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Lab Tour

Welcome to the lab tour.

Thanks for coming to our Lab Tour page. If you're new to UVa or are just browsing the group site, this is the place to see images of the people and equipment that make us who we are. There's a lot of interesting research going on in our two official labs and we hope this gives you a feel for what we do.

Computer simulation of bacteria movement in porous media

A primary objective of our research is to improve the knowledge of how bacteria migrate in subsurface, especially in groundwater. Once their behaviors are better understood, people can have more confidence to use them to remediate subsurface contaminated zones. We are specificly interested in a bacterial property called chemotaxis, which is a biological characteristic to sense the concentration gradient in the ambient environment, and re-orient the swimming direction of the bacteria to seek food source or avoid hazadous substances. We are investigating the effect of chemotaxis at multiple scales (in micromodels, columns, sand boxes, and field sites), and developing models to better describing the transport of chemotactic bacteria.

Graduate student preparing bacteria cultures.

Growing bacteria is one of the most commonly performed activities in Ford Lab. We have experimental facilities for bacteria disinfection, storage, inoculation, incubation and numeration. Our "pets" include a variety of soil dwelling microorganisms and their genetically modified counterparts which yield better visualbility under microscopes, e.g. Escherichia coli with Green Fluorescent Protein.

3D-tracking microscope

3D-tracking microscope (top), and tracking result of a swimming bacteria (bottom)

Our lab has a series of microscopes which allows us to track the motility of microbial cells under different scenarios. The tracking microscope is unique to our lab and can follow the movement of bacteria in 3-dimensions. More advanced cellular imaging methods is available from the University of Virginia's Imaging Center. We also applied MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) techniques to study the 3D distribution and migration of contaminant plumes as well as bacteria.

If you are interested in our research, or looking forward to join our lab, please contact Roseanne for further information.


Updated: Oct 2006 T.L.



Research | Highlights | Personnel | Lab Tour | Publications | Presentations | Alumni | Resources

Department of Chemical Engineering
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA 22904