Dr. Eliane El Hayek received her Ph.D. in Environmental Science from the Lebanese University and University of Paul Sabatier Toulouse. In her Ph.D., she studied atmospheric pollution and the potential of using cactus species for biomonitoring in arid and semi-arid regions by conducting lead isotopic studies. She conducted a postdoctoral fellowship in the lab of Dr. Jose Cerrato in the School of Engineering at UNM, where she became involved in research understanding the environmental fate and toxicity of heavy metals like uranium and arsenic. In her postdoctoral fellowship, she was also teaching quantitative chemistry course with Dr. Stephen Cabaniss at the chemistry department.

Personal Statement

During my research journey, I was interested in studying how toxic contaminants interact with the world of the biological systems, starting from lead and cactus stems in my Ph.D., to metals (uranium and arsenic) and microplastics and the rhizosphere (plant roots and microbes) in my Postdoc, and recently uranium and human lung epithelial cells. By combining my background as a biochemist and environmental scientist, I have used the craftsmanship of fusing interdisciplinary sciences to work with greenhouse experiments and enter the cell-culture laboratory.

As a Research Assistant Professor, my plan is to establish a research program combining the following areas: the bioavailability and toxicity of the emerging plastic contaminants and metals in air-plant-rhizosphere systems and the associated health risk exposures; and the impact of physicochemical characteristics of particulates in the air on their reactivity and on human exposure through inhalation.

Areas of Specialty

Atmospheric pollution


Ph.D. in Environmental Science from the Lebanese University and University of Paul Sabatier Toulouse


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