Dawn Dechand, PhD

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Dawn Dechand
Research Interest: 
Environment: Ecological Engineering
Professional Title: 
Associate Professor

524 S. Shaw Lane
205 Farrall Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824


Teaching: BE 332 Engineering Properties of Biological Materials, BE 482 Engineering Ecological Treatment Systems,  BE/EGR/CANR 475 Ecological Engineering in the tropics.

Research:  Dr. Dechand researches the fate of pollutants in ecosystems and the design of ecological treatment systems.  Her current research includes:

  • Fate of antibiotics in plant systems.  Plants, including vegetable crops, have the capability to uptake, metabolize, and accumulate antibiotics.  However, metabolism of antibiotics by plants is rarely studied or considered in fate and risk studies.  Dr. Reinhold’s group have demonstrated that plants, including vegetables, metabolize the majority of antibioitics that they uptake.  Since this metabolism consists of mostly conjugation with sugars, these metabolites are likely broken down into the parent antibiotics during digestion, prompting human health concerns. 
  • Constructed treatment wetlands for wastewaters.  Wetlands are complex ecological systems that can be created by engineers to treat a variety of wastewaters.  Dr. Reinhold’s group is currently researching performance of a constructed treatment wetland in Costa Rica that treats anaerobic digestate.  Other studies include the role of plants in clogging in wetlands and identification of plants with superior phosphorus uptake.
  • Ecological stormwater treatment practices.  Bioretention (aka rain gardens) are engineered systems that mimic a forest or prairie ecosystem to remove pollutants from stormwater.  Dr. Reinhold’s group focuses on the role of plants in these ecosystems, while monitoring current ecological stormwater practices on campus.

Publications and Grants

Ph.D. Environmental Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2007
B.S. Biological and Agricultural Engineering and Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences (secondary major), Kansas State University, 2002