Research Inquiries

For inquiries related to SD Mines Research, contact:

Research Affairs

S.D. School of Mines & Technology
501 E. St. Joseph Street
Suite 102, O'Harra Building
Rapid City, SD  57701

(605) 394-2493



Research at Mines happens every day of the year, involves faculty and students at every academic level, and frequently includes collaboration across the state, the nation and the globe.

SD Mines Energy Resources Initiative Builds Momentum as US Production Peaks

Nine SD Mines students join Energy Resources Initiative director Dan Soeder on a hydraulic fracturing operation during a visit to the Bakken oilfields of North Dakota. The trip was funded by Halliburton.

One of the primary goals of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology’s Energy Resources Initiative (ERI) is to conduct research that improves the efficiency and reduces the environmental risks of producing fossil fuels while providing energy security for America.

While the country’s oil and gas industry has been in a down cycle, recent data shows US production is reaching a peak not seen since the 1970s due to increased development of shale oil and gas.  Dan Soeder, the new ERI director, is an industry expert on development of shale resources and reserves. Soeder is less than a year into his new position at SD Mines. He has spent this time quietly putting down roots to firmly establish the program. Soeder has been developing research projects, building relationships with industry and pursuing funding. The aim is for SD Mines to grow as a valuable industry resource, both in supplying future engineers for this sector and in providing solutions for efficient and safe oil and gas production.


Soeder left the U.S. Department of Energy last spring to become Mines’ first ERI director, bringing with him 30 years of experience as a hydrologist and a geologist, with a particular focus on shale gas, water resources, and sequestration ...

Last Edited 2/15/2018 02:35:43 PM [Comments (0)]

SD Mines Researchers Pioneer New Testing Method That Identifies Pathogenic Potential in South Dakota Waterways

The project included over 1000 DNA extractions from bacteria in water samples taken out of Rapid Creek and the Big Sioux River over a two-year period.

Researchers at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology have completed a groundbreaking study on harmful bacteria found in two important South Dakota waterways. The research, undertaken by Ph.D. candidate Kelsey Murray, found genes related to harmful E. coli in parts of the Big Sioux River and Rapid Creek.  

Public health officials often test streams and rivers for fecal coliform bacteria or E. coli, as this group of bacteria can be an indicator of pollution from animal or human waste. But, not all forms of E. coli are dangerous to humans; in-fact most are harmless. This study pioneered new testing methods that more accurately assess the public health risk from fecal contaminated waters by singling out and testing for genes associated with harmful forms of E. coli, including Shiga-toxigenic E. coli (STEC). 

Murray’s research, performed under Linda DeVeaux, Ph.D., and Lisa Kunza, Ph.D., is titled “Path-STREAM: Development and Implementation of a Novel Method for Determining Potential Risk from Pathogenic Bacteria in Surface Water Environments” Path-STREAM stands for Pathogenicity Profiling: Shiga Toxins and Related E. coli Attributes identification Method.

The project included over 1000 DNA extractions from bacteria in water samples taken out of Rapid Creek and the Big Sioux River over a two-year period. The effort built a method to identify the pathogenic genes associated with STEC and other...

Last Edited 1/10/2018 08:19:50 AM [Comments (0)]

Mammoths Under LA

SD Mines Alumna Ashley Leger, PhD.

Under Los Angeles’ streets, the clinks and clangs of construction meld with the rumblings of the subway line—an echo of rumblings tens of thousands of years old. Back then, LA teemed with life of a different sort. Saber-tooth cats, ancient camels, and mastodons roamed, many meeting their fate in the sticky pools of the La Brea Tar Pits or dying of natural causes, remaining undisturbed beneath the shimmer of LA. That is until paleontologist Ashley Leger (PhD Geol GeolE 16) got a call from a colleague working on the Purple Subway Line.

A skull had been discovered.  

Fresh from her PhD at Mines and now serving as the lead paleontologist for the Purple Line Extension, Leger took one look and knew it likely belonged to a young and/or female mastodon or mammoth, the Ice Age’s ancestral relative of the elephant. From there, the fossils poured forth. A mastodon tusk. Tooth fragments. Thigh bones. And an extremely rare forearm from a now-extinct camel. While LA is fertile ground for fossils, boasting thousands of dire wolves and saber-tooth cats, Leger says only about forty camels, or Camelops hesternus, have ever been unearthed from the tar pits.

The fact that anything was unearthed still astounds Leger. “Paleontologists estimate less than 1 percent of life on earth fossilizes.” A staggering amount of that fossilized life is found in LA. This area, anchored by the LA County M...

Last Edited 1/10/2018 08:13:55 AM [Comments (0)]

LLSM a 3D Window to the Unknown

Robert Anderson, Ph.D., with the LLSM

For most of human history, the existence of living cells was a complete mystery. Anton van Leeuwenhoek is credited with being the first person to view single-celled organisms. In 1674, he peered through a handmade microscope and described the algae Spirogyra. The subsequent publication of his work helped form the foundation of microbiology.

The science continued to advance alongside the microscope, but for hundreds of years much of the inner-workings of living cells have remained elusive and unknown. Cells exist in three dimensions, microscopes only produce images in two.   

Today, that's changing thanks to new techniques in optical microscopy, such as the 2014 invention of Lattice Light-Sheet Microscope (LLSM) by Nobel Laureate Eric Betzig, PhD. This breakthrough technique provides high-speed real-time 3D moving images from inside living cells without damaging them. This tool has the potential to push the boundaries of cellular biology and advance breakthroughs in medical science and biotechnology. The LLSM allows researchers to view cellular processes in a way they could not before.

Currently there are only a handful of these microscopes in the world, and one of them is at SD Mines.  

“SD Mines is very proud of many successes of our faculty and students who are working on the frontiers of science and engineering,” says SD Mines Interim President Jan Puszynski.<...

Last Edited 11/15/2017 11:03:34 AM [Comments (0)]