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Research Focus

Non-point source pollutants are the leading cause of water quality degradation. Engineered Natural Treatment Systems take advantage of low-energy biological processes to capture and transform contaminants. Our research focuses on the fundamental mechanisms related to the microbial and vegetative biotransformation of emerging contaminants in aquatic environments. Specifically, we focus on the discovery of novel transformation products and pathways of emerging contaminants in the environment. This work informs understanding of contaminant fate and the optimization of resilient water infrastructure through sustainable natural systems-based treatment technologies to improve water quality for ecosystem and human health.

Our work has been featured in The Washington Post, BBC News, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the UIowa Daily Iowan, The Iowa Environmental Focus radio, and The Stanford News.

Please see the more detailed research pages related to emerging contaminants fate/transformation, plant / pollutant processes, and stormwater pollutants and green infrastructure.

1. Gaging station III

Our research improves the health of water ecosystems.  

Our work on the fundamental chemical, biological, and physical mechanisms at work in engineered natural treatment systems through laboratory experiments, field measurements, and mathematical modeling contribute to improving pollutant removal.


Our work on the fate and transformation of emerging contaminants and new market pesticides helps to drive informed decision making and protect human and ecosystem health.

Last modified on April 30th, 2019
Posted on July 8th, 2016