Jim C. Spain

Professor Emeritus
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Jim Spain joined the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology at the beginning of 2005. Dr. Spain received his PhD in microbiology from The University of Texas at Austin and a BS in Biology from the University of Texas at Arlington. He studied the biodegradation of pesticides in the marine environment for five years as a post doctoral fellow and research scientist at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Marine Environmental Research Laboratory. Prior to joining Georgia Tech Dr. Spain directed the Environmental Biotechnology research program at the Air Force Research Laboratory in Panama City, Florida where he studied the biodegradation of synthetic organic compounds in the environment. His research interests in environmental biotechnology include: discovery and construction of bacteria for degradation of substituted aromatic compounds; physiological and ecological factors controlling microbial processes; and discovery of biocatalysts for green chemistry synthesis of novel materials. He works at the interface between basic microbiology research and practical applications to solve environmental problems. Dr. Spain is a former editor for Applied and Environmental Microbiology and has published over 160 peer reviewed papers, several books, and numerous book chapters on the biodegradation and biosynthesis of organic compounds. He has served on review committees for the EPA, DoE, NIEHS, and DoD and on the editorial boards of a variety of journals.


Environmental distribution, persistence, and biodegradation of chemical pollutants, Green chemistry synthesis of organic compounds by biocatalysis, Biodegradation pathways in bacteria for application to bioremediation, Environmental biotechnology related to marine, freshwater and subsurface ecosystems, Evolution and adaptation of microbial communities, Biochemistry, ecology, and molecular biology of environmentally relevant microbes, Discovery and characterization of bacteria that degrade synthetic organic compounds, Photobiological hydrogen production by cyanobacteria