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S.D. School of Mines & Technology
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Research@Mines Archive:
August, 2018

Powerful Bugs: Harnessing the Electric Eels of the Microbial World

“We’re studying the electric eels of the microbial world,” says Navanietha Krishnaraj, Ph.D., a research scientist in the Chemical and Biological Engineering department at SD Mines. - Photo Credit NOAA

Researchers at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology are studying ways to harness electricity generated by a unique set of microbes. 

“We’re studying the electric eels of the microbial world,” says Navanietha Krishnaraj, Ph.D., a research scientist in the Chemical and Biological Engineering department at SD Mines.

Researchers, such as Venkata Gadhamshetty, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department at SD Mines, and his team including Namita Shrestha, Ph.D., are working on maximizing the efficiency of what’s known as bioelectrochemical systems. By understanding the right combination of microbes and materials it’s possible to harness clean energy for widespread use in various applications.

Possible outcomes of this research include new ways to generate electricity and treat solid waste during NASA space missions, the ability for a wastewater treatment plants to help generate electricity while turning effluent into clean water, a new way to clean saline wastewater generated in oil drilling operations, and better ways to turn food waste, like tomatoes and corn stover into elec...

Last Edited 8/30/2018 01:53:43 PM [Comments (0)]

SD Mines Exchange with Jaypee University of Information Technology Exemplifies Strength in Diversity

Students from Jaypee University in the exchange with Mines include (left to right): Rishabh Nautiyal, Shagun Choudhary, Mehul Salaria, Pratha Sood, Pallavi Soni, Wageesha Sharma and Gorky. Not pictured: Anandita Govil.

Eight students from Jaypee University of Information Technology spent the past six months at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology contributing to the NSF funded BuG ReMeDEE research project.

The students, including three master’s level and five undergraduates, came to Mines to both learn about research methods in the United States and to contribute to the overall BuG ReMeDEE project (https://www.sdsmt.edu/BuGReMeDEE/).

“I've been able to learn many new techniques and instruments due to my work here at SD Mines, and I'm so thankful for that,” says Anandita Govil with Jaypee University, whose work included a study of biofilms in the effort to produce electricity from microbes.

The work of Govil and others in the exchange involved a wide range of study, including converting solid waste to electricity, efforts to control methane as a greenhouse gas, efforts to understand and improve the ways that cells absorb medicine, new approaches to biofuel production and making biodegradable plastics from plant material.

For Rajesh Sani, Ph.D., a professor in the Read Full Article

Last Edited 8/22/2018 12:38:36 PM [Comments (0)]

Composite Bridge Winners Use Lightweight, Strong, Inexpensive Material Developed at SD Mines

Krishnan Veluswamy, a Ph.D. student in the Materials Engineering and Science Program at SD Mines, holding the bridge his team built and his 2018 SAMPE International University Leadership Experience Award.

South Dakota School of Mines and Technology students took home second place in the Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE) 2018 Student Bridge Contest, by designing a bridge weighing just 12.5 ounces that can carry a 2,000-pound load.

The competition, held in Long Beach, Calif., pitted SD Mines researchers against 70 teams from 30 universities from around the world. Teams were tasked to design, build and test a 24-inch-long structural composite bridge using fiber reinforced plastics and high-performance materials. The annual event challenges teams to make bridges that carry a specified load while also being as lightweight as possible. The Mines bridge placed second in the inaugural year of the sandwich beam category at SAMPE’s bridge contest.

“The SAMPE bridge competition is a fantastic opportunity for students to develop some hands-on composite fabrication skills and to see how the process side of composites engineering truly impacts their final performance,” says Eric Schmid, SD Mines bridge team member and SAMPE North America Young Professionals committee chair. “SAMPE provides an excellent platform for students to demonstrate their capabilities, and the chance to attend the SAMPE conference and bridge competition really gives students a great view of how important compo...

Last Edited 8/14/2018 10:35:41 AM [Comments (0)]

SD Mines Paleontologist Lands Fulbright Scholarship to Study Invasive Species Impact

SD Mines alumnus Broc Kokesh has received a Fulbright Scholarship to study invasive species impact in Jamaica.

South Dakota School of Mines & Technology alumnus Broc Kokesh has received a Fulbright U.S. Student Program award from the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. Kokesh graduated with a master’s degree in paleontology in May. This Fulbright award takes him to Jamaica.  

Kokesh is studying how an ecosystem responds following the introduction of an invasive species. His work compares diversity between living mollusk (clams, snails, etc.) communities and co-occurring dead shells from the Kingston Harbor. His research examines the ecological effects of invasive green mussels, which were introduced in 1998 via ballast water from shipping traffic. However, since about 2010, green mussels appear to have receded in abundance for reasons unknown. Questions remain as to how the invasion affected native fauna, and Kokesh brings a paleontological perspective by focusing on dead shell diversity. Human-introduced invasive species are a global problem and this research may lend insight to invasive species management and impact in other parts of the world. 

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to build lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropri...

Last Edited 8/3/2018 03:15:52 PM [Comments (0)]