Faculty/Scientists at UM

An interdisciplinary team of faculty and students work within REFRESCH.

The project draws upon the rich resources and diverse expertise of the university to field a strong team of fifteen faculty investigators and a research scientist from eight schools across campus, including: the College of Engineering, Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute, School of Natural Resources and Environment, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, Stamps School of Art and Design, Ross School of Business, and School of Public Health.

New faculty and scientists have the opportunity to join REFRESCH as needs for different expertises develop.

Johannes Schwank, PhD

James and Judith Street Professor of Chemical Engineering; Director of REFRESCH

Chemical Engineering

Dr. Schwank is Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Michigan. His research interests are in fundamental and applied research problems in heterogeneous catalysis, sensors, and energy storage materials, and biomass. For REFRESCH, research effects in his laboratory focus on development of new methods for low temperature production of activated carbon using locally sourced catalysts. Johannes is very active in every area of REFRESCH, but particularly with the Gabon and Kazakhstan groups. He advises graduate student Mohit Nahata and mentors graduate student Anna Hayden, who is volunteering with REFRESCH.

Brenda Vyletel

Project Manager, REFRESCH


Brenda Vyletel has been at the U of M for over a decade. With a background in Material Science and Engineering, the first half of her career focused on scientific research (specifically materials characterization) and the second half moved her into program management.

Peter Adriaens

Professor of Engineering, Entrepreneurship, and Finance

Civil and Environmental Engineering; Ross School of Business; School of Natural Resources and the Environment

Peter Adriaens is a professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Ross School of Business. His research is in CleanTech investment portfolio design, portfolio equity volatility analysis of water-intensive assets, and e-Mobility. He teaches courses on Business Models, Entrepreneurial Business Fundamentals, CleanTech Venture Assessment, and Sustainability Finance.

Mark Barteau

Director, Energy Institute; DTE Energy Professor of Advanced Energy Research; Professor, Chemical Engineering

University of Michigan Office of Research; Chemical Engineering

As the Director of the Energy Institute at the University of Michigan, Mark Barteau works on strategies for utilization of renewable resources, design of novel materials for selective formation of oxygen-containing products from biomass-derived feedstocks as well as from hydrocarbons, and new approaches to the utilization of nano-catalysts in unconventional reaction environments, including energy storage devices.

John Callewaert

Director, Emerging Opportunities

Graham Sustainability Institute

John Callewaert is responsible for designing, implementing, and overseeing a wide range of activities that support translational knowledge efforts involving subject matter experts, decision-makers, and key stakeholders in outlining viable pathways toward sustainability solutions. In addition to his work with the Emerging Opportunities Program, John teaches the junior level course for the Graham Sustainability Scholars program and is a co-principal investigator for the Sustainability Cultural Indicators Program.

Sergei Chernyak

Associate Research Scientist

Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health

The major thrust of Sergei Chernyak's scientific activity in recent years has been to investigate the distribution, transport and fate of organic contaminants in water, air and biota, their impact on human health, and the development of highly sensitive techniques for sampling and analyzing organic contaminants. Most recently, he traveled to Kazakhstan to work with colleagues at Nazarbayev University in investigating persistent organic pollutants in the rivers and fish in and around Astana.

Roy Clarke

Marcellus L. Wiedenbeck Collegiate Professor of Physics

Applied Physics

Roy Clarke founded the University of Michigan's Applied Physics interdisciplinary graduate program, and he leads the REFRESCH Gabon team. His academic research centers on thin film-materials for solar energy harvesting. He has nurtured grassroots applications for renewable energy through several off-grid energy projects in Uganda. Professor Clarke advises graduate student Nancy Senabulya, who is supported in her PhD work by REFRESCH.

Jim Diana

Professor and Director of Michigan Sea Grant

School of Natural Resources and the Environment

Jim Diana is a Professor of Fisheries and Aquaculture at the School of Natural Resources and Environment, as well as Director of the Michigan Sea Grant College Program. His research is centered on aquaculture systems, mainly in Southeast Asia, and fish ecology throughout the Great Lakes basin. Jim leads a program funded by NOAA to do outreach, education, and research on Michigan's coasts, focused on sustainable community development and resource use. Jim has advised several REFRESCH graduate students, including Lizzie Grobbel, Bailey Keeler, and Cindy Yao.

Galen Fisher

Adjunct Professor

Chemical Engineering

Galen Fisher has been an active adjunct professor in Chemical Engineering for the past seven years after a research career at General Motors and Delphi Research Labs in the areas of emissions control and sustainable energy. He is a Fellow of five technical societies, including the American Chemical Society and the Society of Automotive Engineers. For REFRESCH, he leads the Kazakhstan team.

Rebecca Hardin

Associate Professor

School of Natural Resources and the Environment

Rebecca Hardin teaches courses in both SNRE and the Department of Anthropology. Her areas of interest and scientific study include human/wildlife interactions and social and environmental change related to wildife management, tourism, logging, and mining in Central African Republic, Cameroon, and Congo Brazzaville. She is very active REFRESCH effort in Gabon, advising graduate students Matt Vedrin and Ed Waisanen and sharing supervision of Mike Burbidge through her Michigan Sustainability Cases (MSC) grant. She also mentored REFRESCH postdoc Anil Bhargava and intern Katie Browne.

Eric Hill

Professor of Practice

Architecture, Taubman College

Eric Hill brings extensive experience in architectural design - the planning of new buildings and the adaptation of old buildings to new purposes. He is a principal leader of the REFRESCH integration team, which is conceiving a multi-functional, energy/food/water system design that can be customized for site-specific deployment in SE Michigan and global locations.  In REFRESCH, he has advised graduate students Jordan Lutren and Gaurav Sardana.

Nancy Love

Borchardt and Glysson Collegiate Professor

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Nancy Love’s research is in environmental biotechnology and water quality with an emphasis on engineered treatment systems. She co-advises REFRESCH PhD student Heather Groesch and advises REFRESCH PhD student Sara Troutman.

Shelie Miller

Associate Professor

School of Natural Resources and the Environment

Relevant to REFRESCH, Shelie Miller is interested in the evaluation of the environmental impacts of emerging technologies.  Shelie advised REFRESCH graduate student Kiran Chawla.

Lut Raskin

Altarum/ERIM Russell O'Neal Professor of Environmental Engineering

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Lut Raskin's research focuses on the beneficial use of complex microbial communities in a variety of water quality control processes, including in biological drinking water treatment, recirculating aquaculture systems, and processes that recover bioenergy from waste streams.  Lut is active in various areas of REFRESCH, working with postdoc Xavi Fonell Almansa on membrane bioreactor research that could find applications locally or in Gabon. In the area of aquaculture, she co-advised Lizzie Grobbel and co-advises Cindy Yao with Jim Diana. She has also provided the Gabon group with advice on water testing and strategies, supporting Anna Hayden in her work investigating ceramic water filters (similar to those produced by Potters for Peace) and now also co-advising graduate student Matt Vedrin.

Steve Skerlos

Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Steve Skerlos’ research interests include sustainable design and manufacturing, design of humanitarian technology systems, and sustainable water systems. In REFRESCH, he has led a student education working group.

Joe Trumpey

Associate Professor, School of Art & Design; Director, UM Sustainable Living Experience (UM Theme Community)

Stamps School of Art and Design

Joe Trumpey is an expert in sustainable design. He established the Eco-Explorers class at the University of Michigan School of Art & Design, which twice now has well-prepared over a dozen undergraduate students to work with Gabonese communities in May demonstrating clean cook-stoves built using local materials, various means of achieving renewable energy, and how to build beehives. REFRESCH looks forward to working with a smaller subset of Eco-Explorer alums in 2017 on the development of ceramic water filters.

Krista Wigginton

Borchardt and Glysson Water Treatment Faculty Scholar

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Krista Wigginton investigates (i) source and fate of emerging contaminants in aqueous systems and (ii) waterborne viruses – detection, survival in the environment and water treatment processes, and emergence of new virus species/strains.
She co-advises REFRESH graduate student Heather Goetsch.