2018-19 AEESP Distinguished Lecturer

Lutgarde Raskin, Ph.D.
Altarum/ERIM Russell O'Neal Professor of Engineering, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Lecture Tour Dates
September 2018 through May 2019

About Professor Raskin: Lutgarde (Lut) Raskin is the Altarum/ERIM Russell O’Neal Professor of Engineering at the University of Michigan. She is a pioneer in molecular microbial ecology applied to water quality control and anaerobic bioprocesses. Her research focuses on managing the microbiome of drinking water systems and developing anaerobic bioprocesses for resource recovery from waste streams. She has published about 130 peer-reviewed journal papers and 350 conference proceedings papers and abstracts. Dr. Raskin is passionate about graduate education and has mentored approximately 15 postdocs and 90 graduate students, including 25 PhD students. She received BS and MS degrees from the KU Leuven in Belgium and a PhD degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Michigan in 2005, she was a faculty member at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and the Water Environment Federation. Past honors include the University of Michigan Rackham Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award, the International Society for Microbial Ecology-International Water Association BioCluster Award, the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors Frontier Award in Research, the American Society of Civil Engineers Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize, the Water Research Foundation Paul L. Busch Award, and a U.S. National Science Foundation CAREER Award. She is an Associate Editor for Environmental Science & Technology and serves on the Board of Directors of the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors.

Lecture Topics

Dr. Raskin will present two lectures in her 2018-2019 tour. Both lectures will focus on managing complex microbiomes within the “urban water cycle.” The urban water cycle consists of water and waste treatment facilities and vast networks of pipes that transport water and waste, and their associated microbiomes, between humans, the built environment, and the natural environment. Within this microbiome continuum, microbial populations play positive roles through water treatment and resource recovery, but have negative impacts by causing disease and contributing to greenhouse gas production. Dr. Raskin’s presentations will argue that expanding studies of microbes beyond their specific habitats, and learning from interactions among and within microbiomes in different environments, will provide opportunities for improved management of our existing water infrastructure and development of sustainable technologies for our collective urban future.

Lecture 1: Can engineering controls shape the drinking water microbiome and reduce the risk of opportunistic infections?

Abstract: "Biological treatment processes and particularly biofiltration have gained tremendous popularity in the drinking water field over the past decade. However, we do not yet understand how biofiltration, disinfection, and transport of treated water through distribution systems and building plumbing influence tap water and human microbiomes. Most microbes in biofilters mediate positive impacts through removal of contaminants, but others have the potential to cause disease. In high-income countries, the risk of waterborne infection is often due to exposure to opportunistic pathogens, such as Legionella pneumophila and nontuberculous mycobacteria. This presentation will show that these microbes, present in source water microbiomes, are only partially removed and sometimes are selected for by current treatment practices and therefore become integrated in the diverse microbial communities in drinking water. Waterborne infections by these microbes mainly affect immunocompromised individuals, a rapidly expanding subset of the population, and result primarily from inhalation of aerosols. These findings call for an increased understanding of how drinking water aerosols impact our respiratory tract microbiomes. We have begun to address this challenge by focusing on cystic fibrosis, a condition known to predispose individuals to polymicrobial respiratory tract infection. The presentation will conclude by discussing steps water quality engineers and drinking water utilities can take to reduce risk of opportunistic infections while maintaining drinking water treatment objectives."

Lecture 2: Converting urban organic waste streams into sustainable resources with novel anaerobic bioprocesses.

Abstract: "Anaerobic digestion based technologies have great potential for converting the enormous amounts of organic waste generated in urban environments into valuable resources. Yet few urban organic waste streams are currently treated by anaerobic bioprocesses, suggesting that new approaches are needed. This presentation will show the development of novel anaerobic bioprocesses for resource recovery from urban organic waste streams by applying knowledge of microbiomes from habitats as diverse as arctic sediments and the gastrointestinal tract of ruminant animals and sustainable technology design practices. Examples will include: (i) Biofilm-enhanced anaerobic membrane bioreactor designs to treat low-strength urban wastewater at low temperatures to achieve high quality water, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and net positive energy production, and (ii) Dynamic anaerobic membrane bioreactor designs inspired by the physiology and microbiome of the rumen (stomach of ruminant animals) to overcome slow hydrolysis of urban organic waste streams with high lignocellulosic content to produce short-chain carboxylic acids that can be used for the production of biomethane and other bioproducts. While the role of microbiomes in developing these anaerobic bioprocesses will receive most attention, the presentation will also show how the advancement of these technologies is driven by life cycle cost and environmental assessments to enable financially viable, environmentally sustainable waste management."


Fall/Spring 2018-19 Schedule

 Date University Contact
FALL 2018
Sept. 14 University of Pittsburgh
Co-Hosts: Carnegie Mellon University, Duquesne University
Radisav Vidic, vidic@pitt.edu
Oct. 8 Princeton University
Co-Hosts: Columbia University, Drexel University, Manhattan College, Montclair State University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, NYU, Rutgers University, RPI, Stevens, Stony Brook, City College of New York, Villanova University
Jason Ren, zjren@princeton.edu
Oct. 9 Johns Hopkins University
Co-Hosts: University of Maryland College Park, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Howard University
Edward Bouwer, bouwer@jhu.edu
Oct. 15 The Ohio State University
Co-Hosts: University of Akron, Air Force Institute of Technology, Ohio University
Andrew May, may.561@osu.edu
Oct. 22 Yale University
Co-Hosts: University of Connecticut, University of New Haven, Central Connecticut State University
Jordan Peccia, jordan.peccia@yale.edu
Oct. 24 University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Co-Hosts: Northeastern University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Smith College, Roger Williams University, University of Rhode Island
Emily Kumpel, ekumpel@umass.edu
Oct. 26 Clemson University
Co-Hosts: Georgia Tech, Furman University, University of South Carolina, Benedict College
Sudeep Popat, spopat@clemson.edu
Nov. 2 University of South Florida
Co-Hosts: University of Florida, University of Central Florida, Florida Gulf Coast University
Jeffrey Cunningham, cunning@usf.edu
Nov. 5 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Co-Hosts: North Carolina State University, Duke University, North Carolina Central University
Orlando Coronell, coronell@unc.edu
Nov. 9 Syracuse University
Co-Hosts: SUNY-Environmental Science and Forestry, SUNY-Buffalo, Cornell University, Clarkson University
Cliff Davidson, davidson@syr.edu
Nov. 12 University of Toronto
Co-Hosts: York University, Ryerson University
Elodie Passeport, elodie.passeport@utoronto.ca
Nov. 28 Rice University
Co-Hosts: University of Houston, Texas A&M, University of Texas at Austin
Lauren Stadler, lauren.stadler@rice.edu
Feb. 25 Arizona State University
Co-Hosts: Northern Arizona University, University of Arizona
Rebecca Muenich, Rebecca.Muenich@asu.edu
Feb. 27 University of Southern California
Co-Hosts: UCLA, UC-Irvine, UC-Riverside
Adam Smith, smithada@usc.edu
April 19 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Co-Hosts: Purdue University, University of Notre Dame, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Bradley University, Illinois Institute of Technology
Yujie Men, ymen2@illinois.edu
April 24 Marquette University
Co-Hosts: University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Northwestern University
Patrick McNamara, patrick.mcnamara@mu.edu
May 6 Stanford University Alexandria Boehm, aboehm@stanford.edu