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Featured Profile: J. David Robertson

J. David Robertson

Renowned University of Missouri radiochemist Dr. J. David Robertson looks to nuclear research for answers.

Robertson is associate director at the MU Research Reactor (MURR), which he likens to a national laboratory due to the quantity and quality of research conducted. Robertson oversees research as well as the education opportunities the reactor provides in engineering, nuclear forensics and other related areas.

Robertson’s own research uses the unique properties of the nucleus to investigate chemical processes. Knowing that nuclear weapons testing in the late 1950s and early 1960s increased the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere, Robertson measured carbon-14 levels in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. He was able to document the chronology of abnormal brain formations – a finding which can help neuroscientists better understand how the disease develops.

Robertson also works to develop isotopes for a variety of applications including cancer therapy, nuclear batteries and nuclear forensics. Additionally, he uses radiochemical techniques for a wide array of projects, from analyzing fine airborne particulate matter for environmental safety to categorizing Native American artifacts to help reconstruct ancient trade and travel routes.

David Robertson holds appointments at MURR, in the College of Engineering and the College of Arts and Science. He has published more than 200 research articles and is a fellow of the American Chemical Society.

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Related Initiative(s):
One Health/One Medicine