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Faculty Profile
Nicholas Pflug

Nicholas Pflug

Assistant Professor

315 Jahn Laboratory


Postdoctoral, Environmental Chemistry, ETH Zurich, 2018-2021

Ph.D., Chemistry, University of Iowa, 2017

M.S., Chemistry, University of Nevada, Reno, 2013


Diagram showing the relationship of different areas of research in the Pflug Lab.

Research in the Pflug Lab focuses on the fate of organic chemicals in natural and engineered water systems.


Research efforts in the Pflug Lab utilize a variety of methods from environmental chemistry, natural products chemistry, and organic synthesis to address the challenges of water contamination and its effects on human and ecosystem health and also to fill knowledge gaps in key biophysicochemical processes of organic compounds in water.

Our research focuses on the following five areas: (i) the aquatic fate of pollutants of emerging concern (e.g., livestock feed additives) in natural and engineered systems, (ii) photochemistry of chemical cues (e.g., pheromones, attractants, and other chemical signals) of aquatic organisms, and (iii) aquatic photochemistry of natural toxins (e.g., phyto-, myco-, and algal toxins). For this work, an emphasis is placed on kinetics, product identification, mechanistic studies, biological effects, and occurrence studies. Other major research thrusts in our group focus on (iv) photophysical and chemical properties of dissolved organic matter and (v) bioaccumulation and phytoremediation of organic contaminants

Students will gain proficiency in the areas of organic synthesis, chemical separations, extractions, isolations, and structure elucidation, natural photochemical processes (e.g., direct and indirect photolysis), wastewater and drinking water treatment technologies (e.g., chlorination and UV disinfection), and other advanced oxidation processes (e.g., ozonolysis).

Follow this link to ask questions and express your interest in our program. Alternatively, please feel free to email me directly.

Courses Taught

FCH 223: Organic Chemistry II

FCH 584: Spectrometric Identification of Organic Compounds

FCH 497: Undergraduate Seminar

FCH 797: Graduate Seminar

Current Advisees

Morgan Fatowe

  • Degree Sought: PhD
  • Area of Study: Environmental Chemistry

Sarah Crane

  • Degree Sought: BS (honors program)
  • Area of Study: Environmental Chemistry

Selected Publications

Complete Listing: Google Scholar

  • Pflug, N.C.; Kral, A.K.; Hankard, M.K., Breuckman, K.C.; Kolodziej, E.P.; Gloer, J.B.; Wammer, K.H.; Cwiertny, D.M. Photolysis of Trenbolone Acetate Metabolites in the Presence of Nucleophiles: Evidence for Metastable Photoaddition Products and Reversible Associations with Dissolved Organic Matter. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2020, 54, 12181-12190.
  • Pflug, N.C.; Patterson, E.V.; Martinovic-Weigelt, D.; Kolodziej, E.P.; Gloer, J.B.; McNeill, K.; Cwiertny, D.M.; Wammer, K.H. Intramolecular [2+2] Photocycloaddition of Altrenogest: Confirmation of Product Structure, Theoretical Mechanistic Insight, and Bioactivity Assessment. J. Org. Chem. 2019, 84, 11366-11371.
  • Apell, J.N.; Pflug, N.C.; McNeill, K. Photodegradation of Fludioxonil and Other Pyrroles: The Importance of Indirect Photodegradation for Understanding Environmental Fate and Photoproduct Formation. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2019, 53, 11240-11250.
  • Pflug, N.C.; Knutson, C.J.; Martinovic-Weigelt, D.; Swenson, D.C.; Wammer, K.H.; Cwiertny, D.M.; Gloer, J.B. Bioactive Rearrangement Products from Aqueous Photolysis of Pharmaceutical Steroids. Org. Lett. 2019, 21, 3568-3571.
  • Klarich, K.L.; Pflug, N.C.; DeWald, E.M.; Hladik, M.L.; Kolpin, D.W.; Cwiertny, D.M.; LeFevre, G.H. Occurrence of Neonicotinoid Insecticides in Finished Drinking Water and Fate during Drinking Water Treatment. Environ. Sci. Technol. Lett. 2017, 4, 168-173.