Carnegie Mellon University

Greg Lowry

Greg Lowry

Walter J. Blenko, Sr. University Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890


Greg Lowry is a University Professor and the Walter J. Blenko, Sr. Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering. His transdisciplinary research in environmental chemistry and nanotechnology addresses important global sustainability challenges in agriculture, environmental remediation, and energy production. 

He is currently an executive and associate editor of the ACS Journal of Environmental Science & Technology. He serves on the ACS Journal of Environment and Health editorial board, the RSC Journal Environmental Science: Nano, and Nature: Scientific Data.

Lowry is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and a Fellow of the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP). He received a Doctor Honoris Causa of Aix Marseille University in 2020. He has published over 200 peer-reviewed scientific articles and is a “highly cited” scientist (top 1%) in the area of ecology and environment. He has received awards for his research from the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (Science Award), American Society of Civil Engineers (Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Award), and Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (Malcolm Pirnie/AEESP Frontiers in Research Award). He received Distinguished Service awards from AEESP in 2018 and 2022 and was awarded the Fenves Award for Systems Research in 2011.


PhD 2000 - Stanford University
MS 1995 - University of Wisconsin, Madison
BS 1992 - University of California, Davis


Research Group: CREST, MCM

Areas of Interest

  • Environmental Nanotechnology/Nanobiotechnology
  • Environmental Chemistry and Remediation

Fundamental areas of research interest include assessing the interactions of engineered and biogenic nanomaterials with inorganic (mineral) and organic (plant) surfaces, assessing the fate of engineered nanocarriers in plants and soils, understanding how surface interactions affect the sorption and reactivity of organic water contaminants (e.g., PFAS), mercury geochemistry, developing and testing groundwater and soil remediation technologies.

Current projects include the development of efficient nano-carriers for efficient delivery of agrochemicals into plants, remediation, and destruction of perfluoroalkyl substances in groundwater, development and sensors for autonomous soil characterization with robots, and bioreduction of selenium in powerplant wastewater.


[Full Publication List]

Environmental Nanobiotechnology for Sustainable Agriculture

Yilin Zhang, Michael R. Martinez, Hui Sun, Mingkang Sun, Rongguan Yin, Jiajun Yan, Benedetto Marelli, Juan Pablo Giraldo, Krzysztof Matyjaszewski, Robert D. Tilton, and Gregory V. Lowry. (2023). Polymer Nanocarrier uptake and translocation, impact of Charge, Aspect Ratio and Plant species. Environ. Sci. Technol. 57, 22, 8269–8279.

Yilin Zhang, Liye Fu, Michael R. Martinez, Hui Sun, Valeria Nava, Jiajun Yan, Kurt Ristroph, Saadyah E. Averick, Benedetto Marelli, Juan Pablo Giraldo, Krzysztof Matyjaszewski, Robert D. Tilton, Gregory V. Lowry. (2023). Temperature Responsive Bottlebrush Polymers Deliver a Stress Regulating Agent in vivo for Prolonged Plant Heat Stress Mitigation. ACS Sus. Chem. Eng. 11, 8, 3346–3358.

Yilin Zhang, Liye Fu, Su-ji Jeon, Jiajun Yan, Juan Pablo Giraldo, Krzysztof Matyjaszewski, Robert D. Tilton and Gregory V. Lowry. (2022). Star Polymers with Designed Reactive Oxygen Species Scavenging and Agent Delivery Functionality Promote Plant Stress Tolerance. ACS Nano 16, 3, 4467–4478.

Avellan, A., Yun, J., Morais, B., Rodrigues, S. M., Lowry, G. V. (2021) Critical Review: Role of nanoparticle properties on uptake, translocation, and fate of foliar applied metal-based nanoparticles. Environ. Sci. Technol. 55, 20, 13417–13431.

Zhang, Y. Yan, J., Avellan, A., Gao, X., Matyjaszewski, K., Tilton, R. D., Lowry, G. V. (2020). Temperature and pH Responsive Star Polymers as Nano-Carriers with Potential for in Vivo Agrochemical DeliveryACS Nano 2020, 14, 9, 10954–10965.

Hofmann*, T., Lowry*, G. V., et al. (2020). Technology readiness and overcoming barriers to sustainably implement nanotechnology-enabled plant agricultureNat. Food 1 p. 416-425.

Avellan, A., Yun, J., Spielman-Sun, E., Zhang, Y., Unrine, J., Li, J., Lombi, E., Bland, G., Lowry, G. V. (2019). Nanoparticle size and coating chemical identity controls pathways of foliar uptake, translocation and leaf-to-rhizosphere transport in wheat plantsACS Nano 13 (5) 5291-5305.

Lowry, G. V., Avellan, A., Gilbertson, L. M. (2019). Opportunities and Challenges for Nanotechnology in the Emerging Agro-tech FieldNature Nanotech. 14 p. 571.

Environmental Chemistry and Remediation

Valeria Nava, Natasha Sihota, Thomas Hoelen, Aaron Johnson, Gregory V. Lowry. (2023) Portable X-ray fluorescence for autonomous in-situ characterization of chloride in oil and gas waste. Environ. Pollut. 316, 120558

Bland, Garret; Battifarano, Matthew; Liu, Qian; Yang, Xuezhi; Lu, Dawei; Jiang, Guibin; Lowry, Gregory. (2023). Single-particle metal fingerprint analysis and machine learning pipeline for source apportionment of metal-containing fine particles in airES&T Lett

Garret D. Bland, Peng Zhang, Eugenia Valsami-Jones, and Gregory V. Lowry (2022), Application of isotopically labeled engineered nanomaterials for detection and quantification in soils via spICP-TOF-MS. Environ. Sci. Technol. 56, 22, 15584–15593. 10.1021/acs.est.2c03737.

Lopes, A. R., Wang, H., Dong, J., Han, J., Hatakeyama, E. S., Hoelen, T. P., Lowry, G.V. (2022). Impact of polymer molecular weight on the efficiency of temperature swing solvent extraction for desalination of concentrated brines. Desalination. Volume 543, 116104.

Bland, Garret; Battifarano, Matthew; Pradas del Real, Ana; Sarret, Géraldine; Lowry, Gregory. (2022). Distinguishing Engineered TiO2 Nanomaterials from Natural Ti Nanomaterials in soil using spICP-TOFMS and Machine Learning. Environ. Sci. Technol. 56 (5), p. 2990.

Xu, J., Gu, Y. Ziaei, H., Xiao, X., Deonarine, A., Reible, D., Bireta, P., Hoelen, T. P., Lowry G. V. (2021Impact of Sediment Particle Grain Size and Mercury Speciation on Mercury Bioavailability Potential.  Environ. Sci. Technol 55 (18) 12393.



  • 12-221 Environmental Chemistry and Thermodynamics
  • 12-222 Environmental Chemistry Lab
  • 12-725 Fate, Transport & Physicochemical Processes of Organic Contaminants in Aqua Systems

Greg Lowry and Astrid Avellan: Discovering how Nanoparticles Dissolve in Natural Water Environments

CEE Professor Greg Lowry and Postdoc Astrid Avellan describe their work looking at how nanomaterials behave in very complex environments using mesocosms that represent freshwater, emergent wetlands. They studied the behavior of gold nanoparticles in the mesocosms and discovered that gold was not inert, as they expected, but rather was transformed quite a bit by organisms in the environment.