoring in a resource-limited urban area: a study in Cameroon, Africa. Journal of Public Health in Africa 3, e19.

Ball, K.A., Nelson, A.W., Foster, D.G., and Poyton, R.O. (2012). Nitric oxide produced by cytochrome c oxidase helps stabilize HIF-1α in hypoxic mammalian cells. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 420, 727–732.

Awards and honors: 

University of Iowa Presidential Graduate Research Fellowship

Current position: 
Postodoctoral Research Associate
Current employer/institution: 
Sandia National Laboratories