Atmospheric Chemistry Group

About The Group

The Atmospheric Chemistry Group, directed by Dr. Vera Samburova, is a research group developed for chemical analysis of organic species in the atmosphere. Hundreds of organic compounds that are potentially harmful to people and the environment are released into the air by different biogenic and anthropogenic sources. These compounds can transfer, deposit, and undergo a complex homogeneous and heterogenous chemical transformation.

Dr. Samburova’s research group focuses on the analysis of these atmospheric organic species with different analytical techniques, including gas chromatography (GC) mass spectrometry (MS), liquid chromatography with UV-Vis and MS detectors, nuclear magnetic resonance (H-NMR), and UV-Vis spectrophotometry. Air pollution has been a serious problem not only for the atmosphere but for the rest of the environment. Dr. Samburova’s group also studies the chemical effects of organic air pollutants on soil, snow, and water.

Recent research projects of Dr. Samburova researches have focused on analysis of toxic compounds in human breath of e-cigarette users (Samburova et al., 2018), quantification of volatile organic species emitted from cannabis plants (Samburova et al, 2019), chemical characterization of fire emissions (Sengupta et al., 2020), effects of biomass-burning organics on soil wettability (Samburova et al., 2021), and chemistry of atmospheric biological particles (Axelrod et al., 2021).

Vera Samburova, PhD, Associate Research Professor 

Atmospheric Chemistry Group Leader

Director of the Atmospheric Sciences Graduate Program (UNR/DRI):


Chair of committee of Peter Wagner Memorial Award for Women in Atmospheric Sciences (USA):

Professional Interests

  • Speciation and characterization of organic compounds in the atmosphere
  • Development of analytical methods for analysis of various organic species including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), nitrated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (nitro-PAHs), alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, carboxylic acids, high molecular weight atmospheric organic compounds or HUmic-LIke Substances (HULIS), fulvic acids (FA), saccharides, aldehydes, ketones, and heterocyclic aromatic amines (HAAs)
  • Comprehensive chemical characterization of biomass conversion products, biomass-burning and vehicle emissions, and volatile organic compounds at cannabis grow facilities
  • Analysis of organic compounds including toxic species in e-cigarette vapors

Recent Awards and Honors

2017:   The Peter B. Wagner Medal of Excellence Award for DRI Scholars in the Early Stages of Career Development

2018:   The Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Board of Regents Rising Researcher Award

2020:   The winner of TOXICS 2020 Best Paper Award:  Samburova, V. et al. (2018). Aldehydes in Exhaled Breath during E-Cigarette Vaping: Pilot Study Results, Toxics, 6 (3), 46, 10.3390/toxics6030046


Palina Bahdanovich, Master’s Student

Palina is a graduate research assistant at the Desert Research Institute in the Atmospheric Chemistry group. Currently, she is in her second semester as a master’s student of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Nevada, Reno. Her research includes the study of the chemical composition and aging of bioaerosols in the atmosphere using GC-MS, UPLC/MS, and NMR techniques.


Samburova, V., Shillito, R. M., Berli, M., Khlystov, A. Y., Moosmüller, H. (2021). Effect of Biomass-Burning Emissions on Soil Water Repellency: A Pilot Laboratory Study, Fire, 4 (2),  10.3390/fire4020024

Zhang, T., Bhattarai, C., Son, Y., Samburova, V., Khlystov, A. Y., Varganov, S. (2021). Reaction Mechanisms of Anisole Pyrolysis at Different Temperatures: Experimental and Theoretical Studies, Energy & Fuels, 35 (12), 9994–10008, ACS Publications

Axelrod, K., Samburova, V., Khlystov, A. Y. (2021). Relative abundance of saccharides, free amino acids, and other compounds in specific pollen species for source profiling of atmospheric aerosol, Science of the Total Environment, 799, Article No. 149254, 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.149254


Son, Y., Bhattarai, C., Samburova, V., Khlystov, A. Y. (2020). Carbonyls and Carbon Monoxide Emissions from Electronic Cigarettes Affected by Device Type and Use Patterns, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17 (8), 2767, 10.3390/ijerph17082767

Rennie, M., Samburova, V., Sengupta, D., Bhattarai, C., Arnott, W. P., Khlystov, A. Y., Moosmüller, H. (2020). Emissions from the Open Laboratory Combustion of Cheatgrass (Bromus Tectorum), Atmosphere, 11 (4), 406

Ebersole, J., Samburova, V., Son, Y., Cappelli, D., Demopoulos, C., Capurro, A., Pinto, A., Chrzan, B., Kingsley, K., Howard, K., Clark, N., Khlystov, A. Y. (2020). Harmful chemicals emitted from electronic cigarettes and potential deleterious effects in the oral cavity, Tobacco Induced Disease, 18 (May), 41,  10.18332/tid/116988

Son, Y., Giovenco, D., Delnevo, C., Khlystov, A. Y., Samburova, V., Meng, Q. (2020). Indoor Air Quality and Passive E-cigarette Aerosol Exposures in Vape-shops, Nicotine and Tobacco Research, ntaa094,  10.1093/ntr/ntaa094

Beres, N. D., Sengupta, D., Samburova, V., Khlystov, A. Y., Moosmüller, H. (2020). Deposition of Brown Carbon onto Snow: Changes of Snow Optical and Radiative Properties, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 20, 6095-6114,  10.5194/acp-20-6095-2020

Watts, A. C., Samburova, V., Moosmüller, H. (2020). Criteria-Based Identification of Important Fuels for Wildland Fire Emission Research, Atmosphere, 11 (6), 640,  10.3390/atmos11060640

Sengupta, D., Samburova, V., Bhattarai, C., Watts, A. C., Moosmüller, H., Khlystov, A. Y. (2020). Polar semivolatile organic compounds in biomass-burning emissions and their chemical transformations during aging in an oxidation flow reactor, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 20, 8227–8250,  10.5194/acp-20-8227-2020

Moosmüller, H., Watts, A. C., Samburova, V. (2020). Measuring Absorption Spectra of Carbonaceous Combustion Aerosols to Enable their Identification and Quantification by Shortwave Remote Sensing, Final Report for NASA Project NNX15AI48G.


Son, Y., Mishin, V., Laskin, J. D., Mainelis, G., Wackowski, O. A., Delnevo, C., Schwander, S., Khlystov, A. Y., Samburova, V., Meng, Q.(2019). Hydroxyl Radicals in E-cigarette Vapor and E-vapor Oxidative Potentials under Different Vaping Patterns, Chemical research in toxicology, 32 (6), 1087-1095,  10.1021/acs.chemrestox.8b00400

Clegg, S. L., Mazzoleni, L. R., Samburova, V., Taylor, N. F., Collins, D. R., Schum, S. K., Hallar, A. G. (2019). Modelling the hygroscopic growth factors of aerosol material containing a large water-soluble organic fraction, collected at the Storm Peak Laboratory, Atmospheric Environment,  10.1016/j.atmosenv.2019.05.068

Nelson, K. N., Boehmler, J., Khlystov, A. Y., Moosmüller, H., Samburova, V., Bhattarai, C., Wilcox, E.M., Watts, A. C. (2019). A Multipollutant Smoke Emissions Sensing and Sampling Instrument Package for Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Development and Testing, Fire, 2, 32,  10.3390/fire2020032

Samburova, V., McDaniel, M. R., Campbell, D. E., Wolf, M., Stockwell, W. R., Khlystov, A. Y. (2019). Dominant Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) measured at four Cannabis growing facilities: Pilot study results, Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association, 69 (11), 1267-1276,  10.1080/10962247.2019.1654038


Sengupta, D., Samburova, V., Bhattarai, C., Kirillova, E., Mazzoleni, L., Iaukea-Lum, M., Watts, A. C., Moosmüller, H., Khlystov, A. Y.(2018). Light absorption by polar and non-polar aerosol compounds from laboratory biomass combustion, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 10849-10867,  10.5194/acp-18-10849-2018

Bhattarai, C., Samburova, V., Sengupta, D., Iaukea-Lum, M., Watts, A. C., Moosmüller, H., Khlystov, A. Y. (2018). Physical and chemical characterization of aerosol in fresh and aged emissions from open combustion of biomass fuels, Aerosol Science and Technology, 10.1080/02786826.2018.1498585

Samburova, V., Bhattarai, C., Strickland, M., Darrow, L., Angermann, J., Son, Y., Khlystov, A. Y. (2018). Aldehydes in Exhaled Breath during E-Cigarette Vaping: Pilot Study Results, Toxics, 6 (3), 46,  10.3390/toxics6030046

Khlystov, A. Y., Samburova, V. (2018). Comment on “Do flavouring compounds contribute to aldehyde emissions in e-cigarettes” by Farsalinos and Voudris, Food and Chemical Toxicology, 120, 724-725


Taylor, N., Collins, D., Lowenthal, D. H., McCubbin, I. B., Hallar, A. G., Samburova, V., Zielinska, B. K., Kumar, N., Mazzoleni, L. (2017). Hygroscopic Growth of Water Soluble Organic Carbon Isolated from Atmospheric Aerosol Collected at U.S. National Parks and Storm Peak Laboratory, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17 (4), 2555-2571,  10.5194/acp-17-2555-2017

Yatavelli, R.L.N., Chen, L.-W.A., Knue, J. D., Samburova, V., Gyawali, M., Watts, A. C., Chakrabarty, R. K., Moosmüller, H., Hodzic, A., Wang, X., Zielinska, B. K., Chow, J. C., Watson, J. G. (2017). Emissions and partitioning of intermediate-volatility and semi-volatile polar organic compounds (I/SV-POCs) during laboratory combustion of boreal and sub-tropical peat, Aerosol Sci Eng, 1 (1), 25-32, 10.1007/s41810-017-0001-5

Khlystov, A. Y., Samburova, V. (2017). Response to Comment on “Flavoring Compounds Dominate Toxic Aldehyde Production during E Cigarette Vaping”, Environ. Sci. Technol., 51 (4), 2493-2494,  10.1021/acs.est.7b00163

Samburova, V., Zielinska, B. K., Khlystov, A. Y. (2017). Do 16 Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons Represent PAH Air Toxicity?, Toxics, 5 (3), 16 pp., Article No. 17,  10.3390/toxics5030017

Taylor, N. F., Collins, D. R., Lowenthal, D. H., Zielinska, B. K., Samburova, V., Kumar, N., Hallar, A. G., Mazzoleni, L. R., McCubbin, I. B.(2017). Hygroscopic growth of water soluble organic carbon isolated from atmospheric aerosol collected at U.S. national parks and Storm Peak Laboratory, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 17 (4), 2555-2571,  10.5194/acp-17-2555-2017


Chakrabarty, R. K., Gyawali, M., Yatavelli, R.L.N., Pandey, A., Watts, A. C., Knue, J. D., Chen, L.-W.A., Pattison, R. R., Tsibart, A. T., Samburova, V., Moosmüller, H. (2016). Brown Carbon Aerosols from Burning of Boreal Peatlands: Microphysical Properties, Emission Factors, and Implications for Direct Radiative Forcing, Atmos. Chem. Physics, 16 (5), 3033-3040,  10.5194/acp-16-3033-2016

Samburova, V., Connolly, J., Gyawali, M., Yatavelli, R.L.N., Watts, A. C., Chakrabarty, R. K., Zielinska, B. K., Moosmüller, H., Khlystov, A. Y.(2016). Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in biomass-burning emissions and their contribution to light absorption and aerosol toxicity, Science of The Total Environment, 568, 391-401,

Khlystov, A. Y., Samburova, V. (2016). Flavoring Compounds Dominate Toxic Aldehyde Production during E-Cigarette Vaping, Environ. Sci. Technol., 50 (23), 13080-13085,  10.1021/acs.est.6b05145

McDaniel, M. R., Samburova, V., Khlystov, A. Y. (2016). Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds from Cultivation of Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa) for Medical Purposes, 31 p., September 22, 2016, Final Report submitted to Washoe County Air Quality Management Division, Reno, NV.


Lowenthal, D. H., Zielinska, B. K., Samburova, V., Collins, D., Taylor, N., Kumar, N. (2015). Evaluation of Assumptions for Estimating Chemical Light Extinction at U.S. National Parks, J. Air & Waste Manage. Assoc., 65 (3), 249-260

Hathwaik, L. T., Redelman, D., Samburova, V., Zielinska, B. K., Shintani, D. K., Harper, J. F., Cushman, J. C. (2015). Transgressive, reiterative selection by continuous buoyant density gradient centrifugation of Dunaliella salina results in enhanced lipid and starch content, Algal Res., 9, 194-204

Chakrabarty, R. K., Gyawali, M., Yatavelli, R.L.N., Pandey, A., Watts, A. C., Knue, J. D., Chen, L.-W.A., Pattison, R. R., Tsibart, A. T., Samburova, V., Moosmüller, H. (2015). Dominance of brown carbon in aerosol emissions from burning of boreal peatlands, Atmos. Chem. Physics, Discuss., 15, 28793-28813

Samburova, V., McDaniel, M. R., Khlystov, A. Y., Jasoni, R. L., Larsen, J. D., Arnone, J.A. III, Omaye, S. (2015). Quantifying volatile organic gaseous emissions from hops (Humulus lupulus), as a surrogate for Cannabis, grown in DRI’s EcoCELL controlled environment facility


Zielinska, B. K., Campbell, D. E., Samburova, V. (2014). Impact of Emissions from Natural Gas Production Facilities on Ambient Air Quality in the Barnett Shale Area: a Pilot Study, J. Air & Waste Manage. Assoc., 64 (12), 1369-1383

Lowenthal, D. H., Zielinska, B. K., Samburova, V., Collins, D., Taylor, N., Kumar, N. (2014). Evaluation of Assumptions for Estimating Chemical Light Extinction at U.S. National Parks, J. Air Waste Manage. Assoc., 65 (3), 249-260,  10.1080/10962247.2014.986307


Hallar, A. G., Lowenthal, D. H., Clegg, S. L., Samburova, V., Taylor, N., Mazzoleni, L. R., Zielinska, B. K., Kristensen, T. B., Chirokova, G., McCubbin, I. B., Dodson, C. D., Collins, D. (2013). Chemical and hygroscopic properties of aerosol organics at Storm Peak Laboratory, . J. Geophys. Res.-Atmos., 118, 4767-4779,  10.1002/jgrd.50373

Samburova, V., Hallar, A. G., Mazzoleni, L. R., Saranjampour, P., Lowenthal, D. H., Kohl, S. D., Zielinska, B. K. (2013). Composition of water-soluble organic carbon in nonurban atmospheric aerosol collected at the Storm Peak Laboratory, Environ. Chem, 10, 370-380, 10.1071/EN13079

Samburova, V., Lemos, M. S., Hiibel, S., Hoekman, S.K., Cushman, J., Zielinska, B. K. (2013). Analysis of triacylglycerols and free fatty acids in algae using ultra-high performance liquid chromatography mass spectrometry, J. Am. Oil Chem. Soc., 90, 53-64 


Nriagu, J. O. (Ed.) Zielinska, B. K., Samburova, V. (2011). Residential and non-residential biomass combustion: impacts on air qualityResidential and non-residential biomass combustion: impacts on air quality, In Encyclopedia of Environmental Health, 4, 819-827, Elsevier: Burlington

Taylor, N. F., Collins, D. R., Spencer, C. W., Lowenthal, D. H., Zielinska, B. K., Samburova, V., Kumar, N. (2011). Measurement of ambient aerosol hydration state at Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the southeastern United States, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 11, 12085-12107,  10.5194/acp-11-12085-2011


Zielinska, B. K., Samburova, V. (2009). Biomass Combustion and Air QualityBiomass Combustion and Air Quality, In Encyclopedia of Environmental Health

Lowenthal, D. H., Zielinska, B. K., Mason, B., Samy, S., Samburova, V., Collins, D., Spencer, C., Taylor, N., Allen, J. O., Kumar, N. (2009). Aerosol characterization studies at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, summer, 2006, J Geophys Res, 114,  10.1029/2008JD011274

March 16, 2022

Shelby Inouye and Vera Samburova are analyzing fire-affected soil samples with the goniometer at Professor Berli lab.

Vera Samburova in Lab 

Shelby Inouye and Vera Samburova  

January 5, 2022

Master’s student Palina Bahdanovich is working on a new analytical method of starch analysis.

Paulina in ACG Lab

December 22, 2021

Dr. Vera Samburova is working on fire-affected soil samples. RAPID NSF project “Evaluation of Post-Wildfire Effects on Soil Physical and Chemical Properties in Response to the Caldor and Tamarack Fires near Lake Tahoe: A Pilot Field Study” 

Vera Samburova in the lab

November 30, 2021

Master’s student Palina Bahdanovich presented her research at the DRI science seminar. Title: “Analysis of Chemical Compounds Found in Common Bioaerosols Using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (1H-NMR)”

Palina Bahdanovich Presentation

October 25, 2021

Dr. Vera Samburova has been collected post-fire samples around different fire areas (e.g., Dixie and Caldor fires). Fires can affect soil water repellency and increase flooding and mudslides after heavy rains. Dr. Samburova’s research is focused on characterization of organic compounds in pre-fire and fire-induced soil samples.

Dr. Vera Samburova

fire areas Dixie Caldor fires


Vera Samburova, Ph.D.
Group Leader


Desert Research Institute
2215 Raggio Parkway
Reno, NV 89512


Atmospheric Sciences