Registration is required for EACH workshop individually. Please go to the workshop of interest on the Whova agenda (follow link below), open the workshop description, and click on the Registration link. There is no additional charge for workshops and you may attend as many as you want.


Workshop registration

IWA Biofilms 2020 will host the following Workshops:

  1. MABR Workshop:  Current Status and Emerging Applications (lead organizer: Glen Daigger, USA)
  2. Biofilm Reactors Reduce Selenium Oxyanions in Industrial and Agricultural Wastewater Treatment (lead organizer: Josh Boltz, USA)
  3. The Ecology of Biofilms in Water Engineering (lead organizers: Barth Smets, Denmark, and Ameet Pinto, USA)
  4. The role of biofilms in mainstream anammox process (lead organizer: Shihu Hu, Australia)
  5. Current status, challenges, and opportunities of biofilm-based technologies for controlling N2O (lead organizers: Akihiko Terada, Japan, and George Wells, USA)
  6. Disrupting building plumbing biofilms: pathogens, ecology and environment (lead organizer: Frederik Hammes, Switzerland)
  7. How to write a strong research paper and get it published in a scientific journal?  (lead organizers: Eberhard Morgenroth, Switzerland, and Stefan Wuertz, Singapore)
  8. Biofilm Modeling Topics at the Interface of Research and Application (lead organizer: Kelly Gordon, USA)
  9. I have a Ph.D.! Now what? Exploring Career Pathways Outside of Academia (lead organizer: Kelly Gordon, USA)
  10. Time Scaling in Biofilm Experiments (lead organizer: Jeseth Delgado, USA, and Andrew Jones, USA) 

Workshops schedule:

(Times are US Eastern time, e.g. New York time)

Saturday (12/5) Sunday (12/6)
7:00-8:30 9:00-10:30 11:00-12:30 7:00-8:30 9:00-10:30 11:00-12:30
4. Mainstream Deamm. 10. Time Scaling 6. Plumbing Biofilms 3. Ecology 5. N20 1. MABR
7. Paper Writing 2. Selenium 9. Careers 8. Modeling    


1. MABR Workshop: Current Status and Emerging Applications

Organizers: Glen Daigger, University of Michigan, Robert Nerenberg, Notre Dame University, Jeff Peters, Suez, Dwight Houweling, Suez.

Event description

Membrane aerated biofilm reactors (MABRs) are an emerging technology which promises significant energy savings, more compact systems, and increased resource recovery compared to existing wastewater treatment technology. While the subject of laboratory research for about two decades, the development of commercial units is allowing larger-scale (demonstration, full-scale) applications that are providing new information concerning the treatment capabilities of MABR units and how MABRs can function, either independently or as one component of a hybrid process (such as a component of a suspended growth process).

This workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners who have experience with MABR technology, and those interested in better understanding the capabilities and future potential for MABR's to advance wastewater treatment. The objective is to summarize and synthesize evolving knowledge and, based on this, brainstorm potential new applications, along with knowledge gaps and research needed to fill them. A wide range of researchers and practitioners engaged in developing and implementing MABR technology will be invited to present their results to date, including all vendors currently offering and implementing MABR technology. A team of young water professionals will synthesize the information presented and, under the supervision of two senior faculty members, prepare a manuscript for publication. Process modeling has developed as a core method for evaluating and implementing new biological wastewater treatment technology, and MABRs must be properly incorporated into them. MABR modelling will be addressed by one of the workshop breakout groups.

If you are interested in making a brief (5 minute) presentation at the workshop please reach out to Glen Daigger ( or Jeff Peters ( so that we may include you in the workshop agenda.

2. Biofilm Reactors Reduce Selenium Oxyanions in Irrigated Agriculture Runoff, Municipal and Industrial Wastewater

Lead organizer: Joshua P.Boltz, USA

Presenters: Piet Lens, Jan Weijma, Lynn Katz, Rob Simm, and Joshua P. Boltz

Event description

Selenium (Se) pollution in water is a global concern. Irrigated agriculture, steam-power generation, coal mining, and other human activities result in water that is contaminated by selenium and may be co-contaminated by sulfur (S) and/or nitrogen (N). These contaminants typically exist as selenate (SeO42-), selenite (HSeO3-), sulfate (SO42-), and nitrate (NO3-). Typically, biofilm reactors are utilized for treating Se-laden wastewater. In fact, biological reduction of selenium oxyanions in low-HRT biofilm reactors coupled with membrane filtration has been identified as a best-available technology (BAT) by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

In this workshop, leading experts from academia and practice will introduce you to sources of selenium, why it is of concern, and treatment technologies. Dr. Lynn E. Katz (University of Texas-Austin, USA) will describe Se as an essential resource, identify areas where this resource is needed, discuss it as a pollutant, and describe its global economy. Dr. Rob Simm (Stantec, USA) will describe drivers for environmental regulation, existing environmental regulations, best available technology, and commercially available biofilm reactors that are used for the control of Se pollution in water. Dr. Joshua P. Boltz (Arizona State University, USA) will discuss the metabolism and microbial ecology of selenium-respiring bacteria. He also will describe and show how to apply a mathematical model of denitrifying heterotrophic bacteria, selenium-respiring bacteria, and sulfate peducing bacteria in context of simulating complex biofilm reactors. Dr. Jan Weijma (Wageningen University, The Netherlands) will describe ways that selenium respiring bacteria detoxify selenium by producing organoselenium compounds and problems originating from the production of organoselenium. Finally, Dr. Piet Lens (IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, The Netherlands) will describe why biofilm reactors work well for Se control in contaminated water, describe treatment-associated challenges, and introduce new and emerging biofilm reactors for overcoming these challenges.

3.The Ecology of Biofilms in Water Engineering

Lead organizers: Barth Smets, Denmark; and Ameet Pinto, USA

Presenters: Catherine Paul, Ray Hozalski, Mari Winkler, Gavin Collins, Carolina Suarez, Kim Milferstedt, and Patricia Perez-Calleja

Event description

Microbial biofilms are abundant and useful in many water engineering applications – both in water process trains and water conduits. In all of these domains, large progress has been made in describing, interrogating, and managing these biofilms over the last several decades. Yet, research within one ‘water engineering domain’ is often not visible to researchers in other domains. In this workshop, we want to give an overview of the state of the knowledge of microbial biofilms across domains. Specifically, our panel of seven speakers will address the following questions across about biofilms across the water sector (1) what do we know (with focus on community composition and dynamics, spatial structure, in situ physiology) about biofilms , (2) why do we care about (1), and (3) what are the key knowledge gaps in terms of the microbial ecology. These presentations and questions will be used guide a panel discussion with speakers and the workshop attendees. At the end of this section – we hope that the audience will have a good overview of the ‘state-of-the knowledge’ of the ‘biology’ of water engineering biofilms and what the reasons are for studying this biology in context of the application.

Event Agenda The moderators will open the session with a 10 minute presentation on the framework of the workshop. This will be followed by 10 minute presentations by the presenters with a 10 minute break embedded in between. The presentation will be followed up by a one hour panel discussion moderated by workshop organizers which will also include questions/comments from the virtual audience.

4.The role of biofilms in mainstream anammox process

Lead organizer: Shihu Hu, Australia

Four speakers from University of Queensland, Beijing University of Technology, technology provider, water utilities, respectively.

Event description

We will invite four speakers to give presentations on their view of the role of biofilms in future mainstream anammox process. One invited speaker will come from University of Queensland, Prof. Zhiguo Yuan’s group, to report the progress of UQ research on PNA process, and the role of biofilm in it. One speaker will be from Beijing University of Technology, Prof. YongzhenPeng’s group, or DC Water, to talk about their progress on PDA process, and the role of biofilms in it. One speaker will talk about biofilm modelling or ecology, in the context or mainstream anammox process. One speaker will be from technology provider or from a water utilities, to present their efforts and progress on mainstream anammox process, and the role of biofilms in it.

We would like to have discussions between the presenters and audiences on the following questions:

  1. PNA vs. PDA, for mainstream anammox application, which one is better and applicable, and why?
  2. In order to achieve mainstream anammox, what are the control strategies you recommend? DO control, competition for nitrite, sludge treatment, or certain combinations?
  3. How should the biofilms system be designed and operated under these conditions, and why?
  4. Which configuration to go forward for mainstream anammox, MBBR, granular sludge, MABR or something else? One stage or two stages?

Event Agenda

  • short presentations 
  • Q&A on presentations
  • Discussion in small breakout groups on key issues/questions.
  • Discussion with the whole group, consensus-reaching on key issues

5.Current status, challenges, and opportunities of biofilm-based technologies for controlling N2O

Lead organizers: Akihiko Terada, Japan, and George Wells, USA

Presenters: To be determined

Event description

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is known as a highly potent greenhouse gas and an ozone-depleting substance. The amount of N2O emissions from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) has gradually increased, which brings a new challenge to combat greenhouse gas emissions in WWTPs. As N2O is produced during nitrification and denitrification as a byproduct and an intermediate, respectively, key issues are to elucidate N2O production mechanisms, comprehend the ecophysiologies of N2O-producing/-reducing bacteria, and create a suitable environment where N2O production can be deterred. One of the promising strategies for mitigating N2O emissions is exploiting stratified redox zones in biofilm depth. Nevertheless, challenges remain: What type of biofilm processes are effective for N2O mitigation? How can biofilm reactors be operated to prevent/minimize N2O emissions? What are efficient bacteria capable of producing and consuming N2O in a biofilm, and how can they be harnessed? This workshop introduces the current status, challenges, and opportunities of biofilm-based technologies to mitigate N2O emissions. Contrary to the current paradigm, N2O can be intentionally accumulated for recovery, providing another strategy to manage N2O in WWTPs. Given this point, the workshop also discusses the potential of N2O recovery by biofilms.

Event Topics:

-Biofilm technologies towards N2O mitigations and recovery

-Mathematical modeling on N2O production and reduction

-Microbiology and ecology of N2O-reducing bacteria

6.Disrupting building plumbing biofilms: pathogens, ecology and environment

Lead organizers: Frederik Hammes and William Rhoads, Switzerland

Presenters: William Rhoad, Kat Fish, Michael Waak, Kate Dowdell, Elyse Stachler, Vincent Delafont

Event Description

A virtual, interactive workshop focusing specifically on building plumbing biofilms. The program comprises a selected group of early career experts giving their take on factors influencing biofilm formation, sampling strategies, microbial communities, opportunistic pathogens, and the relevance of protozoa and phages. Thereafter all workshop participants break out into small sub-groups and brainstorm multiple intriguing topics that revisit age-old assumptions, identify and prioritize future research topics, or imagine new paradigms to study, sampling and interpret biofilm data. The outcome of these breakout discussions is then shared with everyone in flash presentations in the concluding session. This workshop presents an opportunity to learn something new about building plumbing biofilms, extend your network within the biofilm community, share a couple of far-fetched ideas, and just maybe solve or redefine some of the key questions in the field.

7.How to write a strong research paper and get it published in a scientific journal? 

Lead organizer: Eberhard Morgenroth, Switzerland

Presenters: Eberhard Morgenroth, Switzerland, and Stefan Wuertz, Singapore

Event Description

The are many excellent books and web resources on the details of scientific writing and the structure of good papers. But having this information and what the final product should look like is often not sufficient. The purpose of this workshop will be on the structured approach to writing. Drafting a journal manuscript can be helpful already before the research is done during the experimental design. Authors need to identify their desired audience and choose an appropriate journal. The workshop will provide interactive discussions on building a detailed outline based on key questions and key take home messages and then strategies to prepare a first draft. We will discuss and practice constructive forms of giving and receiving critical feedback. And we will discuss the publication process including questions as plagiarism, editorial screening, selection of reviewers, the revision process, and the ultimate editorial decision.

Event Agenda

Why publish a paper in a scientific journal?

Who is your target audience? How to select a suitable journal?

How to get started?

  • Identify key question and key take home messages
  • Relevant parts of a scientific paper
  • Preparing a detailed outline
  • Giving and getting feedback


  • Present share examples of key question and key take home message in groups of three
  • Peer feedback

Preparing a manuscript from the detailed outline

  • The four levels of writing and reviewing
  • Strategies


  • What are key factors making writing difficult?
  • What have been key problems in getting journal manuscripts accepted for publication?

Peer review

  • How much can you take from other papers without committing
  • Plagiarism?
  • Editorial check of relevance and significance
  • How are peer reviewer selected?
  • The decision process
  • How to revise a manuscript based on feedback from reviewers and
  • Editor

8.Biofilm Modeling Topics at the Interface of Research and Application

Lead organizer: Kelly Gordon, USA, 

Workshop co-chairs: Kelly Gordon, Black & Veatch,, Oliver Schraa, inCTRL Solutions Inc,, Heather Stewart, Jacobs,

Event agenda:

  • Welcome and Introduction
  • Needs for Advanced Biofilm Modeling
  • Needs for AGS Modeling – Simulating EPS 
  • Calibration Requirements for IFAS Processes
  • Simulating Biofilm Structure in Models 
  • Using Models to Determine Controllability of Biofilm Reactors
  • Break-Out Discussion and Regroup
  • Wrap-up

9. I have a Ph.D.! Now what? Exploring Career Pathways Outside of Academia

Lead organizer: Kelly Gordon, Black & Veatch, USA,

Event Agenda

  • Kelly Gordon, Black & Veatch
  • Career Journey Presentations
    • Patrick Kiely, Island Water Technologies
    • Martha Dagnew, University of Waterloo
    • Sandeep Sathyamoorthy, Black & Veatch
  • Panel Q&A      
    • Luis Alberto Arellano Garcia, CIATEJ
    • Alex Rosenthal, InCTRL
    • Nerea Uri, VCS Denmark
    • Saumyaditya Bose, Bose Consultancy Service

10. Time Scaling in Biofilm Experiments

Workshop coordinators: Jeseth Delgado Vela USA; and A-Andrew Jones III, USA

Event Description

Biofilms in research labs are best studied in systems that can be imaged under a microscope and sampled frequently for changes in substrate utilization, product formation, and changes in community. Biofilms in industrial labs are best studied in similar systems with less emphasis on microscopy and additional constraints that any phenomena should be observable during the 40 h, 9 – 5 work week. These scales do not match those of normal wastewater or industrial processes. While it is logistically and financially infeasible to conduct experiments in triplicate for a full year (or often multi-year) for industrial biofilms, there are no standards and no systematic guideline for deciding on time scales for lab experiments. This workshop aims to brainstorm testable hypothesis for establishing guidelines that can be pursued in the near term to address this critical need.

Event Agenda

There will be three speakers to discuss potential discrepancies between time scales of lab-systems and full-scale systems. Then breakout rooms with 4-5 participants each tasked with determining an experiment that would help establish guidelines for (1) replication, (2) duration of startup, (3) sampling frequency and (4) duration of experiments. More subtopics will be added based on audience participation. The last part will be a report back where all the audience members report out their experimental design