Research and Technology

Environmental Systems Biology

  • Environmental urban, harbor and estuarine microbiology and engineering to clean up toxic pollutants
  • Genomic and metagenomic studies of marine and estuarine microbes
  • Environmental sensors and indicators.
  • Modeling of microbial metabolic fluxes in cells and systems
  • Harmful algal blooms
  • "Green ships", bacterial communication and biofouling

Genomic and metagenomic studies of marine and estuarine microbes at IMET contribute to understanding of microbial biodiversity and roles of microbes in biogeochemical cycles. Action of marine microbial communities is critical in maintaining homeostasis of global climate. Modeling of microbial metabolic fluxes contributes to understanding of processes driving climate change. IMET researchers are conducting research in microbial bioremediation to understand the effects and fate of heavy metals and organic pollutants such as PCBs and PAHs in bays and oceans. An understanding of the microbial processes in the marine environment will provide information on the factors that enhance and limit these processes, enable us to develop tools to monitor and enhance bioremediation. IMET researchers and collaborators have developed technology that employs microbes for treatment of PCB contaminated sediments that will significantly reduce the environmental impact compared with dredging. IMET scientists also study complex symbioses between marine microbes and animals. The process of bacterial communication is investigated to better understand biofilm formation. Control of biofilm formation is important for maritime industries where fouling of ship hulls greatly reduces fuel consumption. Biofilms are also medically important. Understanding of bacterial communication on a molecular level may provide new approaches for control of biofilm formation. Molecular tools can also be used to track invasive microbes (i.e. viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and microalgae) discharged from ballast waters. The range expansion of marine parasites is linked to global warming; genomic and metagenomic studies provides an unique opportunity for understanding the dynamic of infectious diseases at a global scale.

In the Spotlight

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IMET at the Inner Harbor

IMET is housed in the Columbus Center at Baltimore's Inner Harbor. IMET has 18 faculty members and ca. 150 staff, and 42 research laboratories...read more

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