Environmental Engineering - PFAS

Job Type
Job Institution
University of Missouri
Job Description

PhD Position at the University of Missouri on treatment and remediation of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) 

The research group of Dr. Feng “Frank” Xiao (https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=_jZoIRQAAAAJ&hl=en) at the University of Missouri (Columbia, MO) has one Ph.D. position available for fall 2024 or spring 2025. We offer a very competitive stipend and full tuition coverage. Dr. Xiao’s research focuses on water and soil quality engineering. He currently is an editor of the Journal of Hazardous Materials (impact factor: 14).

Benefits of this position: 

  • Annual salary/stipend: US$30,507 per year

  • Tuition waiver: Approximately US$18,000 per year

  • Medical insurance allowance: US$5,220 per year

  • Allowance for one domestic conference trip: US $2,000 per year

  • Total: ~$55,727

Minimum requirements:

  • Holds an M.S. degree in relevant fields such as environmental, chemical, or biological engineering, and chemistry.

  • Has published at least one paper as the first author in peer-reviewed journals or second author if the first author is the 

Research topic #1: An Innovative Treatment Strategy for Removal of PFAS in Groundwater and Landfill Leachate 

Background: Many countries and regions, including the U.S., plan to regulate primary PFAS compounds in drinking water. However, most water treatment facilities may not be prepared enough to face these new compliance challenges because conventional drinking-water treatment systems are not designed to remove PFAS from water. Effective strategies are urgently needed for removing PFAS in full-scale water treatment plants. This project aims to innovatively integrate and enhance commonly used water treatment technologies to effectively and practically remove PFAS from natural water and landfill leachate. 

What will you learn:

  • water purification

  • water chemistry

  • wastewater treatment

  • liquid chromatography

  • high-resolution mass spectrometry

  • many other analytical skills


Research topic #2: Transformation of precursor compounds or polyfluoroalkyl substances  


Research topic #3: Thermal Decomposition of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in Soil 

Background: The contamination of soil and water by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) is a worldwide concern. Soil largely contributes to the quality of groundwater and crops, which are potential human exposure pathways for these chemicals. The challenge of dealing with PFAS contamination results from their chemical structure that leads to strong resistance to chemical and biological degradation in the environment. This project aims to understand thermal decomposition mechanisms of PFAS chemicals in soils. A deeper understanding of these processes is necessary for developing thermal technologies to clean up soils contaminated by PFAS to protect human and ecological health.

What you will learn:

  • knowledge of environmental remediation

  • environmental organic chemistry

  • liquid chromatography

  • high-resolution mass spectrometry,

  • gas chromatography

  • many other analytical skills.

To apply, please send a CV/resume to Feng.Xiao@Missouri.edu. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to have a brief Zoom (or another format) meeting with Dr. Xiao and submit a complete application for department review.

The University of Missouri is an AAU member. The university has the No. 12 best ranked value among all other public universities within the U.S. Founded in 1839 as the first public university west of the Mississippi River, the University of Missouri is a committed flagship and land-grant institution, a member of the competitive SEC conference — and a proud member of the AAU (including 71 distinguished U.S. and Canada private and public schools).