Participating Students- Allyson Wright

Allyson Wright

Purdue University
Analytical Chemistry
Enrollment Year: 2009
Email Address: AllysonWright at
Atmospheric Mentor: Paul Shepson & Greg Michalski, Purdue University
Biospheric Mentor: Nancy Tuchman, Loyola University Chicago

Allyson graduated in 2005 from The College of Wooster with an American Chemical Society (ACS) certified B.A. in Chemistry. While attending Wooster, Allyson worked for two years under the supervision of Dr. Paul Edminston to research the cooperativity between two active sites in rabbit muscle creatine kinase by measuring the reactivity of cystine 282 with DTNB. During her senior year, Allyson completed an independent study thesis under the direction of Dr. Richard Bromund. Her research involved developing a novel method to fabricate micro-fluidic capillaries in glass substrates and to construct a working micro-fluidic system.

Allyson is currently a fourth year student in the chemistry doctoral program at Purdue University. She is working as a research assistant for Dr. Paul Shepson. Her current research investigates the aqueous phase yield of light alkyl nitrates in the laboratory. The goal of Allyson’s research is to advance the understanding of why much higher branching ratios of alkyl nitrates have been reported in aqueous solution compared to the gas phase and to determine if there are any important aqueous phase sources of alkyl nitrates in the atmosphere. Her research at UMBS will expand to assess the role that photochemical reactions play in organic nitrate formation in aqueous systems through the analysis of cloud, rain and dew water collected on site.

Research Topics:
Studies of canopy nitrogen chemistry and atmospheric inputs of nitrogen to the forest
This research attempts to improve our understanding of the role of aqueous phase photochemistry in the fate of atmospheric NOx and the role of deposited nitrogen as a source of forest ecosystem nitrogen. It will focus on the sequestration of nitrogen through organic nitrate production, and deposition to the soil in a forest environment. The hypothesis states that while some canopy surface photochemistry can re-release deposited nitrogen to the atmosphere in the form of HONO or NOx, some processing commits that nitrogen to the forest floor where it can be utilized. Further, a significant fraction of nitrogen that is in the soil is deposited from the atmosphere. This study will contribute to the long term effort on improving our understanding of the nature, chemistry, and impact of atmospheric nitrogen.