Professor of Microbiology
He has a broad research and teaching interest in soil microbiology and geomicrobiology, and.has conducted research in a variety of extreme environments, including the hydrothermal vents in Yellowstone National Park and Vulcano, Italy, hypersaline areas of Death Valley National Park, and metal contaminated soils and sediments in Massachusetts.
This laboratory-based research course is focused on the cultivation and biochemistry of yeast useful in food fermentations and bioenergy production. Weekly readings will be based on the scientific literature and students will conduct laboratory research on the products and organoleptic properties of wild yeast strains that they isolate from the environment. (Keywords: Mircobiology)
This lab-based research course will explore the molds and bacteria that create the unique properties and characteristics of cheese. Starting with the raw ingredients, milk and bacteria, we will make cheese, and in the process study the microbial diversity and biochemical transformations. Readings and discussions will span the cheese continuum from grass to the human penchant for funky cheese (the kind that makes you ask, "Can I really eat it?"). An infatuation with (or at least a willingness to explore) the rumen, milk, bacteria and stinky cheese is a must for learners enrolling in this course. The $50 lab fee covers extensive cheese-making and tasting activities. Keywords: Microbiology, Food Science
In this laboratory-based microbiology course students will develop the skills necessary to conduct a meaningful research project from start to finish. Students will gain hands-on experience with media formulation, culturing techniques, and phylogenetic analysis. In the process, students will discover a vast microbial community and possibly previously unknown species.
Microorganisms are ubiquitous components of food from farm to fork. As public interest in probiotics and fermented foods grows, as well as concerns over food safety and quality mount, the potential effects of food microbiology on human health and wellbeing are profound. Ensuring the future of food safety and quality will require critical thinking, innovative research approaches, and healthy skepticism. Students will have the opportunity to foster those skills while studying the foundations of microbial growth and the role of beneficial microorganisms in food fermentation, and discussions about spoilage and the occurrence of pathogenic microorganisms in our food system.
Millions of people worldwide have been inspired to pursue science by shows written and hosted by Carl Sagan, David Attenborough, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, and others. What makes their videos appealing? How do they communicate complex scientific ideas in a simple language? In this course, students will learn how to develop ideas for science videos, write a script, and produce a final product for YouTube. The class will focus on a single theme, such as life on Mars, and then coordinate in the production of videos related to the topic. Students are expected to work in small groups for their projects.
Microorganisms are an important component of domestic wastewater treatment systems. In this course, we will discuss the role of microbial metabolic activity and diversity on the treatment of wastewater in both conventional and constructed wetland systems. We will then apply this knowledge in laboratory exercises assessing the activity of microorganisms in constructed wetlands. Students will read primary literature, work in groups to complete lab exercises, and tour wastewater treatment facilities. During the second half of the semester, we will work collaboratively with students from NS2xx Ecological Modeling and NS2xx Wetlands for Water Treatment to complete a design challenge incorporating the physical, biological and chemical processes of constructed wetlands for water treatment.
This course covers the principles of microbiology, including cell structure, microbial diversity, growth, metabolism, and physiology; as well as the impact of microorganisms on human health, food, agriculture, and the environment. Students will develop critical thinking and quantitative skills through case-based analysis of the microbiology literature and thus be better prepared to assess the impact of microorganisms on our daily lives.