Environmental Engineering research area is concerned with issues that involve water quality, wastewater and treatment, transport and fate of contaminants in natural and engineered environments, hazardous and solid waste management, hydrology, and environmental fluid dynamics.
Detecting, Tracing, and Characterizing Antimicrobial Resistance in Wastewater and Surface Waters
Bacterial resistance to antimicrobials and antibiotics is one of the most pressing public-health concerns around the world. Water systems are one of the major contributors to the spread of resistance, as improperly treated drinking water and wastewater can concentrate antibiotic and antimicrobial compounds while also carrying pathogens to and from human hosts. In the United States, the widespread use of antimicrobial products including soaps, toothpastes, and surfaces as well as the extensive application of antibiotic drugs results in large quantities of these compounds in wastewater treatment systems and aquatic systems. The diverse bacterial communities in wastewater that interact with these compounds in wastewater treatment plants often exhibit resistance to multiple clinically-important antibiotics. Detecting these organisms can be challenging, but it is imperative to understand the ability of resistance to change and disseminate in wastewater and in surface waters. In this ongoing research project, samples collected from local wastewater treatment plants and the Chesapeake Bay are being probed for resistance genes and to identify mechanisms of cross-resistance to both antimicrobial and antibiotic compounds. Using trichlosan as a model antimicrobial compound, we are determining if antimicrobial resistance gives rise to antibiotic resistance and vice versa in surface waters.
This project is a collaborative effort at Johns Hopkins University: Edward Bouwer, PhD and Meghan Davis, PhD in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering (EHE), Dr. Charles Young from the Applied Physics Laboratory; and Ms. Hannah Gray, PhD student.
Bill Ball, PhD
Ball has research interests and on-going projects in various areas of environmental engineering, with emphasis on physical and chemical processes affecting water quality, in both natural environments and engineered processes of treatment.
Ed Bouwer, PhD
Bouwer’s research interests encompass factors that influence biotransformation of contaminants, bioremediation for control of contaminated soils and groundwaters, biofilm kinetics, biological processes design in wastewater, industrial, and drinking water treatment, transport and fate of microorganisms in porous media, and the behavior of metal and organic contaminants in sediments and aquatic ecosystems.
Kirsten Koehler, PhD
Koehler's research goals involve the use of direct-reading instrumentation to improve spatiotemporal exposure assessment. Direct-reading (i.e. “real-time”) monitors can rapidly assess exposures to various hazards.
Kellogg Schwab, PhD
Schwab’s research focuses on environmental microbiology and engineering with an emphasis on the fate and transport of pathogenic microorganisms in water, food and the environment. This work includes extensive laboratory-based research designed to develop and evaluate molecular detection methods with subsequent application of these methods in field-based investigations.
Gurumurthy Ramachandran, PhD
Ramachandran has conducted research in various areas relating to human exposure assessment in occupational and non-occupational settings. His research has included the development of robust occupational exposure assessment strategies for a variety of airborne contaminants. He has pioneered the use of novel Bayesian statistical methods that synthesize exposure models, monitoring data, and probabilistic expert judgment.
Ana Rule, PhD
Rule's primary research goal is the development and evaluation of novel sampling and analysis strategies for the assessment of exposure to biological aerosols and particulate matter.
Alan Stone, PhD
Using the foundations of organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry, and the nanosciences, Stone explores natural biogeochemical phenomena and properties/transformations of synthetic chemicals in environmental media. He focuses on the impact of speciation.