Associate Professor and Samueli Fellow
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of California
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1593
My research interests lie in the area of microbial interactions with chemical contaminants and nanoparticles for applications ranging from ecotoxicology to biodegradation to disinfection. Bacteria and fungi serve as useful indicators of potential toxicity to higher organisms and ecosystem health, but they can also detoxify a variety of environmental pollutants. Conversely, antimicrobial materials can be used for disinfection applications. My laboratory pursues research projects employing microbiological, molecular biological, and isotopic tools to (a) characterize microbial communities in engineered and natural environments, (b) optimize biological processes to improve the performance of wastewater treatment or bioremediation systems, (c) explore production of biofuels from industrial wastewater, and (d) investigate mechanisms of transformation, toxicity, and trophic transfer of nanoparticles. Thus, a comprehensive study of the implications and applications of the biotechnology and nanotechnology revolutions will enable us to use their benefits without environmental and public health liabilities.