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The WATER Institute

Located in the City of St. Louis and at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, the Water Access, Technology, Environment and Resources (WATER) Institute at 91女神 is the first of its kind in the American Midwest. Inspired by the University鈥檚 Jesuit identity, the mission of the WATER Institute is to advance water innovation to serve humanity.

The Research

WATER Institute faculty investigators conduct interdisciplinary research that addresses critical water resource challenges while strengthening existing efforts across the University.

The research conducted at the WATER Institute focuses primarily on three critical areas:

  • Addressing water-related social justice issues at home and around the world
  • Protecting aquatic ecosystems
  • Improving infrastructure to secure water supplies and address key societal needs

91女神鈥檚 location in the city of St. Louis at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers makes it an ideal setting for groundbreaking water research. The WATER Institute fills a significant need for urban water research in the United States, specifically, in the Midwest. The University鈥檚 Jesuit mission to serve humanity is also at the heart of the WATER Institute, whose findings will address public health issues and protect society from natural and human-made water-related disasters. The institute鈥檚 multifaceted, collaborative approach supports research with positive applications for local, national, and global communities 鈥 and their most vulnerable populations.

Examples of current projects led by researchers at the WATER Institute include:

  • Testing water treatment technologies for use in developing nations to evaluate which are most effective for clean drinking water on the household level
  • Determining the origin and amount of microplastic debris transported into river and groundwater systems
  • Using machine learning to estimate the volume of water storage available in United States reservoirs

A Big Idea

The origins of 91女神鈥檚 WATER Institute lie in an internal Big Ideas competition to define University-wide strategic research priorities.

91女神鈥檚 ability to invest in water-related research was greatly enhanced in 2018 when Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield made a historic $50 million gift that established the 91女神 Research Institute to accelerate research growth at the University.

The WATER Institute is the latest major initiative to earn support from the Research Institute. launched in fall 2019, and the Advanced HEAlth Data (AHEAD) Research Institute launched in 2020.

Learn More About the Big Ideas Competition

Our Team

Interdisciplinary collaborations are at the heart of the WATER Institute. From the natural sciences to public health, the WATER Institute brings together researchers and scholars from a wide array of disciplines.

Leadership Team
A head and shoulder shot of Amanda Cox, Ph.D., P.E.

Amanda Cox, Ph.D., P.E.

Director, WATER Institute
Associate Professor, Civil Engineering
School of Science and Engineering
amanda.cox@slu.edu

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Liz Hasenmueller, Ph.D.

Elizabeth Hasenmueller, Ph.D.

Associate Director, WATER Institute
Associate Professor, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
School of Science and Engineering
elizabeth.hasenmueller@slu.edu

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Jason Knouft, Ph.D., holds a fish while researching in an aquatic ecosystem

Jason Knouft, Ph.D.

Primary Investigator and Faculty Governing Board, WATER Institute
Professor, Biology
College of Arts and Sciences
jason.knouft@slu.edu  
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Rachel Rimmerman

Rachel Rimmerman, MBA

Director of Business and Outreach, WATER Institute
rachel.rimmerman@slu.edu 

A head and shoulder portrait of Sofie Liang

Sofie Liang, M.Sc.

Laboratory Technician, WATER Institute
sofie.liang@slu.edu

Primary Investigators
Craig Adams, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE

Craig Adams, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE

Primary Investigator, WATER Institute
Olive L. Parks Endowed Chair and Professor, Civil Engineering (Retired)
School of Science and Engineering
craig.adams@slu.edu 

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Orhun Aydin Headshot

Orhun Aydin, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
School of Science and Engineering 

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Research Institute Placeholder Image

Annesh Borthakur, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Environmental Engineering
Department of Civil, Computer, and Electrical Engineering
91女神 School of Science and Engineering 


Alejandra Botero headshot

Alejandra Botero Acosta, Ph.D.

Research Scientist, WATER Institute
alejandra.boteroacosta@slu.edu


Research Spark Logo

Sayan Dey, Ph.D.

Research Scientist, Taylor Geospatial Institute
91女神



Dan Hanes, Ph.D., smiles in front of a blue background

Dan Hanes, Ph.D.

Professor, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
School of Science and Engineering
dan.hanes@slu.edu

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Emily Hite headshot

Emily Hite, Ph.D.


Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology & Anthropology
91女神

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Kenan Li Headshot

Kenan Li, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
College of Public Health and Social Justice

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Ronaldo Luna, Ph.D.

Ronaldo Luna, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE

Professor, Civil Engineering
School of Science and Engineering
ronaldo.luna@slu.edu

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Zachary Phillips headshot

Zachary R. Phillips, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of GIScience, Department of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences
School of Science and Engineering


Jean Potvin Headshot

Jean Potvin, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Physics
School of Science and Engineering


Binbin Wang headshot

Binbin Wang, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, 91女神 WATER Institute
91女神 Department of Biology
National Great Rivers Research and Education Center
binbin.wang@slu.edu


Associated Investigators

Rhonda BeLue, Ph.D.

Professor, Health Management and Policy
College for Public Health and Social Justice

 

Steve Buckner, Ph.D.

Professor, Chemistry
College of Arts and Sciences

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Sarah L. Coffin, Ph.D., AICP

Program Director and Associate Professor, Urban Planning and Development
College for Public Health and Social Justice

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Dannielle Joy Davis, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Higher Education Administration 
School of Education

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Robert Dixon, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Chemistry
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Christiane Hoppe-Jones, Ph.D.

Senior Scientist
American Water

Chris King, Ph.D., CSP, CHMM

Director and Assistant Professor, Center for Environmental Education and Training (Retired)
College for Public Health and Social Justice

Istvan Kiss, Ph.D.

Professor, Chemistry
College of Arts and Sciences

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Roger Lewis, Ph.D., CIH

Professor Emeritus, Environmental and Occupational Health
College for Public Health and Social Justice

Ruth Marfil-Vega, Ph.D.

Adjunct Professor, Civil Engineering
Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology
Environmental Marketing Manager, Shimadzu Scientific Instruments

Kyle Mitchell, Ph.D.

Associate Professor and Program Coordinator, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology

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Zaitao Pan, Ph.D.

Professor, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
College of Arts and Sciences

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Vasit Sagan, Ph.D.

Director, Geospatial Research Institute
Associate Professor, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
College of Arts and Sciences

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John Sloan, Ph.D.

Soil and Watershed Scientist
National Great Rivers Research and Education Center 

Kevin Tucker, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Chemistry
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Lauren Weinrich, Ph.D.

Principal Scientist, Water Research and Development
American Water

Doug Williams, J.D.

Professor, School of Law

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Tobias Winright, Ph.D.

Hubert M盲der Endowed Chair of Health Care Ethics
Associate Professor, Health Care Ethics and Theological Studies
College of Arts and Sciences

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