Past Speakers

Fall 2021

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Kun Zhang, Ph.D.      September 22, 2021

Kun Zhang, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering

Marquette University


Kun Zhang is a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering at Marquette University. His research aims to understand the impact of urban drainage infrastructure on the hydrologic environment and explore solutions to increase the performance and resilience of urban drainage infrastructure.



Urban surface-subsurface hydrology: characterization and management practices

Urbanization increases impervious cover, which transforms slow environmental flows into fast stormflows and results in urban stream syndrome. Meanwhile, urban drainage infrastructure dissects the subsurface and induces artificial controls on storage-discharge characteristics of the watershed and the streamflow regime by draining infiltrated stormwater and groundwater or leaking water into the subsurface (i.e., rainfall-derived inflow and infiltration, RDII). Green stormwater infrastructure (GSI), as nature-based best management practices to urban stormwater problems, can potentially reduce the hydrologic impact of urbanization. To better characterize urban surface-subsurface hydrology, a physical-based hydrologic model was built to quantify RDII; and data-based analysis was performed to quantify the fraction of RDII in urban hydrologic cycle and study the effect of RDII on streamflow recession in urban watersheds. In addition, experimental, monitoring and modeling approaches were used to investigate the hydrologic performance of green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) in shallow groundwater environment.

Jacob Jones, Ph.D.     October 6, 2021

Jacob Jones, Ph.D.

Distinguished Professor of Material Science and Engineering

Director of the NSF-sponsored STC (Science and Technology Center)

North Carolina State University


Dr. Jacob Jones is a Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) at NC State University, Director and Principal Investigator of the Science and Technologies for Phosphorus Sustainability (STEPS) Center (, an NSF STC), and Director and Principal Investigator of the Research Triangle Nanotechnology Network (, an NSF NNCI site). Jones received his PhD from Purdue University in 2004, after which he completed an international postdoctoral fellowship from the National Science Foundation at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. He was an Assistant and Associate Professor in the Department of MSE at the University of Florida from 2006-2013 and joined NC State in 2013. Jones’ research interests involve developing a fundamental understanding of inorganic materials during their synthesis and use, e.g. through the use of in situ synchrotron Xray scattering experiments. Jones has published over 269 papers (h-index=52, GoogleScholar) on these topics. Jones is a Fellow of the IEEE Society and the American Ceramic Society and has received numerous awards for his research and education activities, including an NSF CAREER award, a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) from President Obama, the NC State College of Engineering George H. Blessis Outstanding Undergraduate Advisor Award, and the 2019 NC State Alumni Association Outstanding Research Award.



STEPS: A Convergence Research Center for Phosphorus Sustainability

Phosphorus (P) is a critical component of cellular structures like DNA and processes like energy transfer and underpins the productivity of food systems as a key nutrient in fertilizers. Yet many challenges exist around the availability, application, management, and disposal or reuse of P: P is sourced from non-renewable phosphate rock, is inefficiently utilized in food systems, and accumulates in terrestrial systems such as soils and freshwater sources, the latter of which causes harmful algal blooms and hypoxia of marine life. Without intervention, the environmental, economic, and sustainability issues involving phosphorus will escalate with continued world population growth. In fact, a paradigm shift is needed in how we discover and develop materials, technologies, and strategies to control, recover, reuse, and manage phosphorus such that the solutions can have a transformative impact on improving the circularity of the P cycle.

This seminar will introduce the Science and Technologies for Phosphorus Sustainability (STEPS) Center, a recently announced, NSF-supported Science and Technology Center (STC). STEPS is a convergence research center that addresses the complex challenges in phosphorus sustainability by integrating disciplinary contributions across the physical, life, social, and economic sciences. STEPS draws from atomic and molecular insights (e.g., chemistry, materials research, biochemistry, bioengineering) to develop materials and technologies that are deployed at the human scale (e.g., environmental and agricultural engineering, plant biology, crop and soil sciences) while considering supply-chain logistics, life cycle, and other regional and global issues (e.g., ecology, economics, sociology, policy). STEPS further leverages disciplinary contributions that transcend length scales and serve as integration mechanisms within the Center (e.g., science of team science, data science). Some very early work undertaken by STEPS will be highlighted, using an example project by the presenter involving the use of metal oxides and related materials for phosphorus sorption.

Anna Wilson, Ph.D.     October 13, 2021

Anna Wilson, Ph.D.

Field Research Manager, Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes

Scripps Institute of Oceanography

University of California San Diego


Dr. Anna M. Wilson is the Field Research Manager with the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She earned her Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Duke University in 2016. Her current research interests are in supporting the development of physically based, accurate representations of atmospheric rivers and other extreme events in forecasts and projections, in support of science-based resource management strategies. Her responsibilities include overseeing ground-based field programs in California and coordinating airborne field campaigns over the northeast Pacific.



Forecast Informed Reservoir Operations: Developing an Adaptive, Science Based Proposed Water Management Strategy

Many reservoirs are operated to provide both water supply and flood control, while balancing environmental needs and other considerations. Most are operated using rules established when streamflow forecasts had very low skill and thus are not allowable inputs into daily operations. However, with advances in weather prediction skill, forecasts today may be skillful enough to enable their use. Forecast-Informed Reservoir Operations (FIRO) tests the viability of this possibility along the US West Coast where the needs are great and where predictive skill has emerged for the dominant storm type – atmospheric rivers. A cross-disciplinary, multi-agency steering committee formed to evaluate FIRO viability at a pilot reservoir in northern California. This study showed such positive early results that a deviation request to test the ideas through real-world reservoir operations was submitted to USACE. The pilot reservoir has now operated successfully for two winters under a deviation, and an update to the water control manual is underway. Similar assessments are ongoing at three additional sites chosen to represent a wide range of locations. This presentation summarizes the partnership between research and operations at FIRO’s core, methods used to advance AR predictive skill, the data collection and monitoring efforts supporting FIRO goals, and the current status of existing viability assessments. 

Daniel Giammar, Ph.D.     October 20, 2021 

Daniel Giammar, Ph.D.

Walter E. Browne Professor of Environmental Engineering

Department of Energy, Environmental and Chemical Engineering

Washington University in St. Louis


Professor Giammar is the Walter E. Browne Professor of Environmental Engineering in the Department of Energy, Environmental and Chemical Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis. Professor Giammar's research focuses on chemical reactions that affect the fate and transport of heavy metals, radionuclides, and other inorganic constituents in natural and engineered aquatic systems. His recent work has investigated the removal of arsenic and chromium from drinking water, control of the corrosion of lead pipes, geologic carbon sequestration, and biogeochemical processes for remediation of uranium-contaminated sites. His research has been sponsored by the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, and Water Research Foundation. Professor Giammar is currently an Associate Editor of Environmental Science & Technology. Professor Giammar completed his B.S. at Carnegie Mellon University, M.S. and Ph.D. at Caltech, and postdoctoral training at Princeton University before joining Washington University in St. Louis in 2002. He is a registered professional engineer in the State of Missouri.



The End of the Pipe: Controlling and Monitoring Lead in Tap Water

The legacy of lead-containing materials used for water supply poses challenges to tap water quality. In contrast to drinking water contaminants that have their origins in the source water and can be removed at a treatment plant, the source of lead in drinking water is the pipe that connects a home to the water main and the plumbing within the home. Concentrations of lead in tap water are governed by the chemical reactions between the water in the pipe and the scale of solid phases that develops on the inner surface of the pipe. Perturbations of the water chemistry have resulted in high profile crises of lead in drinking water (e.g., Washington, DC and Flint, Michigan). However, adjustment of the water chemistry is also a lever that can be used to minimize lead release to drinking water. The effectiveness of orthophosphate as a corrosion inhibitor and its impact on the composition and structure of pipe scales was evaluated in a series of bench-scale experiments with lead pipes that evaluated the responses of lead pipes to a change in disinfectant from free chlorine to chloramine. More recent work on lead interactions with point-of-use filters will also be presented with respect to using these filters as monitoring tools for lead in tap water and to the ability of lead phosphate particles to transport through filters at particular water chemistry conditions.

Gabriele Manoli, Ph.D.     October 27, 2021

Gabriele Manoli, Ph.D.

Lecturer in Environmental Engineering

Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geomatic Engineering

University College London


The Challenge of Describing Natural and Urban Ecosystems: From Modeling Forests to the Design of Green Cities


Anne Jefferson, Ph.D.     November 10, 2021

Anne Jefferson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Department of Geology

Kent State University


Stormwater Management in Urban Watersheds: Connecting Local Decision Making to Environmental Outcomes


Synthia Mallick     November 17, 2021

Synthia Mallick

Graduate Student

Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering

Marquette University


Removal and Recovery of Soluble Non-Reactive Phosphorus Compounds Using Phosphate-Selective Binding Proteins