Hailiang Dong



Ph.D. 1997 University of Michigan
207 Shideler Hall

The overall objective of my research program is to understand how and why microorganisms and geological media (rocks, minerals, water) interact and how we can study their mutual interactions to understand a range of biogeochemical processes on Earth and beyond... My current research is focused on three broad areas:  1) mineral-microbe interactions; 2) life in various extreme environments (saline lakes on Tibetan Plateau, hot springs, and deep continental subsurface) and implications for life on Mars; 3) environmental bioremediation of heavy metals and radionuclides as well as organics such as TCE and BTEX.  I employ a number of geological, mineralogical, geochemical, and microbiological techniques to study these processes including microscopy, spectroscopy, aqueous geochemistry, molecular microbiology and cultivation, and modeling.  Most of my research projects are funded by NSF, DOE, DOD, ACS-PRF, and other internal (Miami University) and foreign (international) sources.

Possible Thesis/Dissertation Topics

  • Clay mineral-microbe-organic matter interactions
  • Microbial remediation of heavy metals, Cr, U, As and nitrate.
  • Green bioenergy research (microbial conversion of biomass and fossil fuel to methane and ethanol)
  • Biogeochemical cycling of C and N in hot springs.

Current/Recent Graduate Research

  • Zhang, Jing (Ph.D. 2013) Microbe-clay mineral-organic matter-metal interactions.
  • Glasser, Paul (M.S. 2013) Kinetics and mechanisms of Cr6reduction of structural Fe(II) in clay minerals.
  • Huang, Qiuyuan (Ph.D. 2014) Carbon and Nitrogen Biogeochemistry in Terrestrial Hot Springs.
  • Bishop, Mike (Ph.D. 2015) Bioremediation of heavy metals at DOE contaminated sites.
  • Singh, Rajesh (Ph.D. 2015) Bioremediation of heavy metals Cr and Co with methanogens and degradation of organic contaminants with nitrate and metal reducing bacteria.
  • Zhao, Linduo (Ph.D. 2015) Remediation of groundwater nitrate coupled with oxidation of Fe(II) in clay minerals.
  • Zhang, Li (Ph.D 2019) Synthesis of biogenic nanoparticles and their industry applications.
  • Srivastava, Shreya (Ph.D. 2019) Microbial response and feedback to climate change.
  • Kugler, Alex (Ph.D. in progress) The impacts of environmental stresses on the rates of mineral-microbe interaction
  • Zuo, Hongyan (Ph.D. in progress) Microbial processing of organic matter associated with soil minerals

Selected Publications

Hu, A., Wang, J., Sun, H., Niu, B., Si, G., Wang, J., Yeh, C.F., Zhu, X., Lu, X., Zhou, J., Yang, Y., Ren, M., Hu, Y., Dong, H., and Zhang, G. (2020)  Mountain biodiversity and ecosystem functions: interplay between geology and contemporary environments. ISME J. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41396-019-0574-x.

Zhang, J., Zheng, X., Wang, H., Jiang, H., Dong, H., and Huang L. (2019) Novel Sulfolobus fuselloviruses with extensive genomic variations. Journal of Virology. DOI: 10.1128/JVI.01624-19

Liu, X., Dong, H., Zeng, Q., Yang, X., and Zhang, D. (2019) Synergistic effects of reduced nontronite and organic ligands on Cr(VI) reduction. Environmental Science and Technology. 53(23), 13732-13741.

Zhang, B., Wang, Z., Shi, J., and Dong, H. (2020) Surfur-based mixotrophic bio-reduction for efficient removal of chromium (VI) in groundwater. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 268, 296-309.

Dong, H, Lu X, and Elzinga E. (2019) Preface to recent research advances in biogeochemical cycles in China. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 256: 1-5.

Tian, Y., Wan, Y., Mu, H., Dong, H., Briggs, B.R., and Zhang, Z. (2919) Microbial diversity in high-temperature heavy oil reservoirs. Geomicrobiology Journal, 37, 59-66.

Wei, S., Cui, H., Zhang, Y., Su, X., Dong, H., Chen, F., and Zhu, Y. (2019) Comparative evaluation of three archaeal primer pairs for exploring archaeal communities in deep-sea sediments and permafrost soils. Extremophiles, 23, 747-757.

Banda, J.F., Lu, Y., Hao, C., Pei, L., Du, Z., Zhang, Y., Wei, P., and Dong, H. (2019) The effects of salinity and pH on Microbial Community Diversity and Distribution Pattern in the Brines of Soda Lakes in Badain Jaran Desert, China. Geomcirobiology Journal, 37, 1-12.

Zhang, L.*, Dong, H., Kukkadapu, R.K., Jin, Q., and Kovarik, L. (2019) Electron Transfer Between Sorbed Fe(II) and Structural Fe(III) in Smectites and its Effect on Nitrate-Dependent Iron Oxidation by Pseudogulbenkiania sp. strain 2002. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 265, 132-147. 

Selected Grants

NSF, 2020-2023, "Collaborative Research:  Bioavailability of Mineral-associated Moybdenum as a Cofactor of Nif Nitrogenase for N Fixation", $311,906, PI

US DOE, 2016-2019, "Mineral Contraol of Substrate Availability and Implications for Temperature Sensitivity of Soil Organic Matter Decomposition", $599,803, PI

University of Wyoming 16-0260, 2016-2019, "Impacts of Complexing Ligands and Natural Organic Matter on Technetium (VII) Reuction by Fe (II) Species in Subsurface Environments", $99,981, PI

Department of Defense, SERDP, 2018-2019, "Complete Reductive Defluorination of Poly- and Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs) by Hydrated Electrons Generated from 3-Indole-acetic-acid in Chitosan-Modified Montmorillonite", $199,980, PI.

US DOD, 2018-2019, "In Situ Treatment of Poly- and Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) by Superoxide Radical Anions Generated by Solid Phase Fe(II) Minerals", $199,935, PI

NSF-EAR 1656988, 2017-2019, "Collaborative Research: The role of phyllosilicate minerals in mediating the temperature sensitivity of soil organic matter decomposition", $124,237, PI

Teaching Interests

GLG 121 - Environmental Geology

GLG 211 - Chemistry of Earth Systems

GLG 402/502 - Geomicrobiology

GLG 496/596 - Isotopes in Environmental Processes

GLG 602 - Microbes and Geology

For a complete description of courses please see the 2019/2020 Miami Bulletin.