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The WATER Institute

Located in the City of St. Louis and at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, the Water Access, Technology, Environment and Resources (WATER) Institute at Saint Louis University is the first of its kind in the American Midwest. Inspired by the University’s Jesuit identity, the mission of the WATER Institute is to advance water innovation to serve humanity.

The Research

WATER Institute faculty investigators conduct interdisciplinary research that addresses critical water resource challenges while strengthening existing efforts across the University.

The research conducted at the WATER Institute focuses primarily on three critical areas:

  • Addressing water-related social justice issues at home and around the world
  • Protecting aquatic ecosystems
  • Improving infrastructure to secure water supplies and address key societal needs

Saint Louis University’s location in the city of St. Louis at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers makes it an ideal setting for groundbreaking water research. The WATER Institute fills a significant need for urban water research in the United States, specifically, in the Midwest. The University’s Jesuit mission to serve humanity is also at the heart of the WATER Institute, whose findings will address public health issues and protect society from natural and human-made water-related disasters. The institute’s multifaceted, collaborative approach supports research with positive applications for local, national, and global communities – and their most vulnerable populations.

Examples of current projects led by researchers at the WATER Institute include:

  • Testing water treatment technologies for use in developing nations to evaluate which are most effective for clean drinking water on the household level
  • Determining the origin and amount of microplastic debris transported into river and groundwater systems
  • Using machine learning to estimate the volume of water storage available in United States reservoirs

A Big Idea

The origins of Saint Louis University’s WATER Institute lie in an internal Big Ideas competition to define University-wide strategic research priorities.

SLU’s ability to invest in water-related research was greatly enhanced in 2018 when Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield made a historic $50 million gift that established the Saint Louis University Research Institute to accelerate research growth at the University.

The WATER Institute is the latest major initiative to earn support from the Research Institute. The Geospatial Institute (GeoSLU) launched in fall 2019, and the Advanced HEAlth Data (AHEAD) Research Institute in launched in 2020.

Learn More About the Big Ideas Competition

Our Team

Interdisciplinary collaborations are at the heart of the WATER Institute. From the natural sciences to public health, the WATER Institute brings together researchers and scholars from a wide array of disciplines.

Leadership Team
cox

Amanda Cox, Ph.D., P.E.

Director, WATER Institute
Associate Professor, Civil Engineering
Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology
amanda.cox@slu.edu

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hasenmueller

Elizabeth Hasenmueller, Ph.D.

Associate Director, WATER Institute
Associate Professor, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
College of Arts and Sciences
elizabeth.hasenmueller@slu.edu

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rimmerman

Rachel Rimmerman, MBA

Director of Business and Outreach, WATER Institute
rachel.rimmerman@slu.edu

Craig Adams

Craig Adams, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE

Primary Investigator, WATER Institute
Olive L. Parks Endowed Chair and Professor, Civil Engineering
Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology
craig.adams@slu.edu

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Bob McNair

Robert McNair

Business Manager, Office for the Vice President of Research
robert.mcnair@slu.edu

Primary Investigators

spark

Dan Hanes, Ph.D.

Professor, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
College of Arts and Sciences
dan.hanes@slu.edu

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king

Chris King, Ph.D., CSP, CHMM

Director and Assistant Professor, Center for Environmental Education and Training
College for Public Health and Social Justice
christopher.king@slu.edu

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knouft

Jason Knouft, Ph.D.

Professor, Biology
College of Arts and Sciences
jason.knouft@slu.edu

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lewis

Roger Lewis, Ph.D., CIH

Professor, Environmental and Occupational Health
College for Public Health and Social Justice
roger.lewis@slu.edu

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luna

Ronaldo Luna, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE

Professor, Civil Engineering
Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology
ronaldo.luna@slu.edu

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Associated Investigators

Rhonda BeLue, Ph.D.

Professor, Health Management & Policy
College for Public Health and Social Justice

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Steve Buckner, Ph.D.

Professor, Chemistry
College of Arts and Sciences

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Robert Dixon, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Chemistry
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

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Istvan Kiss, Ph.D.

ssociate Professor, Chemistry
College of Arts and Sciences

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Ruth Marfil-Vega, Ph.D.

Adjunct Professor, Civil Engineering
Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology

Kyle Mitchell, Ph.D.

Associate Professor and Program Coordinator, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology

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Zaitao Pan, Ph.D.

Professor, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
College of Arts and Sciences

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Vasit Sagan, Ph.D.

Director, Geospatial Research Institute
Associate Professor, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
College of Arts and Sciences

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Kevin Tucker, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Chemistry
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

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Lauren Weinrich, Ph.D.

Principal Scientist, Water Research and Development
American Water

Doug Williams, J.D.

Professor, School of Law

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Tobias Winright, Ph.D.

Hubert Mäder Endowed Chair of Health Care Ethics
Associate Professor, Health Care Ethics and Theological Studies
College of Arts and Sciences

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