Research in this specialty area focuses on understanding the
occurrence and behavior of harmful microorganisms in the environment
and developing engineering applications for beneficial microorganisms
and microbial communities.
Active research projects include
development of devices for microbial detection (e.g., DNA biochips,
biosensors, and hand-held microfluidic devices), occurrence,
transport, and modeling of microbial and viral contaminants in
watersheds, and develop biological systems to remediate sites with
various chemical contaminants of national interest (e.g.,
trichloroethylene, trinitrotoluene, polychlorinated biphenyls, and
methyl tert-butyl ether). Future research projects in the area of
environmental microbiology and biotechnology are expected to be
closely tied to the national needs with respect to microbiological
safety and contaminant clean-up goals.