Engineering phytoecosystems for water quality and health

About us

Meet our students!

Our research group currently consists of three graduate students and a ever-changing number of undergraduate students! Read on for personal statements from each student…

Rebecca Bender, M.S. student

My name is Rebecca Bender and I am a second year graduate student from Escanaba, MI. My undergraduate degree was Civil Engineering from Michigan Technological University, where lay the foundation for the Biosystems Engineering that I study here at Michigan State.

P3 AdventuresThere are plenty of interesting things here at the meeting place of biology and engineering, but my research focuses on how stormwater management systems like bioretention and wetlands can be effective at removing diffuse pollutants. I have also been able to watch over a group of undergraduates in our lab studying the effect of fungal mycelium on stormwater treatment. My interests could lead me toward urban infrastructure, improved agricultural development, or even environmental restoration efforts. In any case, I hope to take with me the pragmatism of an engineer and the cooperative, life-cycle appreciation of an ecologist.

Projects: “Nutrient Removal Effects of Prolonged Saturation in Stormwater Management Systems”;
People, Prosperity, Planet phase I and II EPA grant “Combined Water-Wastewater-Energy Systems for Rural Costa Rica”;
“Performance Effects of Mycelium in Stormwater Management Systems”

Presentations: Environmental Science and Policy Program (October 2013), Graduate Research Symposium (March 2014), American Ecological Engineering Society (June 2014)


Name: Khang Huynh (Huỳnh Vĩnh Khang)

Hometown: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

o B.S (2002-2006): Nong Lam University Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Major: Biotechnology
o M.S (2009-2011): Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan.
Major: Environmental Studies
o PhD (2013-2018): Michigan State University, East Lansing, USA.
Major: Biosystems Engineering

Hobbies: reading and all sorts of outdoor activities

Research focus: Having been trained in plant biotechnology and environmental sciences, I am interested in studying the interaction of plants and pollutants in soil-water environment. My current research focus on uptake, accumulation and phytometabolism of antimicrobial agents in pharmaceuticals and personal care products, such as triclosan and triclocarban, by vegetable species. Human exposure to these emerging contaminants through consuming contaminated food crops is also of my research interest.

Year in program: second year

Career goal: university professor

Published articles:
Huynh Vinh Khang, Masayoshi Hatayama, Chihiro Inoue, 2012.  Arsenic accumulation by aquatic macrophyte coontail (Ceratophyllum demersum L.) exposed to arsenite, and the effect of iron on the uptake of arsenite and arsenate. Environmental and Experimental Botany 83, pp. 47-52. (PDF)

Conference presentations:
Khang Huynh, Emily Banach, Dawn Reinhold, 2015. Accumulation and metabolism of triclocarban by hydroponically grown pepper (Capsicum annuum). American Ecological Engineering Society Conference, Oklahoma, USA.

Khang Huynh, Girish Kasat, Dawn Reinhold, 2014. Uptake and evidence of phytometabolism of triclocarban by the Jalapeno pepper (Capsicum annuum). American Ecological Engineering Society Conference, South Carolina, USA.

Huynh Vinh Khang, Masayoshi Hatayama, Chihiro Inoue, 2011. Investigating the ability of coontail Ceratophyllum demersum for removing arsenic from arsenic-contaminated water. The 45th Annual Conference of Japan Society on Water Environment, Hokkaido, Japan.


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