Alexandra Polasko, a Ph.D. Environmental Engineering student, has advanced to the semi-finals of the UCLA Grad Slam. Alexandra’s presentation, “Discovering New Talent In Microbes!” discusses her research which hopes to clean contaminated water more efficiently and rapidly. Alexandra is developing a tool that can identify specific enzymes in microorganisms that can break down specific harmful contaminants in water. This tool will help find the crucial enzymes needed to transform pollutants into less harmful compounds for humans.

The UCLA Grand Slam is a campus-wide competition that showcases and awards the best 3-minute research presentations by graduate students. UCLA Grand Slam is self-described as “TED Talks on steroids”. The presentations are free and open to the entire campus community and general public. Alexandra will compete in the semi-finals taking place on March 1st. Visit the UCLA Grand Slam website for further details and to keep up with the latest results.

Alexandra started in the UCLA Civil and Environmental Engineering Ph.D. program Fall 2015 with Dr. Shaily Mahendra.