Environmental Engineering

Karthikeyan’s research uncovering a new oil-eating microbe wins top student award at Gulf oil spill conference

Pensacola Beach in the Florida Panhandle, one of the areas where oil washed ashore after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April 2010. (Photo Courtesy: Smruthi Karthikeyan)

Ph.D. student Smruthi Karthikeyan has returned from a gathering of scientists studying the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill with the top award for student research.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The next frontier in environmental engineering: Brown tackles public health issues through the microscope

"The next frontier in environmental engineering: Brown tackles public health issues." Joe Brown and a student test environmental samples in his lab. (Photo: Gary Meek, Design: Sarah Collins)

Joe Brown’s research is largely focused on water contamination and its impact on public health. He travels to communities around the world measuring microbes in each environment to gather exposure data and determines what it means for the health and safety of residents. In a recent trip to India, Brown found aerosolized Giardia and Salmonella, pathogens not normally known to be transmitted via air. This discovery creates a new challenge in environmental engineering, one where microbes associated with water and sanitation are transmitted via the air (aerosols), potentially leading to new pathways of disease transmission.

Monday, December 11, 2017

New CDC-sponsored research seeks to understand water-related risks of antibiotic use in agriculture

Several chickens walking on a leaf and stick-covered area in Hapeville, Georgia. Joe Brown and a team of Georgia Tech researchers have received a grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study how antibiotic use on poultry farms might impact waterways near and downstream from the farms. They will collect samples in north Georgia to measure antibiotic resistance genes and resistant pathogens in the environment. (Photo: Jess Hunt-Ralston)

A group of Georgia Tech researchers has received $340,000 from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to better understand how poultry feeding operations in Georgia potentially introduce antibiotic-resistant pathogens into the nearby environment.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Waste reuse strategies could take a big bite out of greenhouse gas emissions in China’s cities

Air pollution hangs over a portion of Beijing, China. A new study by researchers from Georgia Tech, the University of Minnesota, Yale University and partners in China finds that cities could cut greenhouse gas emissions by a third, significantly improving air quality and health, by adopting a series of strategies to reuse industrial waste. (Photo Courtesy: Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota)

Cities in China could cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than a third if they were to adopt a series of strategies that reuse industrial byproducts for things like heating or construction material.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

New faculty member Xing Xie works to clean water by killing bad microbes and harnessing the power of useful ones

New faculty member Xing Xie stands in the lobby of the Ford Environmental Science and Technology Building. (Photo: Jess Hunt-Ralston)

Xing Xie's work takes a two-pronged approach to environmental engineering: “One is the material; the other is the microbe," he said.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Smart Cities: Innovative approaches combining engineering, technology and the social sciences are boosting the urban IQ

Smart Cities graphic with a rendering of the city of Atlanta.

Georgia Tech has been intensifying its smart cities initiative, including membership in the national MetroLab Network and the launch of a new faculty council with members from more than a dozen university units. Tech has long been working in the, but the now the Institute is organizing all the research that’s happening to have a bigger impact.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Journal names Ivey’s paper on sourcing and counting pollution from atmospheric reactions the best of 2016

A paper that grew from Cesunica Ivey's doctoral research in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering has been named one of the two best papers in Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering for 2016. The article outlines a new way to estimate the amount and source of secondary PM2.5 pollution in the air.

Cesunica Ivey’s paper outlining a new way to estimate the amount and source of air pollution has been named one of the two best articles published in 2016 in the journal Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

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

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