Biofertilizers to reduce green house gasses and farm pollution runoff

As part of a NSF sponsored project to protect the Chesapeake bay watershed, we are examining the growth of duckweed to capture the nitrogen of fertilization runoff (dairy farm manure in particular). While one option for use of the duckweed is for animal feed (see project which is heavily molecular biology posted by our group) ... another option is to use the duckweed as a 'substrate' to grow bacteria which can help fix the N2 from the air. This approach not only captures the nitrogen in a form that will be retained in the soil better, but will also 'make' more nitrogen fertilizer, so that we do not have to burn as much methane to generate the fertilizer in the first place.
An important goal is to also grow a bacteria that will consume N2O (laughing gas = nitrous oxide) which is a green house gas produced in soil that is hundreds of times more potent as a green house gas for destroying ozone etc.

Campus(es): 
University Park
Work Setting(s): 
Variable
Area(s): 
Any
Description of responsibilities: 

Our lab is extremely adept at bringing students up to speed based on a google domain training program and 'Start up' list.

OVER 400 undergraduates have conducted research in the lab, and are currently employed in virtually every facit of not just the biotechnology industry, but medical doctors, dentists, patent lawyers, ... and of course the traditional chemical industry.

SKILLS (you will learn): microbiological methods, fermentor / bioreactor operation, plant growth studies (biofertilization)

The level of effort that you put in will be reciprocated with the level of training and eventually credit you will be give (recomendations, publications etc). 10hrs a week is really needed to make any reasonable level of progress for this type of work.

Minimum Qualifications: 

Freshman to Senior; a strong desire to learn and accomplish something.

Research is as much a hobby & fun as it is a educational experience / job.

Other Requirements: 

As PI of the laboratory, I am in the lab 7 days a week and most evenings.
This allows for extremely flexible times to work.

A committment of at least 2 semesters is very desirable (though some have made amazing progress by using our domain to pre-train, and jump straight into research)

Off times (like breaks, winter, summer etc ... are when I personally have more time ... and most undergradutes spend considerable amount of their training directly with me to start).

Opportunity Timeframe(s): 
On-going
Position Type(s): 
Variable
Number of positions available: 
2
Application Procedure: 

Email Dr. Curtis @ wayne.curtis@psu.edu while placing undergraduate research interest in the heading.

Requested Materials: 

no materials required - an walk through lab interview is how I judge level of excitement etc.

Posting Date: 
Friday, November 19, 2021 to Sunday, November 19, 2023
Last Updated: 
November 19, 2021