Skip to content

Mira Stone Olson

Mira Stone Olson

Mira Stone Olson

University of Virginia, Ph.D.
Francois Fiessinger Scholar 2002

Bacterial Chemotaxis in Porous MediaWhere Are They Now? Mira is currently an Assistant Professor of Environmental Engineering at Drexel University. More information can be found on her website. Mira continues to study bacterial transport in porous media, and is also researching urban water management and cultivaton of algae for bioful production.

Project Description (while EREF Scholar):
Mira’s research focused on studying how chemotaxis affects the transport of bacteria through porous media.  Chemotaxis refers to the ability of bacteria to sense chemical concentration gradients and swim toward regions of optimal contaminant concentration.  She ran several sets of experiments analyzing bacterial transport through packed columns and studied the effect of an imposed chemical gradient on bacterial transport.  Mira found that bacteria migrate preferentially to regions containing low concentrations of trichloroethylene (TCE).  This result suggests that chemotactic bacteria may be extremely useful in degrading residual ground-water contamination.  With the support from my Fiessinger scholarship, Mira was able to continue modeling studies of bacterial transport through heterogeneous porous media to determine the extent to which chemotaxis affects bacterial transport in larger-scale systems.  Mira’s scholarship from EREF also helped support a research trip she took to the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, in the summer of 2003, in which she had the opportunity to expand her skills from bench-scale laboratory skills to broader field applications.  Mira is extremely appreciative for the flexibility that the Fiessinger scholarship allowed her in shaping her graduate education and her future career in environmental research.

Mira was born in Buffalo, NY and later moved to Northern Virginia. She attended Rice University and graduated with a BS in Mechanical Engineering and a BA in Environmental Sciences and Engineering. From there, she moved to the University of Virginia, where she received her MS and PhD degrees in Environmental Engineering.

Mira currently lives in Philadelphia, where she is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Engineering at Drexel University. She continues to play the violin and to enjoy the outdoors with her husband and two daughters.

Research Publications:
1. Singh, R. and Olson, M.S. 2009. “Kinetics of trichloroethylene and toluene toxicity to Pseudomonas putida F1”,  Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry in press.
2. Singh, R. and Olson, M.S., 2008. “Application of Bacterial Swimming and Chemotaxis for Enhanced Bioremediation”, in Emerging Environmental Technologies, V. Shah, editor, Springer Science and Business Media.
3. Olson, M.S., Ford, R.M., Smith, J.A., and Fernandez, E.J., 2006. “Mathematical Modeling of Chemotactic Bacterial Transport through a Two-Dimensional Heterogeneous Porous Medium”, Bioremediation Journal, Vol 10, No. 1-2, pp. 13-23.
4. Olson, M.S., Ford, R.M., Smith, J.A., and Fernandez, E.J., 2005. “Analysis of Column Tortuosity for MnCl2 and Bacterial Diffusion using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)”, Environmental Science and Technology Vol 39, No. 1, pp. 149-154.
5. Olson, M.S., Ford, R.M., Ford, R.M., and Fernandez, E.J., 2004. “Quantification of Bacterial Chemotaxis in Porous Media using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)” Environmental Science and Technology Vol. 38, No. 14, pp. 3864-3870.