Montana State University
CBE News Update: June 2011

Center for Biofilm Engineering
News Update:
June 2011
Volume 14, Issue 3

Industry Highlights

New Industrial Associate

We are pleased to welcome NCH Corporation as a new industrial associate. Since 1919 NCH has been the leading global provider of industrial maintenance solutions. The Chem Aqua division of NCH provides products and services for water treatment in cooling towers, steam boilers, and other industrial water systems. They have more than 8,500 employees and technical representatives spanning fifty countries and five continents. Adrian Denvir will be the designated representative. Read more about NCH at their website

Industry news: Breaking study shows ICU Medical's MicroCLAVE(R) has "significantly lower bacterial transfer rate" than all other needlefree I.V. connectors tested

A team of CBE researchers led by Marcia Ryder, PhD, Ryder Science, performed an in-depth analysis of six leading needlefree connectors. The study found that MicroCLAVE provides a greater barrier to bacterial transfer and colonization than all other connectors over a 96-hour test period. Read the full press release

Reminder: Upcoming Montana Biofilm Science & Technology Meeting

The summer 2011 Montana Biofilm Science & Technology Meeting for our Industrial Associate representatives and invited guests will be held in Bozeman, MT, July 12–14, 2011 (Tuesday–Thursday). The meeting will feature sessions on biofilm dispersion, systems biology, biofilm methods, medical biofilms, and metals, microbes, and microbially influenced corrosion (MIC). Please contact Paul Sturman (406) 994-2102 for more information. 

View the meeting agenda

Research Highlights

Latest CBE Publications

“Growth effects and assimilation of organic acids in chemostat and batch cultures of Acidithiobacillus caldus
Aston JE, Apel WA, Lee BD, Peyton BM
World J Microbiol Biotechnol 2011; 27(1):153–161.
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“Reducing the risk of well bore leakage using engineered biomineralization barriers”
Cunningham AB, Gerlach R, Spangler L, Mitchell AC, Parks S, Phillips A
Energy Procedia 2011; 4:5178–5185.
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“Multiple mechanisms of uranium immobilization by Cellulomonas sp. strain ES6”
Sivaswamy V, Boyanov MI, Peyton BM, Viamajala S, Gerlach R, Apel WA, Sani RK, Dohnalkova A, Kemner KM, Borch T
Biotechnol Bioeng 2011; 108(2):264–276.
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“Uranium exerts acute toxicity by binding to pyrroloquinoline quinone cofactor”
VanEngelen MR, Szilagyi RK, Gerlach R, Lee BD, Apel WA, Peyton BM
Environ Sci Technol 2011; 45(3):937–942. 
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“A multicomponent model for biofilm-drug interaction”
Lindley B, Wang Q, Zhang TY
Discrete Continuous Dyn Syst Ser B 2011; 15(2):417–456.
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“Seasonal effects of 19 plant species on COD removal in subsurface treatment wetland microcosms”
Taylor CR, Hook PB, Stein OR, Zabinski CA
Ecological Eng 2011; 37(5):703–710.
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“When a habitat freezes solid: Microorganisms over-winter within the ice column of a coastal Antarctic lake”
Foreman CM, Dieser M, Greenwood M, Cory RM, Laybourn-Parry J, Lisle JT, Jaros C, Miller PL, Chin YP, McKnight DM
FEMS Microbiol Ecol 2011; 76(3): 401-412.
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“Combined treatment of Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm with lactoferrin and xylitol inhibits the ability of bacteria to respond to damage resulting from lactoferrin iron chelation”
Ammons MC, Ward LS, Dowd S, James GA
Int J Antimicrob Agents 2011; 37(4):316–323.
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“Anti-biofilm efficacy of a lactoferrin/xylitol wound hydrogel used in combination with silver wound dressings”
Ammons MC, Ward LS, James GA
Int Wound J 2011; 8(3): 215–322.
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“A modified CDC biofilm reactor to produce mature biofilms on the surface of PEEK membranes for an in vivo animal model application”
Williams DL, Woodbury KL, Haymond BS, Parker AE, Bloebaum RD
Curr Microbiol 2011; 62(6)1657–1663.
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“New methods for the detection of orthopedic and other biofilm infections”
Costerton JW, Post JC, Ehrlich GD, Hu FZ, Kreft R, Nistico L, Kathju S, Stoodley P, Hall-Stoodley L, Maale G, James G, Sotereanos N, DeMeo P
FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol 2011; 61(2):133–140.
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“Analysis of adaptive response to dosing protocols for biofilm control”
Szomolay B, Klapper I, Dindos M
SIAM J Appl Math 2010; 70(8):3175–3202.
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“Review of mathematical models for biofilms”
Wang Q, Zhang TY
Solid State Commun 2010; 150(21-22):1009–1022.
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“Effects of cell condition, pH, and temperature on lead, zinc, and copper sorption to Acidithiobacillus caldus strain BC13” 
Aston J, Peyton BM, Lee BD, Apel WA
J Hazard Mater 2010; 184:34–41.
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“Effects of ferrous sulfate, inoculum history, and anionic form on lead, zinc, and copper toxicity to Acidithiobacillus caldus strain BC13”
Aston J, Peyton BM, Lee BD, Apel WA
Environ Toxicol Chem 2010; 29(12):2669–2675.
Read abstract

View Publications database


Education Awards

Engineers Without Borders at MSU one of four finalists for $20,000 national award

Mentored by CBE faculty member Otto Stein, professor, civil engineering, Montana State University's student-led chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB at MSU) has won one of four W.K. Kellogg Outreach Scholarship Awards.

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities announced the regional award, which recognizes EWB at MSU for its work in bringing clean water to Kenyan schools. The recognition also puts the chapter in national competition with community outreach programs at three other universities—Michigan State University, Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Tennessee Knoxville—for the C. Peter Magrath University/Community Engagement Award. The Magrath award carries a $20,000 prize.

CBE undergraduates in chemical and biological engineering who lead the EWB, MSU chapter, include: Kiera McNelis, president; Joseph Thiel, vice-president; and Bryan Vadheim, treasurer.

Read more at MSU News:

Learn more about EWB at MSU at their web site:

Three CBE undergrads recognized among MSU's top students

Three CBE undergraduate students —Kiera McNelis, Hilary Fabich, and Joe Thiel — were among forty-six students honored this spring during Montana State University’s 88th Day of Student Recognition. The award honors achievement in the areas of leadership, involvement in various campus-wide activities, and community service. 

Kiera McNelis, a junior in chemical and biological engineering, received the Roskie Memorial Award. The award goes to one undergraduate student who has shown outstanding leadership qualities. McNelis is the president of Engineers Without Borders and will travel to Kenya this summer as a project manager for EWB. McNelis' parents are Kevin and Marilyn McNelis.

Hilary Fabich, a senior in chemical and biological engineering, received the Ethelyn C. Harrison Award presented to a senior woman who exemplifies high standards and concern for others. Fabich is a member of Engineers Without Borders, the MSU Symphony Orchestra, and has been an undergraduate researcher in the Magnetic Resonance Microscopy Lab for more than three years. Fabich's parents are Hank and Adrienne Fabich.

Joe Thiel, a junior in chemical and biological engineering, received the Christy Foundation Scholarship awarded to a student who has brought special recognition to MSU based upon meritorious community leadership and service. He also received the University Honors Program Leadership Award. In addition, Thiel was inducted into Septemviri. This senior honorary recognizes seven outstanding juniors based upon extraordinary scholarship, leadership and service to MSU. Thiel is the president of Phi Kappa Phi, the vice president of Engineers Without Borders, and an ASMSU Senator. Thiel's parents are Greg and Liz Thiel.

Thesis Alert

“Disinfection susceptibilities of detached biofilm clusters compared to planktonic cells and biofilms in single species and dual species cultures,” thesis defense by Sabrina Behnke, Ph.D. candidate, microbiology, Montana State University, June 2011.
Read abstract

View Thesis database


Industrial Visitors

Dr. Bart Lomans, Microbiology and Biotechnology Specialist for Shell Exploration and Production, visited the CBE June 7, 2011. The purpose of Dr. Loman's visit was to develop collaborations with CBE associated faculty Al Cunningham, Robin Gerlach, and Matthews Fields in the areas of biomineralization applications and subsurface issues, as well as microbially enhanced coal bed methane production.

Visiting Student Researchers

The MSU Algal Biofuels Group is working with five Native American students and staff from Little Bighorn College (LBHC) during a ten-week project titled “Cultivation and Characterization of Oil Producing Algae.” The project is funded by a collaboration of commercial, state, federal, and tribal entities focusing on the development of “Green Coal to Transportation Fuel Technology.” The project with LBHC involves training students in the use of algae as a means to capture carbon dioxide and produce biofuels. The specific objectives include collection of algae from natural field sites, isolation of pure cultures, building photo-bioreactor systems, characterizing algal growth in these systems, and measuring oil productivity. The participants from LBHC, located in Crow Agency, Montana, are: Jonah Morsette, staff member, and undergraduates: Zachary Cummins, Elaine Stone, Miranda Rowland, and Amanda Not Afraid. CBE mentors on the project are Brent Peyton, professor, and Rich Macur, research assistant professor, both of MSU's Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering.

Three undergraduate students are working at the CBE as part of the American Indian Research Opportunities (AIRO) BRIDGES program. The program’s objective is to build a seamless educational experience between reservation-based colleges and Montana State University and, in the process, increase the number of underrepresented Native American students successfully transferring from the two-year tribal colleges to MSU and pursuing academic studies in the biomedical and other health-related sciences. The students are working at the CBE for eight weeks and then traveling to Old Greenwich, Connecticut to present posters of their work at the Leadership Alliance National Symposium.

Adrianna Collazo Ortiz, undergraduate, University of Puerto Rico San Juan, is studying pathogens and constructed wetlands with CBE faculty Mark Burr, Research Assistant Professor, Land Resources and Environmental Sciences.

Jeremy Richey is working on a dentistry project under the supervision of CBE Research Scientist Alessandra Agostinho titled “Testing of Denture Base Materials Incorporated with Silver Nanoparticles to Prevent Candida Colonization.” Jeremy is an undergraduate student from Fort Belknap College in Harlem, Montana.

Kendra Teague is working with Heidi Smith, CBE PhD candidate, Land Resources and Environmental Sciences, on a project that characterizes Antarctic isolates based on different carbon source utilization. Kendra is an undergraduate student from Fort Peck Community College in Wolf Point, Montana.

CBE Tours

Ann Willis, CBE Technical Operations Manager, led a CBE lab tour for fifteen advanced placement biology students from Belgrade and Three Forks high schools. The students asked lots of questions as they toured the bioprocess and algal biofuel labs and viewed biofilm images and cryosectioning through CBE microscopes. We look forward to their return as biofilm reseachers in the future.

Accepting applications: New biofilm online course

Starting in fall 2011, the University of Copenhagen is offering a new online course: “Bacterial Biofilms and Their Role in Chronic Diseases”. The course can be followed by both masters degree and PhD students, as well as professionals that meet the admission criteria.  For registration and more information, please visit:  Application deadline is August 8, 2011.

CBE People in Action

Zbigniew Lewandowski taught several lectures on biofilm processes, microbially influenced corrosion, and fundamentals of biofilm research, Silesian University of Technology, Gliwice, Poland, May 7–June 2, 2011.

Rob Gardner and Karen Moll presented the poster “A chemical trigger for inducing triacylglycerol accumulation in algae,” American Society for Microbiology Meeting, New Orleans, LA, May 22–25, 2011.

Elliott Barnhart presented the poster “Analysis of methane producing communities within underground coal beds,” International Symposium on Applied Microbiology and Molecular Biology in Oil Systems, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, June 13–15, 2011.

Phil Stewart, as an invited speaker presenting, “Biofilm concept and antimicrobial tolerance,” European Cooperation in Science and Technology, Berlin, Germany, June 20–24, 2011. 

Job Opportunities

Please download the position descriptions you are interested in. The files will not be kept indefinitely on our website.

Reckitt Benckiser: Associate
Associate (pdf) (posted 06/01/2011)

Emory University: Research Project Coordinator
Research Project Coordinator (pdf) (posted 05/24/2011)

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