Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, University of Houston

Debora F. Rodrigues is an Associate Professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Houston, Texas. Her research interests are directly related to the water–energy nexus. She has been conducting research to reduce total energy costs in water and wastewater treatment—which typically account for about 40% of total energy consumed in municipalities—by developing new alternative and clean bio- and nano-technologies. Her research integrates bio-inspired polymer nanocomposites and biological treatments to remove water contaminants. These technologies aim to produce clean alternative sources of energy, such as producing biofuels or recycling essential nutrients in contaminated water for reuse in agriculture. Because of her outstanding research contributions, she was presented with the National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2012 and the Inaugural Emerging Investigator Research Award from the Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization in 2014. Rodrigues has more than 45 publications with over 1,600 citations. Her breakthroughs in the water–energy nexus resulted in one international and two national patents. The patents have been licensed to WAVVE Stream, Inc., a company created and managed by students from the University of Houston who are currently commercializing water treatment systems based on Rodrigues’ technologies. She also serves on WAVVE Stream’s advisory research board to assist in the development and expansion of new water treatment technologies. She holds a PhD from Michigan State University, and she was a postdoctoral associate in the Environmental Engineering Program at Yale University.