Photo of Rachel Brennan

Rachel Brennan

Associate Professor

Affiliation(s):

  • Civil and Environmental Engineering

231K Sackett Building

rab44@psu.edu

814-865-9428

Personal or Departmental Website

Research Areas:

Environmental Engineering

Interest Areas:

Bioremediation of soil and groundwater contaminants, ecological wastewater treatment, acid mine drainage treatment, enzymatic biocatalysis of endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs), sustainability.

 
 

 

Education

  • BS, Geological Engineering, New Mexico State University, 1997
  • MS, Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1999
  • Ph D, Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2003

Publications

Book, Chapters

  • R. A. Brennan and D. R. Riley, 2016, A new program in sustainable engineering: a platform for integrating research and service into the classroom through global engagement

Journal Articles

  • J. A. *McElhoe and Rachel A Brennan, 2012, "Effect of chitin purity and proppant loading on the bioremediation of chloroethenes", Journal of Environmental Engineering, 138, (8), pp. 862-872
  • J. A. Grembi, B. A. Sick, S. S. Goots, S. Lin and Rachel A Brennan, 2011, "Remediation of high-strength mine impacted water with crab shell substrate mixtures: laboratory column and field pilot tests", National Meeting of the American Society of Mining and Reclamation
  • M. A. Robinson-Lora and Rachel A Brennan, 2011, "Anaerobic precipitation of manganese and co-existing metals in mine impacted water treated with crab shell-associated minerals", Applied Geochemistry, 26, pp. 853-862
  • C. E. Newcombe and Rachel A Brennan, 2010, "Improved passive treatment of acid mine drainage in mushroom compost amended with crab-shell chitin", Journal of Environmental Engineering, 136, (6), pp. 616-626
  • M. A. Robinson-Lora and Rachel A Brennan, 2010, "Biosorption of manganese onto chitin and associated proteins during the treatment of mine impacted water", Chemical Engineering Journal, 162, pp. 565-572
  • C. Chan and Rachel A Brennan, 2010, "Clean water act", Engineering Penn State, 26, (1), pp. 12-13
  • Rachel A Brennan, 2010, "Getting crabby about high-strength mine drainage? The combination of chitin, protein, and calcium carbonate in crab shells may offer a passive treatment solution", Reclamation Matters, Autumn Issue
  • H. Cai, A. G. Eramo, P. J. Evans, R. Fricke and Rachel A Brennan, 2010, "In situ bioremediation of perchlorate in vadose zone soil using gaseous electron donors: microcosm treatability study", Water Environment Research, 82, (5), pp. 409-417
  • M. A. Robinson-Lora and Rachel A Brennan, 2010, "Chitin complex for the remediation of mine impacted water: geochemistry of metal removal and comparison with other common substrates", Applied Geochemistry, 25, (3), pp. 336-344
  • A. Eramo and Rachel A Brennan, 2009, "A new use for used mushroom compost: bioremediation of diesel-contaminated soil", Mushroom News
  • M. A. Robinson-Lora and Rachel A Brennan, 2009, "The use of crab-shell chitin for biological denitrification: batch and column tests", Bioresource Technology, 100, (2), pp. 534-541
  • M. A. Robinson-Lora and Rachel A Brennan, 2009, "Efficient metal removal and neutralization of acid mine drainage by crab-shell-chitin under batch and continuous-flow conditions", Bioresource Technology, 100, (21), pp. 5063-5071
  • L. N. Daubert and Rachel A Brennan, 2007, "Passive remediation of acid mine drainage using crab shell chitin", Environmental Engineering Science, 24, (10), pp. 1475-1480
  • F. Rezaei, T. L. Richard, Rachel A Brennan and B. E. Logan, 2007, "Substrate-enhanced microbial fuel cells for improved remote power generation from sediment-based systems", Environmental Science & Technology, 41, (11), pp. 4053-4058
  • Rachel A Brennan, R. A. Sanford and C. J. Werth, 2006, "Chitin and corncobs as electron donor sources for the reductive dechlorination of tetrachloroethene", Water Research, 40, (11), pp. 2125-2134
  • Rachel A Brennan, R. A. Sanford and C. J. Werth, 2006, "Biodegradation of tetrachloroethene by chitin fermentation products in a continuous flow column system", Journal of Environmental Engineering, 132, (6), pp. 664-673
  • Rachel A Brennan and R. A. Sanford, 2002, "A continuous steady-state method for delivering tetrachloroethene (PCE) to chlororespiring bacteria using Tenax", Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 68, (3), pp. 1464-1467
  • E. Egemen, J. Corpening, J. Padilla, Rachel A Brennan and N. Nirmalakhandan, 1999, "Evaluation ozonation and cryptic growth for biosolids management in wastewater treatment", Water Science & Technology, 39, (10), pp. 155-158
  • F. G. Edwards, E. Egemen, Rachel A Brennan and N. Nirmalakhandan, 1999, "Ranking of toxics release inventory chemicals using a level III fugacity model and toxicity", Water Science & Technology, 39, (10), pp. 83-90
  • Rachel A Brennan, N. Nirmalakhandan and R. E. Speece, 1998, "Comparison of predictive methods for Henrys law coefficients of organic chemicals", Water Research, 32, (6), pp. 1901-1911
  • Rachel A Brennan, 1998, "Daniel W. Mead Student Paper Contest Winners", Journal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice, 124, (2), pp. 32-35
  • N. Nirmalakhandan, Rachel A Brennan and C. Trevizo, 1998, "Groundwater treatment by cascade air-stripping process", New Mexico Journal of Science, 38, pp. 348-360
  • N. Nirmalakhandan, S. Xu, C. Trevizo and Rachel A Brennan, 1997, "Additivity in microbial toxicity of non-uniform mixtures of organic chemicals", Exotoxicology & Environmental Safety, 37, (1), pp. 97-102
  • N. Nirmalakhandan, Rachel A Brennan and R. E. Speece, 1997, "Predicting Henrys constant and the effect of temperature on Henrys constant", Water Research, 31, (6), pp. 1471-1481

Conference Proceedings

  • M. A. Robinson-Lora and Rachel A Brennan, 2010, "The role of precipitation and biosorption in the abiotic removal of manganese with crab-shell chitin", National Meeting of the American Society of Mining and Reclamation
  • M. A. Robinson-Lora and Rachel A Brennan, 2009, "Rapid alkalinity generation and metal removal from mine impacted water using crab-shell chitin under abiotic conditions", National Meeting of the American Society of Mining and Reclamation
  • M. A. Robinson-Lora and Rachel A Brennan, 2008, "Evaluating crab-shell chitin, lactate, and spent mushroom compost for acid mine drainage remediation in central Pennsylvania", National Meeting of the American Society of Mining and Reclamation
  • K. M. Korte, C. E. Newcombe and Rachel A Brennan, 2008, "Evaluation of three different purities of crab-shell for the remediation of mine impacted water", National Meeting of the American Society of Mining and Reclamation
  • C. Venot, L. Figueroa, Rachel A Brennan, T. R. Wildeman, D. Reisman and M. Sieczkowski, 2008, "Comparing chitin and organic substrates on the National Tunnel waters in Blackhawk, Colorado, for manganese removal", National Meeting of the American Society of Mining and Reclamation
  • J. P. Martin, K. S. Sorenson Jr., Rachel A Brennan, R. A. Sanford, C. J. Werth, G. H. Bures, G. Guest and R. Fulton, 2004, "Full-scale application of chitin for bioremediation of chlorinated solvents", Remediation of Chlorinated and Recalcitrant Compounds: The Fourth International Conference
  • Rachel A Brennan, C. J. Werth, R. A. Sanford, K. S. Sorenson, J. P. Martin and G. H. Bures, 2002, "From the lab to the field: development and deployment of the halorespiration enhancing redox transition zone (HERTZ) technology for bioremediation", Association of Environmental Engineering & Science Professors Conference
  • J. P. Martin, K. S. Sorenson, L. N. Peterson, Rachel A Brennan, C. J. Werth, R. A. Sanford, G. H. Bures and C. J. Taylor, 2002, "Enhanced CAH dechlorination in a low permeability, variably-saturated medium", Proceedings of the Remediation of Chlorinated and Recalcitrant Compounds: The Third International Conference
  • S. M. Vera, Rachel A Brennan, C. J. Werth and R. A. Sanford, 2000, "Analysis of substrates to support a halorespiration enhanced redox transition zone, HERTZ, in chlorinated solvent impacted groundwater", Groundwater 2000 Conference
  • E. Egemen, J. Corpening, J. Padilla, Rachel A Brennan and N. Nirmalakhandan, 1997, "Evaluation of ozonation and cryptic growth for biosolids management in wastewater treatment", IAWQ Specialized Conference on Chemical Industries

Manuscripts

  • J. A. Grembi, B. A. Sick and R. A. Brennan, 2016, "Remediation of high-strength mine impacted water with mixed organic substrates containing crab shell and spent mushroom compost", Journal of Environmental Engineering, 142, (2), pp. 04015075
  • M. J. Shreve, A. Brockman, M. Hartleb, S. Prebihalo, F. L. Dorman and R. A. Brennan, 2016, "The white-rot fungus Trametes versicolor reduces the estrogenic activity of a mixture of emerging contaminants in wastewater treatment plant effluent", International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation, 109, pp. 132-140
  • D. J. Kelsey, C. Nieto-Delgado, F. S. Cannon and Rachel A Brennan, 2015, "Incorporation of organic fungicides in bindered anthracite bricks for improved storage and performance in iron foundries", Journal of Applied Microbiology, 119, pp. 65-75

Other

  • M. A. Robinson-Lora and Rachel A Brennan, 2010, "Remediation of manganese-bearing mine impacted water using crab-shell chitin: Isolating the abiotic mechanisms of sorption and precipitation"
  • J. A. Grembi, B. A. Sick and Rachel A Brennan, 2010, "Utilization of a sustainable resource to remediate high-strength mine impacted water from a local abandoned mine: Crab-shell column study"
  • A. K. Brown and Rachel A Brennan, 2010, "Passive remediation of "high risk" acid mine drainage using crab shell chitin as a substrate amendment"
  • J. A. Grembi, B. A. Sick and Rachel A Brennan, 2010, "Cost-effective treatment of high-risk mine impacted water using crab-shell amendments to spent mushroom compost: column studies"
  • A. F. Caporuscio and Rachel A Brennan, 2010, "Passive remediation of acid precipitation using crab-shell chitin: a treatability study"
  • C. E. Newcombe and Rachel A Brennan, 2009, "Effective and low-cost treatment of acid mine drainage using chitin as a fractional amendment to compost: batch and column tests"
  • M. A. Robinson-Lora and Rachel A Brennan, 2009, "Remediation of mine-impacted water using crab-shell chitin as an electron donor and alkalinity source"
  • E. Henry, M. A. Robinson-Lora and Rachel A Brennan, 2009, "The beauty of arthropods: a comparison of crab-shell vs. insect chitin for the remediation of metal-laden waters"
  • C. E. Newcombe and Rachel A Brennan, 2009, "Chitin as an additive to compost to enhance passive treatment of mine-impacted waters"
  • A. Eramo and Rachel A Brennan, 2009, "Bioremediation of diesel-contaminated soil using spent mushroom compost"
  • C. E. Newcombe and Rachel A Brennan, 2008, "Chitin as a fractional amendment to spent mushroom compost to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of treatment of mine impacted water"
  • C. Venot, L. A. Figueroa, Rachel A Brennan, M. R. Sieczkowski and S. R. Al-Abed, 2008, "Pilot-scale biochemical reactor treatability study for metals removal from mining influenced water"
  • J. A. McElhoe and Rachel A Brennan, 2008, "Spatial and temporal quantification of multiple Dehalococcoides strains throughout the stages of reductive TCE dechlorination"
  • P. J. Evans, T. Titus, Rachel A Brennan, H. Cai and R. Fricke, 2008, "Perchlorate remediation in vadose zone soil by Gaseous Electron Donor Injection Technology (GEDIT)"
  • H. Cai and Rachel A Brennan, 2007, "Vadose zone treatment of perchlorate using gaseous electron donors"
  • M. A. Robinson-Lora and Rachel A Brennan, 2007, "Evaluation of chitin as an electron donor source for biological nitrate reduction: column studies"
  • J. A. McElhoe and Rachel A Brennan, 2007, "Evaluation of dynamic chemical gradients during the course of trichloroethene remediation using a fermentable substrate"
  • L. N. Daubert and Rachel A Brennan, 2007, "Passive remediation of acid mine drainage using chitin"
  • Rachel A Brennan, H. Cai, B. Min and P. J. Evans, 2006, "Treatability study for the bioremediation of perchlorate in vadose zone soils using gaseous electron donors"
  • J. A. McElhoe and Rachel A Brennan, 2005, "Optimization of chitin grade and mass loading for chloroethene bioremediation"
  • Rachel A Brennan, C. J. Werth and R. A. Sanford, 2004, "Tracking the growth and distribution of a chloridogenic microbial community in PCE-contaminated sediments treated with chitin"
  • Rachel A Brennan, R. A. Sanford and C. J. Werth, 2004, "Bioremediation of tetrachloroethene using chitin: spatial and temporal effects in a 1-D column system"
  • Rachel A Brennan, S. M. Vera, R. A. Sanford and C. J. Werth, 2001, "Bioremediation of perchloroethene in a column experiment using chitin fermentation"
  • Rachel A Brennan, E. Feinrich and H. Scholz-Muramatsu, 2001, "Feasibility of sequential anaerobic-aerobic dechlorination of chlorinated ethenes in contaminated aquifers"
  • A. R. Swanson, Rachel A Brennan, F. E. Loffler and R. A. Sanford, 1999, "Hydrogen generation, 14C-acetate assimilation, and the role of the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle by succinate-fed, tetrachloroethene-respiring Desulfuromonas sp. strain BB1"
  • Rachel A Brennan, A. R. Swanson, F. E. Loffler and R. A. Sanford, 1999, "Chlorinated solvent bioremediation: a novel approach to measuring bacterial kinetics"
  • Rachel A Brennan, A. R. Swanson, F. E. Loffler and R. A. Sanford, 1998, "Use of a solid-phase sorbent for manipulating PCE concentrations in growing cultures of the halorespiring bacterial strain BB1"
  • Rachel A Brennan and N. N. Khandan, 1996, "Air-stripping: predicting the effect of temperature on Henrys constant using a QSAR model, and analyzing the energy requirements of two competitive systems", 212
  • Rachel A Brennan and N. N. Khandan, 1995, "Predicting the effect of temperature on Henrys constant for hazardous air pollutants"

Research Projects

  • March 2017 - June 2018, "Feeding 11 Billion: The Biosynthesis of High-Quality Protein from Wastewater," (Sponsor: Penn State Sustainability Seed Grant Program).
  • September 2012 - August 2017, "Enzymatic Biocatalysis of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in Wastewater: A Sustainable Technology for Emerging Contaminants," (Sponsor: National Science Foundation).
  • March 2016 - June 2017, "Sustainable Biofuel Production from Ecological Wastewater Treatment Systems: Maximizing Starch Content and Carboxylic Acid Production from Aquatic Plant Biomass," (Sponsor: Penn State Sustainability Seed Grant Program).
  • July 2015 - June 2017, "Development of an Integrated Fixed Film Activated Sludge (IFAS) System for the Removal of Emerging Contaminants at the Penn State Wastewater Treatment Plant," (Sponsor: Penn State, Office of the Physical Plant).
  • September 2014 - June 2016, "Sustainable Engineering in Coastal Equatorial Zones: A Platform for Innovative Research, Integrated Education, and Global Engagement at the Water-Energy Nexus," (Sponsor: Penn State College of Engineering Global Engineering Leadership Program).
  • September 2014 - August 2015, "Multi-Detection Microplate Reader for Collaborative Environmental Innovation: Meeting Current and Future Challenges in Teaching, Research, and Outreach," (Sponsor: Penn State College of Engineering Instructional and Research Equipment Grant Program).
  • March 2014 - June 2015, "Full-Circle Wastewater Treatment: Using Aquatic Biomass to Maximize Nutrient Recovery, Increase Crop Yields, and Reduce Agricultural Runoff," (Sponsor: Penn State Sustainability Seed Grant Program).
  • August 2011 - July 2014, "AIR: PTTP: Topic 1: Materials Translation for Bindered Anthracite Briques in Foundry Cupolas," (Sponsor: National Science Foundation).

Honors and Awards

  • Student Research Award Recipient, Platform Presentation, Penn Tec 2016, June 2016
  • Student Research Award Recipient, Platform Presentation, Penn Tec 2016, June 2016
  • Student Research Award Recipient, Poster Presentation, Penn Tec 2016, June 2016
  • 1st Place Oral Presentation, College of Engineering Research Symposium, Penn State, April 2016
  • 1st Place Oral Presentation, College of Engineering Research Symposium, Penn State, April 2016
  • 2nd Place Oral Presentation, College of Engineering Research Symposium, Penn State, April 2015
  • 1st Place Oral Presentation, College of Engineering Research Symposium, Penn State, April 2015
  • 3rd Place Poster Award, College of Engineering Research Symposium, Penn State, April 2015
  • 1st Place Poster Award in Course-Based Projects, Undergraduate Research Exhibition, Penn State, April 2015
  • 2nd Place Poster Award, Pennsylvania American Water Works Association, April 2015
  • 1st Place Oral Presentation, 18th Annual Environmental Chemistry and Microbiology Student Symposium, Penn State, April 2015
  • Student Research Award Recipient, Penn Tec 2015, June 2015
  • Premiere Teaching Award, Penn State Engineering Alumni Society, 2014
  • Harry West Teaching Award for the Advancement of Civil Engineering Education, 2014
  • Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award, National Science Foundation, 2007 - 2013
  • Kavli Fellow, National Academy of Sciences, 2012
  • Outstanding Teaching Award, Penn State Engineering Alumni Society, 2011
  • McKee Groundwater Protection, Restoration, or Sustainable Use Award, Water Environment Federation, 2011
  • Oustanding Professor Award, Alpha Chi Sigma Professional Chemistry Fraternity, 2007

Service

Service to Penn State:

  • Member, Faculty Workload Review Committee, March 2016 - May 2016
  • Member, Sabbatical Review Committee, August 2013 - May 2016
  • Other, Honors Advisor, Environmental Engineering, 2015 - 2016
  • Member, Teaching Evaluation Committee, August 2015 - August 2016
  • Chairperson, Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, August 2014 - July 2015
  • Coordinator, ABET, July 2014 - July 2015
  • Member, ABET Faculty Advisory Board, August 2014 - July 2015
  • Member, Research Integrity Investigation Committee, 2015 - 2015
  • Member, Sustainability Experience Center, Advisory Core Team, 2015 - 2015
  • Member, Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, August 2009 - August 2010
  • Member, Promotion and Tenure Committee, August 2013
  • Member, Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, August 2015
  • Director, Advanced Ecological Engineering Systems Laboratory, 2008
  • Advisor, Engineers Without Borders, Penn State Chapter, June 2014
  • Member, Frontier Faculty Search Committee, September 2016

Service to External Organizations:

  • Co-Organizer, 254th American Chemical Society Fall National Meeting and Exposition, September 2016 - August 2017
  • Co-Organizer, 16th National Conference and Global Forum on Science, Policy, and the Environment: Food-Energy-Water Nexus, May 2015 - January 2016
  • Member, Pennsylvania Water Environment Association, July 2008 - June 2015
  • Board Member, State College Borough Water Authority, August 2010
  • Chairperson, Pennsylvania Water Environment Association, June 2015
  • Board Member, Pennsylvania State Board for Certification of Water and Wastewater Systems Operators, April 2016
 


 

About

The Penn State Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, established in 1881, is internationally recognized for excellence in the preparation of undergraduate and graduate engineers through the integration of education, research, and leadership.

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

212 Sackett Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-1408

Phone: 814-863-3084