Assistant Professor
Environmental Engineering
Benedict College
1600 Harden Street
Columbia, SC 29204
Tel: (803) 705-4868
Fax: (803) 253-6633
Email: jessica.furrer@benedict.edu

Current CV


Ph.D. Environmental Engineering, University of Connecticut, 2009
M.S. Environmental Engineering, University of Connecticut, 2006
B.S. Mathematics, Muhlenberg College, 1999

Research Interests:

Soil microbial ecology: Microbial community structure in soil is impacted by numerous physical, chemical, and biological factors. I focus on how the pore-scale hydrologic regime, mediated by the physical architecture of soil, impacts microbial interactions.
Vadose zone hydrology and pore-scale fluid modelingWater flow in unsaturated soil is spatially and temporally dynamic. I use lattice Boltzmann modeling (LBM) to investigate and visualize pore-scale fluid behavior.
Applications: Interactions between soil microbes and pore-scale hydrology mediate biogeochemical cycles from pore- through global-scale, and impact critical environmental challenges including soil fertility, management of the carbon cycle, and water quality.

Courses Taught:

ENVE431              Soil and Groundwater Pollution and Remediation
ENVE341, 341L   Fluid Mechanics w/ Lab
ENVE337              Groundwater Hydrology
ESC439, 419L     Water & Wastewater Treatment w/ Lab
ENGR111&112    Engineering Computing and Skills I and II
ENGR110             Introduction to Engineering
ESC335, 315L     Environmental Forensics w/ Lab
PHYS141, 141L   General Physical Science w/ Lab


Coordinator, School of STEM Summer Undergraduate Research Institute (SURI), 2015-2016
Advisor, National Society of Black Engineers BC Chapter
Advisor, Society of Women Engineers BC Chapter
Curriculum Development and ABET Accreditation Committee, BC Environmental Engineering Program



Deng,J., E.P. Orner, J.F. Chau, E.M. Anderson, A.L. Kadilak, R.L. Rubinstein, G.M. Bouchillon, R. Goodwin, D. J. Gage, L.M. Shor, 2015. Synergistic effects of soil microstructure and bacterial EPS on drying rate in emulated soil micromodels. Soil Biol. Biochem., 83, 116-124.

Bouchillon, G.M., J.F. Chau, G.B. McManus, L.M. Shor, 2014. Microfluidic passive samplers for in situ collection of live aquatic protists. Anal. Methods, 6, 8350-8357.

Chau, J.F. (Invited), 2014.The Role of Soil Microscale Conditions in Determining Microbial Community Structure and Function.Chapter in Trends in Soil Microbial Ecology, Studium Press.

Chau, J.F., A.C. Bagtzoglou, M.R. Willig, 2011. The Effect of Soil Texture on Richness and Diversity of Soil Bacterial Communities, Environmental Forensics, 12:333-341.

Chau, J.F. and D.Or, 2006.Linking Drainage Front Morphology with Gaseous Diffusion in Unsaturated Porous Media- a Lattice Boltzmann Study, Physical Review E, 056304.

Chau, J.F., D. Or, and M.C. Sukop, 2005. Simulation of Gaseous Diffusion in Partially Saturated Porous Media Under Variable Gravity with Lattice Boltzmann Methods, Water Resources Research, 41, W08410.

Selected Conference Presentations:

Cho, Y., J.F. Chau, D.J. Gage, L.M. Shor. Multiscale Dynamics of Water Regulation by Bacteria in Synthetic Soil Microsystems. Department of Energy 2016 Bioimaging Science Program Annual PI Meeting, Aug. 2-3, 2016, Gaithersburg MD.

Dow M., S. Hurtado, N. Mware, M.C. Ndoun, J. F. Chau. Comparing Culture-Based and Molecular Identification of Soil Bacteria in an Undergraduate Environmental Microbiology Course. American Society for Microbiology, South Carolina Branch General Meeting. April 9, 2016, Charleston, SC. (Poster)

Chau, J.F., S. Brown, E. Habtom. Impact of Soil Texture on Ciliate Community Structure. Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors 2015 Research and Education Conference, June 13-16, 2015, New Haven, CT. (Poster)

Habtom, E., S. Brown, J.F. Chau. Comparison of Primer Sets for Identification of Soil Ciliates. Emerging Researchers Network Conference, February 19-21, 2015, Washington, DC.

Chau, J.F., S. Brown, E. Habtom, F. Brinson, M. Epps, R. Scott. Impact of Soil Texture on Soil Ciliate Communities. American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, December 9-15, 2014, San Francisco, CA. (Poster)

Brown, S., E. Habtom, F. Brinson, M. Epps, J.F. Chau. Comparison of Primer Sets for Molecular Identification of Soil Ciliates. SC ASM Branch Meeting, November 15, 2014, Columbia SC. **Honorable Mention in undergraduate presentation category**

Brinson, F., M. Epps, R. Scott, J.F. Chau. DNA-based Analysis of Soil Microbial Communities. SC EPSCoR/IDeA State Conference, April 24, 2014, Columbia, SC. (Poster)

Invited Panelist, Strategies for the Academic Job Search, WE13, Annual Conference of the Society of Women Engineers, October 26, 2013, Baltimore, MD.

Chau, J.F., G. Bouchillon, and L.M. Shor. Linking Form, Function and Molecular Taxonomy: Microfluidic Trap Arrays to Study Protozoan Biogeography, American Society for Microbiology, May 2011, New Orleans, LA.

Chau, J.F., A.C. Bagtzoglou, and D. Or. Simulating Isolated Bacterial Microhabitats in Unsaturated Soil, Computational Methods in Water Resources (CMWR) XVII International Conference, July 2008, San Francisco, CA.

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