Pat Shea

Pat Shea

  • Contact Information
  • My Story
  • Publications
  • Background
  • Interests
  • Courses Taught

Contact Information

TitleEmeritus - Xenobiotics/Environmental Chemist
Faculty RankProfessor Emeritus
Address Off Campus
Lincoln NE
VitaeDownload file


My Story

I'm Pat Shea, professor of xenobiotic chemistry and toxicology at the UNL School of Natural Resources (SNR). I hold courtesy appointments in the UNL Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, and the Department of Environmental, Agricultural and Occupational Health (EAOH) at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. My interests include protection and management of natural resources and ecosystems, ecological and environmental toxicology, chemicals in agricultural production systems, remediation and restoration of contaminated environments, and protection of public health.

Patrick Shea
Dr. Pat Shea visits a soil remediation project in Minnesota.

What are xenobiotics? Xenobiotics are biologically foreign substances that did not exist in nature before being synthesized by humans. These substances often become environmental contaminants. Our research encompasses adsorption-desorption, transformation, transport, bioavailability and toxicology of herbicides and other pesticides, munitions, pharmaceuticals, solvents and petroleum products, and heavy metals in water and soil.

We've also conducted research in the remediation of contaminated water and soil, including abiotic and biotic treatment processes. In addition, we've been involved in the development of process-based models, to assess landscape vulnerability to agrichemical leaching and runoff. Much of my research is interdisciplinary and involves collaborations with other faculty members.

I've taught, team-taught and assisted in courses concerning the fate and impacts of xenobiotics in soil, water, and biota; a graduate seminar in environmental health, occupational health and toxicology; and a graduate writing seminar. I've advised or co-advised master's and doctoral students with majors in natural resource sciences, agronomy and toxicology; supervised postdoctoral associates; and hosted visiting scientists. I hold a partial extension appointment and contribute to outreach education programs.

This diagram shows ways that pesticides move through soil  and water.
This diagram shows ways that pesticides move through soil and water. Click on image to enlarge.

I've been at UNL since completing a Ph.D. in 1981 at North Carolina State University, with a focus on agricultural and environmental chemistry in soil-water-plant systems. I also have a master's in plant science (agricultural management systems) from the University of Connecticut and a bachelor's in biology (general and premedical) from Fordham University in New York City.

In addition to my academic appointments, I'm a member of the intercampus Center for Environmental Health and Toxicology (CEHT), and an affiliate of the Nebraska Water Center, Center for Biotechnology, and the Environmental Engineering Program. I previously served as associate director and research coordinator for SNR, vice chair of the EAOH at UNMC, interim co-director of the CEHT, and have served multiple terms as senator and secretary of the UNL Faculty Senate.

Pesticide diagram
The map, developed as part of a U.S. Department of Agriculture funded project, shows landscape vulnerability to atrazine loss in runoff water for Saunders County, NE. The most vulnerable areas are steep hill slopes on the south side of the current Platte river channel, and on the western edge of the county. Least vulnerable are the relatively flat playas and depressions of the Todd Valley.

Selected Publications

Dhandole, L. K., Kim, S.-G., Bae, H.-S., Ryu, H. I., Cung, H.-S., Seo, Y.-S., Cho, M., Shea, P., Jang, J. S. 2019. Simultaneous and synergistic effect of heavy metal adsorption on the enhanced photocatalytic performance of a visible-light-driven RS-TONR/TOnline
Elumalai, P., Park, Y.-J., Cho, M., Shea, P., Oh, B.-T. 2019. Red yeast rice fermentation with Bacillus subtilis B2 under blue light emitting diodes increases antioxidant secondary products (BPBSE-18-0387). Bioprocess and Biosystems Engineering Journal. 4Online
Goswami, R., Kumar, M., Biyani, N., Shea, P. 2019. Arsenic exposure and perception of health risk due to groundwater contamination in Majili (river island), Assam, India. Environmental Geochemistry and Health.Online
Kumar, M., Snow, D., Li, Y., Shea, P. 2019. Perchlorate behavior in the context of black carbon and metal cogeneration following fireworks emission at Oak Lake, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA. Environmental Pollution. 253: 930-938.Online
Shim, J., Kumar, M., Goswami, R., Mazumder, P., Oh, B.-T., Shea, P. 2019. Removal of p-cresol and tylosin from water using a novel composite of alginate, recycled MnO2 and activated carbon. Journal of Hazardous Materials. 364: 419-428.Online
Jhala, A., Klein, R., Knezevic, S., Kruger, G., Reicher, Z., Young, S., Shea, P., Ogg, C. L. (2018). 2018 Guide for Weed Management in Nebraska with Insecticide and Fungicide Information, EC130.Online
Shim, J., Kumar, M., Goswami, R., Mazumder, P., Oh, B.-T., Shea, P. (2018). Removal of p-cresol and tylosin from water using a novel composite of alginate, recycled MnO2 and activated carbon. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 364(2019), 419-428.
Das, N., Sarma, K. P., Patel, A. K., Deka, J., Das, A., Kumar, A., Shea, P., Kumar, M. (2017). Seasonal disparity in the co-occurrence of arsenic and fluoride in the aquifers of the Brahmaputra flood plains, Northeast India. Environmental Earth Sciences, Online
Shepherd, M. A., Labay, A., Shea, P., Rautianen, R., Achutan, C. 2016. Operational, water quality and temporal factors affecting impingement of fish and shellfish at a Texas coastal power plant. Global Ecology and Conservation. 5:48-57.Online
Babu, A. G., Shea, P., Sudhakar, D., Jung, I.-B., Oh, B.-T. (2015). Potential use of Pseudomonas koreensis AGB-1 in association with Miscanthus sinensis to remediate heavy metal(loid)-contaminated mining site soil. Journal of Environmental Management, 151Online
J Shim, J.-W. Kim, P. J. Shea, B.-T. Oh. 2015. Biosorption of Cadmium by Citrobacter sp. JH 11-2 Isolated from Mining Site Soil. Separ. Sci. and Technol. 50: 2134-2141.
J. Shim, P. J. Shea, J.-M. Lim, B.-T. Oh. 2015. Simultaneous Cr(VI) reduction and methylene blue removal by Bacillus sp. JH2-2 isolated from mining site soil. Desalin Water Treat. (ahead-of-print), 1-8.Online
Jaehong Shim, Patrick J. Shea, Ik-Boo Jung, Byung-Taek Oh, Min Cho. 2015. Pseudomonas sp. JH 51-2 Promotes Stabilization of Lead in Mining Site Soil. J. Environ. Biol. 36(3):e659-e701.
Shim, J., Kim, J.W., Shea, P., Oh, B.-T. 2015. IAA production by Bacillus sp. JH 2-2 promotes Indian mustard growth in the presence of hexavalent chromium. Journal of Basic Microbiology. 55:652-658.Online
A. Giridhar Babu, J. Shim, P. J. Shea, and B.-T. Oh. 2014. Penicillium aculeatum PDR-4 and Trichoderma sp. PDR-16 promote phytoremediation of mine tailing soil and bioenergy production with sorghum-sudangrass. Ecol. Engin. 69:186-191Online
Babu, A. G., Shea, P., Oh, B.-T. (2014). Trichoderma sp. PDR1-7 promotes Pinus sylvestris reforestation of lead-contaminated mine tailing sites. The Science of the Total Environment, 2014(476-477), 561-567Online
Huang,Yong H., Tian C. Zhang, Patrick J. Shea, and Steve D. Comfort. 2014. Competitive Reduction of Nitrate, Nitrite, and Nitrobenzene in Fe0-Water Systems. Journal of Environmental Engineering Aug 2014, Vol. 140, No. 8
J. Shim*, A. Giridhar Babu, P. Velmurugan, P. J. Shea, and B.-T. Oh. 2014. Pseudomonas fluorescens JH 70-4 promotes Pb stabilization and early seeding growth of Sudan grass in contaminated mining site soil. Environ. Tec. 35(20):2589-2596.
J. Shim, J.-M. Lim, P. J. Shea, and B.-T. Oh. 2014. Corn cob silica-alginate beads with immobilized Pseudomonas putida YNS1 remove phenol, Cu and Cd from contaminated water. J. Hazar. Mater. 272:129-136Online
Jaehong Shim*, Patrick J. Shea, Byung-Taek Oh. 2014. Stabilization of heavy metals in mining site soil with silica extracted from corn cob. Water air Soil Poll. 225: 2152.Online
Rhoades MG, Meza JL, Beseler CL, Shea PJ, Kahle A, Vose JM, Exner ME, Spalding RF. 2014. Evaluating mixtures in drinking water supplies as risk factors for cancer: A case study of nitrate and atrazine. Chapter 2, p. 21-62
Shim, J., Lim, J.-M., Shea, P., Oh, B.-T. (2014). Simultaneous removal of phenol, Cu and Cd from water with corn cob silica-alginate beads. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 272, 129-136.Online
Shim, J., Shea, P., Oh, B.-T. (2014). Stabilization of heavy metals in mining site soil with silica extracted from corn cob. Water, Air and Soil Pollution, 225, 1-12.
A. Giridhar Babu, J. Shim, K.-S. Bang, P. J. Shea, and B.-T. Oh. 2013. Trichoderma virens PDR-28: A heavy metal-tolerant and plant growth-promoting fungus for remediation and bioenergy crop production on mine tailing soil. J. Environ. Mang. 132:129-134Online
Joshi N, Rhoades MG, Bennett GD, Wells SM, Mirvish SS, Breitbach MJ, Shea PJ. 2013. Developmental abnormalities in chicken embryos exposed to N-nitrosoatrazine. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A. 76(17):1015-1022.Online
Kim, S. A., Kamala-Kannan, S., Lee, K.-J., Park, Y.-J., Shea, P., Lee, W.-H., Kim, H.-M., Oh, B.-T. (2013). Removal of Pb(II) from aqueous solution by a zeolite–nanoscale. Chemical Engineering Journal, 217, 54-60Online
Rhoades MG, Meza JM, Beseler CL, Shea PJ, Kahle A, Vose JM, Eskridge, KM, Spalding RF. 2013. Atrazine and Nitrate in Public Drinking Water Supplies Associated with non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in Nebraska USA. Environmental Health Insights 2013:7 15-27.Online
You, Y., Shim, J., Cho, C.-H., Ryu, M.-H., Shea, P., Kamala-Kannan, S., Chae, J.-C., Oh, B.-T. (2013). Biodegradation BTEX mixture by Pseudomonas putida YNS1 isolated from oil-contaminated soil. Journal of Basic Microbiology, 53, 469-475Online
You, Y., Y. Shim, C-H. Cho, M-H. Ryu, P.J. Shea, S. Kamala-Kannan, and B-T. Oh. 2012. BTEX interactions during biodegradation by Pseudomonas putida YNS1 isolated from oil-contaminated soil. Journal of Basic Microbiology 52:1-6.
Youngnam You*, Jaehong Shim*, Choa-Hyoung Cho, Moon-Hee Ryu, Patrick J. Shea, Seralathan Kamala-Kannan, Jong-Chan Chae and Byung-Taek Oh. 2012. Biodegradation of BTEX mixture by Pseudomonas putida YNS1 isolated from oil-contaminated soil. Journal of BasicOnline
Velmurugan, P., H. Hur, V. Balachandar, S. Kamala-Kannan, K-J. Lee, S-M. Lee, J-C. Chae, P.J. Shea, and B-T. Oh. 2011. Monascus pigment production by solid-state fermentation with corn cob substrate. Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering 112:590-594.Online
Boparai, H.K., S.D. Comfort, T. Satapanajaru, J.E. Szecsody, P.R. Grossl and P.J. Shea. 2010. Abiotic transformation of high explosives by freshly precipitated iron minerals in aqueous FeII solutions. Chemosphere, 79:865-872.Online
Vasilyeva, G.K., E.R. Strijakova, S.N. Nicolaeva, A.T. Lebedev and P.J. Shea. 2010. Dynamics of PCB removal and detoxification in historically contaminated soils amended with activated carbon. Environmental Pollution 158:770-777.Online
Kolok, A.S., C.L. Beseler, X-H. Chen, and P.J. Shea. 2009. The watershed as a conceptual framework for the study of Environmental and human health. Environmental Health Insights. 3:1-10.Online
Langell, M.A., E.B. Kadossov, H.K. Boparai, and P.J. Shea. 2009. Surface composition of iron-containing aquifer sediment after treating with sodium dithionite. Journal of Surface and Interface Science 41:941-950.Online
Boparai, H.K., P.J. Shea, S.D. Comfort, and T.A. Machacek. 2008. Sequencing zerovalent iron treatment with carbon amendments to remediate agrichemical-contaminated soil. Water, Air and Soil Pollution.193:189-196.Online
Boparai, H.K., S.D. Comfort, P.J. Shea, and J.E. Szecsody. 2008. Remediating explosive-contaminated groundwater by in situ redox manipulation (ISRM) of aquifer sediments. Chemosphere 71:933-941.Online
Kim, J., M. Cho, J. Yoon, P.J. Shea, and B-T. Oh. 2007. Surficial disinfection of Escheriachia coli contaminated playground soil by UV irradiation. Environ. Geochem. Health 12:64-71.Online
Kim, J.S., P.J. Shea, J.E. Yang, and J-E. Kim. 2007. Halide salts accelerate degradation of high explosives by zerovalent iron. Environmental Pollution 147:634-641.Online
Onanong, S. S.D. Comfort, P.D. Burrow, and P.J. Shea. 2007. Using gas-phase molecular descriptors to predict dechlorination rates of chloroalkanes by zerovalent iron. Environ. Sci. Technol.41:1200-1205.Online
Boparai, H.K., P.J. Shea, S.D. Comfort, and D.D. Snow. 2006. Dechlorinating chloroacetanilide herbicides by dithionite-treated aquifer sediment and surface soil. Environ. Sci. Technol. 40:3043-3049.Online
Onanong, S., P.D. Burrow, S.D. Comfort, and P.J. Shea. 2006. Electron capture detector response and dissociative electron attachment cross sections in chloroalkanes and chloroalkenes. J. Phys. Chem. A 110:4363-4368.Online
Tyess, D.L., P.J. Shea, and A.M. Parkhurst. 2006. Mineralization potential of atrazine and degradation intermediates from clustered characteristics in inoculated soils. J. Soil Sediment Contamination 15:87-102.Online
Vasilyeva, G.K., E.R. Strijakova, and P.J. Shea. 2006. Use of activated carbon for soil bioremediation. Soil and Water Pollution Monitoring. 69: 309-322.
Park, J., S.D. Comfort, P.J. Shea, and J.S. Kim. 2005. Increasing Fe0-mediated HMX destruction in highly contaminated soil with didecyldimethylammonium bromide surfactant. Environ. Sci. Technol. 39:9683-9688.Online
Comfort, S.D., P.J. Shea, T.A. Machacek, and T. Satapanajaru. 2003. Pilot-scale treatment of RDX-contaminated soil with zerovalent iron. Journal of Environmental Quality. 32(5):1717-25.Online
Huang, Y.H., Zhang, T.C., Shea, P.J., Comfort, S.D. 2003. Effects of oxide coating and selected cations on nitrate reduction by iron metal. Journal of Environmental Quality. 32(4):1306-1315.
Satapanajaru, T., Comfort, S.D., Shea, P.J. 2003. Enhancing metolachlor destruction rates with aluminum and iron salts during zerovalent iron treatment. Journal of Environmental Quality. 32(5): 1726-34.
Gaber, H.M., Comfort, S.D., Shea, P.J., Machacek, T.A. 2002. Metolachlor dechlorination by zerovalentiron during unsaturated transport. Journal of Environmental Quality. 31:962-969.
Vasilyeva, G.K., Kreslavski, V.D., Shea, P.J. 2002. Catalytic Oxidation of TNT by Activated Carbon. Chemosphere. 47:311-317.
Comfort, S.D., Shea, P.J., Machacek, T.A., Gaber, H., Oh, B.-T. 2001.Field-scale remediation of a metolachlor spill site using zerovalent iron. Journal of Environmental Quality. 30:1636-1643 (Journal Series Number:13306)Online
Oh, B.-T. Sarath, G., Shea, P.J. 2001. TNT nitroreductase from a Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain isolated from TNT-contaminated soil. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 33:875-881 (Journal Series Number:12926)
Vasilyeva, G.K., Kreslavski, V.D., Oh, B.-T., Shea, P.J. 2001. Potential of activated carbon to decrease 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene toxicity and accelerate soil decontamination. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. 20:965-971 (Journal Series Number:12915).
Krishnan, G., Horst, G.L., Shea, P.J. 2000. Differential tolerance of cool- and warm-season grasses to TNT-contaminated soil. International Journal of Phytoremediation. 2:369-382 (Journal Series Number:12936)
Oh, B.-T. Sarath, G., Shea, P.J., Drijber, R.A., Comfort, S.D. 2000. Rapid spectrophotometric determination of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene in a Pseudomonas enzyme assay. Journal of Microbiological Methods. 42:149-158 (Journal Series Number:12803).
Vasilyeva, G.K., Oh, B.-T., Shea, P.J., Drijber, R.A., Kreslavski, V.D., Minard, B., Bollag, J.-M. 2000. Aerobic TNT reduction via 2-hydroxylamino-4,6-dinitrotoluene by Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain MX isolated from munitions-contaminated soil. Bioremedia
Bier, E.L., J. Singh, Z. Li, S.D. Comfort, and P.J. Shea 1999. Remediating hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine-contaminated water and soil by Fenton oxidation. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. 18:1078-1084 (Journal Series Number:12206)
Kreslavski, V.D., G.K. Vasilyeva, S.D. Comfort, R.A. Drijber, and P.J. Shea 1999. Accelerated transformation and binding of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene in rhizosphere soil. Bioremediation Journal. 3:59-67 (Journal Series Number:12333).
Singh, J., Comfort, S.D., Shea, P.J. 1999. Iron-mediated remediation of RDX-contaminated water and soil under controlled Eh-pH. Environmental Science and Technology. Environmental Science and Technology. 33:1488-1494 (Journal Series Number:12224)Online
Jayachandran, K., N.B. Stolpe, T.B. Moorman, and P.J. Shea 1998. Application of 14C-most-probable-number technique to enumerate atrazine-degrading microorganisms in soil. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 30:523-529 (Journal Series Number:11893)Online
Li, Z.M, P.J. Shea, and S.D. Comfort 1998. Nitrotoluene destruction by UV-catalyzed Fenton oxidation. Chemosphere. 36:1849-1865 (Journal Series Number:11825).
Peterson, M.M., G.L. Horst, P.J. Shea, and S.D. Comfort 1998. Germination and seedling development of switchgrass and smooth bromegrass exposed to 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene. Environmental Pollution. 99:53-59 (Journal Series Number:11968)
Singh, J., P.J. Shea, L.S. Hundal, S.D. Comfort, T.C. Zhang, and D.S. Hage 1998. Iron-enhanced remediation of water and soil containing atrazine. Weed Science. 46:381-388 (Journal Series Number:12032)
Singh, J., S.D. Comfort, and P.J. Shea 1998. Remediating RDX-contaminated water and soil using zero-valent iron. Journal of Environmental Quality. 27:1240-1245 (Journal Series Number:12001)
Singh, J., S.D. Comfort, L.S. Hundal, and P.J. Shea 1998. Long-term RDX sorption and fate in soil. Journal of Environmental Quality. 27:572-577 (Journal Series Number:11906)
Stolpe, N.B., M.S. Kuzila, and P.J. Shea 1998. Importance of soil map detail in predicting pesticide mobility in terrace soils. Soil Science 163(5):394-403.
Stolpe, N.B., M.S. Kuzila, and P.J. Shea. 1998. Importance of taxonomic variability in using soil maps to predict pesticide mobility. Soil Sci. 163(5): 394-403.
Hundal, L.S., J. Singh, E.L. Bier, P.J. Shea, S.D. Comfort, and W.L. Powers 1997. Removal of TNT and RDX from water and soil using iron metal. Environmental Pollution. 26:896-904 (Journal Series Number:11703)
Hundal, L.S., P.J. Shea, S.D. Comfort, W.L. Powers, and J. Singh 1997. Long-term TNT sorption and bound residue formation in soil. Journal of Environmental Quality. 26:896-204 (Journal Series Number:11551)
Verhoeff, R.L., W.L. Powers, P.J. Shea, D.B. Marx, and G.A. Wieman 1997. Horizontal soil sampling to assess the vertical movement of agrichemicals.. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. 52:154-159 (Journal Series Number:11197)
Elumalai, P., Lim, J.-M., Park, Y.-J., Cho, M., Shea, P., Oh, B.-T. 2019. Enhanced amylase production by a Bacillus subtilis strain under blue light-emitting diodes. Preparative Biochemistry and Biotechnology. 49(2): 143-150.Online



DegreeMajorInstitutionYear Awarded
Doctorate of PhilosophyAgricultural and environmental chemistry in soil-water-plant systemsNorth Carolina State University1981
Master of SciencePlant ScienceUniversity of Connecticut1979
Bachelor of ScienceBiologyFordham University1975




SNR Program Areas

  • Environmental Science

Areas of Interest/Expertise

  • Environmental chemistry and toxicology
  • Ecotoxicology
  • Xenobiotics
  • Agrichemicals
  • Environmental management
  • Environmental remediation and restoration
  • Soil Quality
  • Water Quality
  • Soils
  • Lawns and Landscape
  • Agriculture and Livestock
  • Drinking Water
  • Land Use / Land Cover

Courses Taught

Course NumberCourse TitleFall Even YearsFall Odd YearsSpring Even YearsSpring Odd YearsSummer SessionCross Listing
NRES 484/884Water Resources SeminarXXAGRO/GEOG/ GEOL/WATS 484/884
NRES 920Xenobiotics in the EnvironmentXXAGRO/ENTO/ HORT/NRES/ TOXI 920