Deshusses Lab News

November 28, 2012

News Archive 2012

November 2012

Sanitation for developing countries news: a lot is going on... we are actively engaged in discussions with different partners to demonstrate our digester-sterilizer technology in the field in 2013. Also Marc is advising two groups of students (one mechanical engineering team and one from the Certificate in Energy and the Environment) who, for their capstone design project, will develop a small (uncompressed) biogas heat and power co-generator... stay tuned.

Cavanaugh wins the American Council of Engineering Companies of North Carolina 2013 Grand Conceptor Engineering Excellence Award for the Loyd Ray Farms project. See more at  link (and of course some pictures of the system in earlier news below).

August 2012

Marc and Joan attend the Reinvent the Toilet Fair organized by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. See our paper (Gates&FSM2 paper.pdf) with early results on our anaerobic digester combined with a heat sterilization/recovery system.

We are also welcoming new graduate students Aaron Forbis-Stokes (Ph.D.) and Lilya Ouksel(MS) to the research team working on the Gates sanitation project.

July 2012

Marc is spending the month of July in Ales France, in the "odor and VOC" team of Prof. Jean-Louis Fanlo (see in French).

June 2012

Matt Strickland successfully defended his MS thesis titled Investigation of Secondary Phases Including Ionic Liquids for Biphasic Bioreactors Treating Hydrophobic VOCs. Congrats!

May 2012

We are welcoming Charles (Chip) Ellis, REU student originally from High Point, NC, now undergraduate at the University of Alabama.

April 2012

Two new MS from Deshusses' group... Osman Karatum: Treatment of Low Concentrations of Volatile Organic Compounds by Non-Thermal Plasma and Scott Loughery: Calcium Sulfate Precipitation in Biotrickling Filters Treating Hydrogen Sulfide. Congratulations! (pictures coming soon)

March 2012

Joan Colon, for the Autonomous University of Barcelona joins the lab as a postdoctoral fellow. Joan is working on novel sanitation technology (Gates Foundation project). It looks like he is already working on something!

November 29, 2011

News Archive 2011

November 2011

The Gates Foundation funds novel sanitation technology development.

See details in the Duke Engineering story and in the Duke Chronicle Article.

For more information on the Grand Challenges Exploration Grants and funded projects, click on the following links (Grand Challenges programFunded projects).

November 2011

Jinying Xi, Associate Professor in the School of the Environment, Tsinghua University China joins the Deshusses Lab for one year. Welcome!

October 2011

Biotechniques - 2011 Conference in La Coruna, Spain. Two presentations from our group, one poster about the determination of gypsum precipitation in biotrickling filter treating H2S. We show a detailed precipitation model and experimental data. Gypsum precipitation could be relatively common (but is never really identified). I also gave a platform presentation on our use of micro-electrodes to determine micro-gradients of dissolved oxygen (DO) in the biofilms of biotrickling filters treating various VOCs. We were able to show how DO limitation in biofilms is influenced by the reactor operating conditions.

September 2011

Converting hog waste to energy in Yadkinville NC... We are now generating many kilowatts digesting pig manure and converting it to biogas, while treating and recycling the barn flush water. 

This is large project, part of Duke's commitment to become carbon neutral. The digester alone is 2 million gallons! The Deshusses' group will be evaluating and optimizing performance and environmental benefits. The general flowsheet is as shown below:

See article on Duke's web site at See also the Google story at and watch the video either at the above link or directly here (the hog waste to energy is the second project). 

July 2011

Jovon and DantaviusHosted Jovon and Dantavius (high school kids) for a short week in the lab.

April 2011

Invited talk in the department of Earth and Environmental Engineering at Columbia.

April 2011

Making ice cream (and teaching a little bit about low temperature) with liquid nitrogen at an elementary school in Chapel Hill... too much fun! My favorite thank you letter read, "YOU are the best ice cream!" ... very sweet!

Making ice cream

February 2011

Anders Nielsen (Assistant Professor, Aarhus Univ. Denmark) joins the group for about 7 months, as part of a project looking at odor control and biotrickling filter. Sarah Liehrjoins the lab to work on a field demonstration and evaluation of anaerobic digestion of hog waste.

I also traveled to Quebec (very cold in February) to give a presentation in French (although French is my first language, it was only my second technical presentation in French...) on recent advances in biological techniques for air pollution control. 

Deshusses' lab alumni news: Ting Zhang, who obtained his PhD from UC Riverside (jointly supervised with Prof. N. Myung) has now settled at Suzhou University on a tenure track position. Eunsung (Bryan) Kan moved back to the US and joined the Biofilm Center in Bozeman, Montana.

December 3, 2010

News Archive 2010

December 2010

Two posters at the ESTCP-SERDP annual meeting: 1) Microbial methylation of mercury sulfides: comparison between dissolved Hg-sulfides, nanoparticulate and bulk scale HgS. 2) Gene tracking and bioaugmentation in a bioreactor that reductively dechlorinates TCE.

Fall 2010

Several visitors (long and short term) join the lab: Liying Jiang (Professor, Zhejiang University of Technology, China) and Ravi Rajamanickam (Professor, Annamalai University, India). We also had a very successful 2010 Conference on Biofiltration in October in Washington DC. At the occasion Takashi and Yasutaka (from Ritsumeikan Univ. Japan) visited Duke... good to see old friends. If you would like to be on the conference mailing list for the 2012 event, email me.

August 2010

Marc joins the editorial board of Biotechnology and Bioengineering as Associate Editor.

July-August 2010

Lots of changes in the Deshusses lab: several researchers moved on (e.g., Sudeep to ASU, Tom soon to MIT, Pere back to Spain, Sandeep back at NEERI) and some new members joined the lab (Scott Loughery, Osman Karatum).


Mark your calendars for the 2010 Conference on Biofiltration: October 28-29, 2010 to be held in historic Alexandria/Washington DC Metro area. See for general information and for a list of papers accepted.


July 2010

Chang-Hen Yang successfully defended his M.S. thesis titled "Development of Nanosensors to Detect Mercury and Volatile Organic Vapors".

Several news in random order:

April 2010: Sudeep successfully defended his Ph.D. thesis (at UCR) titled "Trichloroethene Removal From Waste Gases in Anaerobic Biotrickling Filters Through Reductive Dechlorination". Two papers published (on this topic) and a couple more to go... (click on "Publications" tab of this web site). See picture of the new Dr. relaxing after the defense with Yue and Marc.Yue, Sudeep and Marc (at UC Riverside)

Some new faces, others are leaving... Javier (Xavi) Gamisans returned to his hime institution (Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya) after almost 6 months here! Pere Gallego Rico, Megha Patel, and Dr. Sandeep Mudliar (from NEERI India) have joined the group.

Matt has received an EPA STAR fellowship. Congrats!

Yaohuan Gao successfully defended his M.S. thesis titled "Adsorption of Pharmaceutically Active Compounds (PhACs) by Powdered Activated Carbon from Natural Water —Influence of Natural Organic Matter (NOM)" and so did Liwei Zhang (Wiesner group/Deshusses lab): "Synthesis and characterization of novel proton-conductive composite membranes derived from the hybridization of metal oxyhydroxide nanoparticles and organic polymers for fuel cell applications"

December 6, 2009

News Archive 2009

December 2009

Congratulations to Jennifer Shore for successfully defending her M.S. thesis titled "Application of a Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor for Ammonia Removal in High Temperature Industrial Wastewater". Jennifer is moving on to a real job with HDR in Alexandria, VA. Good luck!

October 2009

We are welcoming Prof. Xavier Gamisans from the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, Manresa (Barcelona). Xavi will stay about 6 months and work on deploying micro-electrodes in bioreactors for air treatment. 

August 2009

Yasutaka Morita from Ritsumeikan University, Japan joined the Deshusses' lab (for a two-month stay)

Older news... 

There was a news page on my web site at UCR, but this has now been taken down...