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 Marine Biomedicine and Environmental Sciences | Faculty | Harold D. May, Ph.D.

Harold D. May, Ph.D.

Research Interest:
Environmental microbiology with a heavy emphasis on microbial diversity and biocatalysis is the overlying theme of my research. Aquatic and sediment microorganisms, including those from marine and freshwater environments, are the primary investigative targets. Two general areas of research are ongoing in my laboratory: 1) biodegradation of toxic compounds and 2) bioenergy. The biodegradation projects are focused on the degradation of PCBs and other organohalides, and the use of electrode-reducing/oxidizing bacteria in bioremediation. The bioenergy projects are aimed at microbial generation of electricity, and the microbial production of ethanol, hydrogen and methane from organic waste and CO2. The latter projects are also being done in collaboration with Microbial Fuel Cell Technologies, LLC. All of the above research includes the engineering of waste treatment processes, the engineering of microbial energy generating systems, chemical analysis of degradation products and bacterial metabolites, isolation and characterization of microorganisms, and the 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, in situ probes). Genomic and proteomic studies are planned for the study of PCB dechlorinating and electrode reducing bacteria. In addition to collaboration with other MUSC faculty, we are working with researchers at the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute (Center of Marine Biotechnology) and Clemson University.

Selected Publications:
1.  Kjellerup BV, Sun X, Ghosh U, May HD, and Sowers KR. Site-specific microbial communities in three PCB-impacted sediments are associated with different in situ dechlorinating activities. Environ. Microbiol. 2008, 10:1296-1309.

2.  May HD, Miller GS, Kjellerup BV and Sowers KR. Dehalorespiration with polychlorinated biphenyls by anaerobic ultramicrobacterium. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 2008, 74:2089-2094.

3.  Mathis BJ, Marshall CW, Milliken CE, Makkar RS, Creager SE, and May HD. Electricity generation by thermophilic microorganisms from marine sediment. Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 2008, 78:147-155.

4.  Fagervold SK, May HD, and Sowers KR. Microbial reductive dechlorination of aroclor 1260 in Baltimore harbor sediment microcosms is catalyzed by three phylotypes within the phylum Chloroflexi. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 2007, 73: 3009-3018.

5.  Milliken CE, and May HD. Sustained generation of electricity by the spore-forming, Gram Positive, Desulfitobacterium hafniense strain DCB2. Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 2007, 73:1180-1189.

Harold D. May, Ph.D.
Harold D. May, Ph.D.

Microbiology and Immunology
MUSC, Charleston, SC

Ph.D., Virginia Institute of Technology

Dr. May's Contact Information


Current MBES Students and Postdoctoral Fellows
- Chris Marshall