W. Robert Midden

robert midden W. Robert Midden, Ph.D.

Emeritus Professor
304 University Hall

Biographical Facts:

Joined the faculty in 1987
Ph.D., Ohio State University (1978)
B.A., St. John's University (1974)  

Research Interests:

Prof. Midden earned a PhD in Biochemistry from the Ohio State University in 1978 and began his career in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at Johns Hopkins University where he helped start a new PhD program in Environmental Chemistry. He came to BGSU in 1987 to join a team building the new PhD program in photochemical sciences and establishing BGSU as a national leader in photochemical sciences research. Since then, he has pursued multiple research interests including bioorganic photochemistry of some of the fundamental processes of carcinogenesis, the development of more effective methods of education at all levels, and now: the chemodynamics of water and soil, especially as it relates to restoring and maintaining water quality in our environment. The recipient of more than $20 million in grants from federal and state agencies and private foundations, he has led multiple intercollegiate teams in efforts to improve education in the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Dr. Midden retired from all of his administrative roles in 2019 and now leads a science research group investigating problems that are threatening the environmental welfare and economic vitality of Lake Erie and other Ohio lakes, rivers, and streams. The focus is on improving understanding of the chemical process in water and soil that determine environmental integrity and ecological health. This includes the development of technology to improve the environmental sustainability of the use of animal waste as a fertilizer for maximizing crop yield. These efforts have involved more than 40 undergraduate and graduate students over the last several years and involve collaboration with several government agencies and scientists from throughout the region in searching for solutions to some of the most pressing environmental issues in Ohio.

Recent Publications:

Karunarathna, M.H.J.S., Hatten, Z.R., Bailey, K.M., Lewis, E.T., Morris, A.L., Kolk, A.R., Laib, J.C., Tembo, N., Williams, R.A., Phillips, B.T., Ash, B.L., Midden, W.R., and Ostrowski, A.D., Reclaiming Phosphate from Waste Solutions with Fe(III)–Polysaccharide Hydrogel Beads for Photo-Controlled-Release Fertilizer. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2019. 67: p. 12155-63.

Francy, D.S., Brady, A.M.G., Ash, B.L., and Midden, W.R. Pilot-scale testing of dairy manure treatments to reduce nutrient transport from land application, northwest Ohio, 2015–17: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2020–5015; Reston, VA, 2020; 31 p, https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20205015.

Karunarathna, M.H.J.S., Bailey, K.M., Ash, B.L., Matson, P.G., Wildschutte, H., Davis, T.W., Midden, W.R., and Ostrowski, A.D., Nutrient Capture from Aqueous Waste and Photocontrolled Fertilizer Delivery to Tomato Plants Using Fe(III)–Polysaccharide Hydrogels. ACS Omega, 2020(36): p. 23009–23020.

Luek, J., Brooker, M.R., Ash, B.L., Midden, W.R., and Mouser, P.J., Seasonal changes predominant over manure application in driving dissolved organic matter shifts in agricultural runoff. Journal of Great Lakes Research, 2020. 46: p. 1570-1580.

Midden, W.R., Teaching Chemistry with Civic Engagement: Non-Science Majors Enjoy Chemistry When They Learn by Doing Research that Provides Benefits to the Local Community, in Citizens First! Democracy, Social Responsibility and Chemistry. 2018, American Chemical Society. p. 1-31.