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Conference Representation

This month, PhD students Harmita Golwala and Mikey Saldana had the opportunity to present their respective research at the Microbes in Wastewater: Molecular Approaches in Pathogen & AMR Surveillance conference, held in Laguna Beach, CA. Mikey's research entails wastewater surveillance and epidemiology, while Harmita focuses on antibiotic resistance in biological communities. Congratulations to both on your successful poster presentations!

January 2024
The Smith Research Group extends a warm welcome to Junseok Lee, our new postdoctoral scholar!
January 2024
Dr. Smith recognized as AAEES 40 Under 40!

Congratulations to Smith Research Group PI, Dr. Adam Smith, for being chosen for the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists 40 Under 40 Recognition Program! The AAEES 40 under 40 Recognition Program was introduced to recognize talented individuals who have been responsible for helping to advance the fields of Environmental Science or Environmental Engineering in a demonstrable way within the last 12 months. Congratulations, Dr. Smith!

December 2023

Hiring Announcement: CLOSED

The Smith Research Group is currently hiring for three different Postdoctoral Scholar positions, with emphasis on bioinformatics, biotechnology, and molecular chemistry, respectively. For full descriptions to see which position is the best fit for your qualifications, please follow the links below, or visit the Prospective Scholars page. For those interested in applying, please follow the application guidelines provided.

Christelle Awarded EREF Scholarship

Congratulations to PhD student Christelle Bou Nehme Sawaya for being selected as a recipient of the Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF) Scholarship Award! The Foundation received applications from many highly qualified candidates this year, and we are so proud of Christelle (yet not at all surprised) for being the chosen recipient. Congratulations!

September 2023
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

ReWater Center will Revolutionize Resource Recovery

Check out the following article published on the newly established ReWater Center, describing how the Smith Research Group and other labs within USC's Environmental Engineering program are leading research efforts on water reuse.

August 2023
Dr. Adam Smith named new ENE Program Director​

Congratulations to Dr. Adam Smith for being named the new director of USC's Environmental Engineering Program within USC Viterbi's Sonny Astani Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering! We are extremely proud of this accomplishment, and can't wait to see how Dr. Smith expands the program!

July 2023
USC's Env. Engineering Water Labs receive $4.3million award from U.S. Army Corps as a part of $12.3 million cooperative agreement 

The Smith Research Group is excited to a part of the new USC ReWater Center (the Water Reuse and Resource Recovery Center) supported by the U.S. Army ERDC-CERL. The center will be dedicated to achieving constituent removals necessary to meet potable reuse regulations, recovering resources from wastewater and residual streams, and reducing energy requirements for sustainable wastewater reclamation. This center is just one part of the newly announced Water Reuse Consortium, in which USC Viterbi's Environmental Engineering Water Labs play a vital role:


"A novel collaboration among the University of Southern California (USC), the University of Arizona (UA), and the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), has resulted in the Water Reuse Consortium. This groundbreaking partnership has been awarded a $12.3 million cooperative agreement for phase one of a three-phase $38 million program with ERDC-CERL to tackle pressing water challenges through innovative research, education, communication, and unprecedented collaborative efforts between government, local communities, industry, and academia."


See the full article below, or visit USC's announcement to learn more about this incredible collaboration and the specifics regarding upcoming research within the Childress, McCurry, Simpson, and Smith Research Groups at USC Viterbi. For upcoming updates regarding this newly established Water Reuse Consortium, check out its official website here.

June 2023
Dr. Smith a recipient of USC's 2023 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 CA's drinking water. Congratulations!


For the full announcement at to see all 2023 awardees, see full article below (or use link).

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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Phil's Hooding Ceremony
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In Depth: Wastewater & Disease

This April, Dr. Smith was interviewed by LA FOX11's Hal Eisner, discussing the various ways in which our lab's research uses wastewater sampling and treatment as a service to public health. This includes techniques used by our lab's wastewater surveillance team, how testing works and why it's important, as well as antibiotic resistant genes and their impacts. For more information, see LA FOX11's article here.

April 2023
Smith Lab Research Featured by the Los Angeles Times 

Dr. Smith was interviewed 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
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​
Smith Research Group Represented at the 2022 Viterbi Awards Ceremony

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 article here

May 2022​
Smith Research Group shines in the classroom, not only the lab

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
USC Wastewater Surveillance Team 

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 provided (or visit the website).

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 -- check out the article to the left to learn more!

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 to the full publication 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 to publication 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
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
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



Conference Announcement

It has just been announced that Dr. Smith is the co-chair of the upcoming Anaerobic Digestion AD17 conference with Dr. Lutgarde Raskin (University of Michigan). Congratulations to both on the acceptance of their bid, and we can't wait to see everyone in 2022 at AD17!


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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