Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Delaware
Abstract: Concrete is the most common building material in the world. It is dry, hard, salty, and very alkaline, making it a common but hostile environment for microbes. Nevertheless, it hosts a small but active community of microbes, which change over time. As concrete ages, the microbial community becomes more halo- and alkaliphilic, reflecting the extreme osmotic stress inside this material. We have used 16S amplicon sequencing and shotgun metagenomics to characterize the changing selective pressures and subsequent microbial community changes in concrete from 0 to 80 years old.
Bio: I got a BA in Biology from the University of Chicago, spent 2 years in a post-baccalaureate program at NIH, then went to graduate school at Penn State for a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. I worked on some early-phase microbial genomics of green sulfur bacteria there, then moved to MIT and worked with Ed DeLong on marine metagenomics and metatranscriptomics. I have been at UD in Civil and Environmental Engineering since 2011, working on microbial physiology in natural and engineered environments.