Research Centers and Groups
The Center for the Environmental Implications of NanoTechnology (CEINT) is elucidating the relationship between a vast array of nanomaterials— from natural, to manufactured, to those produced incidentally by human activities— and their potential environmental exposure, biological effects, and ecological consequences. Headquartered at Duke University, CEINT is a collaboration between Duke, Carnegie Mellon University, Howard University, Virginia Tech the University of Kentucky, and Stanford University. CEINT academic collaborations in the US also include on-going activities coordinated with faculty at Clemson, North Carolina State, Rice, UCLA and North Carolina Central universities, with researchers at NIST and EPA government labs, and with key international partners.
The major theme of this Superfund Hazardous Substances Basic Research Center is the elucidation of mechanisms of exposure and toxicity in humans and ecosystems to particular Superfund chemicals selected based upon their potential significance with respect to developmental effects.
The PIRE brings together three US universities, five international academic institutions in Turkey, Singapore and France, and associated international companies with a substantial U.S. presence to educate students in the technology and international dimensions of water resources and their connection to a global movement of goods, materials and energy.
Ana Barros' research group studies the dynamics of water presence and water pathways in the terrestrial environment. The goal is to improve our understanding of the physics of the hydrological cycle at all spatial and temporal scales and to apply this new knowledge to investigate and develop technologies for environmental assessment, prediction and control.
Michael H. Bergin's research focuses on the influence of air pollution on both climate and human health. The group's specific interest is in particulate matter (PM), and it has conducted a wide range of studies on the emission, formation, deposition and impact of PM. A particular interest of the group is in how PM impacts climate by modifying the radiation balance of the atmosphere.
Marc Deshusses' broad research interests are related to the design, analysis and application of processes for the bioremediation of contaminated air, water and soils. Current focus is bioreactors for air and groundwater pollution control, and the development of gas-phase sensors based on functionalized nanomaterials. Research interests include biomolecular techniques for monitoring microorganisms in complex mixed cultures, bioenergy, biofilms, indoor air quality, nanomaterials for environmental remediation and mathematical modeling of environmental bioprocesses.
The Duke Forest comprises 7,060 acres of land in Alamance, Durham and Orange counties. Its six divisions are fully accessible through a network of roads and fire trails. A variety of ecosystems, forest cover types, plant species, soils, topography and past land use conditions are represented within its boundaries. The Forest has been managed for research and teaching purposes since the early 1930s.
Lee Ferguson's Environmental Analytical Chemistry Laboratory is a group of interdisciplinary scientists, specializing in applied environmental analytical chemistry research. The lab focuses on the development and application of analytical tools to study the environmental fate and effects of anthropogenic contaminants in environmental systems.
The Forest-Atmosphere Carbon Transfer and Storage (FACTS-I) facility is located in the Blackwood Division of the Duke Forest. It consists of four free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE) plots that provide elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration and four plots that provide ambient CO2 control.
Claudia Gunsch's research group is focused on environmental molecular biotechnology. Specific research projects include the impact of emerging contaminants on microbial community in aquatic environments; novel method for controlling gene expression in bacteria; exposure to fungal indoor air contaminants; and horizontal gene transfer in bacteria resulting in exposure to xenobiotic contaminants.
Heileen Hsu-Kim's research focuses on aquatic and soil chemistry, trace metals, nanogeoscience, mercury biogeochemistry, metal-sulfide colloids, voltammetric methods and electrochemistry.
Marco Mariani's laboratory studies the interacting hydrological and ecological processes from the plant to the regional scale. Ongoing research includes how two-way interactions between biotic and abiotic processes contribute to shaping the earth's surface, with particular reference to tidal environments.
Amilcare Porporato's research focuses on the quantitative description and prediction of the complex dynamics of the terrestrial water cycle. The research group is particularly interested in the impact of the hydrologic cycle on temporal and spatial variability of ecosystem processes (eco-hydrology) and the related energy and nutrient cycles.
Marc Deshusses is the primary investigator of three projects concerned with developing new sanitation technologies. Engineers at Duke and the University of Missouri are developing a neighborhood-scale sewage treatment system using supercritical water oxidation. A second project is evaluating an anaerobic digestion pasteurization latrine to provide clean, sustainable, odor-free latrines with no water supply or energy source required. With research partners at the University of Colorado, Boulder, a third project is developing practical, cost-effective means of treating odor using adsorption onto biochars and biodegradation using biological filters.
Andrew Bragg's Theoretical and Computational Fluid Dynamics Group is interested in fundamental and applied problems in fluid dynamics, especially turbulence, and its role in environmental systems. The goal is to advance our basic understanding of these problems, and then guide the development of mathematical models that can make useful predictions. The research is motivated by important problems such as rain formation in clouds, pollution dispersion in the atmosphere, mixing in oceans, water treatment, as well as applications in combustion and astrophysics.
The major theme of Avner Vengosh's research group is the elucidation of magnitude and mechanisms of water quality degradation and impacts on ecosystems and human health. The geochemical and isotopic variations are used as natural “fingerprints” for tracing the origin, migration, and fate of contaminants in the environment.
The Mark Wiesner research group performs fundamental research in environmental engineering in environmental nanotechnology, membrane science; water treatment, desalination and water reuse; particle transport and surface chemistry in natural and engineered environments; and technologies at the energy and environment interface.