Professor and James and Joanne Love Chair in Environmental Engineering
Research areas: Biochemical Engineering; Fermentation; Bioremediation; Biomass; Microorganisms; Bioproducts
Research Focus: Clean, Green and Lean Bio-innovations
Water and wastewater contaminants, emanating from various sources including pharmaceuticals (ciprofloxacin, tetracycline, among others), secondary metabolites from microorganisms (cyanotoxins), oil and mining extracts (conventional and unconventional oils), and petroleum by-products (p-xylene) are increasingly being detected at low levels in different environmental matrices, including surface water, groundwater, soils, and wastewaters. These contaminants have a profound impact on the environment which ultimately affects public health. Bioremediation of these contaminants provides a toxin-free and proactive sustainable solution for the industries. Bioremediation treatment technology is defined as clean, green and lean technology for these emerging contaminants. We adopt a biological approach to remove the contamination, by incorporating various fields of life sciences, such as microbiology, biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, toxicology for the successful field implementation of these innovative technologies.
Likewise, proper bioresource management by producing alternatives to conventional and unsustainable products is a global demand and need of the hour. The use of renewable sources in the form of agro-/industrial-/municipal residues can be a substrate for the production of drop-in fuels (interchangeable substitute for conventional petroleum-derived hydrocarbons), or fumaric acid (from fungus grown over agro-residues), or aromas (alcohol + esters), antioxidants and flavors (yeast fermentation of whey products) or even biopesticides and biofertilizers. Our main research objective is the application of environmental engineering principles and biological sciences to develop environmentally friendly methods for production of value-added bioproducts. We try to get a deeper biological understanding of the bioproduction and its use in different fields, be it agriculture, environment or other industries.