All projects are highly interdisciplinary and are potentially suitable for students and post-docs from a variety of backgrounds in engineering, natural sciences, biomedicine, and mathematics. Individuals interested in any of this work are encouraged to either fill out the form below or contact Dr. Packman by email at a-packman@northwestern.edu

Student or Post-doc

Integrated study of contaminant dynamics in sediments, focusing on the effects of pore water flow and bioturbation on redox gradients, metals speciation, and contaminant efflux and bioavailability. This work is collaborative with Jean-François Gaillard in the Northwestern EES group and also with Allen Burton in the Institute for Limnology and Ecosystems Research at the University of Michigan. We currently have funding for two Ph.D. students on this project at Northwestern, or one student and one post-doc.

Student or Post-doc

Highly interdisciplinary study of the development and implications of heterogeneity in biofilms. This encompasses investigations of flow-biofilm interactions, the development of chemical gradients in biofilms, and feedbacks that occur because of biofilm growth. Applications of interest include basic biofilm microbiology, microbial ecology, manipulation of biofilms in bioreactors, and treatment of biofilm-based infections. This work is collaborative with Matt Parsek in the Microbiology Department at the University of Washington and Dave Chopp in NU's Department of Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics. We have funding for one Ph.D. student and one post-doc on this project at Northwestern, with one appointment in Civil and Environmental Engineering and one in Applied Mathematics.

Student or Post-doc

Investigations of biofilms that lead to the formation of solid phases ("crystalline" or "lithifying" biofilms). Recently we have developed methods that allow highly detailed visualization and analysis of the structure of porous media. Currently we are applying these methods to image solid phases that precipitate within biofilms, leading to a complex organic-inorganic matrix. Such solid-phase biofilms occur in a variety of settings, including geological systems, engineered water systems, and in some human infections. This work is collaborative with Jean-François Gaillard in the Northwestern EES group, David Stickler in the School of Biosciences at the University of Cardiff, and Denis Keane in Northwestern’s Synchrotron Research center located at the Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Laboratory. We have funding for one Ph.D. student and one post-doc to work on synchrotron methods for imaging biofilm encrustations of catheters, analysis of the chemical composition of the solid matrix, and modeling of the feedback between matrix precipitation and biofilm growth.

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