UT Water Task Force

Frank Calzonetti, Task Force Chair - Office of Research and Sponsored Programs

Frank Calzonetti, Task Force Chair
Vice President for Research
Office of Research and Sponsored Programs


Dr. Calzonetti’s research has been on facility location analysis, resources and energy facilities, and regional economic development.

April Ames, PhD, MSOH, CIH - College of Health and Human Services

April Ames
Assistant Professor
School of Populations Health


Dr. Ames expertise is in exposure and risk assessment in public health.


Defne Apul, PhD - College of Engineering

Defne Apul
Associate Professor
Department of Civil Engineering


Dr. Apul’s research is on modeling the environmental sustainability and resiliency of the water infrastructure using life cycle assessment and life cycle costing tools. She has calculated the energy, greenhouse gas emissions and cost implications for the operations of Collins water treatment and Bayview  wastewater treatment plants.

 Richard Becker, PhD - College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Richard Becker 

Associate Professor
Department of Environmental Sciences   


Dr. Becker’s research relating to water issues focuses on water resource availability, including water resources in arid climates, watershed modeling, UAV, airborne and satellite hyperspectral and radar imaging, particularly in monitoring HABs, and water quality remote sensing.

Thomas Bridgeman, PhD - Director, Lake Erie Center - College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Thomas Bridgeman
Director, Lake Erie Center & Professor
Department of Environmental Sciences


Dr. Bridgeman's laboratory has specific expertise in the monitoring and biology of harmful algal blooms in western Lake Erie. General expertise in lake physics, chemistry, and ecology. Member of first Ohio Phosphorus Task Force addressing the connection between watershed phosphorus loading and algal blooms. Some microcystin toxin testing experience. 

Kevin Czajkowski, PhD - College of Arts and Letters

Kevin Czajkowski
Department of Geography and Planning


Dr. Czajkowski research interests are diverse and all revolve around geospatial technologies. Dr. Czajkowksi uses GIS and remote sensing technologies to assess sources of non-point source pollution in the Maumee River Watershed and Lake Erie through the Maumee River GIS and the Lake Erie Center. His laboratory develops land cover classifications using remote sensing linking that to wetlands in the watershed.

Daryl Dwyer, PhD - Director, Stranahan Arboretum - College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Daryl Dwyer
Director, Stranahan Arboretum & Associate Professor
Department of Environmental Sciences


Dr. Dwyer focuses on bio-restoration and remediation to protect water resources.  Projects include (1) construction of a bioswale at the site of the former jeep plant to restore the Ottawa River and treat runoff from I75; (2) a bioberm at the former Columbia Gas Site near the Erie St Market to prevent contaminants from entering Swan Creek; and (3) a restored riparian corridor and wetland at Maumee Bay State Park to decrease phosphorus and bacterial input to Lake Erie.

Kevin Egan, PhD - College of Arts and Literature

Kevin Egan
Chair & Associate Professor
Department of Economics


Egan is an environmental economist specializing in valuing public goods like improved water quality with specific expertise in benefit-cost analysis and cost-effectiveness analysis to estimate the net benefits to citizens from any considered policy options to improve water quality.

Tim Fisher, PhD - College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Tim Fisher
Chair & Professor
Department of Environmental Sciences


Fisher is a geologist specializing in geomorphology, glacial and quaternary geology and quaternary history of the Great Lakes.

Emanuela Gionfriddo, PhD - College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Emanuela Gionfriddo
Assistant Professor
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry


Gionfriddo specializes in environmental analytical chemistry including water pollution and the measurement of pharmaceuticals and PFAS in fish.

Cyndee Gruden, PhD - College of Engineering Cyndee Gruden 

Interim Dean, COGS & Professor
Department of Civil Engineering 


Dr. Gruden is an expert on storm water management, water quality, and water sensors and is particularly interested in the urban water cycle.

Steven Haller, PhD - College of Medicine and Life Sciences Steven Haller 

Assistant Professor
Department of Medicine


Dr. Haller is an expert on kidney function and hypertension as well as on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and relationships between microcystin and hepatotoxicity.

Jason Huntley, PhD - College of Medicine and Life Sciences

Jason Huntley
Primary Director, BSL3 Laboratory & Associate Professor
Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology


Dr. Huntley’s lab is broadly interested in identifying and understanding the roles of bacterial virulence factors in human disease.  Although the Lake Erie microcystin toxin (MC-LR) problem presents unique challenges, the Huntley lab is isolating and selecting for naturally-occurring Lake bacteria that degrade MC-LR, characterizing the enzymatic pathways that degrade MC-LR, and developing new MC-LR removal technologies such as biofilters.

Dragan Isailovic, PhD - College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Dragan Isailovic
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry


Dr. Isailovic’s lab is developing liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) methodologies to identify and quantify algal toxins in water. Our state-of-the-art LC-MS system enables separation, structural analysis, and quantification of microcystins by LC-tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS). The methodologies developed will be used for quantification of toxins in water, to test purification of water containing low amounts of microcystins, and to analyze toxins and their byproducts in biological samples.  

Dae-wook Kang, PhD - College of Engineering

Dae-Wook Kang
Assistant Professor
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering


Dr. Kang's research interests are understanding how microbes interact with natural environment, environmental engineering system, and human host. He has expertise on human microbiome and environmental biotechnologies including high-throughput DNA/RNA sequencing, multi-omic analyses, and bioinformatics.

David Kennedy, PhD - College of Medicine and Life Sciences David Kennedy 

Assistant Professor
Department of Medicine   


The Kennedy laboratory studies adaptive and maladaptive counter-regulatory mechanisms involved in organ damage and fibrosis resulting from various toxic insults (such as those associated with harmful algal blooms) in at-risk patient populations with heart, kidney or liver disease. The lab is also focused on identifying novel molecular targets which can be used for diagnostic, therapeutic and preventative strategies to improve outcomes in these vulnerable patient populations.

Kenneth Kilbert, JD - College of Law

Kenneth Kilbert
Director, Legal Institute of the Great Lakes & Professor
College of Law


Kilbert focuses his teaching and scholarship in the environmental law field, organizes the annual Great Lakes Water Conference, and his recent publications include “Legal Tools for Reducing Harmful Algal Blooms in Lake Erie.” He also serves as Director of the Legal Institute of the Great Lakes, a multidisciplinary research center with the College of Law.

Patrick Lawrence, PhD - College of Arts and Letters

Patrick Lawrence
Department of Geography and Planning


Lawrence's research focuses on watershed planning.

Glenn Lipscomb, PhD - College of Engineering

Glenn Lipscomb  
Chair & Professor
Department of Chemical & Environmental Engineering   


Dr. Lipscomb is an expert in membranes and their performance.  He is particularly interested in membranes for water filtration and reverse osmosis systems.

Christine Mayer, PhD - College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Christine Mayer  

Department of Environmental Sciences


Dr. Mayer is a resident faculty member at the Lake Erie Research Center. Her areas of expertise include aquatic ecology, organism-habitat modification and introduced species.

Bill Messer, PhD - College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Bill Messer
Department of Pharmacology


Development of new treatments for neurological disorders

Saatvika Raj, PhD - College of Arts and Letters

Saatvika Rai
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science and Public Administration 


Dr. Rai's primary area of expertise is environmental politics where she examines different institutional responses to environmental problems and its effect on vulnerable communities. Currently she focuses on climate change adaptation and mitigation policies in the United States and around the world.

Randall Ruch, PhD - College of Medicine and Life Sciences Randall Ruch  

Associate Professor
Department of Cancer Biology     


Dr. Ruch’s research has provided a better understanding of gap junctional intercellular communication, how gap junctions become defective in cancer cells and carcinogen-treated cells, how gap junctions and their protein components are regulated, and how gap junctions affect anti-cancer drug toxicity.  He has also conducted research on mayflies and is involved in research on liver toxicity as it relates to microsystins.

Jack Schultz, PhD - Office of Research and Sponsored Programs Jack Schultz  

Senior Executive Director of Research Development 
Office of Research and Sponsored Programs     


Dr. Schultz studies the molecular and chemical basis of plant responses to their environment. He has extensive experience developing and managing interdisciplinary research projects and programs.

Youngwoo Seo, PhD - College of Engineering

Youngwoo Seo
Department of Civil Engineering and Environmental Engineering
Department of Chemical Engineering


Seo's research focuses on biological and chemical contaminant removal in water treatment & distribution systems as well as developing environmental sensors. Currently working on three different water projects studying micropollutant removal and detection supported by the national science foundation and the US EPA.    He also serves the City of Toledo water treatment plant (capacity improvement) as a proposal reviewer/ technical expert and as a consultant for the City of Monroe MI water treatment plant. 

Brenda Snyder, BS - College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Brenda Snyder
Sr. Research Associate - Limnology Lab (LEC) & Instructor
Department of Environmental Sciences

Snyder graduated with bachelor's of science degrees in biology and chemistry from the University of Toledo in 1997. Since then, she has had 15 years of experience working as a Chemist/Operator at Toledo Water, serving in her last 6 years there as head chemist. Snyder has been a member of the OAWWA Technology Committee for 3 years and the Research Committee for 7 years. She holds a Class III Water Operator License in the state of Ohio.

Brian Trease, PhD - College of Engineering  

Brian Trease
Assistant Professor
Department of Mechanical, Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering


Brian's research interest include mechanism design, deployable structures, multifunctional materials, optimization, compliant mechanisms and spaceflight hardware.

Michael Valigosky, PhD - College of Health and Human Services

Michael Valigosky
Assistant Professor
School of Population Health


Valigosky has worked for over 25 years in Public, Occupational and Environmental Health in Healthcare and Industry.

Sridar Viamajala, PhD - College of Engineering

Sridar Viamajala
Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering


Algae produced biofuels and Lignocellulose-derived biofuels 

Michael Weintraub, PhD - College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Michael Weintraub
Department of Environmental Sciences


Weintraub is a professor of soil ecology in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. His research and teaching areas of interests include soil ecology, ecosystem ecology, plant-soil interactions and biogeochemistry.

Last Updated: 6/30/19