Environmental Engineering

Sunday, March 13, 2022
Job Type: 
Job Rank: 
3 Ph.D. Research Associate positions
Job Institution: 
Virginia Tech
Job Description: 

Dr. Zhiwu (Drew) Wang’s research group in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, also known as Virginia Tech, invites applications for three Graduate Research Associate positions to pursue research in three bioprocessing research directions described below. The Environmental Engineering program at Virginia Tech ranks the 6th in the U.S.

These graduate students will conduct research and take courses in Dr. Wang’s Sustainable Environment Research Laboratory (SERL) stationed within the Washington metropolitan area, where is about four-hour drive from the main campus of Virginia Tech. All three positions can be available as early as summer 2022. Because all three projects are field-work intensive, graduate students are required to be able to drive vehicles between experimental sites and work closely with both industrial and academic partners.  The candidate with good hands-on bioprocessing experience, qPCR training, and aspiration to finding solution to real-world engineering problems is preferred.

The ideal candidates should possess a Master or a Bachelor degree in civil engineering, environmental engineering, chemical engineering, biological system engineering, or a related field with minimum GPA: 3.0. For international students, TOEFL score is required. Our departmental minimum is 90 (internet-based). Further, TOEFL scores of 20 or greater in Listening, Writing, Speaking, and Reading subsections are required. IELTS may be substituted for the TOEFL only if it is above 6.5.

Interested students are encouraged to contact Dr. Wang directly at wzw@vt.edu with email subject as “2022 SERL GRA application”. A curriculum vita should be provided in your email showing GPA and TOFEL scores, the contact information of three references, and a full list of publications if applicable. Interested candidates can find more information about Dr. Wang’s research at http://www.water.cee.vt.edu. The review process will begin immediately and continue until all positions are filled. The selected candidates will be supported with monthly stipend around $2,200 in addition to full benefits and tuition.

 1.   Characterization of Variability in MSW Streams to Identify Critical Material Attributes for Fuel Production

A Ph.D. or a M.S. student will be supported by this project to understand the characteristics critical to turning low-cost, abundant municipal solid waste (MSW) into conversion-ready feedstocks for producing biofuels through gasification and solid-state anaerobic digestion (SS-AD) as targeted thermal and biological conversion technologies. Since this is a joint project among seven organizations, the candidate working on this project will have the opportunity to learn collaborative skills between universities, national labs, and industrial partners. Candidates with experience in solid waste management are especially encouraged. 

 2.   Bioprocess intensification for advanced wastewater treatment

A Ph.D. student will be supported by this project to develop novel bioreactor design and operational strategies to allow high concentration of active biomass to be retained in bioreactors for both high rates of bioreaction and water-biomass separation. The success of this biotechnology would pave a new avenue to cost-effective bioprocessing that can be applied not only for wastewater treatment but also for value-added bioproduct fermentation.

 3.   Thermal hydrolysis-enhanced high-solid anaerobic digestion

A Ph.D. will be supported by this project to revolutionize the modern anaerobic digestion systems through its integration with thermal hydrolysis. Identifying and unblocking the limiting factors constraining the productivity and applicability of this integrated system is the focus of this project. Candidates with experience in anaerobic digestion are especially welcomed.