For over two decades, I have dedicated my life’s work to education, research, engineering, innovation, entrepreneurial and philanthropic activities related to my passion – clean water.
Experience: I currently serve as the CEO of Water Planet, Inc. where we are commercializing next-generation membrane filtration technology to enable sustainable water reuse. Previously, I was an engineering professor at UCLA and UC Riverside from 2002 to 2014; I’ve been on leave from UCLA since January 2014 to run Water Planet. At UCLA, I am a faculty member in Civil & Environmental Engineering, the UCLA Institute of the Environment & Sustainability and the California NanoSystems Institute. I also helped create the UCLA Water Technology Research Center, the UC Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology and the KAUST-Cornell Center for Energy & Sustainability.
Academic Experience: Since the late 1990’s my research has focused on understanding and improving membrane materials, modules, processes and systems applied to desalination, water reuse and environmental remediation. Since 2002, I have generated over $4.5M in externally funded research projects, including >$870k in active grants, and I was part of 3 teams that raised over $50M in funding for 3 research centers. I have published over 150 scientific publications and 16 patents. Currently, I am the Editor-in-Chief of the new Nature Publishing Group journal npj Clean Water, and I am under contract by J. Wiley & Sons to author a textbook on Membrane Science & Technology. Previously, I was associate editor of the international journal Desalination and I co-edited the Encyclopedia of Membrane Science & Technology. I have received numerous awards including the 2012 ASCE Walter L. Huber Award, 2007 Public Works Magazine Trendsetter Award, the 2008/2013/2016 Global Water Awards Tech Idol, and the Global Cleantech List of 100 Ones to Watch.
Industrial Experience: I have served as a consultant or advisor on numerous municipal water reuse and desalination projects, private technology companies, US federal, state and local agencies, law firms, private research foundations, non-profit foundations and foreign national research agencies. In 2012, I embarked on a 5-year collaboration with Global Classrooms for Peace to improve sanitation and drinking water for villages and settlements on remote islands of Fiji. I also consulted on the cleanup of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the summer of 2010. I have been a part of the creation of 4 UCLA-based startup companies including NanoH2O (nanotechnology based RO membranes; acquired by LG Chem in 2014), Water Planet (artificial intelligence filtration system controls, 2011-present), PolyCera Technologies (polymer nanofiber UF membranes; acquired by Water Planet in 2013), and Hydrophilix (novel RO membrane material; formed in 2016 with UCLA Chemistry Professor Ric Kaner).