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Prof. April Gu receives DOE grant and prestigious NSF Career Award

February 1, 2010

Professor April Gu, along with Prof. Kai-tak Wan (MIE) and Dr. Yufeng Yang (DOE), are investigating microbial cell movement in porous media with a grant funded by the Department of Energy's Environmental Remediation Science Program. Also, Professor Gu received a 5-year $427,000 NSF CAREER award on mechanistic toxicity assessment of emerging contaminants via a toxicogenomic approach.


Professor April Gu, along with Prof. Kaitak Wan (MIE) and Dr. YuFeng Yang (DOE), will investigate microbial cell movement in porous media with a grant funded by the Department of Energy’s Environmental Remediation Science Program. Movement and transportation of microbial cells such as bacterial in soil, water and wastewater media filters are important because they are directly related to pathogen fate and transport in water, to bioremediation of contaminants in groundwater, and to the pathogen removal efficiency in water treatment processes. This research will apply nano-mechanical methods to quantify the single cellular surface biochemical and mechanical properties and their correlation with cell aggregation and migration behavior. Then the knowledge will be incorporated into mathematical models enabling us to better understand and predict cell aggregation, adhesion and attachment in contact with media surface. This will advance our ability to develop more efficient water and wastewater remediation and treatment.

Also, Professor Gu just received a 5-year $427,000 NSF CAREER award with a topic on mechanistic toxicity assessment of emerging contaminants via toxicogenomic approach. The ever-increasing number of pollutants in our water poses new challenges in toxicity assessment and water quality monitoring. Conventional methods are time-consuming and labor-intensive and often lead to delayed response and measurements to avoid the potential risks brought by the presence of these contaminants in water. This study proposes to establish a new approach for mechanistic toxicity assessment and screening of environmental pollutants using prokaryotic gene expression profiling analysis methods. New toxicity evaluation end points and risk indicators will be proposed and compared to conventional methods to help with regulatory decisions. A cell-array based water quality monitoring tool is proposed that combines water pre-treatment membrane filtration with green-fluorescence protein-infused bacterial cells. This process allows for easy, fast and cost-effective monitoring of potential toxicity in water and the candidate category of causing chemicals.