Civil and Environmental Engineering
Office: 363 Link Hall
joined the faculty at
Ph.D., California Institute of Technology, 1999
Environmental Engineering Science
M.S., California Institute of Technology,
Environmental Engineering Science
B.S., Georgia Institute of Technology,
Dr. Costello teaches courses in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Her classes are in the areas of environmental microbiology and biotechnological applications in engineering.
taught this year:
CIE 472/672, CEN 400/600 Applied Environmental Microbiology
conducts multidisciplinary research aimed at elucidating the complex
relationships between microbial diversity and function. Her research is focused
on the development and application of molecular and microbiological tools to
investigate both natural and engineered systems. Dr. Costello's research
interests include issues related to bioremediation, global biogeochemical
cycles, and changes in microbial communities in response to anthropogenic
Currently, Dr. Costello is investigating the diversity of the methane oxidizing bacteria (methanotrophs) in soils and sediments. Methanotrophs are a group of bacteria that grow on methane as their sole source of carbon and energy. They can be isolated from a wide variety of environments and are believed to be ubiquitous in nature. Increased attention has been focused on the ecological implications of methane oxidation and the role of methanotrophs in both the global methane budget and the bioremediation of halogenated solvents. Research in the Costello lab has led to the development of molecular probes for detecting methanotrophs in both natural and engineered systems. These probes are designed to assess microbial diversity and function and can also be used to assess the efficacy of natural attenuation of chlorinated solvents by methanotrophs.
In addition to her work with methanotrophs, Dr. Costello is also interested in investigations of microbial processes at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest (HBEF). Her research at the HBEF addresses the factors controlling microbial diversity in a northern hardwood forest and the relationships between microbial diversity, community structure, and microbial function in the ecosystem. Furthermore, Dr. Costello is also interested in examining the effects of acidic deposition on the natural microbial communities in the
Selected Publications and Presentations
Costello, A.M. and M.E. Lidstrom. 1999. Molecular characterization of functional
and phylogenetic genes from natural populations of methanotrophs in lake sediments. Accepted
for publication in Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
Stolyar, S., A.M. Costello, T.L. Peeples, and M.E. Lidstrom. 1999. Role of multiple gene copies in particulate methane monooxygenase activity in the methane-oxidizing bacterium, Methylococcus capsulatus
Hurst, G.B., K. Weaver, M.J. Doktycz, M.V. Buchanan, A.M. Costello, and M.E. Lidstrom. 1998. MALDI-TOF analysis of polymerase chain reaction products from methanotrophic bacteria. Analytical Chemistry 70(13):2693-2698.
Connell-Hancock, T.L., A.M.
Smith, K.S., A.M. Costello, and M.E. Lidstrom. 1997. Methane and trichloroethylene oxidation by an estuarine methanotroph, Methylobacter sp. strain BB5-1. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 63:4617-4620.