Saugata Datta, Ph.D.
Dr. Weldon W. Hammond, Jr. Endowed Distinguished Professorship in Hydrogeology
The Dr. Weldon W. Hammond Jr. Endowed Distinguished Professorship in Hydrogeology was established in 2012 by Linda C. Hammond. The endowment honors Dr. Hammond’s professional career and service to the San Antonio community and greater South Texas.

Saugata Datta, Ph.D.

Dr. Weldon W. Hammond, Jr. Endowed Distinguished Professorship in Hydrogeology

Professor, Earth and Planetary Science

Saugata Datta is a world-renowned hydrogeologist who is involved in novel projects to better understand how different nutrients, metals, and metalloids are transferred in our groundwaters and surfacewaters and link to the effect of the environment on public health.  

Datta's research focuses on issues of water resources, water availability, and understanding the cycling of different metals and organic compounds in our groundwaters, surface waters, soils, and sediments, as well as how land use pattern changes affect the distribution of such metals and pollutants in our environments. His research projects have links to health impact assessments, targeting both human and ecosystem health. 

Professor Datta is currently researching the movement of arsenic between aquifers and tidally influenced rivers along their interactive boundaries that are affected by heavy sediment deposition across major rivers of the world.  

His interest is in studies on trace element and oxyanion migration in the environment, especially in groundwaters, urban air particulates, rice grains, and unproductive soil environments, using hydrological and geochemical tools.  

Recent studies of mineralization in rock-brine and supercritical carbon dioxide mixtures in a CO2 injection scenario within subsurface saline aquifers has gained momentum in his group. 

Datta also studies the aqueous geochemistry including elemental chemistry, and water-mineral-microbe interactions that are involved in the process of secondary minerals formation in lava tube caves and relate that as terrestrial analogs for future Mars missions. 

Datta and scholars study lead isotope ratios found in the blood of children with high blood lead levels with the Pb isotope ratios of the sources of lead that are most likely to contribute to high childhood blood lead levels. 

Professor Datta has been studying groundwater problems in Texas, Kansas and neighboring states and will expand upon his research with the support from the National Science Foundation (NSF-Hydrology) to work on this three-year project. He is collaborating with Texas A&M University and the University of Texas at Austin.  

In addition to his work on studying groundwater, Datta is a principal investigator on BioSensor “Signals in the Soil (SitS)” solicitation project to work with graphene-based technology to develop an inexpensive phosphate sensor and sensor network capable of real-time monitoring of the phosphorous content in soil from different climatic regimes. Datta said that they are utilizing graphene’s exceptional electrical and electrochemical properties in this novel field soil health assessment.  

Lastly, Datta serves as director of the UTSA Institute for Water Research, Sustainability and Policy, which brings together faculty from various disciplines across five colleges to collaborate in the areas of water quality, water quantity, flood control and water policy.