Author Archives: Thomas Thompson

About Thomas Thompson

Thomas "Tommy" Thompson is a Drexel Junior studying Environmental Engineering and pursuing his BS/MS in the field. He also has a Minor in Ecology and is spending his third and final Co-op working primarily with algae kinetics in Dr. Sales' lab under Jake Price. Tommy currently maintains the Sales Laboratory website.

Reminder: Dr. Sales Speaking at Happy Hour Seminar Series

Tonight, July 20, at 6pm, Dr. Sales will be presenting a talk for the Delaware River Watershed Initiative’s “Tapping Our Watershed” Happy Hour seminar series which is co-sponsored by The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.  Dr. Sales’ talk is titled “Might Environmental Microbes: Harnessing their Powers for Treatment of Human Waste and Remediation of Pollution,” and he will be speaking at the usual “Tapping Our Watershed” location: National Mechanics in Old City.  The address is 22 S. 3rd St.  The original event description is given below:

On Monday, July 20, Tapping Our Watershed presents “Mighty Environmental Microbes: Harnessing their Powers for Treatment of Human Waste and Remediation of Pollution.” with Christopher M. Sales, Assistant Professor, Drexel University.

Tapping Our Watershed is held on the third Monday of each month at 6 p.m. at National Mechanics in Philadelphia’s Old City.

Although small in size, microorganisms are mighty agents of change in the environment. Microbes in the environment, while naked to the invisible eye, exist nearly everywhere on Earth. They are major catalysts in environmental processes involved in global nitrogen, sulfur, and carbon cycles. They also possess the capability to remediate hazardous and toxic pollution, as well as treat and transform human waste into valued resources. This talk will highlight the important role that environmental microbes, such as bacteria, fungi, and algae, can have in restoring ecosystems, protecting the environment, and achieving sustainability.

Christopher M. Sales is a Tenure-Track Assistant Professor in the Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering Department of Drexel University. He is an environmental engineer with research interests in molecular environmental microbiology related to the biodegradation of environmental contaminants and biotechnologies for energy and resource recovery from waste. His research group applies a combination of high-throughput and advanced molecular biology, analytical chemistry, and bioinformatics techniques to study microbial systems in natural and engineered environments. Christopher received his BSE in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and BA in Environmental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Civil and environmental engineering from University of California.

The event is free and open to the public. More information can be found on our Meetup page. Food and drink will be available for purchase at the bar. All ages are welcome, but you must be 21 to drink.

We hope you can join us for a fun and informal evening of scientific discussion!

Held in a comfortable, happy-hour setting, Tapping Our Watershed invites you to sit back, relax, and raise a glass to water science! Sophisticated enough for the experienced scientist but formatted for the casual guest, this lecture series taps into watershed issues on a deeper level. Follow us on Twitter: @ANSStreamTeam.

Lab Group Summer BBQ

This past Wednesday, Dr. Sales invited the research group over to his Point Breeze residence for a small, summer get-together.  Despite a constant/impending threat of storms, the rain held off to give us all a great evening with great views!

I’d like to think that I speak for everyone who attended when I personally say thanks to Dr. Sales and his family!

From left to right: Sean-Erik O’Donnell, Dr. Christopher Sales, Saeed Keshani Langroodi, Shaila Nayak, and Jacob Price

Sales Lab CAEE Department Grad Student Award Winners

Academic Year 2014 – 2015 saw many great achievements and successes for the Sales Lab.  The College of Engineering’s Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering Department has recognized some of these in its end-of-year summary of Graduate student awards.

Ph. D. student Kaitie Sniffen was awarded the George Hill, Jr. Endowed Fellowship to help fund her work on algal biofuels and wastewater remediation.

Described in more detail in an earlier announcement, the Koerner Family Award was presented to Jake Price, another Ph. D. student researching waste treatment and resource recovery using algae.

Jake Price has also recently become the recipient of the Claudio Elia Memorial Fellowship for Academic Year 2015 – 2016.

UPDATE: A link is now included to an article on the CAEE website detailing Jake’s award of the Claudio Elia Memorial Fellowship.

A summary of the CAEE Department Awards and winners can be found at this link:

Congratulations to Kaitie and Jake on their past, current, and future successes!

Shaila Nayak’s Thesis Defense

Congratulations to Shaila on her Defense of her Master’s Thesis!  On June 5, 2015, Shaila presented and defended her topic, UV Induced Photolysis of Fructose – Generation of Reactive Oxygen Species and their Application in Photo-degradation of Pesticides, which describes how the use of fructose can be applied to remove both unwanted or harmful pesticides from water as well as dangerous chemicals from fracking flowback water.  Shaila Nayak is an MS Food Science Candidate co-advise by Dr. Christopher Sales.

Visit to the New Bolton Center and Dairy Farm

Yesterday, a small group of fellow researchers from Drexel and UPenn visited a dairy farm in Chester County to take a tour of the facilities.  Jake Price, Kaitie Sniffen, Dr. Mira Olson, Dr. Wen Shieh, and Dr. Chris Sales drove down to the University of Pennsylvania’s Veterinary School’s New Bolton Center in Kennett Square to tour the Marshak Dairy Farm.  The visit and tour were primarily to discuss novel ways of improving nitrogen and phosphorus (nutrient) management and recovery.  Although, some of the photos below show that seeing the cows themselves wasn’t so bad either.

Thanks to Penn Vet’s New Bolton Center for the tour!

2015-05-13 09.30.27-2 2015-05-13 09.30.32-2IMG_5719  IMG_5713

Jake Price Presents Research Poster at AWWA Conference in Hershey

On April 22, at the American Water Works Association’s (AWWA) PA section of their Annual Conference in Hershey, PA, Jake Price was selected to present his poster on “Nitrogen Removal Dynamics by a Photosynthetic Microbial Community Under High Cell Densities.”  In general, the topic discusses how an algal community’s nitrogen removal responds to different ratios of feed nitrogen sources (ammonium and nitrate).

Congratulations on your research and good luck on your continued work!


Site Visit to Saul Agricultural High School

On Wednesday, April 8, Dr. Sales, Jake, and Tommy with Dr. Stefanie Kroll from the Academy of Natural Sciences visited the Walter Biddle Saul High School of Agricultural Sciences.  The school is a magnet school in the Roxborough neighborhood of the city.  The purpose of the visit was to collect soil and water samples from the farmland and ponds for DNA extraction and sequencing.  Some photos of the site are given below.

Saul3 Saul4 Saul1 Saul2

Top-Left: An overview shot of the land with some dairy cows watching us back.
Bottom-Left: Numerous rows of various crops planted in the soil.  Nine soil samples were taken beyond these fields for soil bacterial composition analysis and comparison.
Top-Right: One of the small ponds that exist on the site.  Water samples were taken from this pond as well as two others for comparison.
Bottom-Right: The very large pile of composting manure from on-site farm animals as well as some farm animal residents of the Philadelphia Zoo.  A sample of leachate (partially seen in a puddle towards the left side of the photo) was taken and analyzed as a soil sample as well.


Dr. Sales Receives Bartels Award

This past Fall Quarter, Dr. Chris Sales was presented with the Harry C. Bartels Endowed Faculty Engineering Development Fund.  It is described that this award is given to “a promising junior faculty member with the goal of enhancing the ability of the recipient to present at scholarly meetings and conferences and to enrich teaching and research opportunities of the recipient.”

Congratulations on your faculty award, Professor Sales!

Jacob Price Selected as a Fellow in the GAANN Program

Continuing his string of major awards, Jake Price was selected to participate in the GAANN Grand Challenges program and has won the Fellowship award that goes along with it.  Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need is a program that assists well-deserving graduate students in fulfilling their academic careers.  The specific program that Jake was chosen for is “Graduate Fellowships in Education with a Focus on the National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenges,” and is meant to help improve the education and experiences of both the Fellow as well as the engineering/science undergraduates to whom the Fellow offers his or herself as a Teaching Assistant.

Congratulations Jake on all of your current and still upcoming successes!

Ph. D Candidate Jacob Price Receives Koerner Family Award

Graduate student Jacob Price was one of the nine College of Engineering recipients of the prestigious Koerner Family Awards for the 2014-2015 academic year.  The fund, founded by Dr. Robert Koerner and his wife, Paula Koerner, allows for further research into each student’s respective field which in this case is Jake’s study of bioreactor kinetics of algae.