Future Leaders in CEE: Can Microbes Help Us Remediate “Forever Chemicals”
Join the MIT Civil and Environmental Department for its Future Leaders in CEE: Supporting research, career development, diversity, equity and inclusion seminar series that brings together speakers from diverse backgrounds who are considered future leaders in STEM and civil and environmental engineering to share their journey to achieve success. This month's speaker is Dr. Natalie Cápiro at Auburn University.
Seminar topic: The use of aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) to extinguish fuel-based fires at military, industrial, and municipal sites since the 1970s has resulted in widespread contamination of persistent per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS- “Forever Chemicals”). The management and remediation of AFFF-impacted sites is challenging in part due to our limited understanding of PFAS environmental fate and behavior under representative subsurface conditions. Most prior studies documenting biotransformation of select PFAS found in AFFF have been conducted under oxic conditions, utilizing bacteria from activated sludge reactors, pristine soils, and aerobic bacterial enrichment cultures. However, it is anticipated that PFAS biotransformation will differ between experimental systems established with activated sludge and aquifer materials, leading to different transformation byproducts and pathways. Therefore, the on-going work that will be discussed in this presentation aims to demonstrate the potential biotransformation, including anaerobic defluorination, of representative PFAS under conditions more representative of AFFF-impacted sites using native microbial communities. In addition to discussing her research, Dr. Cápiro will also discuss her academic journey, and share her experiences as a non-tenure-track and tenure-track faculty member. Dr. Natalie Cápiro is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and an adjunct faculty in the Department of Biosystems Engineering at Auburn University. To learn more or register, email Stephanie at firstname.lastname@example.org