STATEMENT OF RESEARCH INTERESTS

Shane Rogers' research is focused on the development and application of physical, chemical, and microbiological principles for exploring and predicting the fate and degradation of toxic pollutants in natural and engineered systems. Of particular interest is identifying molecular events associated with changing environmental insults which stem from or result in cellular, chemical, and physical system alterations, and application of the principles towards modeling whole systems design and performance. Recent research has involved development of innovative reactors for studying fundamental processes of nonaqueous phase contaminant removal from saturated porous media under air-sparged conditions, exploring the use of sequencing batch biofilm reactors for biotreatment of herbicide rinse waters of agricultural chemical facilities, and interfacing the use of molecular probes with modeling contaminant fate and transport in a coal-tar impacted aquifer in Northwestern Iowa. Shane has extensive field experience monitoring coal-tar impacted sites which includes geochemical and chemical groundwater monitoring, expedited site characterization through direct push technology, source characterization, and application of molecular microbiological techniques to support natural attenuation of PAH compounds. In his research, Shane seeks to develop fundamental principles rooted in molecular microbial characterizations and structure-function relationships through experimentation and whole-systems analytical and numerical modeling approaches.

Shane's M.S. research was funded by the US Department of Defense and focused on defining fundamental physical and chemical principles key to the removal of nonaqueous phase contaminants from soils under air-sparged conditions based on experimentation (Rogers, S.W. and S.K Ong (2000) ES&T, 34(5), 764-770) and numerical modeling (Rogers, S.W. and S.K. Ong. (2000) ASCE J. Environ. Eng., accepted). A paper from this work was recognized by the Water Environment Federation in 1999 (3rd place M.S. Student Category). The resulting M.S. thesis was nationally recognized by the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP) as the best in 2000.

For his Ph.D. research, Shane has focused his attention on development of innovative approaches for assessing the various lines of evidence for the implementation of natural attenuation at coal-tar impacted sites. Innovative approaches include interfacing site-level geochemical and contaminant transport phenomenon with a molecular microbiological characterization of the structure of organisms associated with the various chemical and geochemical environments exhibited throughout the source area and contaminant plume. Analytical and numerical modeling approaches are being used for the estimation of attenuation rates, and models are being supplemented with molecular microbial information obtained in fundamental studies. In addition, Shane is conducting bench-scale studies to assess biological (various electron acceptor conditions) and physical-chemical processes on the fate of PAH compounds at coal-tar-contaminated sites. The thrust of Shane's Ph.D research is applying various molecular tools (fluorescence hybridization and microautoradiography) to trace the fate of PAH compounds to microorganisms responsible for their degradation.

Shane envisions his future research to include devising and applying methods by which the structure of microbes present in complex natural and engineered environments can be directly related to their ecosystem-functioning thereby allowing for more accurate assessment and modeling of environmental systems. This research will manifest both in projects directly related to his research focus as well as cooperative efforts with other faculty and the research community. Based on current trends in research initiatives (see recent COS funding announcements), Shane is particularly interested in applying molecular tools to investigate the fate of anthropogenic compounds in natural and engineered environments, response of natural ecologies to environmental insults, biogeochemical cycling of carbon, the study of pharmaceuticals in the environment, and other water quality issues such as remote sensing and rapid detection of E. coli in natural waters.