Irene Xagoraraki, Ph.D.
Professor of Environmental Engineering
Laboratory Methods:
  • Detection of microbial pollutants in environmental samples: Molecular methods, cell culture methods, sequencing methods etc.
  • Simulations of water treatment processes: Bench-scale simulations of filtration, membrane bioreactors, disinfection etc.
Facilities and Equipment:

The Environmental Virology Laboratory is a fully equipped laboratory for detecting pathogenic microorganisms using molecular microbiology assays and cell culture assays. The laboratory has over 700 ft2 of research space. Biosafety Level 2 procedures are established and practiced in the lab. The laboratory includes separate rooms and areas for sample preparation, nucleic acid extraction, PCR reagent preparation, PCR amplification and post-PCR procedures, media preparation, and cell culture processing. A central room houses an autoclave. An adjacent dark room contains equipment for visualization of DNA and imaging of gels. The facility is designed to meet a unidirectional workflow (suggested in EPA’s Quality Assurance/Quality Control Guidance for Laboratories Performing PCR Analyses on Environmental Samples) to reduce the possibility for contamination.

The laboratory has a variety of equipment including biological safety cabinets; equipment for PCR (Bio-Rad Thermal Cycler); equipment for qPCR (Roche Light cycler and Eppendorf Mastercycler); equipment for automated DNA extraction (Roche MagNA Pure LC System); electrophoresis units; DNA hybridization equipment; an inverted and epifluorescence microscope; centrifuges; shaker incubators; multiple freezers and refrigerators; equipment for plating/counting/harvesting microorganisms. The laboratory includes multiple workstations and a variety of other molecular and general microbiology equipment. Field equipment is available for collecting samples from a variety of environments. An automated bench-scale membrane bioreactor is located in the laboratory.

The PI has access to the MSU Environmental Engineering Research and Teaching Laboratories. Standard equipment including balances, centrifuges, vacuum and compressed air pumps, extraction equipment, and a variety of meters are available in the laboratories. The laboratories have the analytical capabilities to perform most environmental analyses including gas chromatography, high-pressure liquid chromatography, ion chromatography, most forms of light spectroscopy, and numerous specialty equipment such as a total organic carbon analyzer. The PI has access to the MSU Macromolecular Synthesis Facility (for primer synthesis, sequencing and confirmation) and Illumina sequencing.