Ludmilla Aristilde joined the faculty in the Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering in the Fall of 2012. While growing up in Haiti, her interest in environmental issues was sparked by witnessing the impacts of deforestation on the environment and the links between water pollution and health during an epidemic outbreak of cholera. After emigrating to the States, she came to Cornell and completed a dual-degree program with a B.S. in Science of Earth Systems and a B.F.A. in Fine Arts. She went on to the University of California-Berkeley where she obtained her M.S. in Environmental Engineering and Ph.D. in Molecular Toxicology. Her research was on the environmental chemistry and toxicology of pharmaceutical compounds discharged in waters and soils. After Berkeley, she went to Grenoble (France) as an American Fulbright Scholar to advance her study of spectroscopic techniques to investigate the trapping of organic contaminants by mineral particles. Prior to her return to Cornell, she spent three years as a NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at Princeton University where she studied molecular biology tools to address problems at the interface of environmental chemistry and biological processes.
The goal of the Aristilde Group is to contribute to a fundamental understanding of the “why” and “how” of the environmental behavior of biologically active organic molecules, with implications for ecosystem health, agricultural productivity, and biotechnology. We conduct molecular-scale investigations that combine experimental and computational approaches to elucidate the mechanisms that control the biological and physical fate of organic compounds. Our current research activities investigate bacterial metabolism of natural organic substrates, interactions of organic matter and contaminants with natural particles, bacterial responses to organic contaminants, and dynamics of nutrient-cycling extracellular enzymes.
Professor Aristilde teaches students environmental chemistry and its applications in the environmental engineering processes. At the undergraduate level, she focuses on introduction to environmental engineering, soil chemical processes, and principles of water chemistry. At the graduate level, she works with students on physico-chemical thermodynamics, physical chemistry of natural particles, and chemical toxicology of organic contaminants. Her current courses are BEE 2510 Engineering Processes for Environmental Sustainability and BEE 4200/6200 Surface Chemistry of Particles in Natural and Engineered Processes.
Awards and Honors
- INFEWS N/P/H2O--Collaborative Proposal Award (PI: Aristilde; Co-PI: Jaisi, U. of Delaware) (2017) National Science Foundation--Environmental Chemical Sciences Program
- Invited Professor (2017) Université Grenoble-Alpes, Institut des Sciences de la Terre, Grenoble, France
- NSF CAREER Award (PI: Aristilde) (2017) National Science Foundation, Co-funded by Environmental Engineering and Environmental Chemical Sciences
- Cornell Outstanding Educator for having most influenced a Merrill Presidential Scholar, Stephen Galdi (2016) Cornell University
- Early Grant for Exploratory Research (EAGER) (PI: Aristilde) (2016) National Science Foundation--Co-funded by Environmental Chemical Sciences, Geobiology and Low-Temperature Geochemistry, Environmental Engineering
- Fanny, O. E., Sabrina, K. E., Michael, S. P., Carmen, M. E., Randall, Y. E., & Aristilde, L. (2018). Structures and mechanisms in clay nanopore trapping of structurally-different fluoroquinolone antimicrobials. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science. 513:367-378.
- Pochodylo, A. L., Klein, A. R., & Aristilde, L. (2017). Metal-binding selectivity and coordination dynamics for cyanobacterial microcystins with Zn, Cu, Fe, Mg, and Ca. Environmental Chemistry Letters. 15:695-701.
- Youngster, T., Wushensky, J. A., & Aristilde, L. (2017). Profiling Glucose-Induced Selective Inhibition of Disaccharide Catabolism in Bacillus megaterium QM B1551 by Stable Isotope Labeling. Microbiology. 163:1509-1514.
- Aristilde, L., Guzman, J. F., Klein, A. R., & Balkind, R. J. (2017). Compound-specific short-chain carboxylic acids identified in a peat dissolved organic matter using high-resolution liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Organic Geochemistry. 111:9-12.
- Wilkes, R. A., & Aristilde, L. (2017). Degradation and Metabolism of Synthetic Plastics and Associated Products by Pseudomonas spp: Capabilities and Challenges. Journal of Applied Microbiology. 123:582–593.
- Pochodylo, A. L., & Aristilde, L. (2017). Molecular dynamics of stability and structures in phytochelatin complexes with Zn, Cu, Fe, Mg and Ca: Implications for metal detoxification. Environmental Chemistry Letters. 15:495-500.
- Aristilde, L., Galdi, S. M., Kelch, S. E., & Aoki, T. G. (2017). Sugar-influenced water diffusion, interaction, and retention in clay interlayer nanopores probed by theoretical simulations and experimental spectroscopies. Advances in Water Resources. 106:24-38.
- Aristilde, L., Reed, M. L., Wilkes, R. A., Youngster, T., Kukurugya, M. A., Katz, V., & Sasaki, C. R. (2017). Glyphosate-induced specific and widespread perturbations in the metabolome of soil Pseudomonas species. Frontiers in Environmental Science. 5:34.
- Aristilde, L. (2017). Metabolite labelling reveals hierarchies in Clostridium acetobutylicum that selectively channel carbons from sugar mixtures towards biofuel precursors. Microbial Biotechnology. 10:162-174.
- McBride, M. B., Frenchmeyer, M., Kelch, S. E., & Aristilde, L. (2017). Solubility, structure, and morphology in the co-precipitation of cadmium and zinc with calcium-oxalate. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science. 486:309-315.
Presentations and Activities
- Characterizing and mitigating glyphosate herbicide mobilization in agroecosystems. FY 2018 Water and Soils Project Directors Annual Meeting. October 2018. USDA-NIFA. University of Delaware, Newark, DE.
- Water and Carbon Cycles in Terrestrial Ecosystems: Probing Molecular Connections. November 2017. Great Seminar Series, Institut des Sciences de la Terre (ISTerre). Grenoble, France.
- Single-Cell Insights on the Metabolic Network Complexity of Mixed-Substrate Carbon Processing by Bacteria: Coupling Proteomics with Metabolomics. November 2017. University of Tübingen. Tübingen, Germany.
- Nanopore to Molecular Probing of Carbohydrates in Soil Physical and Biological Processes—from Water Retention to Biofuel Production. November 2017. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Princeton University. Princeton, NJ.
- Critical Role of Carbohydrates in the Cycling of Water and Carbon in Soil Pores and Bacterial Cells: Molecular Insights. November 2017. Geosciences Department, Princeton University. Princeton, NJ.
- Effects of Glyphosate and its Adjuvant on Soil Microbes. November 2017. Agriculture, Food, & Environmental Systems In-Service training for New State Farmers, Cornell University. Ithaca, NY.
- Physical and Biochemical Dynamics of Carbohydrates in Mineral Pores and Bacterial Cells: Molecular-Scale Insights. November 2017. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Northwestern University. Evanston, IL.
- Rethinking Glyphosate: A Multidisciplinary Approach. 8th Annual Sustainability Pitch and Poster Competition. October 2017. Cornell - Atkinson Center for Sustainable Futures. Ithaca, NY.
- Critical Role of Carbohydrates in the Cycling of Water and Carbon in Soil Pores: Molecular and Metabolic Flux Insights. October 2017. Department of Geosciences, Stanford Universi. Palo Alto, CA.
- Nanoscale to Molecular Probing of Organic Nutrient Fluxes–from Soil Nanopore Trapping to Microbial Cellular Metabolism. September 2017. Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Delaware. Newark, Delaware.