Baylor University
Environmental Science
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Baylor > Environmental Science > Faculty and Staff > Sascha Usenko, Ph.D.
Sascha Usenko, Ph.D.

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Contact Information:
Department of Environmental Science
Baylor University
One Bear Place #97266
Waco, TX 76798-7266

Office: BSB A.424

Phone: (254) 710-2302

FAX: (254) 710-3409


Publications: Vitae

Lab Website: The Usenko Laboratory

Media Kit: Whale Earwax Research

Whale Earwax Research Donations

Associate Professor of Environmental Science.
Director, Environmental Science Graduate Program

  • Ph.D., Oregon State University, 2007
  • B.S., Oregon State University, 2001.

Academic Interests and Research:

Dr. Usenko's research interests include tracking the environmental transport and fate of anthropogenic contaminants in aquatic ecosystems, particularly in spatial and temporal scales; also the transformation and bioavailability of persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic chemicals in the environment; and also the focus on the environmental forensic chemistry to identify sources of contaminants using unique chemical fingerprints.


Graduate Faculty, Department of Environmental Science, Baylor University (2008-present)
Graduate Faculty, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Baylor University (2010-present)
Graduate Faculty, The Institute of Ecological, Earth, and Environmental Sciences, Baylor University (2009-present)
Center for Reservoir and Aquatic Research Systems (2008-present) American Chemical Society (2006-present)
Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (2001-present) Chemistry Steering Committed for SETAC (2010-present)
Chemistry Advisor Group for SETAC (2010-present) (Chair-elect)
University Sustainability Committee (2009-present)
Co-Chair a session at the SETAC North America Conference, New Orleans 2009
Phi Lambda Upsilon Honor Chemical Society (2001-2006)

Synergistic Activities

Co-Chair South-Central Regional SETAC Conference(2012)
Teaching: Introduction into Air Quality(ENV 3316), Environmental Chemistry(ENV 3387), Environmental Chemistry Analysis(ENV 5303), and Advanced Environmental Chemistry(ENV 5387)
Manuscript review: Environmental Science and Technology, Chemosphere, Environmental Pollution, Science of the Total Environment
Mentoring of students: 2 undergraduates, 4 doctoral level students, and a post-doctoral research fellow in analytical and environmental chemistry
Outreach: Advanced Instrumentation Workshop: GC/MS Analysis of Contaminants in Extreme Rare Samples: Bowhead Whale Blubber Chair Elect for SETAC Chemistry Advising Group


Crystal Usenko (BMS) 2013, Best Abstract for the Society of Toxicology Lone Star Chapter
Eleanor Robinson (TIEEES) 2012, SETAC American Chemical Society's Division of Environmental Chemistry Graduate Student Exchange Award
Crystal Usenko (BMS) 2012, 2nd Place for Platform Presentation at Regional Society of Toxicology
Addie Clark (Chemistry) 2012, NASA SARP Travel award to attend AGU Annual Fall Conference Addie Clark (Chemistry) 2012, NASA Student Airborne Research Program(SARP) Internship
Bikram Subedi (Chemistry) 2012, American Chemical Society's Division of Environmental Chemistry Graduate Student Award
Division of Environmental Chemistry Student Awards, 2011 ’ Eleanor Robinson
Stan Curry Memorial Scholarship, North Texas Air Waste and Management Association ’ Eleanor Robinson
SETAC regional conference best platform presentation, 2010 ’ Eleanor Robinson
SETAC travel award to attend SETAC North America, 2010 and 2011 ’ Eleanor Robinson, Lissette Aguilar, and Bikram Subedi.
Graduate Student Travel Awards from Baylor University, 2009 and 2010 ’ Eleanor Robinson, Lissette Aguilar, and Bikram Subedi.
CONACYT Graduate Studies Scholarship 2009 ’ Lissette Aguilar
CONACYT (National Council of Technology and Science) award to Mexican citizens to support their graduate studies abroad 2009, 2010, and 2011 ’ Lissette Aguilar
Franklin/McAtee Funds, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Baylor University, 2009 and 2010 ’ Bikram Subedi
SETAC regional conference 2nd place in oral platform presentation, 2010 ’ Bikram Subedi

Barrett TE, Robinson EM, Usenko S, Sheesley RJ, (2015) Source contributions to wintertime elemental and organic carbon in the western Arctic based on radiocarbon and tracer apportionment. Environmental Science & Technology, DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.5b03081.

Clark AE, Yoon S, Sheesley RJ, Usenko S* (2015) Pressurized liquid extraction technique for the analysis of pesticides, PCBs, PBDEs, OPEs, PAHs, alkanes, hopanes, and steranes in atmospheric particulate matter. Chemosphere 137, 33-44.

Subedi B, Aguilar L, Robinson EM, Hageman KJ, Björklund E, Sheesley RJ, Usenko S* (2015) Selective pressurized liquid extraction as a sample-preparation technique for persistent organic pollutants and contaminants of emerging concern. TrAC Trends in Analytical Chemistry 68, 119-132.

Robinson EM, Jia M, Trumble SJ, Usenko S* (2015) Selective pressurized liquid extraction technique for halogenated organic pollutants in marine mammal blubber: A lipid-rich matrix. Journal of Chromatography A 1385, 111-115.

Nallathamby PD, Lewandowski M, Jaoui M, Offenberg JH, Kleindienst TE, Rubitschun C, Surratt JD, Usenko S, Sheesley RJ (2014) Qualitative and quantitative assessment of unresolved complex mixture in PM2.5 of Bakersfield, CA. Atmospheric Environment 98, 368-375.

Aguilar L, William SE, Brooks BW, Usenko S* (2014) Enhanced pressurized liquid extraction technique of dioxins, furans, and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls from sediments. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. 33(7): 1529-1536.

Oziolor EM, Bigorgne E, Aguilar L, Usenko S, Matson CW (2014) Evolved resistance to PCB- and PAH-induced cardiac teratogenesis, and reduced CYP1A activity in Gulf killifish (Fundulus grandis) populations from the Houston Ship Channel, Texas. Aquatic Toxicology 150, 210-219.

Subedi B, Aguilar L, William SE, Brooks BW, Usenko S* (2014) Selective Pressurized Liquid Extraction Technique Capable of Analyzing Dioxins, Furans, and PCBs in Clams and Crab Tissue. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology. 92 (4), 460-465

Robinson EM, Trumble SJ, Subedi B, Sanders R, Usenko S* (2013) Selective pressurized liquid extraction of pesticides, PCBs, and PBDEs in a whale earplug (earwax): A novel method for analyzing organic contaminants in lipid-rich matrices. Journal of Chromatography A.1319, 14-20.

Trumble SJ, Robinson EM, Berman-Kowalewski M, Potter CW, Usenko S* (2013) Blue whale earplug reveals lifetime contaminant exposure and hormone profiles. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (early edition Sept 16th).

Usenko CY, Robinson EM, Bruce ED, Usenko S* (2013) Uptake and Metabolism of Individual Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether Congeners by Embryonic Zebrafish. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 32(5):1153-1160.

Furman O, Usenko S, Lau BLT (2013) Relative Importance of the Humic and Fulvic Fractions of Natural Organic Matter in the Aggregation and Deposition of Silver Nanoparticles. Environmental Science & Technology 47(3):1349-1356.

Trumble SJ, Robinson EM, Noren SR, Usenko S*, Davis J, Kanatous SB (2012) Assessment of legacy and emerging persistent organic pollutants in Weddell seal tissue (Leptonychotes weddellii) near McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. Science of the Total Environment 439:275-283.

Subedi B, Usenko S* (2012) Enhanced pressurized liquid extraction technique capable of analyzing polychlorodibenzo-p-dioxins, polychlorodibenzofurans, and polychlorobiphenyls in fish tissue. Journal of Chromatography A 1238:30-37.

Subedi B, Du BW, Chambliss CK, Koschorreck J, Rudel H, Quack M, Brooks BW, Usenko S* (2012) Occurrence of Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in German Fish Tissue: A National Study. Environmental Science & Technology 46(16):9047-9054.

Usenko CY, Robinson EM, Usenko S, Brooks BW, Bruce ED (2011) PBDE Developmental Effects on Embryonic Zebrafish. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 30(8):1865-1872.

Subedi B, Mottaleb MA, Chambliss CK, Usenko S* (2011) Simultaneous analysis of select pharmaceuticals and personal care products in fish tissue using pressurized liquid extraction combined with silica gel cleanup. Journal of Chromatography A 1218(37):6278-6284.

Genualdi SA, Hageman KJ, Ackerman LK, Usenko S, Simonich SLM (2011) Sources and Fate of Chiral Organochlorine Pesticides in Western US National Park Ecosystems. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 30(7):1533-1538.

Usenko S, Smonich SLM, Hageman KJ, Schrlau JE, Geiser L, Campbell DH, Appleby PG, Landers DH (2010) Sources and Deposition of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons to Western US National Parks. Environmental Science & Technology 44(12):4512-4518.

Landers DH, Simonich SM, Jaffe D, Geiser L, Campbell DH, Schwindt A, Schreck C, Kent M, Hafner W, Taylor HE, Hageman K, Usenko S , Ackerman L, Schrlau J, Rose N, Blett T, Erway MM (2010) The Western Airborne Contaminant Assessment Project (WACAP): An Interdisciplinary Evaluation of the Impacts of Airborne Contaminants in Western US National Parks. Environmental Science & Technology 44(3):855-859.

Fulton BA, Brain RA, Usenko S, Back JA, Brooks BW (2010) Exploring Lemna Gibba Thresholds to Nutrient and Chemical Stressors: Differential Effects of Triclosan on Internal Stoichiometry and Nitrate Uptake across a Nitrogen:Phosphorus Gradient. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 29(10):2363-2370.

Ramirez AJ, Brain RA, Usenko S, Mottaleb MA, O'Donnell JG, Stahl LL, Wathen JB, Snyder BD, Pitt JL, Perez-Hurtado P, Dobbins LL, Brooks BW, Chambliss CK (2009) Occurrence of Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in Fish: Results of a National Pilot Study in the United States. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 28(12):2587-2597.

Mottaleb MA, Usenko S, O'Donnell JG, Ramirez AJ, Brooks BW, Chambliss CK (2009) Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry screening methods for select UV filters, synthetic musks, alkylphenols, an antimicrobial agent, and an insect repellent in fish. Journal of Chromatography A 1216(5):815-823.

Fulton BA, Brain RA, Usenko S, Back JA, King RS, Brooks BW (2009) Influence of Nitrogen and Phosphorus Concentrations and Ratios on Lemna Gibba Growth Responses to Triclosan in Laboratory and Stream Mesocosm Experiments. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 28(12):2610-2621.

Dobbins LL, Usenko S, Brain RA, Brooks BW (2009) Probabilistic Ecological Hazard Assessment of Parabens Using Daphnia Magna and Pimephales Promelas. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 28(12):2744-2753.

Usenko S, Landers DH, Appleby PG, Simonich SL (2007) Current and historical deposition of PBDEs, pesticides, PCBs, and PAHs to rocky mountain national park. Environmental Science & Technology 41(21):7235-7241.

Usenko S, Hageman KJ, Schmedding DW, Wilson GR, Simonich SL (2005) Trace analysis of semivolatile organic compounds in large volume samples of snow, lake water, and groundwater. Environmental Science & Technology 39(16):6006-6015.

Usenko S*, Subedi B, Aguilar L, Robinson E (2013) Chapter 6 - High-Throughput Analysis of PPCPs, PCDD/Fs, and PCBs in Biological Matrices Using GC–MS/MS. Editors: Imma Ferrer and E. Michael Thurman. In Advanced Techniques in Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS-MS and GC-TOF-MS) for Environment, Elsevier.

Usenko S*, Winfield ZC, Trumble SJ, Lysiak N (2015) GC-MS and UHPLC-MS-MS Analysis of Organic Contaminants and Hormones in Whale Earwax Using Selective Pressurized Liquid Extraction. In press LCGC North America.