Dr. Claudia Gunsch began her academic career at Purdue University where she earned her B.S. in Civil Engineering in 1998. She then matriculated to Clemson University where she earned her M.S. in 2000 and immediately entered the doctoral program at the University of Texas at Austin.
Gunsch comes to Duke with a wide range of research experiences in microbial engineering systems. Gunsch's research has primarily focused on pollutant degradation as applied to groundwater and air pollution treatment. During the early stages of her graduate studies, her work focused on chlorinated compound degradation by bacteria in groundwater. During her doctoral work, she investigated the fungal degradation of aromatic compounds in biofiltration. As part of her innovative research, she incorporates quantitative molecular biological techniques into her research to link macroscale vapor-phase bioreactor performance to phenomena occurring at the microscale in the biofilm.
At Duke, Gunsch plans to continue her research with projects that further link biotechnology to environmental engineering applications. Some of the projects which she is incorporating into her research program include: 1) identifying genetic adaptation mechanisms resulting from anthropogenic contaminant exposure, 2) developing biosensors capable of pathogen and contaminant detection in water and air, 3) studying the impact of emerging contaminants on aquatic microbial ecology and 4) the development of novel techniques for controlling pathogen proliferation. In addition to her research interests, she teaches basic and advanced classes in environmental engineering such as such as environmental molecular biotechnology, environmental microbiology and biological processes in environmental engineering.