The following post was contributed by Joel Ambasna and Harriet Vann.
Through the Nuffield Foundation, we took part in a four-week summer research placement in the Chemical Engineering Department and the Water Innovation and Research Centre (WIRC) at the University of Bath. We joined the group of Dr Ana Lanham and were tasked with investigating the microbial populations of different wastewater treatment systems. Harriet looked into activated sludge systems and Joel into biological phosphorus removal systems. Both of these systems use microbial populations to do the work of “cleaning” the wastewater and we wanted to see what these microbial populations looked like and how different they were from one another. Minh (Nguyen, ChemEng/WIRC) and Megan (Stalker, CSCT), two of Ana’s students, threw us in at the deep end with some bulky books to read of which we initially understood nothing, but with their help we began to grasp the main ideas. (more…)