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Cornell University

Helbling Research Group

aquatic science and technology

Current Ph.D. Students

Stephanie Rich

B.S., Environmental Engineering, Oregon State University, 2015
M.S., Water Science and Engineering, Karlsruhe Institute for Technology, 2018
M.S., Civil and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, 2022

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.

Email: slr257 [AT] cornell [DOT] edu

Rich et al. ES&T 2022
Sherman et al. H2Open Journal 2022
Rich and Helbling ES&T 2023


Nayantara Joseph

B.S., Environmental Engineering, Drexel University, 2019

Research Interests:  I am broadly interested in environmental contaminant management and remediation- specifically of anthropogenic contaminants in natural water systems. My research will focus on using machine learning tools to develop unique chemical signatures that can be used to identify the source and possible environmental transformations of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) at various contamination sites. This will allow for rapid identification and differentiation of PFAS sources and possible resulting transformation compounds allowing for more informed remediation decisions for a specific site.

Email: ntj5 [AT] cornell [DOT] edu

Charbonnet et al. ES&T 2021
Joseph et al. ES&T 2023


Jieyuan Wang

B.S., Environmental Science, South China University of Technology, 2020
M.S., Civil and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, 2023

M.S. Thesis Title: Tunable β-cyclodextrin polymers, anion exchange resins, and activated carbon for the removal of perfluoroalkyl acids from simulated groundwater.

Research Interests: I am interested in understanding the fate, transport, and transformation of organic contaminants in the wastewater treatment process to improve water quality. I especially want to study the effectiveness and kinetics of different adsorbents for organic contaminants in wastewater treatment.

Email: jw2653 [AT] cornell [DOT] edu

Wang et al. ACS Central Science 2022



Richard Marsh

B.S., Chemical Engineering, New Jersey Institute of Technology, 2021
M.S., Environmental Engineering, New Jersey Institute of Technology, 2023

Research Interests:  I am interested in the characterization and remediation of contaminants of emerging concern, particularly per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), in water systems. My research will examine the fate and transport of fluorinated polymers used during industrial processing in an attempt to establish a link between certain industrial applications of fluorinated polymers with the detection of non-polymeric PFASs in industrial wastewater. This will create a better understanding of the sources of PFASs in industrial manufacturing wastewater and motivate the development of sustainable practices for the management and treatment of industrial wastewater.

Email: rm966 [AT] cornell [DOT] edu