Chemistry Department
Karen MacManus

Laura MacManus-Spencer

Job Title
Associate Professor of Chemistry
Wold Center 120
Department/Program: Chemistry, ESPE

Research interests

In a recent study of United States streams conducted by the U. S. Geological Survey, 82 organic wastewater contaminants, including pharmaceuticals, hormones, and other organic compounds, were detected, with contaminants found in 80% of the streams studied (Kolpin, D. W.; Furlong, E. T.; Meyer, M. T.; Thurman, E. M.; Zaugg, S. D.; Barber, L. B.; Buxton, H. T., Environ. Sci. Technol. 2002,36(6), 1202-1211). My research interests are centered on the fate and transport of such organic contaminants in natural waters and soils. I am interested in the partitioning of contaminants among environmental compartments (water, soil, mineral, biota, air), as well as their potential for photochemical degradation in natural waters. Researchers in my lab can gain experience in a variety of analytical techniques, such as HPLC, GC-MS, UV-Vis, and fluorescence, as well as water sampling, photochemistry techniques, and other environmental chemistry experiments and analyses.

Teaching interests

  • CHM 101 Introductory Chemistry I
  • CHM 101 Introductory Chemistry I Lab
  • CHM 102 Introductory Chemistry II
  • CHM 102 Introductory Chemistry II Lab
  • CHM 240 Analytical Chemistry
  • CHM 240 Analytical Chemistry Lab
  • CHM 340 Chemical Instrumentation
  • CHM 340 Chemical Instrumentation Lab


  • MacManus-Spencer, L. A.;* Tse, M. L.;† Klein, J. L.;† Kracunas, A. E.† Aqueous photolysis of the organic ultraviolet filter chemical octyl methoxycinnamate. Environmental Science and Technology 2011, 45, 3931-3937.
  • Bischel, H. N.; MacManus-Spencer, L. A.; Zhang, C.; Luthy, R. G.* Strong associations of short-chain perfluoroalkyl acids with serum albumin and investigation of binding mechanisms. Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry 2011, 30, 2423–2430.
  • Hebert, P. C.;† MacManus-Spencer, L. A.* A novel fluorescence model for studying the binding of medium- to long-chain perfluoroalkyl acids to human serum albumin. Analytical Chemistry 2010, 82, 6463-6471.
  • Bischel, H. N; MacManus-Spencer, L. A.; Luthy, R. G.* Noncovalent interactions of long-chain perfluoroalkyl acids with serum albumin. Environmental Science and Technology, 2010, 44, 5263-5269.
  • MacManus-Spencer, L. A.;* Tse, M. L.;† Hebert, P. C.;† Bischel, H. N.; Luthy, R. G. Binding of perfluorocarboxylates to serum albumin: A comparison of analytical methods. Analytical Chemistry 2010, 82, 974-981.
  • Epel, D.;* Luckenbach, T.; Stevenson, C. N.; MacManus-Spencer, L. A.; Hamdoun, A.; Smital, T. Efflux transporters: Newly appreciated roles in protection against pollutants. Environmental Science and Technology 2008, 42, 3914-3920.
  • Higgins, C. P.; McLeod, P. B; MacManus-Spencer, L. A.; Luthy, R. G.* Bioaccumulation of perfluorochemicals in sediments by the aquatic oligochaete, Lumbriculus variegatus. Environmental Science and Technology 2007, 41, 4600-4606.
  • Stevenson, C. N.; MacManus-Spencer, L. A.; Luckenbach, T.; Luthy, R. G.; Epel, D.* New perspectives on perfluorochemical ecotoxicology: Inhibition and induction of an efflux transporter in the marine mussel, Mytilus californianus. Environmental Science and Technology 2006, 40, 5580-5585.
  • MacManus-Spencer, L. A.; Edhlund, B. L.; McNeill, K.* Singlet oxygen production in the reaction of superoxide with organic peroxides. Journal of Organic Chemistry 2006, 71, 796-799.
  • MacManus-Spencer, L. A.; McNeill, K.* Quantification of singlet oxygen production in the reaction of superoxide with hydrogen peroxide using a selective chemiluminescent probe. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2005, 127, 8954-8955.
  • MacManus-Spencer, L. A.; Latch, D. E.; Kroncke, K. M.; McNeill, K.* Stable dioxetane precursors as highly selective trap-and-trigger chemiluminescent probes for singlet oxygen. Analytical Chemistry, 2004, 77, 1200-1205.

Additional media

Academic credentials

B.A., College of St. Benedict; Ph.D., University of Minnesota