Current Research

Although the wastewater pollution problem has been long-overlooked in the literature, researchers across the globe are working to change that. From risk analysis to habitat restoration to modeling, we are gaining more and more evidence to demonstrate the causes and impacts of wastewater pollution, as well as the solutions to end it.

If you'd like to learn more, below are short biographies of our academic partners and their research goals:

  • Deron Burkepile is a Professor at the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology at UC Santa Barbara. The Burkepile Community Ecology Lab focuses on questions that provide fundamental understanding about the ecology of communities and ecosystems while also informing the conservation and restoration of these systems. 
  • Katie Cramer is a program lead for coral reef conservation at the Global Institute of Sustainability and Innovation at Arizona State University and an Ocean Science Fellow at the Center for Oceans at Conservation International. Katie is a marine conservation ecologist whose work reconstructs long-term change in marine ecosystems and predicts their future states to motivate and inform conservation. 
  • Ben Halpern is Executive Director of the National Center for Ecological Analysis & Synthesis, Director of the Center for Marine Assessment and Planning (CMAP) at University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Professor at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at UCSB. He has led and participated in many synthetic research projects that have advanced understanding of the state of the world’s oceans and the potential for marine reserves to improve ocean condition. In particular, he has led the development and mapping of cumulative impact assessments at global and regional scales in marine and freshwater systems and has been the lead scientist for the Ocean Health Index project.
  • Ove Hoegh-Guldberg is a Professor of Marine Studies at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. Ove’s research focuses on the impacts of global change on marine ecosystems and is one of the most cited authors on climate change.
  • Eric Hoek is a Professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, the Institute of the Environment & Sustainability, and the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA. His academic work explores the union of membrane technologies, nanomaterials and electrochemistry for a more sustainable future. 
  • Liz Hollaway is the Project Officer of the Sustainable Development Reform Hub at University of New South Wales. The Sustainable Development Reform Hub seeks to co-develop a cluster of enduring change-making collaborations with external stakeholders through a consultation process and seed funding.   
  • Joleah Lamb is an Assistant Professor at the University of California Irvine where she leads the Healthy Oceans and People (HOPE) Laboratory -an innovative research program with a solutions-driven vision at the interface between public health and ecosystem function.
  • Shaily Mahendra is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UCLA. Her research interests lie in the area of microbial interactions with chemical contaminants and nanoparticles for applications ranging from ecotoxicology to biodegradation to disinfection.
  • Mike Mezzacapo is an Water Resources Outreach Specialist with the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Water Resources Research Center (WRRC). He is currently involved in developing tools and policies to provide education, cross-collaboration between Sea Grant programs, and outreach strategies to address pressing water resource challenges across diverse communities.
  • Kirsten Oleson is an Assistant Professor of Ecological Economics in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management at the University of Hawaiʻi-Manoa. Kirsten's research is at the interface of environmental ethics, economics, and policy, an exciting new interdisciplinary pursuit she calls “quantitative natural resource ethics.”
  • Kevin Orner is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at West Virginia University. His research focuses on improving human and environmental health locally and globally through the safe and sustainable recovery of resources such as nutrients, energy and water from concentrated waste streams.
  • Erin M. Symonds is an Affiliated Research Scientist at Southern Methodist University and Strategic Partnership Manager for Water for Good. She has over a decade of experience working on applied research projects relevant to coastal, as well as water, sanitation, and health (WASH) policies and development, with global transdisciplinary teams from academia, governmental, and non-governmental organizations in Latin America and the U.S. 
  • Jacqueline Thomas is an Environmental Engineer, Lecturer in Humanitarian Engineering, and Director of the Immersive Learning Laboratory at the University of Sydney’s School of Civil Engineering. She’s passionate about improving peoples' lives and protecting the environment, as evidenced by her research into water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) in developing countries.
  • Rebecca Vega Thurber is a Professor at the Department of Microbiology at Oregon State University. Her lab’s research uses interdisciplinary and high technology approaches to address questions about how viruses and microbes function in and affect the environment.
  • Amelia Wenger is an associate conservation scientist with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and a research fellow at the University of Queensland (UQ). She works with and alongside managers, scientists and communities throughout the Indo-Pacific to identify and model the impacts of water pollutants and to develop management strategies to reduce pollution levels. Her multidisciplinary and outcomes-focused advice informs hydrodynamics, land management practices, municipal wastewater systems, public health, coastal development and public policy.