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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When land managers in Florida or South Carolina or Georgia approve outdoor burns in their states, the resulting smoke doesn’t float to the state line and stop. Yet there’s no unified way to track all of this burning across the Southeast and account for the resulting impacts on air quality and residents’ health. Researcher Talat Odman has just secured funding to help address the problem
Two School of Civil and Environmental Engineering Ph.D. students have secured National Science Foundation fellowships, some of the most competitive and prestigious funding for the nation’s graduate students. Georgene Geary and Laura Mast join a long list of the brightest and most promising of the School’s students to win the funding. This year, NSF chose to support fewer than one in eight applicants.