Dr Zhen (Jason) HE (China)

Jason’s interests include sustainable wastewater/waste management through recovering value-added resources such as water, nutrients, and energy. His research centers on environmental biotechnology, bioenergy production, biological wastewater treatment, bioelectrochemical systems, sustainable desalination technology, and membrane technologies.

PhD in Environmental Engineering

Current position: Professor at the Department of Energy, Environmental and Chemical Engineering and Director of Center for Water Innovation, Washington University in St. Louis, United States of America

Research focus: biological wastewater treatment, bio-electrochemical systems, sustainable seawater desalination and bioenergy production

Jason became an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee in 2009 after completing a postdoctoral training period at the University of Southern California. Since then, he has established a research programme in environmental biotechnology and was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure at Virginia Tech in 2013. In 2017 he was promoted to a full professor. In 2020 Jason started a new position as professor in the Department of Energy, Environmental and Chemical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis.

He established the Center for Water Innovation (CWI) and became its inaugural director. He is a Board Member of IWA USA National Committee and a member of Management Committee for IWA Membrane Technology Specialist Group. He is co-chairing the 10th IWA Membrane Technology Conference in summer 2022 and an Associate Conference Chair for AEESP meeting in summer 2021. He was named a Fellow of IWA in 2020.

2022 Editor-in-chief of Journal of Hazardous Materials
2020 Co-founded Journal of Hazardous Materials Letters and acted as its Co-Editor
2018 Editor in Chief for Water Environment Research (WER) and a Co-Editor in Chief for Environment International (EI) and Journal of Hazardous Materials
2017 President for Chinese-American Professors in Environmental Engineering and Science (CAPEES)
2013 Member of the Research and Innovation Committee and Associate Editor for Water Environment Research, Water Environment Federation

CV as submitted for the Green Talents award (2010):

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, United States of America

Research focus: bioenergy recovery from wastewater

Dr Hes academic career has taken him around the world, starting in his native China where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree at the prestigious Tongji University in Shanghai, before moving to Europe for a Masters Degree from the Technical University of Denmark.

He then moved to the United States where he completed a Doctorate in Environmental Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis. After a 2-year postdoctoral training at the University of Southern California, in 2009, Dr He joined the Department of Civil Engineering & Mechanics at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee as an assistant professor.

His current research interests are biological wastewater treatment, sustainable seawater desalination, and bioenergy production through bio-electrochemical systems such as microbial fuel cells (MFCs) and microbial desalination cells (MDCs). MFCs convert chemical energy to electrical energy using the catalytic reaction of microorganisms. MFCs can generate electricity from almost any kind of organic matter so they can run on things like wastewater. The potential is obvious: Using MFCs in a wastewater treatment facility makes it possible to break down the organic waste while generating clean energy efficiently at the same time. MDCs are based on the same principle and use the energy generated by the microorganisms to desalinate water. This could potentially make them a sustainable alternative to today’s energy-intensive desalination technology. Dr Hes research has already resulted in numerous publications, patent applications and collaborations with academic and industry partners.

As part of the Green Talents Forum, Dr He is looking forward to visiting Germanys leading research institutions and industrial research facilities. “This will provide invaluable opportunities for face-to-face communication with German scientists and researchers,” he says. “I am eager to experience the cutting-edge technologies and concepts developed in Germany and to share our research findings with our peers.”