Environmental Engineering and Science

Yujie
Men

Assistant Professor

“The way the ‘small’ behave can change that of the ‘big’.”

Faculty Type: 
Faculty

Yujie Men holds a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from Tsinghua University (2005). She earned her M.S. from Tsinghua University (2007) in Environmental Science and Engineering, and her Ph.D. from University of California at Berkeley (2012), in Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Before joining the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering as an Assistant Professor in March 2016, she served as a postdoctoral researcher in the Engineering Research Center for Re-inventing the Nation’s Urban Water Infrastructure (ReNUWIt) at University of California, Berkeley (2012-2013), and a postdoctoral scientist at Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) (2014-2016).

She is a member of International Society for Microbial Ecology, the American Society for Microbiology, American Chemical Society, and Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors. 

Research Overview: 

Dr. Men’s main research goal is to promote the development of sustainable biotechnologies for cleaner water and a safer environment, by advancing the fundamental knowledge of microbial metabolic diversities and microbe-microbe interactions in built and natural environments. She has research interests in understanding and optimizing functional microbial consortia using conventional and high-throughput molecular and analytical approaches (e.g. metagenomics, metatranscriptomic and metabolomics), for a variety of applications, such as groundwater bioremediation, anaerobic wastewater and biosolid treatment, fate and biotransformation pathways of contaminants with emerging concerns (CECs). Her primary research areas include: 1) simultaneous removal of green house gas and nitrogen nutrient from anaerobic digestion effluent using enriched communities with anaerobic methane and ammonia oxidizing bacteria; 2) linkages between the fate of antimicrobial chemicals and the development of antibiotic resistance in environmental microorganisms; 3) identification of key enzymes in activated sludge for biotransforming CECs; 4) development of antifouling materials, understanding the behavior of resistant microbes; 5) implementation of resilient and robust microbial consortia to recover value-added compounds from biosolids.

Vishal
Verma

Assistant Professor

Faculty Type: 
Faculty

Vishal Verma earned his B.E. in Environmental Engineering from Delhi College of Engineering (2002), M. Tech. in Environmental Science and Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (2004) and his Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Southern California (2011).

Dr. Verma has earned numerous awards and recognitions for his work including the gold medal for outstanding research performance in Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (2004), Viterbi School of Engineering fellowship award (2007) and outstanding researcher award (2009) from the University of Southern California. He is an active member of the American Association of Aerosol Research (AAAR) and has served as the chair for a number of symposiums on Air Pollution and Health in the 2014 annual conference of AAAR.

Research Overview: 

The main focus of Dr. Verma’s research interests is to identify the components of ambient particulate matter and their emission sources, which are most responsible for inducing the adverse health effects in humans. It involves quantifying the relative contributions of various aerosol components in toxicity, elucidating their unique mechanisms of action, and replicating those mechanisms in laboratory to gain a better understanding of the impact of various emission sources and atmospheric processes on human health. The specific interests include measuring the toxicological properties of ambient particles through catalytic generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS).

Rosa
3215 Newmark Civil Engineering Laboratory
Espinosa-Marzal
205 N. Mathews Ave.
Urbana, IL 61801

Associate Professor

Phone: 
(217) 300-4380

"A sustainable environment needs interdisciplinary education and research."

Faculty Type: 
Faculty

Rosa Espinosa-Marzal holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in mechanical engineering (Universidad Politecnica de Valencia, Spain, 1997), and a Ph.D. in engineering/materials science (Hamburg University of Technology, Germany, 2004). Dr. Espinosa-Marzal joined the faculty of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in September 2013, where she teaches graduate and undergraduate classes in environmental engineering and in materials, with an emphasis on colloidal and interfacial science, surface functionalization and materials science.  

Dr. Espinosa-Marzal is a member of the American Chemical Society and the Royal Society of Chemistry. Prior to joining Illinois, Dr. Espinosa-Marzal was a Senior Scientist at the Laboratory for Surface Science and Technology, ETH Zurich (Switzerland). Dr. Espinosa-Marzal is the recipient of a research grant to promote highly qualified young postdoctoral researchers given by the German Research Foundation. She was a research fellow at Princeton University at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering from 2007 to 2009 and before, a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Materials, Physics and Chemistry of Building Materials, at Hamburg University of Technology.  Dr. Espinosa-Marzal was also awarded a DAAD fellowship. 

 
Research Overview: 
The goal of Dr. Espinosa-Marzal's research group is to establish design principles of smart interfaces for applications in environmental engineering and science. Her primary research areas include nanomaterials and nanoconfinement in aquatic systems, for example design of new membrane materials for desalination, tailoring surface properties affecting microbial adhesion, nucleation and crystal growth, and novel energy storage systems based on ionic liquid electrostatic double layer capacitors. It is an experimentalist research group that seeks collaboration with modelers. Dr. Espinosa-Marzal’s research and teaching at Illinois contribute to the environmental engineering program and materials in CEE. 
 
3217 Newmark Civil Engineering Laboratory
Roland D.
Cusick
205 N. Mathews Ave.
Urbana, IL 61801

Assistant Professor

Phone: 
(217) 244-6727
Faculty Type: 
Faculty

Roland Cusick earned his B.S. in Environmental Engineering from the University of California, Riverside (2005), and holds an M.S. (2010) and Ph.D. (2013) in Environmental Engineering, both from the Pennsylvania State University. His honors include receiving the W. Wesley Eckenfelder Graduate Research Award from the American Association of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (2013), the Penn State Alumni Association Dissertation Award (2013), and the Dow Sustainability Student Challenge Award (2012). 

Dr. Cusick will teach CEE 444 Environmental Engineering Principles, Biological starting the spring of 2014.

Research Overview: 

Dr. Cusick has research interests in resource recovery from liquid and thermal waste streams and sustainable wastewater treatment. His primary research areas include nutrient and energy recovery from wastewater using microbial electrochemical technologies, electrochemical energy production from natural and engineered salinity gradients, and sustainable sanitation technologies for the developing world.

Byung J.
Kim, P.E.
U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center
Construction Engineering Research Laboratory
P.O. Box 9005
Champaign, IL 61826-9005

Adjunct Professor

Phone: 
(217) 352-2487
Faculty Type: 
Instructors and Adjunct Faculty

Byung J. Kim is a senior researcher for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a position he has held since 1987.  Prior to that, he was an Environmental Coordinator for the U.S. Forces-Korea/Eighth United States Army from 1981 to 1987.  From 1977 to 1981, he was a senior environmental engineer for the New York State Environmental Conservation District.

He holds a Ph.D. (1981) from the Polytechnic Institute of New York University.

Research Overview: 

Dr. Kim's research focus is in environmental engineering with an emphasis on military engineering and environmental compliance technologies.

Yuanhui
Agricultural Engineering Sciences Building
332B AESB, MC-644
1304 W. Pennsylvania Avenue
Urbana, IL 61801
Zhang
The Innoventer Professor in Engineering
Associate Department Head, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering 
Faculty Type: 
Instructors and Adjunct Faculty
Phone: 
(217) 333-2693
Fax: 
(217) 244-0323

Professor Yuanhui Zhang, P.E.,  joined the faculty of the University of Illinois in 1996.  He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in biosystems engineering and indoor air quality engineering.

Dr. Zhang holds Ph.D. (1989) and M.S. (1985) degrees in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada and a B.S. (1978) in Agricultural Engineering from Shandong Institute of Technology, China.  

His honors and awards have included being named a Fellow of American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (2011), being appointed the Endowed Innoventor Professor in Engineering by the College of Engineering and the College of ACES at the University of Illinois (2011), being named a Fellow of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (2008), and winning the Henry Giese Award from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (2008).

Dr. Zhang’s research goal is to enhance quality of life by focusing on the immediate environment of living things, people, animals and plants. One of his research areas is indoor air quality engineering. His team has developed and continued research on aerodynamic filter-less air cleaning and three-dimensional, near-real-time volumetric particle tracking velocimetry (VPTV) for room air flow measurement and modeling. His book, Indoor Air Quality Engineering, has been used as a textbook in several universities.

Research Overview: 

Dr. Zhang's research focuses on indoor air quality; the effect of indoor air quality on occupants; heating, ventilation and air-conditioning control; and waste treatment.

He has pioneered the research in Environment-Enhancing Energy (E2-Energy), in which he combines waste treatment, water cleaning, carbon dioxide sequestration and biofuel conversion into one process. He has successfully converted biowaste, including animal and human waste, food processing waste and algae, into crude oil using thermochemical conversion (TCC), similar to Mother Nature’s petroleum formation, but in a few minutes rather than geological years.
 
Jeremy S.
3221 Newmark Civil Engineering Laboratory
Guest
205 N. Mathews Ave.
Urbana, IL  61801

Assistant Professor 

Phone: 
(217) 244-9247

 

“Understanding the dynamic interactions between nature and society is at the heart of designing more sustainable infrastructure systems.”

 

Faculty Type: 
Faculty

Jeremy Guest earned his B.S. in civil engineering from Bucknell University (2005), his M.S. in civil engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (2007) and his Ph.D. in environmental engineering from the University of Michigan (2012). Dr. Guest is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and serves as the Thrust Leader for Sanitation and Resource Recovery for the Safe Global Water Institute.

Dr. Guest has been the recipient of several notable awards including a Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute Ph.D. Fellowship (2008-2010), a Rackham Graduate School Predoctoral Fellowship (2010-2011), and the Walter J. Weber Jr. Award in Environmental and Energy Sustainability (2011), all from the University of Michigan. Dr. Guest was also awarded a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award (2014-2019).

Research Overview: 

Dr. Guest has research interests in the development of technologies and decision-making tools that increase access to and the sustainability of environmental infrastructure.  His primary focus is on sanitation and the development of biotechnologies that manage wastewater as a renewable resource for energy production, chemical production, nutrient and water recovery. By integrating experimentation, modeling, and quantitative sustainable design (QSD), Dr. Guest’s research group leverages fundamental insights into molecular- and cell-scale processes to advance systems-scale sustainability, connecting technology innovation with broader societal initiatives for advancing energy, food security, health and nutrition in both developing and technologically advanced communities. Dr. Guest’s research group is currently working with microalgal and anaerobic technologies to achieve energy positive chemical production, nutrient and water recovery from sanitation media. Beyond sanitation research, his group also integrates experimentation, modeling, and QSD to advance select engineering (e.g., drinking water, transportation) and agricultural (e.g., farming practices, urban agriculture) technologies through interdisciplinary collaborations. A common theme in this work is the elucidation of trade-offs across scales (space and time) and dimensions (environmental, economic, social, and performance) of sustainability, and the development of technology targets to enable rapid and sustained adoption of innovations.

 

Sotiria
3230A Newmark Lab
Koloutsou-Vakakis
3230a Newmark Civil Engineering Laboratory, MC-250
205 N. Mathews Ave.
Urbana, IL    61801

Lecturer and Research Scientist

Faculty Type: 
Instructors and Adjunct Faculty
Phone: 
(217) 265-7646

Dr. Sotiria Koloutsou-Vakakis holds a Diploma degree in Civil-Surveying Engineering (National Technical University of Athens, Greece), a M.A. in Geography (University of California, Los Angeles), and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Environmental Engineering (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign).

She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on Air Quality, Science and Environmental Policy, and Engineering Risk and Uncertainty.

An air quality researcher, Dr. Koloutsou-Vakakis has worked on the policy-making aspects of climate change and ozone layer protection. In 1997, she held a postdoctoral appointment at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and in 1998-1999 she was a NSF-NATO postdoctoral fellow at the University of Athens, Greece.

Research Overview: 
Dr. Sotiria Koloutsou-Vakakis has worked on characterization of physical and chemical properties of ambient aerosol particles, as these relate to climate change and urban air pollution. Her current research is on air quality measurement with optical methods, land-atmosphere exchange of trace gases, compilation of emission inventories from agriculture and air quality modeling. She is actively involved with K-12 STEM outreach activities.
 
117 Transportation B
Deborah
Thurston
104 S. Mathews Ave.
MC-238
Urbana, IL  61801

Professor
Co-Director, Technology & Management
Gutgsell Professor

Phone: 
(217) 333-6456
Faculty Type: 
Instructors and Adjunct Faculty
Julie L.
3230C Newmark Civil Engineering Laboratory
Zilles

205 N. Mathews Ave. Urbana, IL 61801

Research Assistant Professor

Phone: 
(217) 244-2925
Faculty Type: 
Instructors and Adjunct Faculty

"Understanding microbial physiology and ecology in engineered systems is critical for improving water treatment."

Julie L. Zilles received her B.S. in biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1993) and her Ph.D. in Bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin Madison (1999). She joined the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in 2002 following postdoctoral work in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Wisconsin Madison. She is a member of the Graduate College of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an affiliate of the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering. Dr. Zilles currently teaches biological principles of environmental engineering and scientific writing.

Research Overview: 
Dr. Zilles' research interests lie at the intersection of environmental engineering and microbiology. In systems such as biological wastewater treatment, a more complete understanding of the microbial ecology and physiology may be applied to the development of process improvements. Research areas include the effects of agricultural antibiotic use on antibiotic resistance levels in swine waste treatment systems and manure-amended soils, the microbial ecology of denitrification in tile drainage bioreactors, the development of biomimetic membranes for desalination, the microbial physiology of enhanced biological phosphorus removal, and gene expression and genetic adaptation for herbicide degradation in a model dynamic soil system.

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