Siavash Atashgahi

Name & affiliation
Siavash Atashgahi, Molecular Ecology, Laboratory of Microbiology, Wageningen University

Postdoctoral fellow

2004, BS Microbiology, University of Isfahan, Iran
2006, MS Microbiology, University of Ahvaz, Iran
2013, PhD Bioscience engineering, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium

My research focus is on biodegradation and microbial ecology of organic pollutants and in particular halogenated organic compounds in contaminated aquifers, sediments, soil, drinking water and aquaculture systems. I try to understand the structure and function of the microbial communities that mediate biodegradation and detoxification of organic pollutants. The main focus is to develop new microbial ecological theories that link the microbial community structure to functionality with the aim of optimizing and steering microbial communities towards desired activity such as innovative bioremediation solutions. My work is in collaboration with different institutes and researchers as happens in complex natural microbial communities. We study a wide range of microbial communities ranging from pure/enrichment cultures to microcosms/mesocosms/columns and also contaminated field sites. These studies are coupled with different molecular techniques including DNA/RNA level real time quantitative PCR (qPCR), 16S rRNA gene and functional gene amplicon sequencing, and more recently meta-omic techniques. Next, we use an array of analytical methods including different GC, HPLC, Dionex, and compound specific isotope analysis as extra lines of evidence to pinpoint the contaminant/process in question. Hydrological models are used to predict the behaviour and fate of the contaminant.