Carnegie Mellon University

Jeanne VanBriesen

Jeanne VanBriesen

Duquesne Light Company Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering and Engineering & Public Policy
Director, Center for Water Quality in Urban Environmental Systems

Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890


Jeanne M. VanBriesen is the Duquesne Light Company Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Director of the Center for Water Quality in Urban Environmental Systems (Water QUEST) at Carnegie Mellon University. Her research is in environmental systems, including biotransformation of recalcitrant organics, detection of biological agents in drinking water and natural water systems, speciation-driven biogeochemistry of chelating agents and disinfection by-products, and impacts of energy extraction. VanBriesen has published more than forty scientific articles and given more than 100 professional presentations. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, the Colcom Foundation, the Heinz Endowments, the Packard Foundation, and the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Technology Alliance.

VanBriesen has served on the boards of the Association for Environmental Engineering and Science Professors and the Ohio River Basin Consortia for Research and Education. VanBriesen served on the National Research Council’s Committee on Water Quality in Southwestern Pennsylvania in 2002-2004. She was a selected presenter at the National Academy of Engineering Indo-US Frontiers of Engineering Symposium on Infrastructure in 2008, and an invited speaker at the National Academy of Engineering Education Symposium in 2010. She was selected as a National Academy of Engineering Gilbreth Lecturer in 2011. She is currently serving on the U.S.EPA Science Advisory Board. VanBriesen holds a BS in Education and a MS and PhD in Civil Engineering from Northwestern University. She is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Delaware.

Research Group: EESS 

Research Centers: SiiSEERICESCenSCIR

Google Scholar


PhD 1998 - Northwestern University
MS 1993 - Northwestern University

BS 1990 - Northwestern University

Areas of Interest

  • Biodegradation of recalcitrant organic compounds (specifically chelates and PCBs)
  • Modeling bacterial system thermodynamics and diversity
  • Coupling watershed behavior and drinking water system operations and security


  • Hughes, A., Small, M, and VanBriesen, J.M. (2015) “Impacts of PCB analytical interpretation uncertainties on dechlorination assessment and remedial decisions,” Chemosphere. 133: 61-7.
  • Wang, Y.; Wilson, J.M. and VanBriesen, J.M. (2015) “The Effect of Sampling Strategies on Assessment of Water Quality Criteria Attainment,” Journal of Environmental Management 154: 33-39.
  • Wilson, J.M., Wang, Y., VanBriesen, J.M. (2014) “Sources of high total dissolved solids to drinking water supply in Southwestern Pennsylvania,” Journal of Environmental Engineering 140 Special Issue on Shale Gas Environmental Impacts. B4014003.
  • Jiang, M., Hendrickson, C. and VanBriesen, J.M. (2014) “Life Cycle Water Consumption and Wastewater Generation Impacts of a Marcellus Shale Natural Gas Well,” Environmental Science and Technology, 48(3): 1911-1920.
  • Wilson, J.M. and VanBriesen, J.M. (2014) “Source Water Changes and Energy Extraction Activities in the Monongahela River, 2009-2012,” Environmental Science and Technology 47(21): 12575-12582.
  • McCoy, S.T., and VanBriesen, J.M. (2014) “Comparing spatial and temporal diversity of bacteria in a chlorinated drinking water distribution system,” Environmental Engineering Science 31(1): 32-41.

Recent Awards and Honors

  • 2015: awarded Carnegie Science Center Environmental Award
  • 2015: named an ELATE Fellow, Drexel University
  • 2015: awarded the Margaret S. Peterson Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers, Environmental and Water Resources Insititute
  • 2013: Selected as the Philip L. Dowd Fellowship recipient, awarded by CIT
  • 2011: National Academy of Engineering Armstrong Endowment for Young Engineers Gilbreth Lectureship
  • 2010: Selected Presenter at NAE Frontiers of Engineering Education Symposium
  • 2009: Aldo Leopold Leadership Program Fellowship
  • 2009: presented the McGraw-Hill/ AEESP Award for Outstanding Teaching in Environmental Engineering and Science from Association for Environmental Engineering and Science Professors
  • 2009: named Professor of the Year, American Society of Civil Engineers Pittsburgh Chapter
  • 2008: awarded Best Research Paper: Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management (JWRPM) for “Efficient Sensor Placement Optimization for Securing Large Water Distribution Networks
  • 2007: recieved Pennsylvania Water Environment Association Professional Research Award