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Water Engineering

Faculty Leading the Way

Hydrology

Ximing Cai

Ximing Cai
Professor
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Ximing Cai is a research pioneer in integrated hydrologic-economic modeling for river basin management and water systems operations. His current research areas include coupled human-natural system analysis with an emphasis on human interferences in hydrological processes, water-energy-food system modeling especially in dry areas, and sustainable water resources management particularly in developing countries. He has authored or co-authored more than 110 peer-reviewed journal papers, three books and several monographs. He serves as Editor for Water Resources Research, the flagship journal of water resources published by the American Geophysical Union, and on the editorial board of other major water journals. He has received several awards, including the National Science Foundation CAREER award and best paper awards from Water International and the Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management. He has worked as a consultant to the World Bank, the United Nations and other international agencies.

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Soil & water resources engineering

Maria L. Chu

Maria L. Chu
Assistant Professor
College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences
Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Maria Chu is an Assistant Professor in Soil and Water Resources Engineering at the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering. She received her B.S. in Civil Engineering from Western Institute of Technology in the Philippines, her M.S. in Hydrology and Water Resources from UNESCO-IHE in Delft, The Netherlands, and her Ph.D. in Biosystems Engineering from Oklahoma State University. Chu’s research expertise encompasses surface and subsurface hydrology, eco-hydrology/eco-hydraulics, soil-water interactions, stream bank processes, time series analysis, and global sensitivity and uncertainty analysis.

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Biological engineering

Richard Cooke

Richard Cooke
Associate Professor
College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences
Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Richard Cooke is an Associate Professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Illinois, whose research focuses on subsurface drainage and modeling of watershed-scale drainage systems. He received a B.S. in Agricultural Engineering from University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad, in 1981; his M.S. in Agricultural Engineering from University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada in 1986; and his Ph.D. in Agricultural Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1993.

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Environmental engineering

Roland Cusick

Roland Cusick
Assistant Professor
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Roland Cusick is an Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Illinois with research interests in resource recovery from liquid and thermal waste streams and sustainable wastewater treatment. 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).

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Ag and bio engineering

Paul C. Davidson

Paul C. Davidson
Assistant Professor
College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences
Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Paul C. Davidson is an Assistant Professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He grew up on a farm in rural Illinois before completing his B.S. (2005), M.S. (2007), and Ph.D. (2010) degrees in Agricultural and Biological Engineering from Illinois. He then spent four years in environmental consulting, researching and monitoring the fate and transport of agricultural pesticides from nonpoint sources of pollution, before returning to academia. Davidson’s research now focuses on watershed hydrology and addressing water quality issues that arise from nonpoint sources of pollution. More specifically, his research addresses a growing concern over chemical and microbial transport by increasing our understanding of transport kinetics in natural environments and by designing and evaluating methods and practices to reduce the transport of these contaminants to surface water sources. Agricultural land is a source of many nonpoint pollutants, so his goal as an Agricultural and Biological Engineer is to work with farmers and other stakeholders to develop a solution that protects the quality of water resources while maintaining efficient farming operations.

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Computational and physical electronics

J. Gary Eden

J. Gary Eden
Professor
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Professor Eden is Director of the Laboratory for Optical Physics and Engineering, a laboratory devoted to the study and applications of the interaction of visible and ultraviolet radiation with matter. The laboratory has discovered more than a dozen lasers or amplifiers in the ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared, including the first ultraviolet and violet fiber lasers, atomic lasers pumped by the photoexcitation of atomic collision pairs, and the Cd– and Zn-halide diatomic systems. With his students, Professor Eden has demonstrated several powerful laser spectroscopic techniques that have resulted in the discovery of (for example) Rydberg series in the rare gas dimer molecules, the first observation of excitation spectra for the photoassociation of thermal atom pairs, and three body photoassociation. In the ultrafast domain (npn plasma bipolar junction transistor. Dr. Eden has authored more than 280 journal publications and 66 awarded patents. His is a co-founder of Eden Park Illumination and EP Purification.

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Hydrology

Marcelo H. Garcia

Marcelo H. Garcia
Professor
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Related to water problems in the State of Illinois, Dr. García has developed physical models of the Boneyard Creek, Urbana, to help in the solution of flooding problems. He re-designed low-head dams on the Chicago, Fox and Vermillion Rivers to reduce the number of drowning accidents, and designed canoe chutes for the same dams in order to increase the safe recreational use of Illinois Streams. He has also worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to mitigate navigation problems caused by sedimentation and vegetation in the Upper Mississippi River Basin as well as with the Chicago River Control Structures, controlling the diversion of water from Lake Michigan in Chicago. He also served in the expert review board for the Fargo-Moorhead flood protection scheme. Since 2003, he has led a major effort to develop hydrologic and hydraulic models of the Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP) being built the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRDGC). Together with his students he developed the first 3D hydrodynamic and water quality model of the Chicago River and associated waterways and unveiled the presence of density currents in the Chicago River during the winter months. Dr. García has also served as Co-Leader for the Sedimentation Studies Task Working Group for the St. Clair River, 2007-2010, International Great Lakes Commission (Canada-USA).

Dr. García has worked as a consultant in numerous national and international projects, most recently in the development of flood protection schemes in Guayaquil, Ecuador; in the design of Side Elevated Aeration (SEPA) Stations to improve oxygen levels in the Rio Matanza-Riachuelo, Buenos Aires, Argentina; in sedimentation issues in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, California; in reservoir sedimentation in Puerto Rico and Costa Rica; in oil spill and sediment transport modeling in the Kalamazoo River, Michigan; in flood protection and restoration in the Bogota River and La Mojana, Colombia; and in hydropower development in Argentina and Brazil.

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Environmental engineering

Jeremy Guest

Jeremy Guest
Assistant Professor
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

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). He is 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 (SGWI) and the Environmental Sustainability Lead for the USAID Soybean Innovation Lab (SIL). Guest has received several notable awards including a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award (2014-19).

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Hydrology

Megan Konar

Megan Konar
Assistant Professor
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Megan Konar holds a Ph.D. (2012) and an M.S. (2009) in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Princeton University, an M.Sc. (2005) in Water Science, Policy, and Management from the University of Oxford, and a B.S. in Conservation and Resource Studies (2002) from the University of California at Berkeley. Her awards and honors include the Princeton Energy and Climate Scholarship from the Princeton Environmental Institute, the Ford Fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, the Pre-doctoral Fellowship from the Association for Women in Science, and the Holly A. Cornell Scholarship from the American Water Works Association. She was also a recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program. Konar conducts policy-relevant research that focuses on the intersection of water, food, and trade. Her research is inherently interdisciplinary, drawing from hydrology, environmental science, and economics. She applies a range of quantitative tools, such as modeling, network analysis, and econometrics. Konar’s research is motivated by questions such as: How does trade link water and food systems across scales? How will climate and socio-economic shocks impact global food trade and its associated embodied water resources? And what policy options will best improve water and food security?

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Hydrology

Praveen Kumar

Praveen Kumar
Professor
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Praveen Kumar holds a B.Tech. (Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India 1987), M.S. (Iowa State University 1989), and Ph.D. (University of Minnesota 1993), all in civil engineering. He has been on the faculty of the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois since 1995. Prior to joining University of Illinois, he was a research scientist (January 1993 to July 1995) at the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) and Hydrologic Sciences Branch, NASA- Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA.

Dr. Kumar has served as the Editor-in-Chief for Water Resources Research, (2009-2013) the major scientific journal in the field, published by American Geophysical Union (AGU). Prior to that he was the Editor for Geophysical Research Letters (2007-2009) also published by AGU. In the past he has served as the Associate Editor (1998-2001) for Water Resources Research and for ASCE Journal of Hydrologic Engineering (2003-2004). He is a member of Ecohydrology Committee, and Remote Sensing Committee of the Hydrology Section of the American Geophysical Union and served as the Chair of Precipitation Committee during 1999-2001. He served for five years as a member of the Board of Directors for CUHASI,Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science which has 120 member universities.

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Chemistry

Yi Lu

Yi Lu
Jay and Ann Schenck Professor of Chemistry
Professor of Biochemistry, Bioengineering, and Materials Science and Engineering
Department of Chemistry

Professor Yi Lu received his B.S. from Peking University, P. R. China in 1986 and his Ph.D. from University of California, Los Angeles in 1992. After two years of postdoctoral research at California Institute of Technology, he joined the faculty at Illinois in 1994. Professor Yi Lu's research interests are in bioinorganic, bioanalytical and biomaterials chemistries.

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Civil Engineering

Benito J. Mariñas

Benito J. Mariñas
Department Head and Ivan Racheff Professor of Environmental Engineering
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Benito J. Mariñas holds a B.S. degree (Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Spain 1982) in civil engineering, and M.S. (University of California at Berkeley 1985), Ph.D. (University of California at Berkeley 1989) degrees in sanitary and environmental engineering. He has been on the faculty of the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois since 1995 and has been an Arthur and Virginia Nauman Faculty Scholar since 1998. Prior to coming to the University of Illinois, Dr. Mariñas was a faculty member (1989-1995) at the School of Civil Engineering of Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.

Dr. Mariñas has been the recipient of several prestigious awards including the Harold Munson Outstanding Teacher Award (1992), and Ross Judson Buck '07 Outstanding Counselor Award (1992) from the School of Civil Engineering at Purdue University, and the Arthur and Virginia Nauman Faculty Scholar Award (1998-present) from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is also been included in the University of Illinois Incomplete List of Outstanding Instructors in 1996 and 1997.

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Environmental engineering

Helen Nguyen

Helen Nguyen
Associate Professor
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Helen Nguyen holds a B.S. with Honors in Geology (Ivan Franko National University of L’viv, Ukraine, 1995), an M.S. in Earth and Environmental Science (University of Illinois at Chicago, 2000), an M.S. in Environmental Engineering (Johns Hopkins University, 2004), and a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering (Johns Hopkins University, 2005). She joined the faculty in Civil and Environmental Engineering in November 2006. Nguyen teaches graduate and undergraduate classes in environmental engineering, with an emphasis on physico-chemical processes for water and wastewater treatments.

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Engineering

Kevin O’Brien

Kevin O’Brien
Director
Illinois Sustainable Technology Center

Kevin O’Brien received a B.S. in Polymer Engineering, an M.S. in Macromolecular Engineering, and a Ph.D. Macromolecular Engineering, all from Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. O’Brien served as president of Energy Commercialization, LLC, in the San Francisco Bay Area before joining the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center in December 2013. His research focuses on the water-energy nexus, examining means to reduce water usage and simultaneously reducing carbon footprint. His major focus is on power generation applications.

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Bioengineering

Dipanjan Pan

Dipanjan Pan
Assistant Professor
Department of Bioengineering

Prof.Pan joined University of Illinois in fall 2013. Previously, He was an Assistant Professor of Medicine, Research at the Division of Cardiology, Washington University in St. Louis. He also served as a full faculty member of Siteman Cancer Center at the Washington University. After receiving his PhD in Chemistry, he pursued a postdoctoral career in polymer science and nanotechnology at the Department of Chemistry, Washington University in St. Louis. Soon after a brief stint at the industry (General Electric biosciences/Healthcare), Dr. Pan joined the WU faculty in 2007.

Prof. Pan’s research is broadly aimed at developing clinically translatable defined nanoparticle platforms for molecular imaging, drug delivery and non viral gene delivery applications. His research is highly multidisciplinary, which brings skills from synthetic chemistry, nano-engineering, molecular biology and preclinical animal models. He is a co-inventor of several engineered nano-platforms for molecular imaging and therapeutic application. His research covers several imaging modalities including MRI, CT, Optical, PET/SPECT and Photoacoustic imaging. His work has been commercialized for preclinical application.

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Rivers, process sedimentology; fluid dynamics; morphodynamics

Gary Parker

Gary Parker
Professor
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Professor Parker received a B.S. from the Department of Mechanics and Materials Science of Johns Hopkins University (1971) and a Ph.D. from the Department of Civil Engineering of the Uni­versity of Minnesota (1974). Before coming to the University of Illinois, he was an Institute of Technology Distinguished Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Minne­sota. During the period 1995-1999, he also served as Director of the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, a water resources/fluid mechanics laboratory in the same department.

One of Prof. Parker's major research goals is to use the fundamental techniques of fluid mechanics and applied mathematics to treat interesting geomorphological problems. Related special research includes mechanics of river meandering; oceanic turbidity currents; sorting of mixed grain sediment by fluvial processes; bank erosion and protection using permeable dikes and vegetation; and reservoir sedimentation. Development of a mechanistic understanding of the processes involved with sediment transport in rivers and the ocean environment, and the morphologies they create, is of prime importance. River meander migration research has led to the development of computer models that predict channel shift and can therefore be used in the design of floodplain structures such as bridges, intakes, etc. In addition, research on depositional submarine fans has been found useful to oil companies as a means of helping locate oil deposits.

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Hydrology

Joshua M. Peschel

Joshua M. Peschel
Research Assistant Professor
Department of Bioengineering

Joshua Peschel holds a B.S. in Biological Systems Engineering (2001), M.S. in Biological and Agricultural Engineering (2004), and Ph.D. in Computer Science (2012), all from Texas A&M University. He currently directs the Human-Infrastructure Interaction Lab. Prior to his Ph.D. studies, Dr. Peschel worked for several years as an engineering consultant in Mexico and China on environmental and water resources problems for large agricultural operations.Dr. Peschel teaches undergradaute courses on information systems, robotics and sensing, and groundwater, and he offers a graduate course in sustainable urban systems. He was selected as a 2013-14 Collins Scholar by the College of Engineering and has been recognized on the University's List of Teachers Rated as Excellent.

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Engineering

Nandakishore Rajagopalan

Nandakishore Rajagopalan
Associate Director, State Pollution Prevention Scientist
Illinois Sustainable Technology Cente

Nandakishore Rajagopalan is an Associate Director at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) and was appointed as the State Pollution Prevention Scientist in 2013. He oversees a staff of engineers and scientists working on reducing natural resource use in industrial operations and promoting beneficial reuse of industrial/agricultural waste. His personal research interests are in the integration of separations research to advance green process development with a special focus on membrane processes. He has more than 30 years of experience in plant operations, green process development, separations, and pollution prevention research. Rajagopalan has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and a Ph.D. in Food Science along with a post-graduate diploma in management. He has more than 40-peer reviewed publications and holds five U.S. patents. He has served as a reviewer for the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Science Foundation among others.

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Hydrology

Arthur R. Schmidt

Arthur R. Schmidt
Research Assistant Professor
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Dr. Schmidt's research interests are in the study of surface-water hydraulics and hydrology, with particular emphasis in two areas: (1) providing better understanding of the hydraulics and hydrology of urban storm-water management systems and (2) providing improved measurement and quantitative description of streamflow and related parameters, including quantification of the uncertainty in the reported values.

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Hydrology and civil engineering

Murugesu Sivapalan

Murugesu Sivapalan
Professor
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Geography and Geographic Information Science

Murugesu Sivapalan is the Chester and Helen Siess Endowed Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering and a Professor of Geography and Geographic Information Science. The Director of the Center for Water as a Complex Environmental System (CWACES), Sivapalan has published more than 200 articles in peer-reviewed journals on a wide range of topics, including the effects of heterogeneity and scale, flood frequency, water balance and water quality modeling, ecohydrology and socio-hydrology. He was founding chair of the International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS) “Predictions in Ungauged Basins” decadal initiative. Sivapalan has a 1975 degree in Civil Engineering from Sri Lanka, a Masters degree in Water Resources Engineering from AIT, Thailand, and a 1986 Ph.D. in Hydrology from Princeton University. He has taught and conducted research in Australia, Austria, Holland, Nigeria, and the United States.

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Water resources engineering

Ashlynn Stillwell

Ashlynn Stillwell
Assistant Professor
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Dr. Stillwell is an Assistant Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Missouri (2006), an M.S. in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering (2010), an M.P.Aff in Public Affairs (2010), and Ph.D. in Civil Engineering (2013) from The University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests include the nexus of energy and water systems and the relationship those systems have with public policy.

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Engineering

Rizwan Uddin

Rizwan Uddin
Professor, Associate Head of Academic Programs
Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering

Rizwan Uddin, who has been a faculty member at Illinois since 1996, received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 1980 from Middle East Technical University in Turkey, his M.S. in Nuclear Engineering in 1983 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and his Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering in 1987 from Illinois. A former Fellow at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, Uddin specializes in computational technology, modeling, simulation, and prediction. He also serves on the Steering Committee for the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE).

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Hydrology

Al Valocchi

Al Valocchi
Professor
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Albert J. Valocchi earned his Ph.D. in 1981 from Stanford in Civil & Environmental Engineering and has been at Illinois his entire career. He served as Associate Head and Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering from 2004 to 2011.

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Civil engineering

Ann-Perry Witmer

Ann-Perry Witmer
Visiting Teaching Associate, Adjunct Lecturer
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Ann-Perry Witmer is a practicing Civil Engineer and Teaching Associate with the College of Engineering. She received her B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Illinois in 2002, as well as a B.S. in journalism and B.A. in art history from Boston University in 1982. As a licensed professional engineer in Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota, Witmer has worked with public water utilities throughout the Midwest, and also has founded and/or assisted numerous international service organizations in designing and implementing safe drinking water systems for rural international communities in need. At Illinois, she teaches courses that apply contextual engineering design to international service projects, fusing engineering considerations with sociopolitical and cultural influences to develop sustainable approaches to establishing safe water supplies, and she is faculty adviser to Engineers Without Borders-UIUC and the WEF/AWWA student chapter. She has chaired the Wisconsin Water Association, and serves the American Water Works Association as a founding member of the AWWAIndia Advisory Committee along with the Public Affairs Council.

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solving global water challenges