Principal Investigator

Damian E. Helbling
Damian E. Helbling, Ph.D., P.E.

B.S., Civil Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University
M.S., Civil and Environmental Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University
Ph.D., Civil and Environmental Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University
Postdoctoral Training, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag)

Research Interests: I am motivated by a broad interest in water quality as it relates to aquatic ecosystem and human health.  I am interested in understanding the effects that anthropogenic activites have on water quality and developing engineered solutions to emerging water quality problems stemming from these activities.  My research revolves around application of state-of-the-art techniques from the fields of environmental analytical chemistry and environmental microbiology to address water quality issues related to (for example) population expansion, the global trend of urbanization, the water-energy-food nexus, and climate change.

Visiting Scientist

Yuxin Wang, Ph.D.

B.S., Environmental Science, Sun Yat-sen University, 2010
M.S., Civil and Environmental Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, 2011
Ph.D., Civil and Environmental Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, 2014
 
Research Interests: I am interested in environmental risk assessment and water quality. My interest extends not only to water and wastewater treatment, but also to the fate and transport of organic chemicals, like pesticides and pharmaceuticals, in the environment. I am also interested in and have worked on issues at the food, energy, water nexus, and ways to find sustainable solutions for emerging water challenges. 
 
Other Interests: Travel, impressionist oil painting, and cooking. 
 
Wang et al. Chemosphere 2018
 
CV

Postdoctoral Associates

Michael Zumstein, Ph.D.

B.S., Biology, ETH Zurich, 2011
M.S., Biochemistry, ETH Zurich, 2013
Ph.D., Environmental Chemistry, ETH Zurich, 2017
 
Research Interests: I am fascinated by how microorganisms use extracellular enzymes to transform large molecules outside a cell. My PhD work helped to better understand the enzymatic hydrolysis and the microbial utilization of synthetic polymers in agricultural soils. The focus of my current research is to decipher the role of extracellular hydrolases in the transformation of micropollutants during biological wastewater treatment.
 
Zumstein and Helbling Wat. Res. 2019
 
Google Scholar

Ph.D. Students

Marika Nell

B.S., Civil Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2014
M.S., Civil and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, 2018 
 
Research Interests: I work to understand the fate and water quality impacts of chemicals associated with unconventional shale gas development. Thousands of chemicals have been disclosed as fracking additives or produced water constituents and others are unknown because they are proprietary information or wholly unanticipated. I work to detect these chemicals in flowback and produced waters, surface water, and groundwater using broad analytical methods and suspect and non-target screening techniques. These methods enable a more holistic characterization of fracking-related waters. This is important for developing better environmental monitoring, ensuring proper treatment for fracking produced waters, and assessing the risks presented by spills and improper disposal of these produced waters.
 
Oetjen et al. TrEAC 2017
Nell and Helbling ESPI 2018
Bamberger et al. ESPI 2019
 
LinkedIn
CV

Casey Ching

B.S., Environmental Engineering, Lehigh University, 2017
 
Research Interests: I am interested in improving our understanding of the fate and transport of trace organic contaminants in natural and engineered water systems. I am interested in understanding their transformations and their potential impacts on aquatic ecosystems and human health. My research will focus on developing adsorption-based remediation processes using cyclodextrin polymers to remove per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), a class of trace organics, from impacted groundwater. 
 
 
Ji et al. JACS 2018
Xiao et al. Macromolecules 2019
Klemes et al. ACIE 2019

Paige Jacob

B.S., Environmental Science, Marist College, 2018
 
Research Interests:I am interested in understanding the effects of anthropogenic contaminants on water quality and how this impacts human and ecosystem health. Specifically, I am intrigued by the biotransformation of trace organic contaminants found in wastewater systems. My research will focus on characterizing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) found in wastewater systems and evaluating the fate and transport of PFASs in these systems.

Stephanie Rich

B.S., Environmental Engineering, Oregon State University, 2015
M.S., Water Science and Engineering, Karlsruhe Institute for Technology, 2018
 
Research Interests: I am interested in improving environmental water quality by utilizing microbiological processes in wastewater treatment plants to reduce anthropogenic emissions. My research aims to advance the understanding of micropollutant biotransformations performed by wastewater microbial communities for the development of more cost-effective and energy-efficient wastewater treatment strategies. I am especially interested in the interactions of wastewater microorganisms with their environment at a metabolic level and how they are linked to operational parameters in wastewater treatment plants.
 
LinkedIn
CV

Undergraduate Students

Jacqueline Wong

Current Undergraduate at Cornell University
Major: Environmental Engineering 2020
 
Research Interests: I am interested in understanding the effects of organic micropollutants in water systems. In particular, my research focuses on utilizing highly-resolved temporal sampling to assess and analyze emerging contaminant profiles and their toxicological risks.
 
Carpenter et al. Env. Sci. Tech. 2019a
Carpenter et al. Env. Sci. Tech. 2019b
 
LinkedIn

Anya Sherman

Current Undergraduate at Cornell University
Major: Environmental Engineering 2020
 
Research Interests: I am interested in the modeling and remediation of unregulated contaminants in soil and water.

Danyeh Gutema

Current Undergraduate at Cornell University
Major: Environmental Engineering 2021
 
Research Interests: I am interested in water pollution and waste water treatment as well as effects of overpopulation. 
 
Carpenter et al. Env. Sci. Tech. 2019b

Alumni

Yuhan Ling, Ph.D.

B.S., Environmental Science & Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 2014
M.S., Civil and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, 2016
Ph.D., Civil and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, 2019
 
M.S. Thesis Title: Characterization of a novel ß-cyclodextrin polymer for the removal of organic micropollutants from aqueous solution
 
Ph.D. Dissertation Title: Characterization and evaluation of cyclodextrin polymers as alternative adsorbents to activated carbon for micropollutant removal during water and wastewater treatment.
 
Current Position: CycloPure, Inc., Skokie, IL
 
Alsbaiee et al. Nature 2016
Xiao et al. JACS 2017
Ling et al. Env. Sci. Tech. 2017
Klemes et al. Chem. Sci. 2018
Ji et al. JACS 2018
Ling et al. Wat. Res. 2019
Alzate-Sanchez et al. ACS App. Mat. and Int. 2019
Xiao et al. Macromolecules 2019
Klemes et al. ACIE 2019

Corey Carpenter, Ph.D.

B.S., Environmental Engineering, Syracuse University, 2014
M.S., Civil and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, 2016
Ph.D., Civil and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, 2019
 
M.S. Thesis Title: Removal of micropollutants in biofilters: Hydrodynamic effects on biotransformation rates
 
Ph.D. Dissertation Title: Environmental monitoring for micropollutants using high-resolution mass spectrometry and data-driven methods
 
Current Position: EKI Environment & Water, Inc., Burlingame, CA
 
Carpenter and Helbling Wat. Res. 2017
Carpenter and Helbling Env. Sci. Tech. 2018
Carpenter et al. Env. Sci. Tech. 2019a
Gao et al. ESPI 2019
Carpenter et al. Env. Sci. Tech. 2019b

Congyue 'Vicky' Wu

B.S., Environmental Engineering, Chongqing University, 2017
M.S., Civil and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, 2019
 
M.S. Thesis Title: Exploring the factors that influence the adsorption of anionic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) on traditional and emerging adsorbents in aquatic matrices.
 
Current Position: Research Assistant, University of Pittsburgh
 
Klemes et al. ACIE 2019

Chenjun Li

B.S., Environmental Science & Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 2014
M.S., Civil and Environemtnal Engineering, Cornell University, 2017
 
M.S. Thesis Title:: Evaluating a solid-phase extraction method with novel porous cyclodextrin polymers
 
Current Position: Carollo Engineers, Inc., Houston, Texas
 
 
 
Xiao et al. JACS 2017
Li et al. JCA 2018
Alzate-Sanchez et al. ACS App.Mat. and Int. 2019
 

Mian Wang

B.S., Environmental Science & Engineering, Ocean University of China, 2013
M.S., Civil and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, 2015
 
M.S. Thesis Title: Chlorination of sulfonamide antibiotics: products, proposed pathways, and putative mechanisms
 
Current Position: Santa Clara Valley Water District, San Jose, California
 
Wang and Helbling Wat. Res. 2016

Former Research Assistant

Natasha Ramos Padilla

Undergraduate exchange student from the University of Puerto Rico - Mayagüez
Major: Chemistry 2019
 

Catherine Johnson

Undergraduate at Cornell University
Major: Environmental Engineering 2019
 
Carpenter et al. Env. Sci. Tech. 2019a

Former Research Associate

Jeffrey J. Werner, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Chemistry Department, SUNY Cortland
 
B.S., Chemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Ph.D., Water Resources Science - Environmental Chemistry, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Postdoctoral training, Cornell University
 

Amy Pochodylo

B.S., Chemistry (Environmental Science), Michigan State University, 2013
M.S., Environmental Toxicology, Cornell University, 2014

Pochodylo and Helbling Env. Sci.:Wat. Res. Tech. 2016