< backGroup News

Dr. Pedro J.J. Alvarez at the 239th Westlake Master Forum



Dr. Pedro JJ. Alvarez is the George R. Brown Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rice University, where he also serves as Director of the NSF ERC on Nanotechnology-EnablecWater Treatment (NEWT). His research interests include environmental implications and applications of nanotechnology, bioremediation, water footprint of biofuels, water treatment and reuse, and antibiotic resistance control. Pedro received the B. Eng. Degree in Civil Engineering from McGill University and MS and Ph.D. degrees in Environmental Engineering from the University of Michigan, He is the 2012 Clarke Drize laureate and also won the 2014 AAEES Grand Prize for Excellence in Environmental Engineering and Science. Past honors incinclude President of AEESP, the Perry McCarty AEESP Founders' Award for Outstanding Contributions to Environmental Engineering Education & Practice, the WEF McKee Medal for Groundwater Protection, the Brown and Caldwell lifetime achievement award for site remediation, the ASCE Freese Award, and various best paper awards with his students. Pedro has served on the advisory committee of the NSF Endineering Directorate and on the scientific advisory board of the EPA, and is currently an Associate Editor of ES&T. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for pedagogical and practical contributions to bioremediation and environmental nanotechnology.

Dr. Pedro JJ. Alvarez vistied Westlake University and gave a talk on "A Renaissance forPhage-Based Bacterial Control" on Jan 4th, 2023.

Bacteriophages (phages) are viruses that exclusively infect bacteria and utilize different life cycles to shape microbial communities through predation, transduction and reprogramming of bacterial metabolism. Phages are by far the most abundant, most diverse, and arquably the most underutilized biological resource in the biosphere. They offer opportunities for chemical-free bacterial control, which is attracting growing interest in environmental engineering due to concerns about the emergence of multidrug resistant bacteria and the need to mitigate toxicity from chemical disinfection byproducts. Examples of phage applications discussed in this seminar include mitigating the spread of multi-drug resistant superbugs from wastewater treatment plants, phage conjugation with superparamagnetic nanoparticles to enhance biofilm penetration and de-anchoring from its root under a weak magnetic field, and encapsulation for smart release. We will also discuss how recent advances in DNA sequencing, ecological network modeling and synthetic biology may provide novel opportunities for phages as highly precise agents to edit microbiomes and modulate critical bacterial activities important for sustainable development.