The Environmental Research and Education Foundation (EREF) has awarded University of Texas at Austin doctoral student Susan De Long the 2006 EREF Scholarship to fund her research into the use of gene sequencing to enhance landfill biodegradation. According to an EREF press release, De Long’s work fits the organization's mission of advancing scientific understanding of the management of municipal solid waste. She will receive an unrestricted $12,000 per year scholarship, renewable for up to two additional years.
De Long’s focus is the development of molecular biology tools for investigating, monitoring and optimizing biological treatment processes. In accepting the award, she expressed hope that these tools will help scientists and engineers develop an understanding of what occurs on a molecular scale when bacteria degrade waste materials, and that this knowledge will allow more widespread use of biological treatment processes.