Career: Microbial ecology to optimize beneficial syntrophies to improve microbial electrochemical and dechlorinating systems

Project: Research project

Project Details


Justification for Supplemental REU for NSF Award 1053939CAREER: Microbial Ecology to Optimize Beneficial Syntrophies to Improve Microbial Electrochemical and Dechlorinating Systems. This REU will be used to train undergraduate students interested in graduate school in the field of Environmental Engineering, more specifically in Environmental Biotechnology. The goal of this supplemental REU is to provide research opportunities for undergraduate students. The students will be mentored by the PI and a PhD student to conduct experiments related to the role of homoacetogens and methanogens in dechlorinating cultures. The undergraduate research assistant will primarily be responsible of performing the following laboratory duties under the direction of a graduate research assistant: growing and maintaining dechlorinating cultures, sampling of fermentation products (using HPLC), methane (using a GC), and dechlorination products (using a GC). Undergraduate researchers will be part of a multidisciplinary team and will learn: 1) some microbiology and how to grow and maintain anaerobic cultures, and 2) environmental/analytical chemistry and how to use analytical instruments such as HPLC and GC; they will also be encouraged to develop independent thinking and craft their own experiments. By being active members of the PIs research team, undergraduates will learn firsthand how to conduct research, how to design experiments, how to modify existing protocols, how to interpret results, and other invaluable techniques used in my laboratory. The students will have the opportunity to work with instruments that they would never encounter in regular teaching laboratories. The PIs laboratory and its set-up promote creative and critical thinking, and will build the students confidence. The PI has recruited a female undergraduate student from her Introduction to Environmental Engineering course. She has been learning to work with dechlorinating cultures, she is the strongest and most possible candidate for this but the PI will also keep the option open for other students and if needed will work on recruiting another student to help with this work. The PI has mentored and integrated undergraduate researchers in her laboratory since her first assistant professor year. At Arizona State University, she has mentored many graduate students, 7 undergraduate students (3 female students), and 5 high school students (4 female students) .
Effective start/end date1/15/1112/31/16


  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $445,299.00


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