Dr. Sunny Jiang
Principal Investigator, Professor

Dr. Sunny Jiang is a professor of Environmental Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering with joint appointment with the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California, Irvine. Dr. Jiang teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in Environmental Processes, Microbiology for Engineers and Desalination & Water Reuse. She has over 20 years of experience in environmental microbiology research and is a leader in the field of water quality, pathogen detection, microbial risk assessment and membrane biofouling. She has authored over 70 research publications in the field of environmental microbiology ( Dr. Jiang received her Ph.D. degree in Marine Science from University of South Florida and completed her postdoctoral training with Dr. Rita Colwell in University of Maryland. She is a recipient of several honors and awards including Excellent Research Mentor Award and Sacket Prize for Innovative Research. During her spare time, Dr. Jiang enjoys outdoor activities and has completed eight full marathons and many half marathons.

EHuangDr. Eric Huang
Post-Doctoral Researcher

Eric Huang is a first year post-doctoral researcher who has currently completed his Ph.D. studies and is looking for a position in the water industry. His research focused on evaluating and optimizing the microbial pathogen removal efficiency of engineered water reclamation processes, such as reverse osmosis, biofiltration and electrochemical reactors. He developed a direct virus enumeration method based on flow cytometer Accuri C6, which can detect total viral particles in environmental water samples within half an hour. He was involved in research projects with Caltech, Monash University, Australia and private consulting firms during his Ph.D. study. Before he came to UCI, Eric received his master’s degree in Environmental Engineering from Zhejiang University, China, where his work was focused on solid waste recycle and soil microbiology.

Dr. Leda Katebian
Post-Doctoral Researcher

Leda Katebian is a first year post-doctoral researcher in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. She received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering, and her M.S./Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering at UCI as well. Since Leda’s undergrad, she has been working in Dr. Sunny Jiang’s laboratory to focus on understanding bacterial behavior and response to different environmental stresses to determine the most effective way to mitigate membrane biofilm formation for seawater desalination. Her Ph.D. research investigated the role of quorum sensing pathways in marine biofilm formation. This work further explores the effectiveness of several commercially available and inexpensive compounds, known to be inhibitors of quorum sensing pathways to prevent RO membrane biofilm formation.

ziqiangDr. Ziqiang Yin
Post-Doctoral Researcher

Ziqiang Yin is a first-year postdoctoral researcher working with Dr.Sunny Jiang in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UCI. He received his Ph.D in Environmental Engineering from Michigan State University, with the Doctoral Specialization of Environmental Science and Policy. His Ph.D thesis was based on an NSF project “virus removal in membrane bioreactor (MBR)”, in which he served as co-PI. His research interests include membrane science and technology, pathogen detection and removal in water and wastewater treatment processes. He is currently conducting a research project about the inactivation of bacteria using ohmic heating under the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He will soon start a new project to develop an integrated wastewater treatment/concentration process by combining forward osmosis and membrane distillation (MD), as a component of a decentralized wastewater treatment system.

Dr. Shahryar Jafarinejad
Visiting Assistant Researcher/Post-Doctoral

ResearcherDr. Shahryar Jafarinejad is a Visiting Assistant Researcher in the UCI Water and Energy Nexus Center and Prof. Sunny Jiang’s research group in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UCI. A Visiting Assistant Researcher is a title given to scholars with Ph.D. degree and postdoctoral research training or beyond. He received B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering, M.Sc. in Chemical Engineering-Process Design, and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the School of Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering, UT. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at College of Environment, UoE in Iran. His research at UCI is in the field of desalination membrane fouling. In addition, he also participates in research projects that integrating environmental and engineering principles to solve a variety of issues in the fields of water and wastewater treatment, coastal and estuarine water quality, as well as ecology and environmental biotechnology in the laboratory group.


Derek Manheim
Ph.D. Researcher

Derek Manheim is a third year Ph.D. candidate in the Applied Environmental Microbiology Laboratory. Derek joined U.C.I. during Fall 2014 after working as a Research Associate at the Global Waste Research Institute (G.W.R.I.) located in San Luis Obispo, California. Derek’s research with G.W.R.I. focused on an intensive investigation of surface texture characteristics of a variety of natural and engineered materials (such as geomembranes and geotextiles) using an optical interferometer. He was involved in establishing testing procedures for the interferometer and developing correlations between surface texture characteristics and engineering response of these materials. Derek previously attended Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and graduated in 2012 with an M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering and a B.S. in Environmental Engineering. His educational and research background include water and wastewater treatment and design, bioremediation, air quality engineering and monitoring, and algal biofuel production in conjunction with wastewater treatment. Derek’s current research in the Applied Environmental Microbiology laboratory includes an assessment of the feasibility of cyanobacterial toxin (Microcystin-LR) removal from pilot and full-scale biofiltration systems for enhanced, energy efficient drinking water treatment. His research approach focuses on the integration of fate and transport models through porous media and laboratory/pilot scale studies to advance the understanding of the biological degradation of cyanobacterial toxins throughout engineered biofiltration systems. During his spare time, Derek enjoys a variety of activities including surfing, hiking, and playing music.

Srikiran Chandrasekaran
Ph.D. Researcher

Srikiran is a second year Ph.D. student advised by Prof. Sunny Jiang in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department at UCI. He entered UCI in Fall 2015 in the Mathematical, Computational and Systems Biology program. He uses mathematical modeling to answer questions on the safety of water reuse. Specifically, he is developing a transport model to track the flow of viruses from secondary effluent used for irrigation, to the final produce. Before UCI, he obtained his B. Tech in Biotechnology at the Indian Institute of Technology – Madras, where he worked under Prof. Karthik Raman on comparing global optimization algorithms for estimating parameters in problems in systems biology. Outside of lab, Srikiran likes to run, read and search for new music.

Muyue Han
Ph.D. ResearcherMuyue Han is a first year Ph.D. student supervised by Professor Sunny Jiang in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UCI. She started her M.S. study in Environmental Engineering at UCI in fall 2015, and she transferred from Master’s to doctoral program in fall 2016. She has been working in Professor. Sunny Jiang’s laboratory to focus on detection and quantification of pathogen in water. Currently, her research focuses on quantification of faecal indicator bacteria (FIB) by using Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assay, and she is developing a rapid digital pathogen quantification system by integrating “Lab on a Chip” (LOC) microfluidic chip with LAMP assay. Before she got admitted to UCI, she received her B.S. degree in Environmental engineering from Donghua University, China, where she worked under the supervision of Professor Yanan, Liu and focused on remediation of phenanthrene contaminated soil by the pulsed dielectric discharge plasma.

Previous Laboratory Members

Dr. Keah-Ying Lim
Post-Doctoral Researcher

KeahYingKeah Ying Lim is a first year post-doctoral researcher under the supervision of Professor Sunny Jiang. His research at UCI is based around data analysis and public health risk assessment, with special focus on Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment (QMRA). He was also a part of the UCI Water-PIRE project investigating the health risks associated with using water treated by low-impact-development (LID) systems for non-potable purposes. He obtained his Bachelor degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Mississippi (2010), where he received research guidance from Professor Cristiane Surbeck.


Edgar Gomez
Ph.D. Resesarcher


Edgar Gomez obtained his undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from U.C. Irvine and has been working with Professor Sunny Jiang since January 2013. Edgar’s undergraduate research involved the use of quorum sensing inhibitors to prevent biofouling on seawater reverse osmosis membranes. Edgar was also involved with the UCI PIRE program, where he traveled to Melbourne, Australia to investigate wetland and biofilter efficiency.


MingYuen (Ming) Cheung
M.S. Researcher


Harmful algal blooms associated with cyanobacteria pose threats to both drinking and irrigation water supplies. My past research focused on mediating cyanobacterial toxicity in drinking water through biodegradation, particularly looking at microcystin removal by bacteria and consortia.   My broader research interest is in integrating sustainable water strategies throughout developing and developed countries. Some previous research topics I have worked on include nano bubble technology for water treatment and removal of disinfection by-product precursors by activated carbon.


Sarah     Zheng (Sarah) Zhao
M.S. Researcher

Zheng received her B.S. degree at Nanjing Forestry University in China. She is a M.S. student in Environmental Engineering at U.C.I. since Fall 2013, and plans to graduate in Winter 2015. Her current research interest is on understanding the bacterial and viral removal efficiencies in various wastewater treatment unit processes. During her graduate education, Zheng has developed a great passion for improving wastewater treatment technologies and wishes to further dedicate herself to this field in the near future.


IanYiwen (Ian) Wu
M.S. Researcher

Yiwen (Ian) Wu is a second year master’s student in Environmental Engineering at U.C.I., expecting to graduate in March 2015. He graduated from Sun Yat-sen University in China in June 2013 with a B.S. degree in Urban/Rural Planning & Management & Environment Resource. His research at U.C.I. is mainly on applying Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment (QMRA) methodology to human health risk assessment of different water reuse applications. He has additional research interests in areas related to wastewater treatment technology, environmental microbiology and non-point resource pollution control, and wishes to work in these fields in the near future.


Xiaoshu Zhang
M.S. Researcher

Xiaoshu Zhang is currently a first year master’s student majoring in Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Irvine. She received her B.S. in Water Supply and Drainage Engineering from the Xihua University in Chengdu, China. She is currently working on a project to investigate the role of plant roots in removal of microbial pathogens in biofiltration process. She hopes to contribute her current experience to the future development of best management practice for treatment and harvesting stormwater in the urban area.

Dana Hernandez
Undergraduate Researcher


Dana Hernandez was born in La Jolla, California and spent most of her childhood living in Carlsbad, while her teenage years were spent in Temecula. Dana is currently a senior majoring in Environmental Engineering with an interest in pursuing a doctorate degree after graduating in June 2015. Dana is motivated by issues of environmental sustainability and public health with major interests in research projects related to wastewater reclamation, water reuse, and pathogen detection. Her current research focuses on investigating the fate of bacteria and viruses in a wastewater treatment plant. Her goal is to compare the microbial removal efficiency of the conventional activated sludge (CAS) process with a newly established membrane bioreactor (MBR) facility by using a flow cytometry technique. In addition to conducting research, Dana is highly involved in and serves as the current Co-President for MAES – Latinos in Science and Engineering, an organization dedicated to providing professional development and leadership opportunities for minorities in STEM. She is also a CAMP (California Alliance for Minority Participation in STEM) Mentor and tutors students in lower division math and chemistry courses. Additionally, Dana is part of UCI’s running club and enjoys other outdoor activities, such as hiking, playing tennis, and riding her bike to the farmer’s market on Saturday mornings.

Lynze Cheung
Undergraduate Researcher

 Lynze Cheung is a fourth year Environmental Engineering and Earth System Science double major, and is researching the chlorine resistance of marine bacteria in desalination pretreatment. Lynze was previously involved in the UCI Water PIRE UPP Down Under Program, where she compared possible influencing factors of constructed wetland removal efficiency in both Australia and the United States. In her free time, Lynze enjoys traveling, photography, and relaxing at the beaches of Southern California.


Dr. Juanjuan Yao
Visiting Scholar



Dr. Juanjuan Yao is a one-year visiting scholar in Prof. Sunny Jiang’s research group in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UCI. Her current research focuses on (1) the formation mechanism and control strategy of organic nitrogenous by-products formed in the sonolytical treatment process, and (2) the mechanism and safety of sonolyical inactivation of harmful algae in fresh water. Her further research interest will be on the application of photocatalytic fuel cell for the cyanobacterial toxins degradation and energy recovery. In Prof. Sunny Jiang’s research group, she will be involved in the model prediction on the ozonation of microsystin. She received her Ph.D. at Tongji University, China on November 2010. She is now an associate professor in the School of Urban Construction and Environmental Engineering at Chongqing University in China. She is a member of IWA since 2014.