Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, University of Houston
2016 Research Award Winner
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. She was also selected in 2017 to participate in the Frontiers of Engineering program organized by the National Academy of Engineering. Rodrigues has more than 64 publications with over 3,500 citations. Her breakthroughs in the water–energy nexus have resulted in three international and two national patents. She holds a PhD from Michigan State University, and she was a postdoctoral associate in the Environmental Engineering Program at Yale University.