Environmental Engineering

Water, water everywhere: In the world of water research, underserved communities provide the ultimate learning ground for undergrads

Water, water everywhere: In the world of water research, underserved communities provide the ultimate learning ground for undergrads.

As if singlehandedly leading a dozen undergraduates at a time in the realm of real-world research isn’t enough of a challenge, Joe Brown ups the ante, carrying his undergrads to conduct fieldwork overseas — in a foreign-language country.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Tsementzi wins Sigma Xi Best PhD Dissertation award for her widely published work in environmental microbiology

Despina Tsementzi has won the Sigma Xi Best Ph.D. Dissertation award for 2017. (Courtesy: Despina Tsementzi)

Georgia Tech’s scientific and engineering honor society has recognized Despina Tsementzi’s doctoral dissertation as one of the best of the year. Tsementzi, who finished her Ph.D. in the fall, has won the Sigma Xi Best Ph.D. Dissertation award for 2017. She’s one of only 10 students across campus to earn the distinction.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Study sheds light on key role for ‘rare’ aquatic microbes in dealing with pollution, balancing ecosystems

School of Civil and Environmental Engineering researchers have found that bacteria present in only small numbers in freshwater systems contain key genes that help the broader microbial community respond to environmental changes such as pollution or oil spills. The team used water from Lake Lanier northeast of Atlanta to test how microbial communities respond to common organic compounds. (Photo Courtesy: PBT1981 via Wikimedia Commons)

Even bacteria found in small numbers in freshwater communities play an essential role in maintaining the ecosystem and responding to environmental changes, according to new work from researchers in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. This “rare biosphere,” as they called it, carries important genes for breaking down organic pollutants, which can help the entire microbial community withstand environmental changes. Their study appeared March 3 in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Danger in the air? Brown wins NSF CAREER grant to find out

Assistant Professor Joe Brown has won an Early Career Development Award from the National Science Foundation. These so-called CAREER grants recognize promising young faculty with funds to help them establish the research director of their careers. (Photo: Jess Hunt-Ralston)

When Joe Brown went to India last summer, he was hoping to collect samples that could help answer some questions he’d been thinking about for a while. His years studying sanitation and global health had given him the idea that the open sewers and overflowing latrines common in the dense cities of the developing world could be linked with disease through an unusual mechanism: airborne transmission of pathogens.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Building healthier cities: 10 questions with Ted Russell

Howard T. Tellepsen Chair Armistead "Ted" Russell (Photo: Justen Clay/Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine)

Tech Environmental Engineering Professor Armistead “Ted” Russell has traveled the world, including China, India and Minneapolis, studying air quality and its impacts on urban life. He is also part of a team of scientists, policymakers and industrialists working with a U.S. National Science Foundation Sustainability Research Network to build better cities.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Liquid Assets: Tech researchers are working to solve the world’s water problems

Water drop

From the drinking-water contamination in Flint, Mich., to the seemingly endless drought in California, good old H2O pools at the heart of many of today’s most pressing and headline-grabbing problems. Find out how the work and ideas of Tech researchers are helping us understand — and solve — these planet-wide challenges.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Expanding to China: Tech’s new Shenzhen Institute will offer environmental engineering MS

Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson, seated left, signed an agreement in a ceremony in Shenzhen, China, Dec. 2 to create a new collaboration with the City of Shenzhen and Tianjin University. Co-signers with Peterson are Vice Mayor Yihuan Wu of Shenzhen Municipal People's Government, center, and Tianjin University President Denghua Zhong, right.

Students in China soon will be able to earn a Georgia Tech master’s degree in environmental engineering almost entirely in their home country. The School of Civil and Environmental Engineering has joined a handful of other Georgia Tech programs, China’s Tianjin University, and the city of Shenzhen to create a new campus offering engineering, computer science and design degrees.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Genomics technique could revolutionize how we detect bacteria in food poisoning outbreaks

Microbiologists use next-generation sequencing technology to identify a bacterial DNA fingerprint. (Photo: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

A new testing methodology based on metagenomics could accelerate the diagnosis of foodborne bacterial outbreaks, allowing public health officials to identify the microbial culprits in less than a day. The methodology could also identify co-infections with secondary microbes, determine the specific variant of the pathogen, and help alert health officials to the presence of new or unusual pathogens.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Burning trash in India major cause of Taj Mahal discoloration, leads to hundreds of premature deaths

The Taj Mahal (Photo: Michael Bergin)

Researchers from the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering have found burning trash around the Taj Mahal is not only a major factor in the monument’s discoloration, it’s contributing to hundreds of premature deaths each year. The new study, published Oct. 7 in the journal Environmental Research Letters, builds on previous work that led local communities to ban burning of cow dung cakes, a common cooking fuel.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Global warming, a dead zone and mysterious bacteria

Researchers Liz Robertson from the University of Southern Denmark and Josh Manger from the University of California, San Diego, ready a sample collector off Mexico's Pacific coast. They’re part of a research team that discovered bacteria making oxygen minimum zones in the ocean even deader by sucking up all life-giving nitrogen molecules. (Photo: Heather Olins)

In ocean expanses where oxygen has vanished, newly discovered bacteria are diminishing additional life molecules. They help make virtual dead zones even deader. Now, a team led by the Georgia Institute of Technology has discovered members of a highly prolific bacteria group known as SAR11 living in the world’s largest oxygen minimum zone. The team has produced unambiguous evidence that the bacteria play a major role in denitrification.

Monday, August 8, 2016

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