Current Members

FA2017

Group Picture April 2018
From left to right: (front row) Bridget, Yeonsoo, Mina, Irene, Prof. Aristilde; (middle row) Caroll, Ananya, Shreya, Ellie, Anna; (back row) Annie, Sabrina, Rebecca, Chang, Michael.


PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

Ludmilla Aristilde, Ph.D.

Faculty Profile
2018–Present, (Tenured) Associate Professor, Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University
2012–2018, Assistant Professor, Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University
2017, Invited Professor by the Université Grenoble-Alpes, Institut des Sciences de la Terre, Grenoble, France
2015, Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future Faculty Fellow
Graduate Field Memberships: (1) Biological and Environmental Engineering; (2) Environmental Toxicology; (3) Soil and Crop Sciences; (4) Microbiology; (5) Geological Sciences; (6) Civil and Environmental Engineering.

2009-2012, NSF Postdoctoral Fellow, Princeton University
2008-2009, Fulbright Scholar, Grenoble, France
2008, Ph.D. Molecular Toxicology, University of California-Berkeley
2004, M.S. Environmental Engineering, University of California-Berkeley
2003, B.F.A. Fine Arts, Cornell University
2003, B.S. Science of Earth Systems, Cornell University

I am interested in the mechanisms responsible for the behavior of organic molecules in the environment. The activities in my research group apply both experimental and modeling approaches to elucidate the mechanisms that control the physical and biological fate of these molecules. Our current projects investigate bacterial metabolism of natural organic substrates, interactions of organic contaminants with natural particles, bacterial response to organic contaminants, and nutrient-cycling extracellular enzymes.

Contact Information:
Cornell University, 214 Riley Robb
E-mail: la31@cornell.edu


POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCHERS

Annaleise Klein

Postdoctoral Associate, Biological and Environmental Engineering, 2016-Present

Ph.D. Biogeochemistry, La Trobe University, Australia, 2016
B. Sc. in Environmental Management and Ecology (with Honours), La Trobe University, Australia, 2009

I am currently intrigued by the interactions of organic ligands with mineral substrates at the molecular level, in particular how the stereochemistry changes between the organo-mineral and metal-ligand complexes. My research involves combining spectroscopic and metabolomic techniques, along with molecular modelling, to understand the drivers behind organo-mineral interfacial interactions important in environmental chemistry and environmental engineering processes.

Eleanor Bakker

Postdoctoral Associate, Biological and Environmental Engineering, 2018-Present

Ph.D. Clay Mineralogy, Université Grenoble-Alpes, France 2018
M.S., Applied Clay Science, Université de Poitiers, France, and Technical University of Crete, Chania, Greece, 2014
B. Sc., Faculty of Chemistry and Physics, University of Wellington, New Zealand, 2011

I am interested in the intersection between minerals, atmosphere, and biota in the cycling of organic matter in soils. I am looking to probe these interfaces using molecular spectroscopic methods and mass spectrometry to investigate the composition, organization, and fate of organic matter in soil environments.


GRADUATE STUDENTS

Sabrina Kelch

Ph.D. Student, Soil and Crop Sciences, 2016-Present

B.S. Natural Resources and Environmental Science, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, 2016

I am interested in understanding how the chemistries of microbial and plant organic secretions influence their fate within the soil matrix, with respect to their interactions with minerals. I am particularly interested on how the different fates of these organic molecules affect soil physical properties such as soil moisture retention and soil aggregation.

Rebecca Wilkes

Ph.D. Student, Biological and Environmental Engineering, 2018-Present

M.Sc. Biological and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, 2018
B.S. Biology, Washington and Jefferson College, 2015

I am interested in cleaning up the environment using bioremediation techniques. I am particularly interested in the mechanisms underlying microbial degradation of plastics in different environmental matrices.

Mina Sohltalab

Ph.D. Student, Biological and Environmental Engineering, 2017-Present

M.Sc. Cell and Molecular Biology, Shiraz University, Iran, 2015
B.S. Cell and Molecular Biology, Shahed University, Iran, 2011

I am interested in studying enzyme-catalyzed reactions. Understanding the molecular basis of the enzyme structure-function relationship is required to predict catalytic activities and inform protein engineering. I am currently studying beta-glucosidase, which catalyzes a rate-limiting step in carbon turnover in terrestrial ecosystems and in engineered biofuel production.

Caroll Mendonca

Ph.D. Student, Biological and Environmental Engineering, 2018-Present

B.Eng. Biotechnology, Sri Jayachamarajendra College of Engineering, Mysore, India, 2016
M.Eng. Biological and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, 2017
Research Technician, Biological and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, 2017-2018

My current research focus is to study the major metabolic pathways controlling the metabolism of mixed substrates by soil bacteria in response to nutrient-limited conditions. My long-term interest is to solve environmental problems using biological, socio-economical, pollution, and public health perspectives.

Michael Glaser

M.S. Student, Civil and Environmental Engineering, 2018-Present

B.S. Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Maryland-College Park, 2018

I am interested in the fate and transport of environmental contaminants from the perspectives of both hydrology and environmental chemistry, especially relating to ubiquitous and overlooked contaminants which may impact public health. In the future I hope to aid in the refining of bioremediation techniques, which employ in-situ bioreactors containing organic carbon and microbes to degrade target groundwater contaminants.

Ziqian Chang

M.Eng. Student, Biological and Environmental Engineering, 2018-Present

B.S. Beijing University of Technology, China, 2018

I am interested in using computational tools to address environmental problems. In the future, I would like to apply computational techniques to deal with the large data sets generated by environmental matters.


RESEARCH TECHNICIANS

Sarah Madarshahian

Research Technician, Biological and Environmental Engineering, 2018-Present

M.Sc. Analytical CHemistry, Birjand University, Birjand, Iran, 2005
B.S. Applied Chemistry, Azad University of Arak, Arak‐Iran, 2002

I am interested in mass spectrometry methods and instrumentation. My current research focuses on developing methods to profile the structural diversity of amino acids and peptides in organic secretions.


UNDERGRADUATES

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Irene Sarri

Civil and Environmental Engineering
Class of 2019

Research Topic: Trapping of organic contaminants by mineral particles
Lab Mentors: Ludmilla Aristilde and Annaleise Klein

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Ananya Gangadhar

Environmental Engineering (BEE)
Class of 2020

Research Topic: Environmental chemistry and engineering of mineral nanoparticles
Lab Mentor: Ludmilla Aristilde

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Yeonsoo Park

Environmental Engineering
Class of 2020

Research Topic: Organic nutrient cycling and recovery
Lab Mentor: Ludmilla Aristilde

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Anne Werner

Biological Sciences
Class of 2020

Research Topic: Nutrient-dependent bacterial carbon metabolism
Lab Mentors: Ludmilla Aristilde and Caroll Mendonca

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Bridget Childs

Environmental Engineering (BEE)
Class of 2021

Research Topic: Physical and biological mechanisms in plastic degradation
Lab Mentors: Rebecca Wilkes and Ludmilla Aristilde

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Shreya Vaidya

Chemical Engineering (CBE)
Class of 2022

Research Topic: Trapping of organic contaminants by mineral particles
Lab Mentor: Ludmilla Aristilde and Annaleise Klein