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Center for Environmental Science & Technology (CEST)


CEST is a cooperative effort between Notre Dame’s Colleges of Science and Engineering, fostering interdisciplinary environmental research and education by providing cutting-edge analytical technologies needed to address complex environmental problems. A full-time technical support staff maintains the instruments and provides basic training on instrument use. CEST is unique in that Notre Dame faculty and students may use the instruments for class work or research without instrument-time charges, although there are charges associated with “consumables”.

Each year, dozens of undergraduate students use CEST as part of course work, independent study, and/or through formalized REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) programs. Recent examples include students who have worked with Professor Steve Silliman (Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences) on research and service projects in Benin, Africa, and Haiti, and undergraduate students participating in research sponsored by Notre Dame’s Environmental Molecular Science Institute. PPG Industries provides additional funding for REUs, through the center.

Additionally, CEST annually awards a number of Bayer graduate fellowships to support interdisciplinary research in environmental science and/or engineering. Click HERE for a list of this year’s Bayer graduate fellowship recipients. CEST also co-sponsors a variety of invited guest lectures on the environment, and hosts student field trips from local junior high and high school programs while serving as a resource for undergraduate analytical chemistry laboratories.

Problems we are working on

Biofilms - Structure and function (utilizes APS)
Metals uptake by plants and microbes - utilize APS
Ecological studies on organic carbon in lakes - UNDERC field site
Deposition of Platinum Group Elements in the Environment from Catalytic Converters
Hydro-bio-geochemical Controls on the Dissolved Organic Matter Content in UNDERC Wetlands


• Bruker Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer (FTIR)
• Thermo Finnigan Delta Plus Stable Isotope Spectrometer (CF IRMS)
• Carlo Erba Elemental Analyzer
• Costech Elemental Analyzer
• Thermo Finnigan Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer
• Agilent Gas Chromatographs
• Perkin Elmer Graphite Furnace AA Spectrometer
• Dionex Ion Chromatograph
• Waters High-Pressure Liquid Chromatographs (HPLC)
• Carl Zeiss Environmental SEM with Oxford EDS
• Waters Triple Quadrupole Liquid Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer
• (Coming Soon) Thermo Finnigan Delta V with Gasbench II IRMS
• Shimadzu TOC-TN Organic Carbon Analyzers
• Perkin Elmer Inductively Coupled Plasma Emission Spectrometers
• Varian Scanning UV/Vis Spectrophotometer
• Quantachrome BET Particle Analyzer
• Bruker ESI TOF Mass Spectrometer
• Labconco Freeze Drier
• Brookhaven Zeta Potential


The microbial ecology of soil surrounding a coal pile
Determination and characterization of the ligands adsorbing Cd2+ to bacterial surfaces at different pH. An EXAFS spectroscopy study
Changes in weaning time with the evolution of food production: isotopic evidence from the North American Midcontinent
A fresh perspective: isotopic evidence for subsistence in the Mississippi River valley of west-central Illinois, and comparison with the Illinois River valley
The effect of environmental change and economic power on the diet of Tarascan elites
The effect of maize agriculture, tribute payment and population growth in the Zacapu Basin on the development of the Tarascan State
Enhancing performance of three-phase catalytic packed-bed reactors
Synthesis of functionalized mesoporous materials for heavy metal remediation
Design and evaluation of room temperature ionic liquids for green chemical processing
Plant community dynamics and nutrient cycling compared across a natural gradient in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Speciation of heavy-metal contaminated sewage sludge and soils
Supercritical CO2 for environmental extraction of metal and organic contaminants.
Pulsing flow phenomena in trickle-bed reactors
Effects of disturbance, seed bank, and herbivory on dominance of the invasive grass Phalaris arundinacea
Effects of successional soil development and hydrology on germination of eleven dominant freshwater marsh species
Effects of successional soil development on competitive abilities of six dominant freshwater marsh species
Recruitment from seed banks in response to drought-induced drawdown of restored freshwater marshes of different ages
Combinatorial synthesis of oxide catalysts
Treatment of anaerobic digester supernatant and filter press filtrate sidestreams with a sequencing batch reactor
Childhood diet and the prehistoric evolution of food production
The agricultural adaptations of a prehistoric chiefdom: reconstructing prehistoric diet at the angel site
Binary oscillatory crossflow electrophoresis
Library approach to carbohydrate sensors
Benthic-pelagic links in lakes: effects of whole-lake fertilization and fish
Biomanipulations on the contribution of benthic algae to whole-lake primary production
Biofiltration for treating waste gasses contaminated with volatile organic compounds
Reductive dechlorination of perchloroethylene using the anaerobic sequencing batch biofilm reactor (AnSBBR)
Biodesulfurization of petroleum and petroleum distillates
Utilization of molecular probing (PCR and RT-PCR) to analyze mixed cultures in activated sludge
Biodegradation of MTBE and other oxygenates
Anaerobic and aerobic transformation and biodegradation of TNT
A systems approach for developing alternatives for purifying municipal wastewaters while recovering nutrient resources for beneficial uses
Combining Fluorescently Labeled DNA Probes with Scanning Confocal Laser Microscopy to Analyze Mixed Cultures in Activated Sludge


Director: Jeremy B. Fein

Interdisciplinary Advisory Board:
Dr. William Boggess (Chemistry & Biochemistry)
Dr. Prashant Kamat (Radiation Laboratory)
Dr. Gary Lamberti (Biological Sciences)
Dr. Paul McGinn (Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering)
Dr. Mark Schurr (Anthropology)
Dr. Jennifer Tank (Biological Sciences)
Dr. Robert Nerenberg

Laboratory Manager: Dennis Birdsell

Research Technician: Jennifer Szymanowski

Laboratory Technician: Jon Loftu, Suzyanne Guzicki

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