Published on New York State Department of Health, Wadsworth Center (

Sherry A. Faye, Ph.D.

Sherry A. Faye, Ph.D.
Director, Nuclear Chemistry Laboratory
Assistant Professor, University at Albany, School of Public Health, Environmental Health Sciences
Ph.D.: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Postdoctoral training: UC Berkeley and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

The Nuclear Chemistry Laboratory (NCL) is responsible for mandated radiological surveillance in New York State, radiological emergency response, research, and teaching in radiological sciences.

The radiological surveillance program provides data to assist with exposure assessment of the population due to ionizing radiation. Environmental samples (fish, vegetation, milk, air, etc.) collected in the vicinity of nuclear power plants and waste sites are analyzed at NCL to ensure no new contamination or migration of known contamination occurs. Public drinking water samples are monitored for gross alpha/beta, radium, and uranium to ensure compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Safe Drinking Water Act requirements. In addition to surveillance testing, NCL staff participate in state and federally evaluated radiological emergency response exercises and conduct research on method development and detection of radiological contaminants in food as part of the U.S. FDA Food Emergency Response Network (FERN).

Dr. Faye’s research interests involve fate and transport of radionuclides in the environment and method development of radiochemical analyses for use in routine and emergency response scenarios. A recent collaboration resulted in publication of a novel method for rapid analysis Sr-89,90 by utilizing multi-window liquid scintillation counting coupled with chemical recovery using Sr-85 analyzed by high purity germanium gamma spectrometry. Her current research is focused on investigating the mobility and bioavailability of public health relevant radionuclides in soil geochemically similar to New York State agricultural soil. The goal of this research is to provide information on radiological contaminant behavior in New York State agricultural soils in order to guide decision making on exposure assessment and decontamination potential following a radiological contamination event on New York State farmland.