Fellows

Fellows

Thirteen fellows have been recruited and are busy preparing themselves to solve tomorrow’s technical and environmental challenges using Microbial Resource Management. A fourteenth fellow has joined in the beginning of 2015.


I graduated from Ghent University (Belgium) with a Master of Science in Environmental Sanitation. My Master's thesis, about biotechnological application on building materials, was performed in a microbiology research laboratory (Laboratory of Microbial Ecology & Technology (LabMET), Ghent University, Belgium).
In my PhD, I will develop effective and practical bioaugmentation strategies for micropollutant removal from WWTPs by enriching microbial cultures that can degrade the major pharmaceutical compounds present in wastewater as well as evaluate the role of surface attached growth as facilitator of bioaugmentation. A suitable mathematical model of micropollutants removal will also be developed to describe the system performance and for process optimisation.
Host of Fellow


I did my Bachelor of Science in Biology and Master of Science in Food Safety at University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain.
In my PhD, I will quantify Horizontal Gene Transfer (HGT) rates and mechanisms in wastewater biofilms and develop numerical models for predicting HGT across broader systems. To achieve this, I will exploit molecular microbiological and numerical methods. Unfortunately, there has not been much fundamental work performed relating HGT and antibiotic resistance (AR) applicable to wastewater settings. Therefore, I aim that the project performs enough fundamental work as needed and then take that work to real systems to determine whether fundamentals help us understand real systems better.
Host of Fellow


I did my Bachelor of Science in Industrial Ecology, in Tallinn University of Technology (Estonia). I started my MSc in Processes in Renewable Energy in TUT as well. However, after the first year I was awarded with a Fulbright scholarship and I moved to U.S. to start my MSc in Environmental Engineering, in Clarkson University. I successfully graduated in both institutions and now hold two Master’s degrees. My research focus during my Master’s studies was on the microbial communities, especially methanogens, in an anaerobic digester.
During my PhD I will continue studying the microbial ecology. My project focuses on invasion and identifying the controlling factors for invasion. I will also look at the storage of pathogenic and antibiotic genes and microbes in biofilms found in wastewater and water distribution systems. The main goal of my research will be to assess community level descriptors, in order to predict invasibility and invasiveness in microbial communities.
Host of Fellow


Following my graduation from the University Duisburg-Essen (Germany) with a B.Sc. in Water Science, I earned a M.Sc. degree in Microbiology at the University Oldenburg (Germany).
In my PhD, I will investigate how bacteria in drinking water respond to an oscillating environment, because microbes rather live in communities exposed to temporal changes in both biotic and abiotic factors than in pure culture in a constant environment. Initially I will focus on abiotic factors and assess the impact of nutrient fluctuations on the diversity, stability, function and invasion capacity of microbial communities by using microcosms and flow cytometry analysis. This extension from a static to an oscillating system will help to further implement the MRME concept, and facilitate performance improvement of microbial communities to meet today’s challenges for a sustainable, cost‑efficient and safe water management.
Host of Fellow


I studied for my Bachelor and Master of Science in Environmental Engineering at University of Cassino in Italy. For my Master’s thesis, I spent six months at UNESCO-IHE in The Netherlands.
In my PhD, I will focus on developing a novel biotechnology to recover ammoniacal nitrogen (NH4-N) from wastewater. I will study the functionality of a microbiome able to convert NH4-N (using CO2 and H2) to valuable bio-products. Ultimately, this may allow to devise a predictive tool to identify the minimum diversity allowable before cross-inoculation of the microbiome needs to happen.

Host of Fellow


After graduating in Environmental Engineering from Bologna University (Italy), I pursued my study with a Master's degree in Environmental Engineering at Aalborg University (Denmark).
In my PhD, I will study the mechanisms behind the enhanced trace organic pollutants removal in MBBRs during increased solid retention time (SRT), one of the commonly used parameters in wastewater treatment design. Specifically, the hypotheses of community expansion and metabolic expansion of the microbial community in biofilm will be investigated.
Host of Fellow


I did my Bachelor's and Master's degree in Environmental Engineering at University of Bologna, in Italy. During my Master's degree I spent one semester at the Institute of Chemical Technology of Prague (Czech Republic).
In my PhD, I will investigate the role of microorganisms in drinking water treatment, especially in water filtration. I will study how different operational parameters might shape the composition and functioning of the microbial communities growing in water filters and how the functioning of these microbial communities may be utilized to improve the treatment performance. This study will be carried out through bench scale reactors and investigation of water filters in “real-world” treatment plants. The community in the filters will be studied using next-generation sequencing techniques.
Host of Fellow


I did my Bachelor of Science in Biology and Master of Science in Microbiology at Autonomous University of Madrid in Spain. During my Bachelor studies I also spent a year at Aarhus University in Denmark.
In my PhD, I will study the structure, genomic composition, and metabolic potential of the microbial communities present in rapid sand filters, a widely used drinking water production technology. To achieve this, I will exploit metagenomic and metatranscriptomic approaches. Ultimately, this new knowledge may help optimizing the process performance of rapid sand filters by managing the microbial communities.
Host of Fellow


I obtained my Bachelor's degree from the Karl Franzens University in Graz (Austria) in Molecular Biology and was selected for a fully supported fellowship program to pursue my Master degree at the Southern Illinois University of Carbondale (USA) in Molecular Biology, Microbiology and Biochemistry (specialization in Public Health).
My PhD project aims to understand why some WWTP communities perform some ecosystem functions (i.e. the consumption of particular micropollutants, carbon sources, and nitrogen sources) more effectively than others. I hypothesize that biodiversity could be an important underlying cause of these differences. The main goal of my research is to identify the general rules that determine which types of ecosystem functions are likely to be affected by differences or changes in biodiversity and which types of ecosystem functions are not.
Host of Fellow


After completing my undergraduate study in Environmental Engineering from China, I went to Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden for a Master in Environmental Science.
In my PhD, I will study and develop an integrated process for biopolymer (PHA) production from industrial wastewater, especially focusing on the link between process performance and microbial community structure. To achieve this goal, I will use bioreactors and microbiological techniques. Eventually, I will design a model-based process in order to determine the conditions that result in high selective pressure for PHA storing organisms without high constraint on biomass growth.
Host of Fellow


After obtaining an undergraduate degree in Biotechnology, I did my Master’s degree in molecular biology at Lund University in Sweden.
In my PhD, I will attempt to translate theories proposed in macro-ecology to explain the coexistence of competitors to a microbial ecology context. Nitrifying bacteria are key players in the natural and engineered nitrogen cycles. I will use the availability of consumable resources (niche dimensionality) as predictor of the diversity pattern of these bacteria across the urban water cycle.
Host of Fellow


I have an undergraduate degree in Marine Biology and Biotechnology and I did my Master’s degree in Biotechnology at Universidade Nova de Lisboa in Portugal.
My PhD study focuses on low energy nitrification and aims to provide a deeper insight into the structure of the ammonia oxidizing bacteria (AOB) community selected under low-DO conditions in a suspended growth system. I will use molecular tools to measure and evaluate the abundance, composition and dynamic of AOB community and I will monitor and compare the nitrification rate of bioreactors operated at high and low DO concentrations. The characterization of the kinetic and properties of the AOB will be done to attempt to relate these properties to the genome and the genomic organisation.
Host of Fellow


I received my Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech, in the United States.
My PhD focuses on the biofilm communities that form in drinking water distribution systems at the household level. I hope to improve basic knowledge on the causes and consequences of these communities and demonstrate the mechanisms by which engineering intervention can shape these biofilm communities. Such knowledge can guide future engineers to avoid the negative consequences of these shaping actions. 
Host of fellow


I completed a BSc Honours at the University of Calgary, Canada in 2008. Following my BSc, I worked at the CSIRO in Melbourne, Australia where I did research on lignin biodegradation. After this time, I returned to Calgary where I earned my PhD in Environmental Microbiology in 2014 studying syntrophic hydrocarbon metabolism under methanogenic conditions. My research interests lie in the diverse interactions in microbial communities and how this impacts the diversity and function of microbial communities. During my postdoc, I will attempt to gain an understanding of the composition and function of microbial communities in rapid sand filters for drinking water treatment and develop and assess methodologies to analyze metagenomic and metatranscriptomic data from a functional perspective.
Host of Fellow

 

http://www.mermaid-itn.eu/fellows
19 SEPTEMBER 2017