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Carnegie Science Center Podcast

Cafe Sci: Harnessing Electricity from Biofilms to Create Sustainable technologies


Dr. David Sanchez

Assistent Professor, University of Pittsburgh

Biofilms play a central role in the ecosystem’s ability to sustain life and provide goods and services for economic development. In the biosphere they support key biochemical transformations that clean water, provide fertilizer and allow you to digest your food. What else can they do? Are engineers able to electrically harness the talents of the “best chemists in the world”? Join a discussion with Dr. Sanchez on how engineers are reconceptualizing the role of biofilms in creating innovative sustainable technologies.

Dr. Sanchez is an Assistant Professor Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering and the Assistant Director for the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation at the University of Pittsburgh. His research is focused on fusing sustainability principles and design thinking to address our Water and Energy grand challenges for both natural systems and the built environment. Current projects include engineering biofilm-electrodes, designing hydroponic systems for phytoremediation, improving electrocatalytic water disinfection technologies for aquaculture, and creating real-time environmental quality sensor platforms. Engineering education research also plays a major role in his work as his team looks at creating innovative K-12 engineering programs, infusing Sustainable Design into engineering curricula, and evaluating the role of extra-curricular innovation/entrepreneurship landscape in student formation. He serves as the Faculty Director for the Design EXPO, the Innovation/Entrepreneurship Bootcamp and the university-wide Sustainability Certificate.

Recorded Monday, March 13, 2017 at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA.