Patricia J. S. Colberg is an environmental microbiologist by primary training.  She holds a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Stanford University where she worked with Lily Y. Young (now at Rutgers University).  Following her doctoral work, Colberg spent several years in Europe, first as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (EAWAG) working with Alexander J.B. Zehnder (Professor Emeritus at ETH-Zürich and currently Scientific Director of the Alberta Water Research Institute) and René P. Schwarzenbach (retired Professor at ETH-Zürich), and then as a Visiting Scientist at the Agricultural University in Wageningen, The Netherlands.

In 2009, after spending several years in the Department of Zoology and Physiology at the University of Wyoming, Colberg joined the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering where she holds the rank of tenured Professor. She is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Wyoming (License No. 14442). In August of 2015, she moved to the University of Idaho where she is Professor and Chair of the Department of Civil Engineering.

Colberg’s research interests include both basic and applied topics, but is largely focused on anaerobic processes:  anaerobic microbial transformations of organic contaminants in sediments and ground water; microbial immobilization of heavy metals; electron transport in metal-reducing bacteria; iron cycling in alpine lakes; fate and transport of manganese and nanoparticles during wastewater treatment; removal of TCE and nitrate by zero-valent iron; autotrophic nitrate reduction, fracking-induced contamination of groundwater. Colberg was trained as an ABET IDEAL Scholar in 2012 and became an ABET IDEAL Senior Scholar in 2013. In 2014, she was selected to serve as one of two “Assessment Scholars” for the University of Wyoming’s University Studies Program.

Colberg has received a number of awards including being named an “Education Fellow in the Life Sciences” by the National Academy of Sciences (2004).  She was named a “Top 15 Advisor” in 1998 and has received several additional citations for advising at the University of Wyoming (2003, 1998, 1997, 1996).  She was awarded the esteemed ‘Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching’ (1997) and a citation for ‘Extraordinary Merit in Teaching’ (1996).

In her free time, she likes to kayak, hike, ski, snowshoe, cycle, travel, hunt (mushrooms only) and cook (especially French, Middle Eastern and East Indian). She is married to a Swiss geochemist (Dr. Norbert Swoboda-Colberg) and has two children, Skye and Siena. Colberg is a dual citizen of Switzerland and the USA.

Patricia Colberg

Patricia Colberg
Patricia J. S. Colberg, Ph.D., P.E.
Professor and Chair
Department of Civil Engineering
University of Idaho
Moscow, ID 83844-1022
(208) 885-5041