Professor and Associate Chair
STEPS Building, Room 346
1 West Packer Ave.
Bethlehem, PA 18015

Phone Number: 
(610) 758-3543
Derick G. Brown

Areas of Research

Environmental Biotechnology
Microbial Kinetics
Microbial Interactions with Surfaces
Charge-Regulated Surfaces
Microbial Fate and Transport
Colloid and Surface Interactions
BIoinspired Materials


Dr. Brown's research interests include interactions between microorganisms and surfaces, focusing on how adhesion affects microbial processes; microbial attachment and transport through porous media, focusing on attachment and transport of microorganisms through both saturated and unsaturated porous media and how solution chemistry affects these processes; and microbial kinetics in natural and engineered systems, with application to bioremediation of environmental contaminants and energy recovery from organic waste streams.  He also has research interests in bioinspired materials, and has collaborated on microbial processes to strengthen soils.

Brown is recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER Award as well as the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science Teaching Excellence Award. He is a member of the American Chemical Society (ACS), American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), American Society for Microbiology (ASM), Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP), International Society for Subsurface Microbiology (ISSM), and the engineering honor society Tau Beta Pi. Brown is registered engineer in California and Pennsylvania, and is a Board Certified Environmental Engineer with the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientitsts.  He holds patents on enhancing the stability of anaerobic digestion for energy production and on a method for characterizing coal tar in soil.


Selected Publications

Lin, H., Suleiman, M.T. and Brown, D.G. 2020. “Investigation of Pore-Scale CaCO3 Distributions and Their Effects on Stiffness and Permeability of Sands Treated by Microbially Induced Carbonate Precipitation (MICP).” Soils and Foundations.

Brown, D.G., Zhu, H., Albert, L.S., Fox, J.T. 2019. “Rapid characterization and modeling of natural and undefined charge-regulated surfaces in aqueous systems.” Langmuir. 35(43):14803-14091.

Bick, P., Bastola, H., Suleiman, M.T., Gu, J., Diplas, P., Brown, D.G., and Zouari, N. 2019. “Minimizing wind erosion using microbial induced carbonate precipitation.” Geo-Congress 2019: Soil Improvement. Philadelphia, PA, March 24-27. pp. 223-230.

Lin, H., Suleiman, M.T., Jabbour, H.M., and Brown, D.G. 2018. “Bio-Grouting to Enhance Axial Pull-Out Response of Pervious Concrete Ground Improvement Piles.” Canadian Geotechnical Journal. 55(1):119-130.

Lin, H., Suleiman, M.T. and Brown, D.G. 2018. “Behavior of biofilm-treated sand.” ASCE IFCEE 2018, Orlando, Florida, March 5-10. pp. 1-11.

Gu, J., Suleiman, M.T., Bastola, H., Brown, D.G., and Zouari, N. 2018. “Treatment of sand using microbial-induced carbonate precipitation (MICP) for wind erosion application.” ASCE IFCEE 2018, Orlando, Florida, March 5-10. pp. 155-164.

Tian, Y., SenGupta, A.K., and Brown, D.G. 2017. “In-situ stability control of energy-producing anaerobic biological reactors through novel use of ion exchange fibers.” ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering. 5(10):9380-9389.

Lin, H., Suleiman, M.T., Jabbour, H.M., Brown, D.G., and Kavazanjian, E. 2016. “Enhancing the axial compression response of pervious concrete ground improvement piles using bio-grouting.” Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering. 142(10):04016045.

Lin, H., Suleiman, M. T., Brown, D.G., and Kavazanjian, E. 2016. “Mechanical behaviors of sands treated by microbially induced carbonate precipitation.” Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering. 142(2):04015066.

Albert, L.S. and Brown, D.G.  2015Variation in bacterial bioenergetics during rapid changes in extracellular pH and implications for the activity of attached bacteria.” Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, 132:111-116.

Lin, H., Suleiman, M. T., Jabbour, H.M., and Brown, D.G. 2015. “Enhancement of Permeable Pile Subjected to Uplift Load Using Microbial Induced Calcite Precipitation.” ASCE IFCEE 2015, San Antonio, Texas, March 17-21. pp. 775-783.

Lin, H., Suleiman, M.T., Helm, J., Brown, D.G. 2014. “Measurement of Bonding Strength between Glass Beads Treated by Microbial-Induced Calcite Precipitation (MICP).” 2014 ASCE GeoCongress, Geo-Characterization and Modeling for Sustainability. Geotechnical Special Publication No. 234, Volume 2, pp. 1625-1634.

Lennon, G.P., Ochs, J.B. and Brown, D.G. 2014. “Student Learning Outcomes: Effectively Satisfying Multiple Accreditation Requirements.” American Society for Engineering Education, 2014 Annual Conference, Indianapolis, IN, June 15-18, 2014. 9464:1-20.

Lanzon, J.B. and Brown, D.G.  2013. “Partitioning of phenanthrene into surfactant hemi-micelles on the bacterial cell surface and implications for surfactant-enhanced biodegradation.”  Water Research, 47(13):4612-4620.

Brown, D.G.  2013.  “Development of a Raoult’s Law-Based Screening-Level Risk Assessment Methodology for Coal Tar and its Application to Ten Tars Obtained from Former Manufactured Gas Plants in the Eastern United States.” Journal of Environmental Protection, 4(6A):1-11.

Brown, D.G. and Hong, Y., 2011. “Impact of the charge-regulated nature of the bacterial cell surface on the activity of adhered cells.” Adhesion Science and Technology, 25(17):2199-2218.

Hong, Y. and Brown, D.G., 2010.  “Alteration of bacterial surface electrostatic potential and pH upon adhesion to a solid surface and impacts to cellular bioenergetics.” Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 105(5):965-972.

Hong, Y. and Brown, D.G., 2009.”Variation in bacterial ATP level and proton motive force due to adhesion to a solid surface.” Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 75(8):2346-2353.

Hong, Y. and Brown, D.G., 2008. “Electrostatic behavior of the charge-regulated bacterial cell surface.” Langmuir, 24(9):5003-5009.


Ph.D., Civil and Environmental Engineering,
M.A., Civil and Environmental Engineering,
M.S., Mechanical Engineering,
B.S., Aerospace Engineering,