Naomi Adams, Ph.D. Student

Naomi Adams (They/Them) is a PhD student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Their research involves investigating cumulative lead exposure in children living in Los Angeles. They are passionate about environmental justice, and hope their research will impact the lives of our most vulnerable communities in a beneficial way. In their free time, they enjoy nature walks, reading sci-fi novels, and playing with their kitty. A little known fact about them is that they are also a professional DJ, but taking a hiatus to pursue research.

Ileana Callejas, Ph.D. Candidate

Ileana Callejas (she/her) is an incoming PhD student studying Environmental Engineering. She received her BS in Environmental Science and MS in Civil Engineering at UCLA. She is interested in the intersection between environmental engineering, environmental microbiology, and public health. She has previously worked on projects quantifying antibiotic resistance genes in commercial fertilizers in Southern California. She has also worked on a project involving microbial characterization in heated-soil plots in Northern California.

She hopes to work on the fate and transport of pollutants in water and soil surrounding environmental justice issues for her PhD research. She also hopes to become active in teaching courses in sustainability and science education. Ileana is a first-generation student born and raised in Los Angeles, CA

Marisol Cira, Ph.D. Candidate

Marisol Cira (she/ella) received a B.S. and M.S. in Civil Engineering from UCLA and is currently a Ph.D. Candidate. Her graduate research investigates the sources, fate, and transport of microbial contaminants in coastal watersheds in the United States and abroad. Her research also develops and cross-validates more accessible culture-based techniques with molecular-based techniques to provide more equitable methodologies for the monitoring of coastal waters. She is also working on incorporating her research methods into the classroom to offer students course-based research experiences. Marisol is indigenous (Purépecha), an immigrant from Mexico, and a first-generation college student.

Outside of the lab, Marisol enjoys running, hiking, dancing, cooking, and crocheting. 

Renate Boronowsky, Ph.D. Student

Renate is a Ph.D. student interested in all things sustainable food and diet. She is a double Bruin, receiving her bachelors degree in Geography and Environmental studies with an emphasis on sustainable food systems. Her research is interdisciplinary and has thus far varied from using lifecycle assessment data to quantify the environmental footprint of various food policies (testing default nudges in university campus events, and various menu interventions in K-12 cafeterias), to the sustainability of urban agriculture, and the safety of growing food within city limits. She will begin testing soils from urban gardens around LA county in Spring of 2023 and is currently recruiting participants.

In her personal time she enjoys spending time with her young twins and her pets, baking sourdough bread, painting, growing food, and advocating for environmental justice and community composting in her home town of Long Beach, California.

Her Publications include:

Boronowsky, R.D., Zhang, A.W., Stecher, C., Presley, K., Mathur, M.B., Cleveland, D.A., Garnett, E., Wharton, C., Brown, D., Meier, A., Wang, M., Braverman, I., Jay, J.A., 2022. Plant-based default nudges effectively increase the sustainability of catered meals on college campuses: Three randomized controlled trials. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems 6.

Karina Jimenez, Ph.D. Student

Karina Jimenez (She/her) is a dedicated researcher who has been part of the Jay lab at UCLA since 2016. She started as a volunteer researcher under the UCLA CEED’s E87 course and has since made significant contributions to the lab. Karina’s research focuses on three key areas: antibiotic resistance in aquatic environments, remote sensing for water quality parameters in coastal areas, and lead contamination in topsoil at playgrounds.

Her publications include:

Hung, W. C., Rugh, M., Feraud, M., Avasarala, S., Kurylo, J., Gutierrez, M., Jimenez, K., Truong, N., Holden, P. A., Grant, S. B., Liu, H., Ambrose, R. F., & Jay, J. A. (2022). Influence of soil characteristics and metal(loid)s on antibiotic resistance genes in green stormwater infrastructure in Southern California. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 424(Pt B), 127469.

Cira, M., Echeverria-Palencia, C. M., Callejas, I., Jimenez, K., Herrera, R., Hung, W.-C., Colima, N., Schmidt, A., & Jay, J. A. (2021). Commercially available garden products as important sources of antibiotic resistance genes—a survey. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 1–8.

Hung, W.C., Cira,M., Jimenez, K., Elston, I. Preliminary Assessment of Lead Concentrations in Topsoil of 100 Parks in Los Angeles, California. Applied Geochemistry, vol. 99, 2018, pp. 13–21., doi:10.1016/j.apgeochem.2018.10.003.

Lab Group Photos

Lab group circa 2019

Some of our group during a sampling trip to Belize.

On the boat during our Belize sampling trip.

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