Cyndey Johnson-Edler, Ph.D.


  • Ph.D., Chemistry, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD
  • B.S., Med. Lab. Sci. (Industrial), South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD
  • B.S., Chemistry, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD


  • Assistant Professor, Analytical Chemistry
  • Augustana University

Current Research: 

Excess fluoride in drinking water is a significant issue and causes fluorosis in some parts of the world.  In addition, the opioid addiction epidemic, and the overuse of antibiotics are also raising water quality concerns regarding the removal of pharmaceuticals from drinking water.

Fluoride is typically removed from drinking water using activated charcoal or alumina.  However, natural water contains natural organic matter (NOM) which gives it a yellow or brown hue and a bitter taste.  While non-toxic, this NOM creates filtration issues because of its ability to foul filters due to self-aggregation.  NOM binds to fluoride and many pesticides/insecticides found in wastewater due to its many negatively and positively charged functional groups.  The treatment of ultrafiltration membranes with a fractionated NOM component will allow not only the binding of fluoride, and aforementioned pharmaceuticals, but should also prevent the fouling of filtration membranes which has been an issue for decades.  I propose to covalently bond the amphiphilic fraction of NOM to ultrafiltration membranes using UV light at different intensities and lengths of time; analyze the filters for evidence of modification and structural degradation; and eventually run filtration tests to establish evidence of the percentage of containment removal and NOM fouling.