Donna Fennell


Environmental Engineering

Office:ENR 231
Website: Fennell Laboratory


PhD, 1998, Civil and Environmental Engineering Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

MS, 1988, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY                 

BS, 1985, Agricultural Engineering, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR



2016, 2017     Professor of the Year, Bioenvironmental Engineering, Engineering Governing Council, School of Engineering, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

2011-2012     Fellowship, Wageningen Institute for Environment and Climate Research, in conjunction with Professor Hauke Smidt of Wageningen University and Research Center

2009               Excellence in Review Award, Environmental Science and Technology

2009               Rutgers University, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Excellence in Teaching Award.

2006               Best Paper Award, American Society for Engineering Education, Environmental Engineering Division.  Jones, S., Bhandari, A., Clapp, L., Fennell, D., LaPara, T. and Tull, K. Diversity in environmental engineering: The good and bad. In Proceedings of the Annual Conference for the American Society of Engineering Education, Chicago, IL, June 2006.

1996-1997     American Association of University Women (AAUW) Educational Foundation Engineering Dissertation Fellowship

1995               The Alice H. Cook and Constance E. Cook Award, Cornell University, 1995.  “In recognition of efforts on behalf of women at Cornell and beyond.”

1985               Outstanding Senior, Department of Agricultural Engineering, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR

1984               Tau Beta Pi, The Engineering Honor Society

Professional Affiliations

American Association for Aerosol Research

Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors

American Chemical Society

American Geophysical Union

American Society for Microbiology

Theobald Smith Society, New Jersey Chapter of the American Society for Microbiology

Research Interests

Microbial processes in natural and engineered systems, bioremediation, microbial activity in the atmosphere, anaerobic digestion of wastes.

Selected Publications

Krumins, V.; Sun, W.; Guo, J.; Capozzi, S.; Fennell, D.E.; and Rodenburg, L.A. 2018. Sewer sediment bacterial communities suggest potential to transform persistent organic pollutants. Water Environment Research90(12), 2022-2029.

Zhong, Y.; Wang, H.; Yu, Z.; Geng, X.; Chen, C.; Li, D.; Zhu, X.; Zhen, H.; Huang, W.; Fennell, D.E.; and Young, L. 2018. Diastereoisomer-specific biotransformation of hexabromocyclododecanes by a mixed culture containing Dehalococcoides mccartyi strain 195. Frontiers in Microbiology9, 1713.

Capozzi, S.L.; Rodenburg, L.A.; Krumins, V.; Fennell, D.E.; and Mack, E.E. 2018. Using positive matrix factorization to investigate microbial dehalogenation of chlorinated benzenes in groundwater at a historically contaminated site.  Chemosphere, 211, 515-523.

Rodenburg, L.A.; Dewani, Y.; Häggblom, M.M.; Kerkhof, L.J.; and Fennell, D.E. 2017. Forensic analysis of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxin and furan fingerprints to elucidate dechlorination pathways. Environmental Science & Technology51(18), 10485-10493.

Luther, A.K.; Desloover, J.; Fennell, D.E.; and Rabaey, K. 2015. Electrochemically driven extraction and recovery of ammonia from human urine.  Water Research, 87, 367–377.

Zhen, H.; Krumins, V.; Fennell, D.E.; and Mainelis G. 2015. Development of a dual-internal-reference technique to improve accuracy when determining bacterial 16S rRNA:16S rRNA gene ratio with application to Escherichia coli liquid and aerosol samples. Journal of Microbiological Methods, 117, 113-121.

Sun, W.; Li, Y.; McGuinness, L.; Luo, S.; Huang, W.; Kerkhof, L.; Mack, E.E.; Häggblom, M.M.; and Fennell, D.E. 2015. Identification of anaerobic aniline-degrading bacteria at a contaminated industrial site. Environmental Science and Technology, 49, 11079–11088.

Krumins, V.; Mainelis G., Kerkhof, L.J.; and Fennell, D.E. 2014. Substrate-dependent rRNA production in an airborne bacterium. Environmental Science and Technology Letters, 9, 376-381.

Zhen, H.; Du, S.; Rodenburg, L.A.; Mainelis, G.; and Fennell, D.E. 2014. Reductive dechlorination of 1,2,3,7,8-pentachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin and Aroclor 1260, 1254 and 1242 by a mixed culture containing Dehalococcoides mccartyi strain 195. Water Research, 52, 51-62.

Babson, D., Bellman K.; Prakash, S.; Fennell, D.E2013.  Anaerobic digestion for methane generation and ammonia reforming for hydrogen production: A thermodynamic energy balance of a model system to demonstrate net energy feasibility. Biomass and Bioenergy, 56, 493-505.