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Oregon State University

Agilent Announces Thought Leader Award to Professor Jennifer Field

Oregon State University researcher recognized for her pioneering work with organic micropollutants and PFAS

by Agilent Technologies
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Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) announced that Dr. Jennifer Field, an influential researcher in environmental analysis, has been selected to receive a prestigious Agilent Thought Leader Award. A professor in the Environmental and Molecular Toxicology Department at Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences, Field focuses her research on the quantitative analysis of organic micropollutants and their transformation products in natural and engineered systems, particularly, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). 

Commonly referred to as “forever chemicals,” PFAS have been widely used in various industrial applications since the 1940s. Recent studies have revealed that an increasing number of the over 5,000 identified PFAS chemicals pose a significant risk due to their resistance to biodegradation, potentially leading to harmful effects on both human health and wildlife. Thus, although their full toxicological and environmental implications remain the subject of intense research, detecting and identifying these substances in complex environmental matrices and commercial products is a pressing challenge. 

Field commented on the Agilent Thought Leader Award. “It is with profound gratitude that I receive this prestigious award. Our investigative efforts are centered on the multifaceted array of PFAS compounds. Despite some shared attributes, the structural diversity exhibited by this wide array of chemicals is remarkable and poses many challenges. We are on a quest to help discern which PFAS are present to help inform human exposure to PFAS by collecting data on PFAS occurrence, fate, and transport. Agilent’s state-of-the-art technologies will undoubtedly be an invaluable asset in this quest.”

As part of her multi-faceted research program in environmental analytical chemistry, Field leads a team aiming to establish a hierarchical approach for the discovery, characterization, and quantification of PFAS present in groundwater, wastewater and other effluents, landfill leachates, commercial products, and consumer goods. To this end, they employ a strategy that combines gas- and liquid chromatography with high resolution mass spectrometry complemented by other analyses to characterize the total fluorine content of samples and to characterize fluoropolymers and their additives.

Ken Suzuki, vice president and general manager of Agilent’s Mass Spectrometry division, remarked on the significance of recognizing Professor Field with this award. “We are privileged to support Professor Field. Her innovative approach to utilizing analytical methodologies to comprehend and alleviate the environmental and health repercussions of PFAS is truly commendable. Her work will undoubtedly significantly influence environmental conservation and global health.”