Dr. Beizhan Yan received his Ph.D. in Geology in 2004 from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), Troy, NY and currently he is a Lamont Associate Research Professor at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) of Columbia University. His Ph.D. study at RPI (2000-2004) focused on the source apportionment of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in urban waters. He initially developed a systematic approach to differentiate major PAH sources by using molecular isomer ratios and compound-specific carbon stable isotope ratios as source indicators. After two years of postdoc in Idaho National Laboratory, he joined Washington University in St. Louis to study nanoscale size effects on biogeochemical processes for environmental bioremediation. This research has important implications for the immobilization of uranium and biodegradation of aromatic compounds at contaminated sites. In 2007, he joined LDEO as an institutional postdoctoral fellow through a highly competitive recruiting process in which more than 110 Ph.D. level scientists applied and only three got hired. Since then, he has established an Environmental Organic Geochemistry Lab with ability to extract, isolate, and identify organic contaminants and biomarkers from environmental and biological samples.
Using source-sensitive indicators and compound-specific stable isotope ratios, he has successfully traced metals and aromatic hydrocarbons in the waters and air of NYC and linked the exposures of these air pollutants to pediatric asthma outcomes. He is also leading a collaborative study to examine the association between pediatric respiratory outcomes and air pollutants (including PM2.5 and black carbon, VOCs) in Beijing China. To determine possible impacts of hydrofracking on air and water quality and health outcomes, he is conducting a collaborative study in adjacent counties of western NY (Broome, Tioga, and Chemung) and northern PA (Susquehanna, Bradford, and Tioga).