About Our Research
The Helbling Research Group (Principal Investigator - Assistant Professor Damian E. Helbling, Ph.D., P.E.) is interested in water quality as it relates to human and ecosystem health. We are particularly interested in investigating the chemical and biological processes that influence contaminant fate in natural and engineered aquatic systems. One of our major research thrusts has focused on biotransformation processes acting on trace organic contaminants such as pharmaceuticals and pesticides in natural and engineered biological systems. Research in this area has involved the experimental elucidation of the chemical and biological determinants of these processes by uniquely combining state-of-the-art analytical techniques from the fields of environmental analytical chemistry and environmental microbiology. Novel data mining and data processing tools are being developed to parse large dataset acquisitions and discover predictive chemical and biological descriptors of these processes.
The overall goals of the broader Helbling Research Group program are to develop: (i) mechanistic models for contaminant fate and exposure risk assessment; (ii) next-generation water and wastewater treatment technologies; and (iii) comprehensive and sustainable management strategies for urban water systems.
Men, Y., Han, P., Helbling, D.E., Jehmlich, N., Herbold, C., Gulde, R., Onnis-Hayden, A., Gu, A.Z., Johnson, D.R., Wagner, M., and K. Fenner (2016) "Biotransformation of two pharmaceuticals by the ammonia-oxidizing archaeon Nitrososphaera gargensis," Environmental Science and Technology, 50(9), 4682-4692.
Gulde, R., Meier, U., Schymanski, E.L., Kohler, H.-P.E., Helbling, D.E., Derrer, S., Rentsch, D., and K. Fenner. (2016) "Systematic exploration of biotransformation reactions of amine-containing micropollutants in activated sludge," Environmental Science and Technology, 50(6), 2908-2920.