Graduate research on toxic metals earns international award

Kingsley Odigie, who earned his Ph.D. in environmental toxicology in 2014, has received the Kharaka Award from the International Association of Geochemistry

Kingsley Odigie
Kingsley Odigie

The International Association of Geochemistry has awarded the Kharaka Award to UC Santa Cruz alumnus Kingsley Odigie for his Ph.D. thesis research on remobilization of toxic metals by wildfires. Odigie earned his Ph.D. in environmental toxicology in 2014.

The Kharaka Award is given to scientists from developing countries. Odigie, who is from Nigeria, is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the U.S. Geological Survey science center in Santa Cruz.

"He is a stellar individual, whose research is truly deserving of such recognition," said Russell Flegal, professor of environmental toxicology and Odigie's thesis adviser at UC Santa Cruz.

Odigie's Ph.D. dissertation, "Pyrogenic Remobilization of Toxic Metals," used isotopic lead composition to investigate sources of toxic metals from wildfires. His work focused on lead and toxic metal mobility related to wildfires in southern California, central Africa, and South America, and led to several publications, including papers in Environmental Science and Technology and Applied Geochemistry.

In announcing the award, the International Association of Geochemistry noted that Odigie's research "illustrates an important application of geochemistry to the solution of the global problem of toxic metals in the environment." The announcement also described Odigie as "a young geochemist from a developing country with a great career ahead of him in trace metal cycles and climate change related issues."