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AEESP Distinguished Lecture


University Center : 312

Date & Time

September 22, 2023, 4:00 pm6:00 pm


AEESP Distinguished Lecture Series

The Department of Chemical, Biochemical and Environmental Engineering at UMBC is hosting the 2023 AEESP Distinguished Lecture Series. This event is co-hosted by Johns Hopkins University, Howard University and University of Maryland, College Park.

The talk by 2023-24 AEESP DISTINGUISHED LECTURERElizabeth A. Edwards, Ph.D., P.Eng. will be followed by a poster session and reception. 

Adventures in Anaerobic Bioremediation


Groundwater contamination is a serious threat to global health and prosperity.  Petroleum hydrocarbons, industrial solvents, pesticides, herbicides, and metals are some of the most frequent culprits.  Some microbes have evolved and adapted to transform or detoxify contaminants.  Certain species, such as Dehalococcoides, can dechlorinate the major dry-cleaning solvent tetrachloroethene and the common industrial solvent trichloroethene to the benign product ethene.  Remarkably, these organisms obtain energy for growth from dechlorination, and several successful demonstrations of bioaugmentation, where an aquifer is inoculated with a mixed microbial culture, have led to the development of a viable commercial market for such dechlorinating cultures.  By studying enrichment cultures and their megagenomes, we are learning more about novel interspecies interactions in these remarkable, ubiquitous, anaerobic microbial communities, and their specialized enzymes that catalyze reductive dehalogenation reactions.  Benzene is another problematic contaminant, readily degraded under oxic conditions, but highly persistent in anaerobic environments.  The anaerobic metabolism of benzene is complex and still largely unknown, yet clues are emerging that reveal novel microbes, pathways and enzymes that could be harnessed for cleanup.  Prospects for biodegradation of other contaminants, including the pesticide chlordecone and perfluorinated substances will be discussed.


Elizabeth A. Edwards, Ph.D., P.Eng. Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, and Department of Cell and Systems Biology, University of Toronto

Professor Elizabeth Edwards holds Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Chemical Engineering from McGill University, Montreal, and a Ph.D. degree (1993) in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Stanford University.  She is known for her work on anaerobic bioremediation, the application of molecular biology and metagenomics to uncover novel microbial processes, and the transition of laboratory research into commercial practice to develop bioremediation and bioaugmentation strategies for groundwater pollutants.


Schedule & Location

UMBC, University Center, 3rd floor
Seminar: 4:00 - 5:00 pm
Poster Session and Reception: 5:00 -6:00 pm


Guests can park in the Admin Garage -- see block H6, (google maps link) anytime after 3:30. Your guests can park on the top of the garage or underneath as the gate goes up for the weekend at 3:30ish. 

Guests arriving before 3:30pm must pay for parking.