Marymount Manhattan

Alessandra Leri

Alessandra Leri teaches courses in organic chemistry, general chemistry, and environmental science. Her research group, composed entirely of MMC undergraduates, conducts experiments in environmental chemistry. She regularly brings students to the synchrotron facility at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island for experimental “beamtimes.” Her students have presented their results at various undergraduate research symposia in the region, winning presentation awards on many occasions.

Prof. Leri’s research interests lie in organic geochemistry, particularly the biogeochemical cycles of halogens in terrestrial and marine environments. Her papers have made important contributions to overturning the long-established paradigm of halogens as unreactive inorganic elements in the environment. Recently, her research has shown that natural organochlorine production is associated with fungal degradation of plant litter on the forest floor. Her subsequent work shed light on the seasonal chlorination and dechlorination of soil organic matter. She has also revealed that naturally produced organobromine is ubiquitous in both marine and terrestrial systems, dramatically changing the view of bromine in the environment. Prof. Leri has recently turned her attention to organochlorine pollutants, specifically the by-products of disinfection in manufacturing and household processes. With undergraduates at MMC, she investigates the production of organochlorine in fabrics during laundry bleaching and organochlorine in vaginal tampons. She also studies natural bromination mechanisms in seawater using a newly developed synchrotron-based technique.


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Title/Position

Distinguished Chair

Associate Professor of Chemistry

Department

Natural Sciences

Email

aleri@mmm.edu

Phone/Ext

(212) 517-0661

Degree(s)

Ph.D., Chemistry, Princeton University, 2007 (NSF Graduate Research Fellow 2004-2007)

M.A., Italian, University of Virginia, 2002

B.S., Chemistry, magna cum laude, College of William and Mary, 2000

Recent Work

Publications since 2010        

 

Presentations since 2010

  • “Chlorinated By-Product Formation in Laundry Bleaching” (2013; talk), Photon Sciences Lunch Seminar, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY. 
  • “From Forest Soil to Personal Hygiene: Chlorination in Context” (2013; talk), Chemistry Department Seminar, SUNY Plattsburgh, Plattsburgh, NY.             
  • “From Forest Soil to Personal Hygiene: Chlorination in Context” (2013; talk), Chemistry Department Seminar, Manhattan College, Riverdale, NY. 
  • “From Forest Soil to Personal Hygiene: Chlorination in Context” (2013; talk), Chemistry Department Seminar, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY. 
  • “Formation of Organochlorine By-Products in Bleached Laundry” (2013; talk), Faculty Projects Luncheon, Marymount Manhattan College, New York, NY. 
  • “Formation of Organochlorine By-Products in Bleached Laundry” (2012; poster), National Synchrotron Light Source Users’ Meeting, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY. 
  • “Natural Organochlorine Turnover in Terrestrial Ecosystems” (2010; talk), Lunch Bunch Seminar, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Millbrook, NY. 
 

Selected Recent Student Presentations (*denotes MMC undergraduate presenter)

  • M. Dunigan* and A. Leri, “Chlorination Activity in the Common Greenshield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata” (2014; poster), Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Biological and Chemical Sciences (URS-BCS), William Paterson University.  

  • K. Ness* and A. Leri, “ATR-FTIR Analysis of Crude Oil Composition” (2014; poster), URS-BCS, William Paterson University.  2nd-place winner in Environmental Science category.

  • I. Platt* and A. Leri, “Changes in Organic Composition of Phytoplankton Detritus as a Result of Oxidative Degradation” (2014; poster), URS-BCS, William Paterson University.  2nd-place winner in Biochemistry category.

  • A. Pirovano* and A. Leri, “The Biogeochemical Chlorine Cycle in Forest Ecosystems” (2013; poster), URS-BCS, William Paterson University.  1st-place winner in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior category.

  • A. Pirovano* and A. Leri, “The Biogeochemical Chlorine Cycle in Forest Ecosystems” (2013; poster), Experimental Biology Conference, Boston, MA. Winner of the 2013 Undergraduate Student Competitive Travel Award from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB).

  • A. Pirovano* and A. Leri, “The Biogeochemical Chlorine Cycle in Forest Ecosystems” (2013; poster), Honors Day, Marymount Manhattan College.  Student-Faculty Collaboration Award winner.

  • A. Pirovano* and A. Leri, “The Biogeochemical Chlorine Cycle in Forest Ecosystems” (2012; poster), Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Chemical and Biological Sciences (URS-CBS), University of Maryland-Baltimore County (UMBC).  1st-place winner in Chemical Sciences category.

  • C. Galifianakis* and A. Leri, “Total Organochlorine in Consumer Hygiene Products” (2011; poster), URS-BCS, William Paterson University. 

  • L. Herren* and A. Leri, “Pathways to Natural Organochlorine Formation in Decaying Plant Material: A Novel Assay” (2011; poster), URS-BCS, William Paterson University.  1st-place winner in Ecology and Evolution category.

  • L. Herren*, “Pathways to Natural Organochlorine Formation in Decaying Plant Material: A Novel Assay” (2011; talk), Honors Day, Marymount Manhattan College.  Student-Faculty Collaboration Award winner.

  • L. Herren* and A. Leri, “Pathways to Natural Organochlorine Formation in Decaying Plant Material: A Novel Assay” (2011; poster), Experimental Biology Conference, Washington, DC. 

  • L. Anthony* and A. Leri, “Formation of Organochlorine By-products in Household Laundry” (2010; poster), URS-CBS, UMBC.    

  • C. Galifianakis* and A. Leri, “Total Organochlorine in Consumer Hygiene Products” (2010; poster), URS-CBS, UMBC.  1st-place winner in Chemical Sciences category.

  • L. Herren* and A. Leri, “Pathways to Natural Organochlorine Formation in Decaying Plant Material: A Novel Assay” (2010; poster), URS-CBS, UMBC.  2nd-place winner in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology category.

  • L. Anthony* and A. Leri, “Formation of Organochlorine By-products in Household Laundry” (2010; poster), URS-BCS, William Paterson University.  2nd-place winner in General Chemistry category.

  • C. Galifianakis* and A. Leri, “Total Organochlorine in Consumer Hygiene Products” (2010; poster), URS-BCS, William Paterson University. 

  • L. Herren* and A. Leri, “Pathways to Natural Organochlorine Formation in Decaying Plant Material: A Novel Assay” (2010; poster), URS-BCS, William Paterson University.  1st-place winner in Ecology and Evolution category.

  • L. Herren* and A. Leri, “Chloroperoxidase-like Activity in F. oxysporum, a Pathogenic Plant Fungus” (2010; poster), Council on Undergraduate Research: Posters on the Hill, Washington, DC.  Selected as one of 75 undergraduate presenters out of 300 applicants.

Research

Teaching

General Chemistry I 

General Chemistry I Lab

General Chemistry II

General Chemistry II Lab

Organic Chemistry I

Organic Chemistry I Lab

Organic Chemistry II

Organic Chemistry II Lab

Energy and Climate Change

Introduction to Environmental Science

Environmental Science with an Ethical Perspective

Elementary Italian I

Professional Experience

Peer Reviewing

  • Journals: Biogeosciences, Chemosphere, Environmental Science and Technology, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
  • Funding Agencies:  Czech Science Foundation, National Science Foundation
  • Synchrotron Facilities:  Canadian Light Source 

 

Recent Service to MMC

  • Member, Mellon Foundation Teaching Enhancement Grant Review Committee, 2013
  • Panelist, “Promoting and Grading Class Participation,” Center for Teaching Innovation and Excellence, 2013
  • Departmental Website Coordinator, 2013-present
  • Member, General Education Assessment Committee, 2013-present
  • Faculty Representative, Barry M. Goldwater Fellowship, 2012-present
  • Member, Academic Standing Committee, 2010-present
  • Member, Barry Commoner Lecture Series Committee, 2010-present
  • Chair, Physics Faculty Search Committee, 2012-2013
  • Member, Curriculum Committee, 2012-2013
  • Member, Committee on Campus Security, 2010-2012
  • Member, Ecology Faculty Search Committee, 2010-2011
  • Co-chair, Committee on Faculty Development, 2010-2011
  • Co-organizer, Junior Faculty Forum, 2010-2011
  • Member, Committee on Faculty Development, 2009-2010
  • Faculty Advisor, Science Society, 2008-2011
  • Faculty Advisor, GoGreen Coalition, 2008-2009