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.
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.
The biochemical properties of food determine how humans can prepare and benefit from food. Why does wheat flour make great bread while rice flour does not? Why are eggs so versatile? What is flavor and taste? Why do we need to eat certain foods for proper health? These are just a few of the questions that we will be addressing in this kitchen laboratory course. Each week we will be conducting experiments using food (most of which should be consumable) in order to learn how the biochemistry of food dictates its behavior in preparation. Students will design their own experiments with food and explain the underlying biochemical principles. We will also address human metabolism and how foods contribute to sustaining life. Note: we will be using meat, eggs, nuts and gluten-containing flour repeatedly, so vegetarian/vegan students as well as those with food allergies may want to consider carefully before enrolling.
The risk of potable water scarcity has focused attention towards developing decentralized water system strategies for treating greywater, which can account for 50-80% of total water usage. In Hampshire's Living Building on-site greywater capture, treatment, and reuse is being used and researched as a central part of this course. All students in the Integrated Sciences courses will learn about microbiology, water quality, and modeling and then collaborate on an applied research project to integrate their understanding and knowledge of greywater treatment systems. Students enrolled in this course will learn about laboratory research skills in microbiology and water analysis. The Integrated Sciences courses are particularly suited for students interested in interdisciplinary sciences and collaborative learning experiences.