Welcome to the Hozalski Research Group Homepage
We are a biotechnology research group that studies bacterial biofilms with applications in environmental engineering and human health. Biofilms are communities of microorganisms living on a surface. The microorganisms are held in place by a matrix of self-secreted biopolymers often referred to as extracellular polymeric substances (EPS). We all experience biofilms in our daily lives. For example, they form on our teeth between brushing events and on rocks in lakes and streams. Biofilms can be used for benefical purposes such as the treatment of water or wastewater. Biofilms, however, also can have serious negative consequences such as fouling of pipelines and water treatment membranes, plugging of groundwater wells, formation of dental caries, peri-implantitis (i.e., dental implant infections), and cystic fibrosis. At the present time, our biofilms work is focused on three areas: water distribution systems, biologically-active filters for water treatment, and biofouling of UF and RO membranes.
In addition to biofilms, our group also has been actively involved in research concerning stormwater management with emphasis on contaminant removal and fate in stormwater best management practices. Finally, we are interested in the study of natural organic matter and its effects on water treatment.
We employ a variety of experimental techniques and tools in our work including pilot-scale treatment systems, field sampling, lab experiments, and chemical analyses. We also rely heavily on molecular biology techniques including quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) and DNA sequencing. The molecular biology work is done in collaboration with colleague Tim LaPara.
Our research has been funded by a variety of sources including the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the State of Minnesota, and several drinking water utilities.