Environmental Biotechnology Laboratory

Population growth and climate change are increasing the need for more sustainable and energy-efficient water management technologies. The Nerenberg research group focuses on biological processes for water and wastewater treatment and reuse.


A major focus of the Nerenberg group is on biofilms, especially membrane-biofilm reactors (MBfRs) and membrane biofouling. Biofilms are naturally forming aggregates of bacteria embedded in a self-produced gel layer known as extracellular polymeric substance (EPS). Biofilms are the dominant form of microbial growth in most environments. They may play beneficial roles, such as biocatalysts in treatment processes, or detrimental roles, such membrane biofouling. Bacteria behave differently when in biofilms. Understanding and these differences is key to managing biofilms, whether in the context of treatment processes, biofouling, or even clinical or dental systems

Dr. Nerenberg’s group uses advanced experimental tools, molecular tools, and modeling to understand and predict the behavior of biofilms. Our research is helping develop the next generation of treatment technologies for sustainable water management.