Skip to main content

People at LBC

Rebecca Lahr
Rebecca Lahr, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Department: Chemistry
Address: E-194 Holmes
Phone: (517) 884-3930




  • Postdoc in Environmental Engineering, University of Michigan (2014-2015)
  • Ph.D. in Civil Engineering, Virginia Tech (2013)
  • MS in Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech (2010)
  • BS in Chemistry, University of Wisconsin- La Crosse (2007)


Dr. Lahr is committed to students and education, passionate about research in environmental chemistry, motivated by service and outreach, and determined to protect drinking water supplies from the pressures of climate change, population growth, and resource extraction. Her research targets the need for detection, monitoring, and prevention of environmental pollution, with a focus on developing sensors for environmental pollutants, monitoring concentrations of environmental contaminants, examining processes involved in pollutant degradation, conducting mass balances concerning contaminant source and fate in the environment, and ultimately sharing scientific data to encourage sustainable-minded decision making. As the population of the Earth edges closer to its estimated carrying capacity, preservation and management of natural resources is becoming increasingly important to maintain public health.


Recent Research:

  • Production of fertilizer from source-separated urine and evaluation of the fate of contaminants (bacteria, virus, antibiotic resistance genes, and pharmaceuticals)
  • Analytical method development for harmful algal toxins
  • Drop coating deposition Raman spectroscopy (DCDR) and surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) for environmental analyses
  • Nanoparticle transport in microfluidic paper-based analytical devices (µPADs)
  • Gold nanoparticle production by algae

    2014 -Dow Sustainability Fellowship
    2012 -Graduate Student Award in Environmental Chemistry from the American Chemical Society Division of Environmental Chemistry
    2011 -Abel Wolman Doctoral Fellowship
    2010 -Research featured on the cover of Environmental Science & Technology (Halvorson and Vikesland 2010, 44 (20): 7749-7755.)
    2009 -EPA STAR Fellowship

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, (Lahr), Nanochromatography Monitoring of Urine Fertilizers [2016 -2017] $15,000
    National Science Foundation, (White, Sawtelle, Valles, Smith, Lahr), Designing, Developing and Assessing a Module-Basted System of Interdisciplinary Education [2016 -2020] $1,181,214
    Michigan State University Science and Society at State Collaborative Grant Award, (Fingal, Fine, Lahr, Louie, Pauly, Tetreault), Youth at Risk: Understanding Controversies Related to Children, Environment, and Scientific Research [2016 -2016] $10,000

    2015 Lahr, R. H., G. Wallace, P. J. Vikesland (2015). “Raman characterization of nanoparticle transport in microfluidic paper-based analytical devices (µPADs).” ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, doi:10.1021/acsami.5b01192.
    2014 Lahr, R. H. and P. J. Vikesland (2014). “Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) cellular imaging of intracellularly biosynthesized gold nanoparticles.” ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering 2 (7): 1599-1608.
    2012 Vikesland, P., R. Halvorson, A. Whelton, W. Boylan (2012). Rapid detection of cyanobacterial by-products in drinking water. Water Research Foundation: Denver, CO. Report #4212.
    2011 Halvorson, R. A., W. Leng, P. J. Vikesland (2011). "Differentiation of microcystin, nodularin, and their component amino acids by drop coating deposition Raman (DCDR) spectroscopy." Analytical Chemistry 83: 9273-9280.
    2011 Halvorson, R. A. and P. J. Vikesland (2011). "Drop coating deposition Raman (DCDR) for microcystin-LR identification and quantitation." Environmental Science & Technology 45 (13): 5644-5651.
    2010 Halvorson, R. A. and P. J. Vikesland (2010). "Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) for environmental analyses." Environmental Science & Technology 44 (20): 7749-7755.