Research Group

Graduate Students

jacob lab photo

Jacob Gaddy

Ph.D. Student

I received my undergraduate degrees in Biology and Religious Studies from the University of Mississippi. I am interested in studying the biogeochemical cycling within aquatic ecosystems such as wetlands, estuaries, or coastal systems. Specifically, my interests are related to the internal and external drivers that control nutrient cycling and the effects anthropogenic activities have had on these drivers. My upcoming project will employ the use of biomarker-based proxies  (including amino acids and stable isotopes for carbon and nitrogen) to identify the drivers of organic matter and phosphorus turnover in South Florida Storm Water Treatment Areas.

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Alex Prakhin

Ph.D. Student

I received a Bachelor of Science in Geology, majoring in Lake Geochemistry, from Chulalongkorn University in Thailand. According to this background, I am fascinated in tracing series of changes in environmental properties that affected its inhabitants, from prehistoric date up to the present, as well as detecting what humankind has adulterated the pristine environment. My upcoming research includes the application of aquatic biomarkers in tracing biogeochemical changes in Mekong River Delta, Southeast Asia. My aspiration is to distinguish the anomalous anthropogenic forces from natural drivers, such as climatic variability, since both have been threatening this region for decades.


Emily Watts

Ph.D. student

I received my Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry with a concentration in Biochemistry from the University of Florida. I am interested in studying the health of aquatic ecosystems through the use of chemical biomarkers. My graduate research will be focused on fecal contamination in the St. Augustine area, looking at sterols as a biomarker.


Undergraduate Lab Assistants

Josh Piasecki
Major: Biology
I am a fourth year Biology student at the University of Florida. I have a deep-rooted passion for all sciences, particularly biochemical sciences. I am also an avid enthusiast for protecting our planet and healing our climate using high-quality science. Following my Fall 2020 graduation, I hope to matriculate into medical school and pursue my dream of becoming a physician.
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Amelia Bunnell
Majors: Biochemistry and Zoology
I am a fifth year undergraduate student majoring in Biochemistry and Zoology. I love chemistry and chemical analysis, and I am passionate about helping animals and the natural environment. My current research project involves LCMS method development for analyzing amino acids as chemical biomarkers. After graduation, I hope to pursue my Ph.D. in an environmental chemistry-related field.

Lab Technicians

Dr. David Atherton lab pic

Dr. David Atherton

Dr. David Atherton received his PhD in analytical chemistry from UF in 1984.  His dissertation area of study, electrochemistry, led to his 35 year career in rechargeable battery R&D.  He also has experience in instrumental analysis with GC, GC-MS, LC, LC-MS and sample biochemical preparation methods.  As of 2020, he is a senior lab technician in Bianchi lab.

Recent Former Lab Members

For a complete list, please see Dr. Bianchi’s curriculum vitae.
Post-doctoral Researchers:
Michael Shields
Mathieu Le Meur (2016-2017)
Ana Arellano (2014-2017)
Graduate Students:
Derrick Vaughn (2015-2019)
Jack Hutchings, Ph.D. (2018)
Xiaowen Zhang, Ph.D. (2012-2017)
Xingqian Cui, Ph.D. (2012-2017)
Visiting Scholars:
Jun Zhao, Ph.D., Hangzhou, China (2017-2019)
Bin Zhao, Ph.D. Student, Qingdao, China (2016-2017)
Undergraduate Research Assistants:
Orlando Cordero (2018-2019)
Austin Herzer (2018-2019)
Nimisha Lingappa
Geethu Kurian
Jennifer Green
Kate Dobson
Lindsay Lockwood
Jonathan Roman (2015)
Angelica Ares (2015-2016)