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Research

Dr. Colberg’s research interests include both basic and applied topics, but is largely focused on anaerobic processes: microbial transformations of organic contaminants in soils, sediments and ground water; microbial immobilization of heavy metals; electron transport in metal-reducing bacteria; iron cycling in cold alpine lakes; impact of carbon sequestration on subsurface microbial processes; fate and transport of nanoparticles in environmental systems; reversal of passivation of Fe° permeable reactive barriers.

Funded Projects as Principal Investigator

  • 2012-14:  In Situ Strategies to Depassivate Zero-Valent Iron Using Electrically-Induced Reduction. Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality.
  • 2009:  Electrically Induced TCE Remediation and Zero Valent Iron Rejuvenation.  MWH Americas, Inc.
  • 2008-09: Treatability Study for Selenium and Hydrocarbon Removal from Produced Water.  MWH Americas, Inc.
  • 2002: Biogeochemical Iron Cycling in Cold Alpine Lakes: Linking Photochemical Reactions with Microbial Processes, Faculty Grant-in-Aid, Office of Research, University of Wyoming.
  • 2000-03: Developing Conceptual and Mathematical Approaches to Model Transport and Transformation of Elements through a Geothermal Landscape, Biocomplexity Incubator Program, National Science Foundation.
  • 1994-95: Laramie Third Street Subsurface Remediation Project, TriHydro Corporation and Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality.
  • 1992-95: Microbial Transformations of Coal Tar Constituents in the Subsurface and Near Surface Formations of the Spring Gardens Site Under Low Redox Conditions, Baltimore Gas and Electric Company.
  • 1990-93: Microbial Transformations of Herbicides Known to Contaminate Ground Water in Wyoming:  Degradation of Dicamba and Picloram Under Various Redox Conditions, Wyoming Water Research Center.
  • 1989-92: Degradation of Hazardous Organic Chemicals Under Sulfate-Reducing Conditions, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Funded Projects as Co-Principal Investigator

  • 2012-14: Laboratory Study Evaluating the Energy Value of Coal Following Microbial Conversion. PI: M. Urynowicz. Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality.
  • 2010-13: Acquisition of a Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope (FESEM) at the University of Wyoming.  PIs:  Parkinson (CHEM) and Swapp (GEOL). National Science Foundation.
  • 2009-11: Characterization and Bioremediation of Dissolved Organic Matter in Wyoming Oilfield Waters.  PI:  L.Goual (CHE). UW School of Energy Resources.
  • 2007-09: Energy Nanoscience:  Solar Cells, Fuel Cells, and Energy Storage. Co-PIs:  Eggleston and Swapp (GEOL); Sullivan, Dutta, and Buttry (CHEM): Johnson and Ackerman (CHE); and Jin (WRI). UW School of Energy Resources.
  • 2006-10: Redox Interaction of Cytochromes and Bacteria with Oxide Surfaces:  Probing Redox-Linked Conformation Change.  PI:  Eggleston (GEOL).  Co-PI: Magnuson (Idaho State University). Geosciences Program, Department of Energy Office of Basic Energy Sciences.
  • 2004-09: Redox Metalloproteins and Conformational Gating in Electron Transport to Ferric Minerals. Co-PI:  Eggleston (GEOL).  NSF Division of Ocean Sciences/Directorate for Geosciences.
  • 1997-98: Microbiological and Geochemical Characterization of a Horizontal Well Developed to Remediate Ground Water. Co-PI:  Swoboda-Colberg (ZooPhys).  Weston Engineering, Inc..
  • 1996-98: The Use of Stable Isotopes to Investigate Hydrocarbon-Contaminated Soils and Groundwaters.  Co-PIs:  Poulson (Geol), Drever (Geol), and Kelly (Colorado State Univ). National Science Foundation (Environmental Geochemistry and Biogeochemistry).
  • 1995-99:  Biogeochemistry of Trace Elements in Aquatic Ecosystems: New Perspectives. Co-PIs:  Sullivan (Chemistry) and Buttry (Chemistry). Co-Investigators: Meyer (ZooPhys), Bohle (Chemistry), Drever (Geology), Swoboda-Colberg (ZooPhys) and Eggleston (Geology).  National Science Foundation EPSCoR Program.
  • 1996-98:  The Impact of Riparian Vegetation Filters on Western Soil and Water Quality:  Nonpoint Source Pollutants from Range and Croplands.  Co-PIs:  Powell (Range), Parker (ZooPhys), and Hiller (WY Coop Ext Serv). USDA/EPA/ACE.
  • 1995-98: Development of Geomicrobial Processes for Remediation of Metal/Organic Contamination in Soils, Sediments and Ground Water. Co-PI:  Drever (Geology), EPA EPSCoR Program.
  • 1995-96: Evaluation of the Performance, Potential Loading Rates and Mechanisms of Removal of Petroleum Hydrocarbons and Antifreeze in Land Farming Plots at Jacobs Ranch Mine, Wyoming.  Co-PI:  Meyer (ZooPhys), Kerr McGee Corporation.
  • 1995-96: The Environmental Chemistry of Hydrazines. Co-PI:  Sullivan (Chemistry).  Applied Research Associates.
  • 1994-96: Photochemical and Microbial Reactivity of Quadracyclane, Dinitramides and Perfluoropolyethers.  Co-PIs:  Sullivan (Chem) and Buttry (Chem), U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research.
  • 1994-97: Evaluation of the Performance, Potential Loading Rates and Mechanisms of Removal of Petroleum Hydrocarbons and Antifreeze in Land Farming Plots at Jacobs Ranch Mine, Wyoming.  Co-PI:  Meyer (ZooPhys), University of Wyoming Office of Research.
  • 1992-95:  Research Cluster on Groundwater Contamination: Detection, Prediction, and Remediation.  Co-PIs:  Allen (Math), Borgman (Geophysics), Buttry and Carron (Chem), Drever (Geol), Gloss (Water Center) and Vance (Soils), National Science Foundation EPSCoR Program.
  • 1992-94:  Constructed Vertical Flow Wetlands: Removal of Heavy Metals by Geomicrobial Processes”.  PI: Smith (Civil Engineering), U.S. Department of the Interior.

Student Proposals Funded

  • Graduate students:
  • Borman, C. J., P. J. S. Colberg, and B. P. Sullivan. 2003.  Biogeochemical Cycling of Iron and Manganese in Thermoacidic Aquatic Environments: A Link to the Prehistory of Microbial Evolution. Graduate Research Fellowship, NASA Wyoming Space Grant Consortium.
  • Undergraduate students
  • Denke, L., and P. J. S. Colberg. 2013. Baseline Data Consolidation and Analysis: Pavillion, WY Area Groundwater. Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship, Wyoming NSF/EPSCoR.
  • Reynolds, E., and P. J. S. Colberg.  2005.  Light-Induced Oxidation and Reduction of Iron:  The Remnants of an Iron Cycle on Earth and Mars? Undergraduate Research Fellowship, NASA Wyoming Space Grant Consortium.
  • Tretter, E. D., and P. J. S. Colberg.  2004.  Bacterial Fe(II) Oxidation in Alpine Lake Sediments:  A Window to Earth’s Microbial Past? Undergraduate Research Fellowship, NASA Wyoming Space Grant Consortium.
  • Clark, T. D., and P. J. S. Colberg.  2003.  Bacterial Fe(II) Oxidation in Alpine Lake Sediments: A Window to Earth’s Microbial Past? Undergraduate Research Fellowship, NASA Wyoming Space Grant Consortium.  Project funded but declined by student.
  • Stanchak, M. B., and P. J. S. Colberg.  2003.  Bacterial Fe(III) Reduction in Alpine Lake Sediments: A Window to Earth’s Microbial Past? Undergraduate Research Fellowship, NASA Wyoming Space Grant Consortium.
  • Stanchak, M. B., and P. J. S. Colberg. 2002.  Iron-Rich, Alpine Lake Sediments and Their Bacterial Residents:  A Window to Earth’s Microbial Past? Undergraduate Research Fellowship, NASA Wyoming Space Grant Consortium.