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Postdoctoral positions in microbial engineering for the development of nature-inspired
infrastructure materials at Drexel University

The Sales Laboratory is seeking outstanding candidates for multiple open postdoctoral positions. Special consideration is taken for candidates with a multidisciplinary background, specifically in microbial sciences and nature-inspired materials engineering. Ideal candidates will have demonstrated expertise in applied microbiology and genetic engineering of bacteria and/or fungi. Focus is placed on candidates who have experience working in a fast-paced, interdisciplinary research group.

The successful candidates will work on engineering microbial systems for restoring aged and damaged concrete materials. Specifically, the candidates will contribute to the development of bacterial-fungal processes for vascularization, crack-healing, and corrosion mitigation strategies in concrete.

The candidates will work with the Sales Laboratory and in strong collaboration with other professors and research groups at Drexel University, including the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Sciences (CAEE), Material Sciences and Engineering (MSE), and Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics (MEM), as well as at other academic institutions and government agencies involved in the project. 


Required Qualifications:
• Ph.D. in Microbiology, Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering, Environmental Engineering, or
related field.
• Research experience in applied microbiology and/or genetic engineering of bacteria/fungi


How to apply:

If you are interested in this position and feel you meet the above requirements, please use this link to apply:

If you have any inquiries regarding this opportunity to Professor Christopher Sales at Recruitment will remain open until all positions are filled.

Professor Christopher Sales –
Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
Drexel University
3141 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19104

Picture: Drexel-LSAMP Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Sales was honored to be the STEM Faculty Spotlight for Drexel’s LSAMP event last night. He enjoyed meeting and interacting with so many young, bright, and diverse STEM students at Drexel. The event was organized by Marisol Rodriguez-Mergenthal (Director of LSAMP at Drexel) and was setup similar to “Inside the Actor’s Studio”, in which she asked Dr. Sales a number of questions on his journey as a STEM professor.

Dr. Sales wishes all of the students he met (most of whom are pictured above) great success at Drexel and beyond!


Sales Research Group receives grant from to study the Delaware River

Chris Sales, along with three other Drexel professors have received funding for 4 projects focused on studying the Delaware River and it’s watershed.

Christopher Sales, PhD, assistant professor in the College of Engineering, will get $60,000 for a two year effort to create a “library” of microbe genomes to potentially track the source of microbial contamination in rivers and other bodies of water

Click the link below to read the DrexelNOW article:

Delaware River Watershed Grants to Fund 4 Projects by Drexel Researchers

Paper Published: Price, Shieh, Sales 2015.

We have published a paper in The Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE) describing a novel reactor design called a high density bioreactor (HDBR) and it’s use for the cultivation of highly dense algal-bacterial communities. JoVE’s unique format combines traditional primary research manuscripts with video presentations to enhance the dissemination and adoption of new methods and technologies.





A novel reactor design, coined a high density bioreactor (HDBR), is presented for the cultivation and study of high density microbial communities. Past studies have evaluated the performance of the reactor for the removal of COD1 and nitrogen species2-4 by heterotrophic and chemoautotrophic bacteria, respectively. The HDBR design eliminates the requirement for external flocculation/sedimentation processes while still yielding effluent containing low suspended solids. In this study, the HDBR is applied as a photobioreactor (PBR) in order to characterize the nitrogen removal characteristics of an algae-based photosynthetic microbial community. As previously reported for this HDBR design, a stable biomass zone was established with a clear delineation between the biologically active portion of the reactor and the recycling reactor fluid, which resulted in a low suspended solid effluent. The algal community in the HDBR was observed to remove 18.4% of total nitrogen species in the influent. Varying NH4+ and NO3- concentrations in the feed did not have an effect on NH4+ removal (n=44, p=0.993 and n=44, p=0.610 respectively) while NH4+ feed concentration was found to be negatively related with NO3- removal (n=44, p=0.000) and NO3- feed concentration was found to be positively correlated with NO3- removal (n=44, p=0.000). Consistent removal of NH4+, combined with the accumulation of oxidized nitrogen species at high NH4+ fluxes indicates the presence of ammonia- and nitrite-oxidizing bacteria within the microbial community.


The paper can be accessed and downloaded here or from the publications page. The full journal article and video can also be accessed from JoVE’s website.

Read and listen to Algae could be an unlikely helper for cleaning wastewater, a segment on the radio program The Pulse.

View Cleaning Wastewater with Pond Scum in the Science and Technology Section of Drexel Now.

View Pond scum research is clearing the waters in The Triangle.

View Researchers turn to algae for waste treatment in Water Online.

Full Citation:

Price, J.R., Shieh, W.K., Sales, C.M. 2015. A novel bioreactor for high density cultivation of diverse microbial communities. J. Vis. Exp. (106), e53443, doi:10.3791/53443.


Paper Published: Nayak 2015

Congratulations to Shaila Nayak who recently published a paper about her work on UV induced photolysis of fructose in the Journal Chemosphere. Shaila graduated with a Masters in Food Science from Drexel University and is now working in the industry.

Full title:
Shaila Nayak, S., Muniz J., Sales C.M., Tikekar R.V. 2015. Fructose as a novel photosensitizer: Characterization of reactive oxygen species and an application in degradation of Diuron and Chlorpyrifos. Chemosphere 144:1690-1697.

The paper can be accessed and downloaded here.

Reminder: Dr. Sales Speaking at Happy Hour Seminar Series

Tonight, July 20, at 6pm, Dr. Sales will be presenting a talk for the Delaware River Watershed Initiative’s “Tapping Our Watershed” Happy Hour seminar series which is co-sponsored by The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.  Dr. Sales’ talk is titled “Might Environmental Microbes: Harnessing their Powers for Treatment of Human Waste and Remediation of Pollution,” and he will be speaking at the usual “Tapping Our Watershed” location: National Mechanics in Old City.  The address is 22 S. 3rd St.  The original event description is given below:

On Monday, July 20, Tapping Our Watershed presents “Mighty Environmental Microbes: Harnessing their Powers for Treatment of Human Waste and Remediation of Pollution.” with Christopher M. Sales, Assistant Professor, Drexel University.

Tapping Our Watershed is held on the third Monday of each month at 6 p.m. at National Mechanics in Philadelphia’s Old City.

Although small in size, microorganisms are mighty agents of change in the environment. Microbes in the environment, while naked to the invisible eye, exist nearly everywhere on Earth. They are major catalysts in environmental processes involved in global nitrogen, sulfur, and carbon cycles. They also possess the capability to remediate hazardous and toxic pollution, as well as treat and transform human waste into valued resources. This talk will highlight the important role that environmental microbes, such as bacteria, fungi, and algae, can have in restoring ecosystems, protecting the environment, and achieving sustainability.

Christopher M. Sales is a Tenure-Track Assistant Professor in the Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering Department of Drexel University. He is an environmental engineer with research interests in molecular environmental microbiology related to the biodegradation of environmental contaminants and biotechnologies for energy and resource recovery from waste. His research group applies a combination of high-throughput and advanced molecular biology, analytical chemistry, and bioinformatics techniques to study microbial systems in natural and engineered environments. Christopher received his BSE in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and BA in Environmental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Civil and environmental engineering from University of California.

The event is free and open to the public. More information can be found on our Meetup page. Food and drink will be available for purchase at the bar. All ages are welcome, but you must be 21 to drink.

We hope you can join us for a fun and informal evening of scientific discussion!

Held in a comfortable, happy-hour setting, Tapping Our Watershed invites you to sit back, relax, and raise a glass to water science! Sophisticated enough for the experienced scientist but formatted for the casual guest, this lecture series taps into watershed issues on a deeper level. Follow us on Twitter: @ANSStreamTeam.

Lab Group Summer BBQ

This past Wednesday, Dr. Sales invited the research group over to his Point Breeze residence for a small, summer get-together.  Despite a constant/impending threat of storms, the rain held off to give us all a great evening with great views!

I’d like to think that I speak for everyone who attended when I personally say thanks to Dr. Sales and his family!

From left to right: Sean-Erik O’Donnell, Dr. Christopher Sales, Saeed Keshani Langroodi, Shaila Nayak, and Jacob Price

Sales Lab CAEE Department Grad Student Award Winners

Academic Year 2014 – 2015 saw many great achievements and successes for the Sales Lab.  The College of Engineering’s Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering Department has recognized some of these in its end-of-year summary of Graduate student awards.

Ph. D. student Kaitie Sniffen was awarded the George Hill, Jr. Endowed Fellowship to help fund her work on algal biofuels and wastewater remediation.

Described in more detail in an earlier announcement, the Koerner Family Award was presented to Jake Price, another Ph. D. student researching waste treatment and resource recovery using algae.

Jake Price has also recently become the recipient of the Claudio Elia Memorial Fellowship for Academic Year 2015 – 2016.

UPDATE: A link is now included to an article on the CAEE website detailing Jake’s award of the Claudio Elia Memorial Fellowship.

A summary of the CAEE Department Awards and winners can be found at this link:

Congratulations to Kaitie and Jake on their past, current, and future successes!