Plenary Speakers

Plenary Speakers

 Amy Pruden


  Dr. Pruden’s primary expertise is on tracking pathogens and antibiotic resistance genes through environmental systems and developing engineering control strategies for protecting public health. Her broad research mission is to advance the sustainability and health of our water systems through fundamental understanding of microbial ecology.   


In 2012-2014 served as the lead PI on an expert workshop focused on the state of the science of opportunistic pathogens in building plumbing supported by the Water Research Foundation, which now serves as fundamental reference to water professionals.  Dr. Pruden has served as PI or Co-PI on National Science Foundation, Water Research Foundation, Water Environment Research Foundation, Department of Energy, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency -sponsored research projects totaling over 8 million dollars. 


Currently she is PI on an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation grant entitled, “Effect of Pipe Material, Water Chemistry, and Flow on the Building Plumbing Microbiome.”  Her work has been featured in Scientific American, Discover, Science News, Nature News, The New York Times, National Public Radio, and The Huffington Post. She is the recipient of the Paul L. Busch Award (2014) and the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering (2007).

Michael Wagner

Full professor, Head of the Department of Microbial Ecology (now Department of Microbiology and Ecosystem Science), Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna. Since 2010 Head of the Large Instrument Facility of Advanced Isotope Research, University of Vienna. From 2015 Head of the Research Network “Chemistry meets Microbiology”, University of Vienna.

Since 1997 Wagner has raised 30 third party fund projects from Germany, Austria, Denmark, the US and the EU as PI and Co-PI. He received an ERC Advanced Grant 2011. In total the research of his group was supported by more than 9,1 M€.

Wagner has published between 1992-2015 in his five major research fields (nitrification, single cell tools, wastewater microbiology, endosymbionts, sulfate reduction) 208 papers and more than 30 book chapters.

Xianghua Wen

Xianghua WEN is a Professor in school of Environment at Tsinghua University, Beijing, Peoples’ Republic of China. She received her Ph.D degree in Environmental Engineering from Tsinghua University in 1991.


She teaches Modern Environmental Biotechnology and Advanced Wastewater Treatment for graduate students. She carries out the research works in the State Key Joint Laboratory of Environmental Simulation and Pollution Control.


Her major research fields are in Water pollution control theory and technology and Environmental biotechnology.


Examples of her research projects are “Structure and function of the microbial community in wastewater treatment systems as revealed by 454 pyrosequencing and GeoChip high-throughput sequencing technologies” and “Characteristics of ammonia archaea in wastewater treatment systems” supported by the National Natural Science Foundation; “Antibiotic genes distribution pattern in wastewater treatment plant and its relationship with health risk”, supported by the State key joint laboratory of environmental simulation and pollution control; “Risk control in wastewater Reuse”, supported by Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology; “Renovated wastewater treatment model and technology”, supported by Tsinghua university renovation project; etc. She is the author or co-author of 196 technical journal papers and 4 books.



 Mads Albertsen
  The research of Mads Albertsen is focused on the microbial ecology of engineered environments as wastewater treatment systems. At the age of thirty, he is an international recognized expert in the field of metagenomics and has developed novel approaches to retrieve complete genomes from metagenomes.


In 2014 he received his PhD on "Ecosystem Models in Biological Phosphorus Removal" from Aalborg University at the Center for Microbial Communities under the supervision of Head of Center, prof. Per H. Nielsen, with a research stay at the University of Queensland in the group of prof. Philip Hugenholtz.


In 2015 he was awarded the Spar Nord Fonds research prize of 250.000 DKK for the PhD. Mads Albertsen is currently a Post Doc in the group of Per H. Nielsen at Center for Microbial Communities, Aalborg University. In 2014 he co-founded the company DNASense ApS and at presently serves as director.                       

Kartik Chandran

Kartik Chandran is a Professor of Environmental Engineering at Columbia University, USA. In 2015, he was awarded the prestigious MacArthur fellowship for his work on the microbial ecology in wastewater treatment with the goal of providing clean water while also recovering useful resources such as fertilizers, chemicals, and energy.


His research focuses on developing an improved understanding of the microbial communities in engineered systems by combining modelling, bioreactor studies and molecular methods. Kartik obtained a PhD at the University of Connecticut in 1999 under the supervision of Barth Smets.


He has since conducted research in both academic and industrial settings. He joined the faculty at Columbia University in 2005, and became an associate professor in 2011.                      


Jennifer Martiny

Jennifer Martiny is a Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California Irvine, USA. She obtained her PhD from Stanford University in which she studied the ecology of butterflies, flies and birds.


She subsequently became interested in the biodiversity and ecology of microorganisms and now applies fundamental ecological theory to microbial communities in diverse natural and engineered environments.


Dr. Martiny has been the recipient of several prestigious awards including a CAREER award from the NSF and a Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Junior Investigator Award. She has published over 60 peer-reviewed publications including papers in Science, Nature and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

 Adey Feleke Desta

Adey Feleke Desta is an assistant professor of environmental biotechnology at the Institute of Biotechnology, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia.  She received her PhD in applied microbiology from Addis Ababa University in 2014.  Her research focuses on microbial ecology of biological wastewater treatment systems, with a particular focus on the ecology and dynamics of xenobiotic compound degrading bacteria.


Through research fellowships from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and African Biosciences Challenge Fund (ABCF), she has conducted research on development of methods for detection and monitoring of microbial communities in biological wastewater treatment plants of resource- poor settings.   Through the research fellowship from the University of Michigan African Presidential Scholars (UMAPS) she has been involved in research on the role and fate of microbes during the process of nutrient recovery from human liquid waste.
1 JULY 2022