Student Achievements

Fall 2019 Newsletter

  • September 16, 2020

    Jan Halámek Appointed Associate Editor for Forensic Chemistry, a specialty section of Frontiers in Analytical Science

    June 2021


    Dr. Jan Halámek has been appointed as an Associate Editor for Forensic Chemistry, a specialty section of Frontiers in Analytical Science. Frontiers is a leading open-access science platform which covers more than 900 academic disciplines. The Analytical Science journal specifically focuses on research related to the development and application of techniques for detecting, analyzing, and monitoring chemicals and chemical/biochemical systems.



  • June 2, 2021

    Saving Lives: India’s Technical Textile Revolution Paved Way for COVID-19 Response

    GLENYS YOUNG, JUNE 2, 2021


    Seshadri Ramkumar has played a vital role in the industry’s growth over two-plus decades.


    As COVID-19 surged through the U.S. last spring and summer, the country found itself facing an alarming shortage of the personal protective equipment (PPE) frontline health care workers desperately needed to battle the pandemic.


    This year, on the other side of the globe, India is embroiled in the same struggle, except for one key thing. Until mid-2020, the U.S. relied on China to produce most of the PPE it used. In contrast, India is self-reliant – it can produce its own PPE because of its widespread support for and adoption of the technical textiles industry. Technical textiles such as nonwoven fabrics are important components of face masks, medical gowns and PPE.


    It wasn't always this way, but the work of one Texas Tech University professor over the last two-plus decades has played a vital role in preparing India for the very fight it's in now.


    After completing his doctorate in materials, textiles and fiber science in 1998, Seshadri Ramkumar joined Texas Tech. In 1999, with a major investment from the U.S. Department of Defense, he began researching nonwoven materials for defensive applications, such as chemical and environmental decontamination.

    Full Story








  • April 5, 2021

    Mask Mandates Reduced COVID-19 in Roughly Two-Thirds of States


    Published Thursday (April 1) in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, the research analysis by doctoral student James Ayodeji and his adviser Seshadri Ramkumar, professor of chemical countermeasures and advanced materials, shows that roughly two-thirds of states saw a reduction in COVID-19 cases in the three to four weeks after enacting a mask mandate.

    Full Story



  • February 9, 2021

    Division Leadership and Service Award Presented to

    Dr. Seshadri Ramkumar


    Dr. Seshadri Ramkumar received the 2020 Nonwovens Engineers & Technologists Division’s Leadership and Service Award from the Technical Association of Pulp and Paper Industry (TAPPI). TAPPI is a leading professional organization and is over 100 years old.

  • January 27, 2021

    Texas Tech Decontamination Wipe Finds New Use Helping Animals



    FiberTectTM was conceived for military applications but has since expanded into oil spills and, now, animal operations.


    Anyone with a dog knows what happens when the animal gets wet: the big shake that throws water all over everyone and everything nearby. But what happens if the dog is covered in something more hazardous than water?

    It also gets thrown all over everyone and everything nearby.

    Two years ago, Brett Huff, an animal decontamination specialist, was looking for a better solution than the diluted-dish-soap-and-water method he was using to clean animals. It was messy, distressing to the animals – even in warm weather, let alone the freezing temperatures of winter – and, when it was all over, he had a huge amount of contaminated water to dispose of, which had to be done safely.


    That's when a member of the U.S. Army's Special Forces asked if he'd heard of FiberTectTM.


    Full Story



    Sonoma News Tribune Story

  • December 14, 2020

    SETAC Globe  used a point of reference article by Dr. Phil Smith recently published in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry

    The Meat of the Matter: Environmental Dissemination of Beef Cattle Agrochemicals

    14 January 2021|Categories: 2021, Science and Publications, Volume 22 Issue 1


    A recent Point of Reference, “The meat of the matter: Environmental dissemination of beef cattle agrochemicals,” published in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry addresses synthetic chemical cocktails being emitted from cattle feed yards into the environment and how they can impact our ecosystem and our health.


    Industrial meat production facilities have a bad reputation for their impact on the environment. Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are known to release greenhouse gases related to global warming and for discharge of manure to watersheds, which affects water quality. A less publicized impact of modern beef production is the excessive use of pharmaceuticals and pesticides, which end up in the environment. The animal production agriculture sector holds the record as the single greatest consumer of antimicrobials. Dust from feed yards typically contains antibiotics, synthetic steroids (growth hormones) and pesticides. At a time when honeybee population decline is a hot topic, it is curious that the dust emitted each day from feed yards in the U.S. alone theoretically contains enough permethrin to kill more than a billion honeybees per day.

    Full Story


  • December 16, 2020

    Researchers At Texas Tech Use Photodegradation

     To Remove Toxic Dyes From Wastewater


    A team of Texas Tech University researchers working in advanced textiles has found a new

    way to remove toxic dye pollutants from wastewater, and their approach is safer, cheaper and easier than traditional methods.




    Full Story

    Full Story

  • December 10, 2020

    Science News For Students cited Dr. Ramkumar group's nanofiber filter technology in the article:

    Why today’s ‘fast fashions’ can be bad for the planet

    The constant buy-wear-toss cycle of such clothes also costs more in the long run


    ... Another group invented a reusable filter to catch and break up synthetic dyes. Seshadri Ramkumar is a materials scientist at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. He and his team made this filter from a web of nanofibers. A water-repelling compound keeps the web from absorbing water. Meanwhile, the web traps larger dye molecules in its small pores. After the filter dries, a titanium-dioxide compound in it helps visible light break down the dye.


    Sunlight activates the dye breakdown, notes Ramkumar. His group has tested the filter with a red dye. After six hours, eight in every 10 of the dye molecules had broken down. The rest broke down over the course of seven weeks. (Over time, dye colors can fade in visible light, but not that quickly.)


    Using sunlight helps keep the dye-breakdown costs low. That matters in a competitive industry like fashion, Ramkumar says. “There needs to be a balance between technology and cost.”


    He and his team just described their new filter in the October issue of the Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering.


    Full Story


  • November 2,2020

    Grad Students Explore Cotton as a COVID-19 Countermeasure


    Face masks are front and center in this year’s U.S. Presidential election – even becoming part of gift baskets this holiday season.


    With wintry weather on the horizon, COVID-19 cases are expected to rise, as is evident in the recent surge in Europe and United States. Given these circumstances, sharing knowledge on biomedical and nonmedical countermeasures are the need of the hour.


    I have been handling graduate level courses in the Spring and current Fall semester to discuss state-of-the-art in personal protection against infectious diseases and toxic chemicals. A highlight of the current class is the engaged discussions on the usefulness of PPEs – and particularly cotton as a countermeasure material.


    Full Story


  • November 2, 2020

    The Fog | IEAM Blog

     The following post is one of a series previewing the research that will be presented at the SETAC North America 41st Annual Meeting (SciCon2), 15–19 November 2020.


     A guest post by Eric Peterson, Texas Tech University


    Imagine driving down a country road on a clear, beautiful summer evening, when you see what looks like fog across the road in front of you. As you drive closer and closer, your car becomes engulfed, and you can no longer see the telephone poles in front of you. After a few hundred meters or so of this “fog,” you emerge on the other side, and it is once again clear. While it may sound like a scene out of the Stephen King novel The Mist, and more of a science fiction scenario, it is actually a phenomenon that occurs on a nightly basis all across the High Plains of the United States of America (US). The true culprit of this “fog” is actually dust emanating from beef cattle feed yards on a nightly basis.


    Full Story


  • October 13, 2020

    Researchers: Widely Used Mosquito Control Insecticides Are Becoming Less Effective



    More than two-thirds of mosquitoes tested showed strong resistance to public health insecticides.


    Every summer, vector control teams throughout the country work to minimize the mosquito population in their areas. After all, mosquitoes aren't just the uninvited guests at your backyard barbecue that leave you with itchy, red bumps; they can spread diseases including Zika, West Nile, St. Louis encephalitis, dengue fever, yellow fever and chikungunya.


    So, what happens when those control methods become less effective? That's a question the state of Texas is facing now.

    Full Story


  • October 7, 2020

    The Truth About Cotton Waste


    In commemoration of World Cotton Day (Oct 7), Washington, DC-based influential global association of governments with stake in the cotton sector, International Cotton Advisory Committee has released a video on new applications of cotton. "Cotton Oil Absorbent" research carried out in Professor Seshadri Ramkumar's laboratory at Texas Tech University is highlighted in the video that includes many breakthroughs in cotton. Oil absorbent work appears at the 2-minute segment.


  • September 10, 2020

    Texas Tech receives grant to foster equity in faculty

    By: Hannah Isom

    Staff Writer


    Texas Tech was awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation’s ADVANCE program.


    Tech’s ADVANCE project, “Advancing Equity through Systemic Strategies to Improve Leadership, Departmental Collegiately, and Data Transparency at Texas Tech University”, addresses gender, race and ethnicity issues that prohibit faculty success at the institution, according to a release from the Office of Research and Innovation.


    The grant is designed to foster equity by identifying and removing organizational barriers women and underrepresented minorities in faculty may face, according to the release.


    Tech identified three challenges to equity, which are dissatisfaction with department chair leadership, the lack of organized infrastructure and professional development opportunities for faculty and dissatisfaction with STEM department's department collegiality, according to the release.


    The proposed solutions to these challenges are to develop leadership in department chairs using intersectional approaches, establish organizational infrastructure and professional development opportunities and enhancing data infrastructure and operating policies that supports equity, data-driven decision making and accountability.


    The grant team is comprised of PI Stephanie J. Jones, and Co-PIs Kay Tindle, Kay Millerick, Jaclyn Canas-Carrell, and Michael Galyean.



  • August 31, 2020

    Tech cotton researcher develops COVID-19 protection

    By: Adán Rubio

    News Editor Aug 26, 2020


    When thinking of COVID-19 defenses, one may not think about a fiber that can be found across the state. For one Texas Tech professor, cotton is a key component to developing effective masks.


    Seshadri Ramkumar, professor of advanced materials in the Tech Department of Environmental Toxicology, has been researching the use of cotton in filtration processes for many years. With the presence of the COVID-19 pandemic, he now is using his knowledge of filtration and cotton fibers to develop more efficient masks.


    Full Story


  • August 26, 2020

    Tech Plains Bridges to Baccalaureate receives award for STEM efforts

    By: Kamryn Mendoza

    Staff Writer Aug 25, 2020



    Texas Tech’s Plains Bridges to Baccalaureate (PBB) Program recently received an award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine known as the 2020 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award.


    Programs across the country receive this award in recognition of their hard work and advocacy for students in STEM fields who are underrepresented, according to a Tech news release.


    Jaclyn E. Cañas-Carell, PBB program director and a Professor of analytical toxicology and environmental chemistry said the program is honored to receive the award, according to the news release. Cañas -Carrell and the program look forward to continuing to work with students who are underrepresented from the South Plains College and bring diversity to STEM.


    The PBB was created in 2008 through a partnership between South Plains College and Tech for STEM students to help with the transition from a community college to a university, according to the news release. The National Institute of General Medical Sciences within the National Institutes of Health funds the PBB through a $1.2 million grant.


    With 118 program participants, Cañas-Carrell said 93 percent of them have transferred to Tech, according to the news release.


    Carol Summer, vice president of the Tech Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and chief diversity officer said, the faculty who lead the program dedicate their lives to the students involved in the program, according to the news release.

  • August 16, 2020


    Seeing the good that can come from masking

    Posted Aug 16, 2020 at 12:01 AM


    As schools and colleges begin to open, there is new normal in the shopping list — masks.


    There is more good out of masking — safety and indeed opportunities for economic revival.


    COVID-19 has genuinely raised the profile of items such as masks and hygiene products. When the pandemic was at its peak, lack of availability of surgical and respiratory masks exposed the vulnerability of our nation in a few sectors, as China has been controlling those markets. Nevertheless, COVID-19 has in fact rejuvenated interest and the need of the manufacturing sector.


    Lubbock and Texas Tech have a long history of forward thinking by investing in research and education. This fact has gained great visibility in the present pandemic with Texas Tech having the state’s first COVID-19 testing center, whose seed was sown way back in 1997 with the establishment of The Institute of Environmental and Human Health with renowned wildlife toxicologist Dr. Ronald Kendall as its founding director.


    No one would have envisioned that at numerous major disaster, whether it was Hurricane Katrina, or the Gulf of Mexico oil spill or the COVID-19, the institute is at forefront. Investment some 23 years back in the R&D infrastructure is richly paying off with the development of critical technologies such as FiberTect wipe, establishing testing centers, attracting topnotch scientists and students from around the world to Lubbock—all contributing positively to the local economy.


    The effort is a showcase of good partnership between town and gown, which again has become critical in controlling the pandemic. “This kind of partnership is exactly what is needed with COVID-19, which is a significant biological threat to our nation. COVID-19 has not only impacted our health and well-being as United States citizens, but it has also had enormous economic impacts on our economy and our financial well-being,” Kendall said.


    Full Story




  • August 10, 2020

    Researchers Awarded Contract to Study Vigilance in Detection Dogs



    The project by Department of Animal & Food Science assistant professor Nathan Hall and the Institute of Forensic Science’s Paola Tiedemann is supported by a contract from the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate.

    Have you ever found yourself losing concentration when performing a repetitive task, even if that task requires your attention to be sharp and unwavering? It's hard to pay attention when doing the same thing over and over.


    There's a term for that. It's called "vigilance decrement." It was discovered through research after World War II and was determined to be a biological phenomenon.


    And it's not just found in humans. Dogs can get it, too.


    While much research has gone into mitigating vigilance decrement in humans, Texas Tech University researchers are using their expertise in canine behavior to study canine vigilance and performance during lengthy search durations in operational environments.


    Nathan Hall, an assistant professor of companion animal science in the Department of Animal & Food Sciences and director of the Canine Olfaction Research and Education Laboratory in the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources, is conducting this research project under a $446,197 contract from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T). Hall is joined in the project by research assistant professor Paola Tiedemann in the Department of Environmental Toxicology.

    Full Story

  • July 28, 2020

    USGS highlighted ENTX Student Alumni, Ryan Cleary’s thesis research:


    Small Mammal Bioaccumulation of Contaminants and Radioactivity near a Mixed Low-level Radioactive and Hazardous Chemical Waste Site—Science to Understand Wildlife Exposure to Environmental Contaminants


    Pilot-study results document the presence, concentrations, and distribution of polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and tritium in small mammals, insects, plants, and soils adjacent to a mixed low-level radioactive and hazardous chemical waste site near Beatty, Nevada, and provide a better understanding of potential exposure pathways.

    Full Story

    Cleary, R.S., A. Karnjanapiboonwong, W.A. Thompson, S.J. Lasee, S. Subbiah, R.K. Kauble, B.J. Andraski, and T.A. Anderson.  2020.  Emerging and historical contaminants detected in desert rodents collected near a low-level radioactive waste site. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.  DOI: 10.1002/etc.4715

  • July 20, 2020

    TTU laboratory awarded $2.23 million for efforts to combat COVID-19


    by: News Release & Posted By Staff |


    Posted: Jul 19, 2020 / 10:05 AM CDT / Updated: Jul 19, 2020 / 10:05 AM CDT


    (Nexstar Media Group/ Staff)


    This is a news release from Texas Tech University.


    Texas Tech University’s Biological Threat Research Laboratory (BTRL) was the first lab in the state of Texas to begin testing for COVID-19 in February. In the five months since, it has tested more than 9,500 samples from across a 67-county region.


    Steve Presley, director of both the BTRL and The Institute of Environmental and Human Health (TIEHH) in which it’s located, said the lab won’t be slowing its activities to combat the coronavirus anytime soon.


    Presley and his team have several proposed vaccine-development projects in the works. And the lab has now been granted $2.23 million from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to continue its COVID-19-related activities through April 1, 2022.

    Full Story


  • July 20, 2020

    State extends Texas Tech lab’s COVID-19 work through 2022


    For A-J Media


    Texas Tech University’s Biological Threat Research Laboratory was the first lab in the state of Texas to begin testing for COVID-19 in February. In the five months since, it has tested more than 9,500 samples from across a 67-county region.


    Steve Presley, director of both the BTRL and The Institute of Environmental and Human Health (TIEHH) in which it’s located, said the lab won’t be slowing its activities to combat the coronavirus anytime soon.


    Presley and his team have several proposed vaccine-development projects in the works. And the lab has now been granted $2.23 million from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to continue its COVID-19-related activities through April 1, 2022.


    As a member of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) and DSHS’ Laboratory Response Network, the BTRL’s expertise and technical diagnostic capabilities are available to provide support to city and county public health agencies and other health care providers within a region covering about 66,000 square miles – from the northern border of the Panhandle south to the San Angelo area.


    In addition to testing samples, the BTRL also provides the region’s public health departments, hospitals and clinics with the viral transport medium they need to safely package and transport samples to the BTRL for testing.


    Presley specified that the BTRL is not involved with surveillance testing, like that offered through drive-thru testing locations.


    “Because we’re part of the CDC’s Laboratory Response Network, our mission is to test critically ill patients and hospital inpatient individuals who are suspected of having COVID-19,” Presley said, “but we also test health care workers and emergency responders who have a confirmed exposure to COVID-19.”


    That said, the lab has plenty of room to increase testing. That’s due, in large part, to a collaborative partnership between Texas Tech and the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, which established the Texas Tech/TTUHSC COVID-19 Testing Team early in the pandemic to increase how many tests could be done each day.



    “We’re not yet even close to our full capacity,” Presley said. “We can significantly increase the number we’re doing daily.”


    Most importantly, they can do so safely – their record speaks for itself.


    “We’ve been operating at least 16 hours a day, seven days a week, for 130 days,” Presley said. “That is 2,080 hours – roughly 12,500 person-hours – without any of the testing crew becoming positive for COVID-19 or having any laboratory safety issues.”


    In addition to team members involved in the hands-on testing, Presley credits the administrative staff members who volunteered to continue working – doing the paperwork, facility maintenance and other often-thankless tasks – as well as university administrators who provided support.


    “Texas Tech University is very proud of the hard work and dedication of the staff, volunteers and leadership team of our institutional testing laboratory,” said Joseph A. Heppert, Tech’s vice president for research and innovation. “These individuals have enabled this CDC-affiliated laboratory to provide high-quality test results for patients showing COVID-19 symptoms throughout the West Texas region. We are extremely grateful to the Texas Department of State Health Services for this financial support, which will allow us to continue serving the citizens of the state throughout this crisis.”


  • July 3, 2020

    Texas Tech professor collaborates with local businesses to enhances cloth masks

    by: Olivia Whitehead

    Posted: Jul 3, 2020 / 11:30 AM CDT / Updated: Jul 3, 2020 / 12:25 PM CDT


    LUBBOCK, Texas — COVID-19 is continuing to evolve, which means prevention measures must evolve with it. With the constant need for masks, surgical and N95 respirators are in short supply.


    The Centers for Disease Control now recommends cloth alternatives to surgical and respirator masks.


    Scarborough Specialties Inc. has taken matters into their own hands by producing cloth face masks.


    “Something is better than nothing, to get something on peoples faces and help protect them from coughing and sneezing and whatever it is,” CEO Jay Jacobus said. “Its is not going to be as good [as a respirator], but has definitely proven to give some level of protection.”


    This protection is not only for yourself but for others as well. According to Seshadri Ramkumar, Ph.D., a Texas Tech Professor of Chemical Countermeasures and Advanced Materials, the chances of protection from infection increases with a barrier.


    “The two major theories are fibrous, fine particles either travel as an aerosol, depending on the size and the load, and if they are a heavier size they go as a droplet and settle,” he said. “So it’s airborne, predominantly. Your chances of protecting yourself and others is far better if you have an barrier.”


    To magnify this barrier, Ramkumar created a filter in collaboration with Scarborough. This filter consists of a non-woven cotton insert that enhances the effectiveness of cloth masks.


    “It’s a cotton filtrate, substrate material that is really more like a raw type of cotton.” Jacobus said. “We figured a way to integrate that as a filter into our other mask that we were making, and it’s been a great opportunity to give a whole different layer of filtration.”


    They both said that the filter isn’t meant to replace surgical masks, but instead add an extra shield of protection against the virus when used with cloth face coverings.

  • May 27, 2020

    Seshadri Ramkumar Explains Differences Among Types of Face Masks


    Rigorous Testing Is Needed, But There's Reason to Believe Nonwoven Cotton Might Enhance Filtration Capability of Common Face Covers


    When it comes to blocking coughs and sneezes, any mask is better than none. But as the COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated so vividly, not all masks are created equal.


    At a time when the most effective masks continue to be reserved for the most critical personnel, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone wear cloth face coverings in public settings, while also practicing 6-feet social distancing.


    In a recently released 45-second video, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams demonstrated how to make a multi-layered face cover from an old t-shirt and two rubber bands. Meanwhile, the Internet is flush with merchants selling face covers of all descriptions, some of which include a pocket to hold various types of filters.


    In the midst of all of this, one Texas Tech University (TTU) scientist has spent much of his 20-year career studying personal protective equipment (PPE)—particularly nonwoven cotton substrates—and their effectiveness against a host of environmental and human-health challenges.


    Seshadri Ramkumar, professor and supervisor of the Chemical Countermeasures and Advanced Materials Laboratory at TTU's Institute of Environmental and Human Health (TIEHH), developed the chemical decontamination wipe Fibertect®, which has tested highly effective in adsorbing certain chemical warfare agents, toxic industrial chemicals and pesticides.


    During the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, his work proved the effectiveness of natural cotton as a crude oil absorbent. A more recent breakthrough is his work with Ph.D. student Lihua Lou in developing a nanofiber filter that, when combined with visible light, can remove toxic dye pollutants from wastewater safer, cheaper and easier than traditional methods.


    Ramkumar explains the efficiency of any barrier-type mask—one that covers the nose and mouth—depends on its filtration capability, its fit and its form or comfort; and they all fall into four general categories:

    Full Story


  • May 20, 2020

    Community Spirit: 60-plus Volunteers Sign Up to Support Covid-19 Testing


    On Feb. 28, Texas Tech University's Biological Threat Research Laboratory (BTRL), part of The Institute of Environmental and Human Health (TIEHH), alerted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Texas Department of State Health Services that it was ready to receive and test samples from across its 67-country coverage area. The BTRL's five-person team could test 84 samples a day.


    The Biological Threat Research Laboratory is part of The Institute of Environmental and Human Health.

    After the lab's first positive result on March 17, it became apparent that case numbers could increase quickly, and it needed to be able to test more samples each day. With coordination through the Texas Tech Office of Research & Innovation, a collaborative partnership between Texas Tech and the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) was established to increase the capacity of the BTRL to test for coronavirus. In late March, the call went out for volunteers to join the Texas Tech/TTUHSC COVID-19 Testing Team.


    The response has been phenomenal.

    Full Story

  • May 20, 2020



    The use of face masks has become commonplace for many people as more businesses reopen, and one professor says some masks work better than others.


    Wednesday, May 20th 2020, 12:43 AM CDT by Tori McGee

  • May 14, 2020

    International Collaboration Develops Innovative Face Mask for COVID-19

    By Dr. Seshadri Ramkumar | May 14, 2020


    As industries in India and other economics slowly resume their manufacturing activities, social distancing and strict hygiene practices have become a new normal. This has enhanced the need for hand sanitizers, gloves and face masks. Industries are looking for innovative ways to survive by repurposing their capacities that can cater to meeting the COVID-19 situation.


    Arrow Brogues, Pvt. Ltd., a shoe manufacturer in Ranipet, India, is collaborating with the Nonwovens and Advanced Laboratory at Texas Tech University and Chennai-based WellGro United to develop filtering and fashionable face masks.


    Arrow Brogues has been manufacturing shoes for 20 years, catering to Indian and foreign markets such as Italy, Germany and United Kingdom. The new masks, which use nonwoven cotton as the core filter substrate, are released under brand name H.F. Journey. The design expertise of Arrow Brogues has been valuable in the development of H.F. Journey masks, and WellGro United supplies the core filter substrate for the masks.


    “We understand the need for protection technologies and hence sought the collaboration with Texas Tech University in developing masks that have functionality and fashion sense,” stated Velayutham Pandy, managing director of Arrow Brogues.


    The project showcases timely innovation, as it has repurposed the cotton nonwoven technology to develop filter substrate. “This is a milestone for WellGro United, as it has created a new vertical in our line of products which find timely use,” stated Nambi Srinivasan, vice president marketing of WellGro United.


    It is pleasing to report cotton is finding new applications in the current COVID-19 scenario, enabling a few timely innovations.


  • April 30, 2020

    Lubbock Groups Develop New Face Mask with Cotton Nonwoven Filter

    By Dr. Seshadri Ramkumar | April 30, 2020

    A prototype of the new face cover developed with cotton nonwoven as core filter substrate.


    “In the time of stress, it is necessary to collaborate and find the right partners to develop tools to race against COVID-19,” stated Ronald Kendall, Jr., founder and president of E Innovate.


    Prior to COVID-19, the medical and first responder community widely used N95 and surgical masks. However, due to the severity of transmission and to support social distancing, face covers made from fabrics have evolved. Yet, depending on the structure and the material makeup, its ability to filter may vary. That need led to the collaboration to improve the filtration capability of common face covers.


    Full Story

  • April 27, 2020

    TTU Laboratory decontaminating masks for safe reuse

    LUBBOCK, Texas — On Friday, the Texas Tech Biological Threat Research Laboratory, part of The Institute of Environmental and Human Health, announced that the facility will be decontaminating personal protective equipment (PPE) for safe use. The laboratory has partnered with the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center to make this possible.


    Dr. Steve Presley, the chairman and professor with the Department of Environmental Toxicology at TIEHH said the service will be provided to healthcare professionals, first responders and detention centers.


    Full Story

  • April 27, 2020

  • April 22, 2020

    Texas Tech Laboratory Was State's First to Offer Coronavirus Testing


    Two decades ago, Texas Tech created The Institute of Environmental and Human Health. In the age of COVID-19, that investment is paying dividends.

    Nearly 23 years ago, the Texas Tech University System's Board of Regents unanimously approved the creation of The Institute of Environmental and Human Health (TIEHH), a new institute to assess toxic chemical impacts on the physical and human environment. Since then, its growth has been exponential.


    Proposed as a joint venture between Texas Tech University and the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC), TIEHH fused the resources of Texas Tech's academic campus and its premier medical facility to address environmental and human health issues from a multidisciplinary perspective.


    Full Story

  • April 21, 2020

    TTU Biological Threat Research Lab Closely Monitors COVID-19


    When it was realized that COVID-19 was rapidly spreading around the globe and a pandemic was imminent, the TTU Biological Threat Research Lab team at Texas Tech University immediately began preparing to test samples from patients suspected to be infected with COVID-19. The TTU team was the first LRN lab in Texas to begin testing suspected COVID-19 cases in late February. On March 17, they detected and reported the first COVID-19 case in Lubbock.


    As the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States and particularly in Texas increased, it was necessary to significantly increase the capacity of the lab to test high numbers of clinical samples every day. With coordination through the TTU Vice President for Research and Innovation, a collaborative partnership between TTU and TTUHSC was established to increase the capacity of the TTU Biological Threat Research Lab to test for COVID-19.


    Through the TTU-TTUHSC partnership, more than 30 volunteers from both campuses have joined the original five person TTU Biological Threat Research Lab team to create the TTU-TTUHSC COVID-19 Testing Team. Volunteers to assist in this project include TTU and TTUHSC faculty members, research staff, graduate students, as well as citizens that have no affiliation with either university but want to help “flatten the curve” in our community.


    As both an academic research lab and a public health diagnostic testing lab, the TTU Biological Threat Research Lab has been extensively involved in detecting, monitoring, and researching outbreaks of infectious diseases of humans and animals occurring throughout Texas since 2003. The public health diagnostic testing capability of the TTU Biological Threat Research Lab is designated as a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Laboratory Response Network (LRN) facility. The expertise and technical diagnostic capabilities available in the TTU Biological Threat Research Lab work directly with the Texas Department of State Health Services to provide support to city and county public health agencies and other healthcare providers within a 67 county region. The TTU Biological Threat Research Lab team has provided public health emergency diagnostic testing for numerous actual and potential disease outbreaks over the years, including chikungunya, dengue fever, Ebola, seasonal influenza, West Nile fever, Zika fever, and now COVID-19.

  • March 18, 2020

    Decontamination Wipe From Texas Tech Could Help Coronavirus Cleanup Efforts


    FiberTect's structure, with its activated carbon core, can wipe the bodily fluids that transmit viruses.


    A decontamination wipe invented by a Texas Tech University researcher to clean up toxic agents also could clean up bodily fluids contaminated with the coronavirus.


    "It is widely used as the primary dry decontamination method in hospitals and ambulances," said Corey Collings, a training specialist for First Line Technology, which markets FiberTectTM. "Hospitals use it in bulk and in rolls, and ambulances use it in a kit called the FastGrab to do immediate decontamination of patients contaminated with a wide variety of substances."

    Full Story

    Ramkumar: Face covers and the fight against COVID-19Full Story

    Exploring Cotton’s Value in Face Covers to Fight COVID-19 Full Story

    Our view: Research, innovation keys in fighting pandemic Full Story

  • February 20, 20 Names the Texas Tech University MS in Forensic Science Among the Most Affordable Forensics Master’s Programs of 2020-21


    In a field that relies on professionals with exceptional lab skills and a dedication to uncovering useful information from evidence collected at crime scenes, a master’s degree can impart a unique level of skill and expertise.


    Similarly, can be relied on to bring that same kind of dedication to providing forensic investigators and laboratory scientists with the resources they need for career preparation and advancement. That’s why we wanted to make it easier to find the most affordable, high-quality master’s programs available in the field.


    We took on the task of reviewing the tuition rates of every single forensic science master’s program available at accredited institutions across the U.S. When we came to the Texas Tech University Department of Environmental Toxicology, we knew right away we were looking at a winner.


    With a tuition rate that comes in nearly $2,400 below the state average for similar programs, the Texas Tech University MS in Forensic Science easily earns its place on our list of the Most Affordable Master’s Degrees in Forensic Science for 2020-21!


  • December 10, 2019

    Dr. Ramkumar Appointed Deputy Editorship of International Journal


    Seshadri Ramkumar has been appointed as the Deputy Editor for Textile Progress, published by London based Taylor & Francis Group for The Textile Institute (TI). TI is an international professional association in the fibers to fashion field founded in 1910, based in Manchester, United Kingdom.


  • December 5, 2019

    Dr. Seshadri Ramkumar Awarded At The Celebration Of Faculty Excellence In Research, Scholarship And Creative Activity


    Dr. Seshadri Ramkumar was recognized by TTU for achieving national/international recognition in the 2018-19 academic year in an event on November 7th, Celebrating Faculty Excellence In Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity.


    President Lawrence Schovanec presented certificate to him recognizing his accomplishments.


  • November, 2019

    Phil Smith Appointed Associate Editor of Environmental Pollution

    November 2019


    Dr. Phil Smith has been appointed associate editor of Environmental Pollution, an international scientific journal published by Elsevier (United Kingdom). Environmental Pollution publishes original, novel research on all issues relevant to the nature, distribution and ecological effects of all types and forms of chemical pollutants in air, soil and water. Dr. Smith concurrently serves as associate editor for the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry’s flagship journal, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

  • November 19, 2019

    Prof’s Research Journey:

    Lab to Reality


    TTU’s Office of Communications and Marketing, released a news article on the journey of cotton-based oil absorbent from its conception to market place.


    Full Story


  • October 30, 2019

    Dr. Steve Presley Presented 2019 SOVE Distinguished Achievement Award in Puerto Rico

    Dr. Steve Presley was presented the “2019 Distinguished Achievement Award for Outstanding Achievement in Vector Ecology Science” at the 49th Annual Conference of Society for Vector Ecology in San Juan, Puerto Rico during 22-26 September. The annual award recognizes a U.S. or international scientist that has contributed significantly to advancing the knowledge base regarding arthropod vectored disease ecology.


    Drs. Steve Peper and Steve Presley organized and co-chaired a symposium entitled “Healthcare, Public Health, and Vector Control: The Disconnect” at the 49th Annual Conference of Society for Vector Ecology in San Juan, Puerto Rico during 22-26 September. Symposium speakers included physicians, veterinarians, public health administrators, vector control professionals, vector-borne infectious disease researchers, and non-governmental aid organizations from the United States and Brazil.

  • October 25, 2019

    Can the Bobwhite Quail Be Saved?

    BY WES FERGUSON, OCT 24, 2019


    Once widely hunted in Texas, the beloved game birds have been dwindling in recent decades. But a West Texas hunter and professor believes he’s found a way to save them.


    Full Story


    Left: A bobwhite quail at Texas Tech’s Wildlife Toxicology Laboratory, in Lubbock.

    Right: Medicated grub in the QuailSafe feeder at Kendall’s ranch near the town of Jayton.

    Photographs by Trevor Paulhus

  • October 11, 2019

    First case of St. Louis Encephalitis Virus confirmed in Lubbock mosquito sample

    LUBBOCK, Texas — On Thursday, the City of Lubbock Health Department confirmed the first case of St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE) this year, found in a sample of mosquitoes collected in Lubbock.


    Professor and chair with the Texas Tech Department of Environmental Toxicology, Dr. Steven Presley, said his department tests mosquitoes for West Nile Virus and St. Louis Encephalitis.


    “A couple of weeks ago we tested a pool and they were positive for both West Nile Virus and St. Louis Encephalitis Virus,” Presley said.


    Presley said the mosquitoes with the viral diseases were found in west Lubbock.


    “We’ve had that unusual period of rainfall and hot weather again,” Presley said. “So mosquito numbers have boomed.”

    Full Story

  • September 16, 2019

    He will provide advice

    on technical issues

    underlying National

    Ambient Air Quality



    Ron Kendall, a professor of environmental toxicology and head of the Wildlife Toxicology Laboratory at The Institute of Environmental and Human Health at Texas Tech University, was appointed today (Sept. 13) to serve on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee. His term begins immediately and lasts until Sept. 30, 2022.

    Full Story

  • March, 2021

    2 Forensic Lab students presented and Won at the 2021 Virtual Poster Competition hosted by the Graduate School.

    They students won first and third place under the category of SCIENCES as follows:


    1st place – Samuel Seay

    Title of poster: “Flatland Forensics: Analyzing Insect Succession on Decomposing Remains in a High Plains Agricultural Environment”


    3rd place- Kirsten Nettles

    Title of poster: “Development of Odor Profiling Methods for the Detection of Contraband Firearms”

  • May 4, 2020

    The cover image created by Lihua Lou et al., shows poly(vinyl alcohol) nanofiber prepared by electrospinning method. The inserted drawings represent changes in units (sub sections) within nanofiber webs under external load based on the actual tensile stress‐strain curves of nanofiber webs, as hypothesized by the authors. This study also analyzes the effect of various testing parameters, as well as the interactions on the tensile properties on nanofiber webs. Results from this study, enable a comprehensive understanding of each testing parameter and their interaction effects and help with the standardization of tenacity evaluation of nanofibers.


    Tensile testing and fracture mechanism analysis of polyvinyl alcohol nanofibrous webs


    Lihua Lou  Weijie Yu  Ronald J. Kendall  Ernest Smith  Seshadri S. Ramkumar


    First published: 11 March 2020


    Funding information: Texas Tech University; Office of International Affairs




    A tensile properties testing study was conducted to understand the influence of thickness, cross‐head speed (speed of testing), gauge length (GL; specimen test length), and sample shape on important tensile properties of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) nanofiber webs. The effects of each testing parameter on load at break, extension at break, Young's modulus, and tensile stress–strain curve of PVA nanofiber webs are analyzed. The Welch two sample t‐tests show the significant difference among tested data. Using interaction plots, two‐way analysis of variance, and margin mean plots, the interaction effects among testing parameters have been analyzed. Of all the factors, cross‐head speed, the interaction among GL, and sample thickness (GL: Thickness) and the interaction among GL, testing speed and sample thickness (GL: Speed: Thickness) have significant influence on the tensile properties of PVA nanofiber webs. Moreover, the hypothesized model of mechanism of tensile strain–stress curve of PVA nanofiber webs has been proposed. Based on the model, the tensile strain–stress curve can be split into three stages: linear elastic, partial break up, and complete breakage. This study will provide a better understanding of tensile testing parameters' effects and their interaction effects on the tensile properties of nanowebs.


  • September 19, 2019

  • October 28, 2019

  • October, 2019

  • October 2019

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The Department of Environmental Toxicology (ENTX) is the academic home for the core faculty of The Institute of Environmental and Human Health (TIEHH) and the Institute for Forensic Science (IFS) at Texas Tech University. TIEHH and IFS provide faculty and graduate students opportunities for multidisciplinary research and scholarly engagement related to environmental, forensic and human health sciences.