Skip Navigation

Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Hal May, PhD

May PictureProfessor
Microbiology & Immunology

1990-1994  Research Scientist, Celgene Corp., Warren, NJ
1987-1990  Post Doctoral, USDA, Albany, CA 

1987  Ph.D., Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

Contact Info
Tel: 843-792-7140
BSB 208

Research Interests

Environmental microbiology focuses on the role of microorganisms in the synthesis and degradation of natural and anthropogenic compounds, and on the interactions of microbes with the physical environment and other organisms. The microbial cycling of chemicals, toxic and otherwise, is crucial for the stability of healthy ecosystems. Research in my laboratory includes studies on the physiology, ecology and biochemistry of microorganisms engaged in various forms of anaerobic metabolism including exploratory work with electrode reducing bacteria. An incoming graduate student could pursue any one of several ongoing projects. These include investigations on the reductive dechlorination of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), chlorobenzenes and chlorinated ethenes, the anaerobic oxidation of chlorinated solvents, and the biodegradation of petroleum when concurrent with halogenated organic compounds. Other projects are focused on the halogenation and dehalogenation of chlorinated hydroquinone metabolites produced by basidiomycete fungi as part of a natural biogeochemical chlorine cycle. All of the above research includes chemical analysis of degradation products, isolation and characterization of microorganisms, biochemical analysis and the molecular monitoring of bacterial communities (e.g. by restriction fragment length, sequencing or denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analysis of amplified 16S rDNA). A proteomic and enzymological approach is planned for the study of dehalogenases. In addition to collaboration with other MUSC faculty, we are working with researchers from the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute (Center of Marine Biotechnology), the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and SINTEF of Norway. These collaborations offer the student extended educational opportunities. Students are welcome to join my laboratory and pursue any of these challenging areas of research. Dr. May is also an acting partner in MFC Technologies LLC.

Recent Publications | Additional Publications

Kjellerup BV, Sun X, Ghosh U, May HD, Sowers KR. (2008) Site-specific microbial communities in three PCB-impacted sediments are associated with different in situ dechlorinating activities. Environ Microbiol 10(5):1296-309. PMID: 18312399

May HD, Miller GS, Kjellerup BV, Sowers KR. Dehalorespiration with polychlorinated biphenyls by an anaerobic ultramicrobacterium. (2008) Appl Environ Microbiol 74(7):2089-94. PMID: 18223104

Mathis BJ, Marshall CW, Milliken CE, Makkar RS, Creager SE, May HD. Electricity generation by thermophilic microorganisms from marine sediment. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 78(1):147-55. PMID: 18080121

Fagervold SK, May HD, Sowers KR. (2007) Microbial reductive dechlorination of aroclor 1260 in Baltimore harbor sediment microcosms is catalyzed by three phylotypes within the phylum Chloroflexi. Appl Environ Microbiol 73(9):3009-18. PMID: 17351091

Research Support

Title: Electroalcoholgenesis: Bioelectrochemical Reduction of CO2 to Butanol
Agency: Department of Energy (ARPA-E)
Role: PI
Funding Period: 7/1/2010 – 6/30/2013

Title: Integrating Microbial Biostimulation and Electrolytic Aeration to Degrade POPs (RO1)
Agency: National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences
Role: PI
Funding Period: 2/15/2008 – 8/30/2011

Title: Administrative Supplement under the Recovery Act for the SBRP: Integrating Microbial Biostimulation and Electrolytic Aeration to Degrade POPs
Agency: National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences
Role: PI
Funding Period: 9/1/2009 – 8/31/2011

top of page


© Medical University of South Carolina | Disclaimer