Office for the Promotion of Women in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics
Faculty Profile
Young, Lily Y.
Lily's Profile
Lily's Story
Young, Lily Y.
Professor II-Chair

Phone: 732-932-8165, ext. 312

Ph.D., Harvard University, 1972

Professional Summary/CV [.PDF]

Department of Environmental Sciences, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, New Brunswick; Rutgers
Areas of Interest
Microbial physiology and biochemistry, environmental microbiology, environmental biotechnology, geomicrobiology.
Teaching Areas
Environmental and Pollution Microbiology, Biological Principles of Environmental Sciences, Perspectives in Agriculture and the Environment.
Memberships and Professional Service
Member of American Society for Microbiology, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Chemical Society, Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry; Co-Chair Working Group, Middle States reaccreditation of Rutgers University, 2007; U.S. National Committee for IUMS, IUPS, IUBMB, 2007; Program Committee, NIEHS Superfund Basic Research Program Annual Meeting, 2005.
Young, Lily Y.
Photo taken by Dennis Connors
Grants, Honors, and Awards
Frank H. Parker Distinguished Lecture, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Vanderbilt University, 2004; National Proctor and Gable Award in Appiled and Environmental Microbiology, American Society for Microbiology: "Anaerobic processes in the Environmental and the Biodegradation of Hydrocarbons and Related Compounds, 2002; Research Excellence Award, Board of Trustees, Rutgers University, 2001.
Academic Interests and Plans
The activity and role of anaerobic microorganisms for both natural carbon cycling in the environment and for biodegradation processes has long been understudied and underutilized. Microbes are the only members of the biosphere with the ability to carry out respiratory functions using electron acceptors other than oxygen, for example, nitrate, iron (III), sulfate and carbonate. Among the microorganisms in the anaerobic microbial community, the major physiological groups important in soils and sediments include denitrifiers, iron reducers, sulfidogens and methanogens whose ability to degrade contaminant chemicals such as pesticides, benzene, toluene, xylenes, alkanes and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) is not well understood. Our broad goals are to investigate and understand these diverse communities with respect to their ability to metabolize anthropogenically produced and naturally occurring aromatic compounds. This includes examining complex environmental systems as well as pure cultures in the laboratory. Currently, the specific areas of research include: 1) examining the instrinsic ability of anaerobic communities from NY-NJ Harbor sediments to degrade alkanes and PAHs, and environmental factors which affect the activity; 2) determining the novel microbial chemistry of the anaerobic pathways of naphthalene, methylnapthalene and phenanthrene by active consortia, and that of the alkanes by newly isolated pure cultures; 3) investigating methods to improve or enhance natural rates of biodegradation; 4) developing biochemical markers for assessing intrinsic biodegradation; 5) isolating novel anaerobes able to degrade additional petroleum constituents and other aromatic compounds; 6) characterizing the anaerobic toluene pathway in a denitrifying strain with a molecular genetic approach.