Municipal operations including landfills, wastewater treatment plants, and other anaerobic digestion systems all receive diverse organic material as a substrate, selecting for robust anaerobic lifestyles that warrant investigations in an effort to optimize these services and/or repurpose them for new benefits.
Mark’s research seeks to identify patterns with municipal solid waste (MSW) landfill microbiomes, with special focus to an arid landfill across repeated sampling events. Another research aim attempts to shift CH4 productivity and/or its biological source using biostimulants. To promote the potential use of zero valent metals as a biostimulant in MSW bioreactor landfills, Mark performs small and large-scale semi-batch assays. In these experiments, Mark aims to identify concentration and/or metal-specific effects which influence CH4 observations and the composition of the methanogenic microbiome.
Mark is co-advised by Dr. Hinsby Cadillo-Quiroz and Dr. Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown and is a member of both the Biodesign Swette Center for Biotechnology and Biodesign Center for Fundamental and Applied Microbiomics at ASU. Mark’s research was additionally funded through the National Science Foundation’s Center for Bio-mediated and Bio-inspired Geotechnics, resulting in important, early research developments.
Mark has served as a teaching assistant for introductory microbiology and biology labs at Arizona State University (ASU). Mark also has experience mentoring high school students, undergraduate students from ASU and other institutions, and a local high school teacher in the lab.