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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign






Microbial Ecology/Wastewater Microbiology

1. To characterize microbial diversity (species richness, evenness and composition) in various ecosystems, and to correlate the microbial diversity with community functions (chemical degradation, biopolymer production, and nutrients removal).

2. To optimize the enhanced biological phosphorus removal processes through better understandings of microbiology and biochemistry

3. To characterize microbial communities in upper-flow anaerobic sludge blanket reactors treating industrial wastewater

4. To design/optimize membrane bioreactors for wastewater treatments and nutrient removal.

Water Microbiology

1. To address biofouling problems associated with membrane-based water separation processes through the use of novel antimicrobial agents

2. To identify/monitor microbial populations responsible for biofouling problems in membranebased water separation processes.

3. To understand the mechanisms of biofilm formation in membrane-based water separation processes at molecular signaling levels.

4. To understand the microbial ecology of drinking water distribution system biofilms

5. To detect waterborne pathogens in various water sources

Molecular Methods and Nano-biotechnology for Microbial Monitoring

1. To leverage on available molecular methods like real-time PCR and fingerprinting methods

(e.g., terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism) for monitoring microbial population dynamics or interested microbial populations.

2. To develop state-of-the-art techniques like DNA microchip and biological lab-on-a-chip for monitoring biological warfare agents, pathogenic organisms and ecologically important microorganisms.

3. To develop novel real-time image analysis software for the control of DNA microchip reader and image analysis.

Microbial Systematics and Genomics

1. To characterize and classify novel bacterial isolates from wastewater treatment processes.

2. To analyze phylogenetic placement of microorganisms based on rRNA sequences and metagenomics approaches.

3. Environmental metagenomics for TA-degrading methanogenic consortia in anaerobic bioreactors