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Dr. Smith receives 2023 USC Research and Innovation President's Sustainability Initiative Award
In collaboration with USC Keck School of Medicine, the Smith Research Group is working to find out how exposure to PFAS can affect public health and the environment. This month, Dr. Smith was awarded funding from the USC Research and Innovation (R&I) President’s Sustainability Initiative Award (PSIA) program to study PFAS exposure in Southern California's drinking water. Congratulations!
May 2023

Dodging the Lab
To celebrate the end of yet another successful academic year, we enjoyed a night out of the lab cheering on the LA Dodgers. Here's to a great summer ✌🏼
May 2023

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Congratulations Graduates!
This year, our lab had the pleasure of celebrating the graduation ceremonies of four members of the Smith Research Group. On May 10th, the lab cheered on recent graduate, Dr. Phillip Wang, as he participated in the USC Viterbi Ph.D. hooding ceremony. A few days later, Raven Althouse, Connor Sauceda, and Bhavik Shah walked across the graduation stage, as they completed their Master's Degrees in Environmental Engineering. Congratulations to all!
May 2023

Phil's Hooding Ceremony
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Smith Lab Research Featured by the Los Angeles Times
Dr. Smith was featured in a recent Los Angeles Times article, "Discovery of antibiotic-resistant superbugs in L.A. wastewater sparks worry" in which he discussed the lab's ongoing research regarding ARGs and biotreatment systems. Check out the full article here.
April 2023
Hiring Announcement

Microbial Ecology of Greenhouse Gas Consumers

Job Type: Post-Doc

Job Rank: Postdoctoral Scholar

Job Institution: University of Southern California, Viterbi School of Engineering


Job Description

The Smith Research Group at the University of Southern California is recruiting a postdoctoral scholar focused on investigating greenhouse gas consumption by bacteria and archaea. The research will involve designing and operating bench-scale bioreactors for enrichment and culturing of isolated microorganisms from mixed communities. Characterization will involve analytical chemistry, molecular biology, and bioinformatics. The research project is a collaboration with Profs. Jan Amend and Cameron Trash in Biological Sciences at USC Dornsife.

Qualifications for the positions include:
• A Ph.D. in environmental engineering or a related discipline
• Experience constructing and operating bench-scale bioreactors
• Comprehensive understanding of microbial metabolisms related to methane and nitrous oxide
• Experience culturing microorganisms in aerobic and anaerobic environments
• Experience with molecular biology tools (e.g., nucleic acid extraction, qPCR, amplicon sequencing, metagenomics) and associated bioinformatics tools
• Excellent written and oral communication skills

The position is available immediately and is funded for up to 36 months. To apply, please send an email with a cover letter and your CV to Dr. Adam Smith ( We strongly encourage applications from AHN candidates.

The USC Viterbi School of Engineering is committed to enabling the success of dual career families and fosters a family-friendly environment. USC is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, protected veteran status, disability, or any other characteristic protected by law or USC policy. USC will consider for employment all qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the requirements of the Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring ordinance.
February 2023

USC Dornsife Microbial Greenhouse Gas Consumption Research Center founded
In collaboration with Dornsife PI's Cameron Thrash and Jan Amend, Dr. Smith will be leading research at USC's new Microbial Greenhouse Gas Consumption Research Center. As the article explains, "scientists at this new center will identify and grow new microbes capable of converting greenhouse gases into innocuous waste products". Click here to learn more about this newly funded project.
October 2022
Part of a winning team!
PhD students Raven, Harmita, and Michael participated in a collaborative workshop hosted by the inaugural Astani Research Symposium this month. Working with a team of students from various environmental and civil engineering specializations, they collaborated in proposing an interdisciplinary solution to engineering issues in the LA area. Eight different teams presented their proposals to a panel of judges, and Raven, Harmita and Michael's team tied for first place. Congratulations!
September 2022
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Congratulations to Phil for a successful defense of his dissertation Wastewater-based epidemiology for emerging biological concerns! We had a great time celebrating you, and can't wait to see all that you accomplish next. 
September 2022
A big welcome to Michael Saldana and Christelle Sawaya who have joined the lab as Ph.D. students this semester!
August 2022
Christelle Sawaya
2022 SHINE Recap
The SHINE program ends with successful poster and oral presentations by high school students Ana Baena, Gizel Lee Morales, Terrence Matthews II, and Kevin Zaldana who joined the lab this summer. Well done everyone!
July 2022
Wrapping up the 17th World Congress on Anaerobic Digestion, Ann Arbor Michigan
Congratulations to Dr. Smith for the success of AD17! The conference was co-chaired by Lutgarde Raskin (University of Michigan) and Adam L. Smith (University of Southern California), with both labs heavily involved. Ph.D. students Phillip Wang, Bianca Costa, Connor Sauceda, and Harmita Golwala had the privilege of presenting their research while in attendance, while Raven Althouse served as the conference's Communication Chair. 
June 2022
Research Group Represented at Viterbi Awards
Congratulations to Ph.D. student Raven Althouse on receiving USC Viterbi's Jenny Wang Excellence in Teaching Award! To read more about the award and others received that night, see artilcl here. 
May 2022
Congratulations to Raven on receiving the Outstanding TA Award for the Sonny Astani Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering!
To learn more about this award and other awards received that day, see article here. 
October 2021
Welcome Harmita Golwala, our new Ph.D. student!
August 2021
2021 SHINE Recap
This year's SHINE program ends with successful poster presentations by high school students Roberto Camacho, Miriam Garcia, and Chiara Nandapurkar. This summer, they joined our lab to work on analyzing antibiotic resistant genes in microbial communities. Well done everyone!
July 2021

Learn about the wastewater surveillance research of SARS-COV-2 and how it helps to the USC campus with case management.
Link here.
May 2021
Viterbi News Debut
Smith Research Group's Master's research assistant, Harmita Golwala, is featured by Viterbi News. Learn more about her experience at USC and the impact microplastics research had in her career by reading the article here
May 2021
Congratulations to Ph.D. student Connor Sauceda on receiving the NSF GRFP!
April 2021
Tackling the fight against antibiotic resistance from different angles
Dr. Smith gets featured in a USC experts article that tackles the fight against antibiotic resistance from different angles. Read more on the insight provided by Dr. Smith on ARGs in Wastewater here.
February 2021
Research shows sewers could be key to identifying COVID-19 outbreaks.
Exciting updates on the research performed by our lab team on wastewater surveillance gets featured on the news, for more information follow the link here.
December 2020

Ali's on a roll!
Congratulations to Ali for being the chosen recipient of the USC Viterbi Best Ph.D. Research Assistant Award and for his newest publication: a review paper on the role of intracellular vs extracellular antibiotic resistance genes in the environment 
Link here.

October 2020



Publication announcement!
Ali's paper "Membrane Fouling Inversely Impacts Intracellular and Extracellular Antibiotic Resistance Gene Abundances in the Effluent of an Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactor" has been published in Environmental Science and Technology. Link here.

September 2020

Big welcome to Connor Sauceda and Raven Althouse who joined our group as Ph.D. students this month!

August 2020



Could sewers be key to detecting COVID-19 outbreaks?
The wastewater based epidemiology study gets featured in NBC Los Angeles News. To see the full report follow the link here.
August 2020

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The wastewater based epidemiology research gets featured in KCRW radio. 
To listen to the interview to Dr. Smith on the ongoing advancements and opportunities click here
July 2020

2020 SHINE Recap
This summer's SHINE program ends with successful poster and online presentations by Nico Luo and Joseph Chen, the High School students that joined the lab remotely this summer.
July 2020

Celebrating Lab Accomplishments
Congratulations to Chen for their newly accepted Ph.D. Research Assistantship at the University of Iowa and to Qin Dong on receiving the department's MS research award!
May 2020

NSF RAPID Funding Awarded to Smith Research Group
The NSF RAPID Fund has awarded the Smith Research Group and collaborators at universities in Texas, North Carolina and Washington DC to begin their proposed wastewater based epidemiology study.
May 2020

Post Doc to Professor
Congratulations to Syeed for securing a position at North Dakota State University as an incoming Assistant Professor!
May 2020

Standout Dissertation
Congratulations to Ph.D. Candidate Yamrot for being a finalist in USC Viterbi's 2020 PhD Best Dissertation Virtual Symposium.
April 2020

Congratulations to Dr. Smith for being awarded tenure and promoted to Associate Professor!
April 2020

Congratulations to Ph.D. student Bianca Costa for being awarded the NSF GRFP 2020 Fellowship and receiving an Honorable Mention in the FORD Foundation 2020 fellowship!
March 2020
Check out this interview with high school student researcher, Sarah, who joined our lab through SHINE this past summer. More information about the program can be found here.
November 2019
Funding Announcement
In collaboration with USC Dornsife Department of Environmental Microbiology's Dr. Cameron Thrash and Dr. Jan Amend, Dr. Smith was awarded USC Provost's New Directions for Research and Scholarship Award to fund their proposed project "Isolating Microbial Dark Matter to Breathe Greenhouse Gases."

September 2019

Growing Group
This month, the Smith Research Group welcomed Bianca Costa as a Ph.D. student and Syeed Md Iskander as a Post Doctoral Research Scholar.

August 2019

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Stand Out Publication!
Congratulations to Siming for his 2018 paper "Methane-driven microbial fuel cells recover energy and mitigate dissolved methane emissions from anaerobic effluents" being named one of the best papers for 2018 in ESWRT.

March 2019

Brand New Lab Space
Students in Dr. Smith's undergraduate course Introduction to Microbiology in Environmental Engineering  are now able to use our department's brand-new lab space for microbial analysis. Read more about this fantastic learning space here.

December 2018

NSF proposal to study the effect of material properties and scaling on wetting of membranes used in membrane distillation awarded with Dr. Amy Childress.
For more information click here.

June 2018



Just announced: Dr. Smith is co-charing the upcoming Anaerobic Digestion AD17 conference with Dr. Lutgarde Raskin!


Interview Announcement
Dr. Smith was recently featured in the Environmental Science: Water Research and Technology Blog as part of their Emerging Investigator Series. Check out his Q&A here.

November 2018



Congrats to Siming and Moustapha for publishing their latest research! Their paper, "Emerging investigators series: revisiting greenhouse gas mitigation from conventional activated sludge and anaerobic-based wastewater treatment systems ," was published in Environmental Science: Water Research and Technology and can be found here.

October 2018

Checkout Tranice's article in Viterbi News discussing her recent NSF Fellowship and research!
Find the article here.

October 2018



Congrats to Stephanie for publishing her first paper while at USC!
Her paper, "Optimizing electrospinning parameters for piezoelectric PVDF nanofiber membranes," was published in Journal of Membrane Science and can be found here.

July 2018

Congrats to Stephanie Gee and Tranice' Warner for receiving NSF Graduate Research Fellowships this year!
Viterbi had four fellowship recipients this year and we are ecstatic that two came from our research group!

April 2018



For older news, please visit our news archive.
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