Earth Sciences Division (ESD) Department of Energy (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)

Earth Sciences Division Staff: Jil T. Geller

Jil Geller

Jil T. Geller

Principal Scientific Engineering Associate

Ecology Department



Phone: 510-486-6313

Fax: 510-486-7079


Biographical Summary

My current research focuses on the design, development and operation of bioreactors in unique configurations for a wide range of culturing scenarios. The bioreactors include CSTRs (continuous stirred tank reactors), in batch, and continuous flow chemostat and turbidostat modes, PFRs (plug flow reactors), and combinations thereof. The systems are unique in their capability to cultivate under anaerobic conditions and handle hydrogen sulfide generated by sulfate reducing bacteria, and safely deliver hydrogen for hydrogen-oxidizing bacteria. Other projects involving bioreactor development include simulating waste-water treatment reactors for studying the potential gene transfer between genetically-engineered microorganisms (GEMs) and domestic activated sludge microbial communities, as a platform for risk assessment of the use of GEMs in biofuel production.

My previous research areas related to the physics of multi-phase flow in porous media and fractured rock, and biological interactions with flow. I have worked with a commercially available multi-channel high-throughput microfluidic system to study biofilm formation in response to changing chemical conditions. I have also worked on the application of geophysical methods to characterize and monitor contaminated aquifers, focusing on laboratory measurements to correlate geophysical attributes with aquifer properties of interest, such as non-aqueous phase liquid (NAPL) contamination, lithology and hydraulic conductivity.


  • Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, 1990.
  • M.S. in Civil Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, 1984.
  • B.S. in Civil Engineering, Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel, 1981.

Professional Experience

  • 2/99 to present - Principal Scientific Engineering Associate, Earth Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, Berkeley, California.
  • 10/04 to 12/07 - Earth Sciences Divison Safety Coordinator, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, Berkeley, California.
  • 1/95 to 1/99 - Geologic Scientist, Earth Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, Berkeley, California.
  • 1/92 to 12/94 - Postdoctoral Fellow: Laboratory investigations pertaining to (1) the integration of geophysical and hydrological measurements to characterize contamination in the shallow subsurface and (2) multi-phase flow in fractured rock, Earth Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, Berkeley, California.
  • 1/91 to 12/91 - Lecturer: Introduction to Environmental Engineering, Chemistry of Waters, Department of Civil Engineering, University of California at Berkeley.
  • 2/85 to 12/90 - Graduate Research Assistant: Experimental investigation of organic contaminant transport in groundwater and remediation, Environmental Engineering, Department of Civil Engineering, University of California at Berkeley.
  • 8/83 to 5/84 - Teaching Assistant: Introduction to Sanitary Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Department of Civil Engineering, University of California at Berkeley.
  • 11/80 to 7/83 - Engineer:  Project engineering for industrial water and wastewater treatment facilities, Bechtel Group of Companies, San Francisco, California.

Professional Activities

  • Registered Civil Engineer in the State of California
  • Member, American Geophysical Union, American Society for Microbiology
  • Reviewer for: Water Resources Research, Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, Environmental Science and Technology, Geophysical Research Letters
  • Board of Directors, Science Exploration Camp, Inc., 1994-1998

Honors and Awards

  • Editor’s Highlight, for Ajo-Franklin, Geller and Harris, Geophys. Res. Lett. 34, L07404, American Geophysical Union, 2007.
  • Outstanding Performance Award, E. O. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 2006.
  • Outstanding Performance Award, E. O. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 2000.
  • 2000 Editor’s Citation for Excellence in Refereeing for Water Resources Research.
  • Best Poster Award, Great Plains/Rocky Mountain Hazardous Substance Research Center, 1998 Conference on Hazardous Waste Research, Snowbird, Utah.
  • Spot Recognition Award for Daughters to Work Day Workshop, 1997.
  • Engineering Science Inc. and the Association of Environmental Engineering Professors Doctoral Thesis Award, 1991.
  • Chancellor's Patent Fund for Graduate Student Research, University of California at Berkeley, 1987-1988.
  • University of California Regents Fellowship, 1985-1986.
  • Distinguished Teaching Assistant, Dept. of Civil Engineering, University of California at Berkeley, 1984.
  • Chevron Fellowship, 1983-1984.
  • B.S., cum laude, Technion, Israel, 1981

Special Training

  • Microbial Fermentation:Development and Scale-Up, Hands-On Training Program, Center for Integrated BioSystems, Utah State University, Logan, UT, October 18-21, 2005.
  • JMP Software: Statistical Data Exploration, and ANOVA and Regression, SAS training, January 14-16, 2008, San Francisco, CA.
  • Biofilms:  Challenging Paradigms, American Society for Microbiology, 2-day workshop and lab, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, May 31-June 1, 2008.

Laboratory Research Supervision

  • J. B. Ajo-Franklin, Using High Resolution Borehole Geophysic for DNAPL Detection and Environmental Site Characterization, Ph.D. Thesis, Department of Geophysics, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, 2005.
  • G. Su, Flow Dynamics and Solute Transport in Unsaturated Rock Fractures, Ph.D. Thesis, Department of Civil Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, 1999.
  • P. K. Seifert, Effects of Pore Fluids in the Subsurface on Ultrasonic Wave Propagation, Ph.D. Thesis, Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of California, Berkeley, 1998.
  • J. Jarsjö, Groundwater degassing and unsaturated transmissivity in fractured rock, in Hydraulic Conductivity Relations in Soil and Fractured Rock:  Fluid Component and Phase Interaction Effects, Ph.D. Thesis, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, 1998.

Funded Proposals

  • LDRD Exploratory Research on Seismic Imaging of Organic Liquid Contaminants in Unconsolidated Media, with L. R. Myer, 90K, 1992-1993.
  • AFOSR Geophysical Imaging of NAPL Contamination in Unconsolidated Porous Media, with D. Vasco and L R. Myer, 135K, 1996-1998.
  • AFOSR Characterization and Remediation Strategies for Unconsolidated Aquifers, with C. M. Oldenburg and C. Doughty, 300K, 1996-1998.
  • EM/ER Processes Controlling the Migration and Biodegradation of Non-aqueous Phase Liquids (NAPLs) within Fractured Rocks in the Vadose Zone, with K. Pruess, J. C. Hunter-Cevera, H-Y. Holman and M. S. Conrad, 1,125K, 1996-1999.
  • EM50 – Subsurface Contaminants Focus Area, Mapping DNAPL Transport and Contamination in Fractured Rock and Sedimentary Aquifers with High Resolution Borehole Seismic Imaging, with E. L. Majer, 1,107K, FY2001-2003.