Research Interests

Our department's research focus areas and strengths include:

  • Biofilms
  • Biofuels, Biomass Conversion
  • Materials: Corrosion, Composites, Fuel Cells
  • Biomedical Diagnostics

For more details, check out this listing of faculty research interests. Faculty profiles include lists of recent publications.

Ryan Anderson
Transport phenomena, Clean energy systems, PEM fuel cells, Energy storage and conversion

Jennifer Brown

Ross Carlson

Connie Chang
Drop-base microfluidics, Biofilms, Single-cell genomics

Christine Foreman
Carbon flux through bacterial communities, Biofilms

Paul Gannon
High-temperature corrosion, Advanced materials, Education

Robin Gerlach
Biotechnology, Environmental Engineering, Bioremediation, Energy, Bioenergy, Algal Biofuels, Microbially Enhanced Coal Bed Methane Production, Carbon Sequestration, Urinary Tract Stones, Kidney Stones

Jeff Heys
Computational fluid dynamics, biotransport, computer modelling, biofilms

David Hodge

Karlene Hoo
Biosensors, Materials engineering,Sustainable energy systems,Dynamical systems,Multivariate statistics,Uncertainty analysis

Kelly Kirker
Medical biofilms, Chronic wounds, Biomaterials

Ron Larson

Stephanie McCalla
Microfluidics, disease diagnostics, RNA/DNA/protein separation, detection, and quantification, mass transport in living systems

Joseph Menicucci
Engineering pedgagogy

Kathryn Morrissey

Brent Peyton
Fundamental and applied research in the areas of biofilms, biofuels, extremophilic (thermophiles) bioprocessing, and in situ biocatalyzed heavy metal transformations.

Abbie Richards

Joseph Seymour

Phil Stewart

Stephanie Wettstein
Catalysis and separations

Jim Wilking
Complex fluids, physical and material properties of microbial biofilms, biophysics, colloidal and nanomaterials synthesis with specific applications in pharmaceutical formulations, mechanics of soft materials, microfluidics, developmental biology, biomaterials, emulsions, colloids, small angle neutron scattering, imaging and microscopy, optical trapping

Research Entities

These entities are listed because of their strong affiliation with our department, but our research is interdiscplinary and often involves other research entities in the college as well as other user facilities at MSU.


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The Center for Biofilm Engineering has been a world leader in microbial biofilm research since it was established at MSU in 1990. CBE's multidisciplinary research teams develop beneficial uses for biofilms and find solutions to industrially relevant biofilm problems, with applications in medicine, food safety, energy and much more.

Two WTI researchers looking at a design plan for a wildlife crossing structure
The Western Transportation Institute is an interdisciplinary center that is a national leader in rural transportation research. Founded in 1994 and designated in 1998 as a U.S. Department of Transportation University Transportation Center, WTI houses eight research centers related to road ecology, infrastructure sustainability and more.
Student using pole to sample water from water body in Yellowstone Park, mountains in background
The Thermal Biology Institute conducts and promotes research and education focused on the biology and interrelated physical and chemical processes of geothermal environments in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Research Opportunities

It is our intention to support all qualified doctoral students with either RA or TA positions (subject to availability of funding).

  • Available to undergraduates at MSU and other schools.
  • Students gain hands-on research experience working with a faculty adviser.
  • Provides residence hall lodging, reimbursement for travel to/from Bozeman, and $5,000 stipend.
  • Runs June through August.
  • Application deadline is generally in February.

Doing research is a great way to learn about a topic and gain valuable experience that can aid in applying to graduate programs or future employment.

Undergraduates interested in gaining research experience should contact faculty members directly based on their area of interest.

If you are a prospective graduate student, we invite you to learn about our graduate programs!

The engineering college's research resources webpage also provides an overview of research opportunities for faculty and students.

More Research News