Above: Graduate students advised by Peter Jaffe collect samples from a river in North Carolina, following the disturbances of Hurricane Florence.
Chemical and biological processes govern the transformation of molecular matter in the environment, controlling the cycling of essential elements including carbon, nitrogen and oxygen, as well as hazardous metals and pollutants. In water, strong biogeochemical gradients can powerfully alter chemical reactions and fluxes. In the atmosphere, solar radiation drives molecular transformation, sometimes mitigating the hazard and sometimes exacerbating it. All of these processes in the context of a changing climate increase the vulnerability of biodiversity, food security, human health and water quality.
Faculty in this department are making important discoveries of the drivers of environmental biogeochemical processes enabling advanced novel technologies to treat contaminated waters. We run large labs designed for invention and development of novel sensing devices. We are involved in large field data campaigns for monitoring water quality, soil contamination, atmospheric pollution and greenhouses gases. We run molecular-scale simulations of pollutant reactions and mass transport in water, soils and sediments. We create novel technologies to harness energy and nutrient recovery from waste streams. We come up with novel strategies for sequestering greenhouse gases deep underground.
Bioelectronics, synthetic biology, microbiology, electrochemistry, cell-material interfaces, biophysics, environmental sensing
Water at Interfaces, Clay Minerals, Nanogeochemistry, Groundwater Hydrology
Feammox; Fate/Transport of Pollutants; Biotransformation of Organics/Metals; PFAS Defluorination; Waste Treatment.
Membranes, Electrochemistry, Ion Selective Materials, Environmental Technologies, Waste Treatment, Resource Recovery
Energy/air quality/water/climate nexus; Impacts of energy choices; Atmospheric chemistry modeling
Environmental Geochemistry, Subsurface Engineering, Geologic Sequestration of Carbon Dioxide, Water Quality, X-Ray Spectroscopic Imaging
Ecohydrology, Environmental Fluid Mechanics, Thermodynamics, Statistical Physics
Water-Energy Nexus; Environmental Technologies; Waste Treatment; Resource Recovery; Microbial Electrochemistry
Atmospheric Chemistry and Composition Group