Engineering Centennial Lecture Series: Micobial Ecology and Metabolic Pathways of the Re-engineered Nitrogen Cycle



Engineering Centennial Lecture Series

Friday, April 29, 2016 • 11:15AM – 12PM • CAST 212


Micobial Ecology and Metabolic Pathways of the Re-engineered Nitrogen Cycle

Dr. Kartik Chandran

Assoc. Professor, Dept. of Earth and Environmental Engineering, Columbia University


Abstract: Engineered wastewater treatment systems can provide an interesting framework to pose and answer questions relating to the structure and metabolic function of the microbes involved in the nitrogen cycle. While the traditional approach to wastewater treatment has involved nitrification and denitrification using wastewater organic carbon, increasingly stringent effluent limits coupled with the need for energy efficiency have given rise to approaches such as partial nitrification and nitritation followed by either denitrification using external organic electron donors or even autotrophic nitrogen removal via anaerobic ammonia oxidation. These developments have resulted in a drastically different version of the engineered N-cycle in advanced wastewater treatment systems, with increased acknowledgment of both aqueous and gaseous nitrogenous discharges. In this presentation, some recent findings related to the impact of engineering strategies on the microbial ecology, metabolic pathways and community genomics of nitrification, denitrification and anammox based wastewater treatment systems are presented.

Bio: A 2015 MacArthur Fellow, Kartik Chandran leads the Columbia University Biomolecular Environmental Science program and the Wastewater Treatment and Climate Change program. Under his stewardship, the research directions of biological wastewater treatment and biological nitrogen removal were established for the first time ever in the history of Columbia University. Dr. Chandran is keenly interested in developing novel models for sustainable sanitation and wastewater treatment, with a specific focus on managing the global nitrogen cycle and linking it to the carbon cycle, the food cycle, the water cycle and the energy cycle. Dr. Chandran is a 2016 UConn Engineering Academy of Distinguished Engineers inductee.