I have a long-standing interest in chemical composition gradients across spiral galaxies and the related question of variations in chemical abundance from galaxy to galaxy. I have a current project with collaborators outside UT to use the new Hobby-Eberly telescope at McDonald Observatory to obtain spectra of emission-line galaxies at high redshifts.
One recent interest has been the the effect of cluster environment on the abundances in spiral galaxies. Two published papers have argued that the chemical abundances in the spiral galaxies in the core of the Virgo cluster have higher abundances than spirals in the cluster periphery and in the field. This may be related to differing amounts of infall of primordial gs in the different environments. A future goal of our HET project is to compare cluster and field galaxies at substantial look-back times.