Derick G. Brown, Ph.D., P.E.
This research focuses on the implications of bacterial attachment to surfaces. Current projects are examining how bacterial adhesion
affects the cellular metabolic activity, with implications on surface colonization, biofilm formation, and long-term survival under
oligotrophic conditions. We are conducting studies examining the linkage between physiochemical phenomena that occur between
the bacteria and adhering surface and cellular bioenergetics.
Microbial attachment and transport through porous media
This research focuses on attachment and transport of microorganisms through both saturated and unsaturated porous media. Key
aspects of this work include (a) how surfactants - the key ingredient in detergents and other household cleaners -
affect microbial transport and (b) the linkage between lab-scale studies and field-scale transport. We are currently conducting
studies using a novel meso-scale flow system that allows examination of bacterial transport at distances up to 9 meters and we
are also examining two-dimensional transport of bacteria and colloids through unsaturated flow systems.
My interests in this area are related to microbial kinetics, especially applied to remediation of environmental contaminants and treatment
of waste streams, and how various environmental and engineering factors affect these kinetics. We are currently examining how
bacteriophage (viruses that infect bacteria and are ubiquitous in the environment) impact bacterial kinetics. We are also currently
studying anaerobic digestion, with the goal of improving the pH stability of the process using ion exchange fibers.
Interactions between microorganisms and surfaces