Stephen E. Cabaniss


Department Chair

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Analytical Chemistry
Chemical Education
Environmental Chemistry

Contact Information

Phone: 505-277-6655
Office: Clark Hall Room 103B


  • B.S. in Chemistry, 1980, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Engineering, 1986, University of North Carolina
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, 1987, Harvard School of Public Health
  • Research Associate in Chemistry, 1988-1989, University of North Carolina


Study of the natural environment raises biogeochemical questions related to naturally-occurring organic compounds: How do organic substances lead to soil formation? How is energy transferred from higher plants to microbes? What controls the bioavailability and movement of metals in surface and subsurface waters? To address these and other questions, we have developed an agent-based model (ABM) of organic chemistry in the environment, employing stochastic kinetic algorithms and quantitative structure reactivity (QSPR) relationships. The ABM is ideally suited to representing the heterogeneous mixtures of compounds found in the environment, while carefully formulated QSPRs permit quantitative predictions of chemical observables. Current work seeks to apply the mode to problems in metal complexation, drinking water disinfection, microbial ecology and sub-surface contaminant transport.

Related research projects include experimental studies of arsenic and organic compounds onto iron oxides, spectroscopic investigations of humic substances, and uncertainty analysis of the thermodynamic models used to predict uranium speciation in groundwater.

Selected Publications

  1. Cabaniss, S.E. "Forward Modeling of Metal Complexation by NOM: II. Prediction of Binding Site Properties" 2011, Environ, Sci. Technol. 45:3202-3209.
  2. Luilo, G.B.; Cabaniss, S.E. "Quantitative Structure?Property Relationship for Predicting Chlorine Demand by Organic Molecules" 2010, Environ. Sci. Technol., 44:2503-2508.
  3. Cabaniss, S.E. "Forward Modeling of Metal Complexation by NOM: I. A priori Prediction of Conditional Constants and Speciation" 2009, Environ. Sci. Technol., 43:2838-2844.
  4. Cabaniss, S.E. "Quantitative structure-property relationships for predicting metal binding by organic ligands" 2008, Environ. Sci. Technol., 42:5210-5216.
  5. McAuley, B and Cabaniss, S.E., "Quantitative detection of aqueous arsenic and other oxoanions using attenuated total reflectance infrared spectroscopy utilizing iron oxide coated internal reflection elements to enhance the limits of detection." 2007 Anal. Chim. Acta, 581, 309-317.