Advancing Urban Sustainability Using Environmental Biotechnology

September 8, 2021

Dr. Bruce Rittmann, director of the Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology, will be a keynote speaker at the 2021 International Conference on Urban Drainage. His presentation will be held virtually at 10:00 AM on October 28th AEDT or 4:00 PM on October 27th MST. The lecture will be recorded and made available after the presentation as well. For more information, please visit: Register...

Bruce Rittmann honored with WEF research award

July 12, 2021

Arizona State University Regents’ Professor Bruce Rittmann has been named the 2021 recipient of the WEF Camp Applied Research Award, bestowed by the Water Environment Federation (WEF). “Dr. Rittmann is recognized for his body of work, from membrane biofilm reactors to membrane capture of CO2,” according to a WEF Award statement. Rittmann is the director of the Biodesign Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology, Regents' Professor of Environmental Engineering at ASU and one...

Biodesign researchers land coveted Hering Medal

February 15, 2021

Researchers at the Biodesign Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology (BSCEB) and their colleagues have been awarded the 2021 Rudolph Hering Medal from the American Society of Civil Engineers.  The prestigious award recognizes the best paper of the preceding year from the Journal of Environmental Engineering.  The research selected for the Hering Medal describes new approaches to one of the thornier issues surrounding the environmental contamination; how to rid ecosystems of a...

Study Expands Understanding of Bacterial Communities for Global Next-generation Wastewater Treatment and Reuse Systems

May 13, 2019

Wastewater treatment and reuse are critical to global health and sustaining a world population predicted to reach 10 billion by 2050. Now, researchers at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University join University of Oklahoma colleagues, who led an interdisciplinary global study to explore wastewater microbial communities. The research expands the understanding of activated sludge microbiomes for next-generation wastewater treatment and reuse systems enhanced by microbiome...

Rittmann sounds a call to action for a more sustainable phosphorus supply

April 1, 2019

Bruce Rittmann, director of the Biodesign Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology at Arizona State University, is slated to be the keynote speaker at the Phosphorus Forum 2019 in Washington, D.C., on April 5. Rittmann will discuss “Minimizing P loss and Maximizing Value.” The annual conference attracts scientists and NGOs focused on water quality issues, nutrient recovery technology companies, fertilizer manufacturers, food producers, water utilities, farm consultants, government...

DOE awards $4.5M to ASU researchers to discover new ways to harness carbon dioxide for reducing biofuel costs

November 5, 2018

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced 36 projects that together have been awarded $80 million to support early-stage bioenergy research and development. Two ASU research teams are among the grantees, with the grants to ASU totaling about $4.5 million. The two teams are headed by Wim Vermaas, Foundation Professor in the School of Life Sciences and a member of the Center for Bioenergy and Photosynthesis, and Bruce Rittmann, director of Biodesign Swette Center for Environmental...

Biotech journal features researchers’ work two months in a row

September 12, 2018

One of researchers’ main prerogatives is to receive recognition for their work in high-caliber journals – to be featured on the cover of a journal is an accolade that is highly sought after, but rarely received. To be featured on not just one cover but two covers is rare. Biodesign researchers managed to pull it off. Back-to-back discoveries by Biodesign research scientist Chen Zhou and his team graced the covers of the July and August issues of "Biotechnology and Bioengineering," a...

Climate change, environmental issues rarely covered in introductory science textbooks

April 30, 2018

As an ASU graduate student, Rachel Yoho wanted to push the boundaries of renewable energy research. What she didn’t fully anticipate is that it would also lead her to questioning how climate change is taught in today’s universities. In the Biodesign Center for Environmental Biotechnology, led by director and ASU Regents’ Professor (and recent Stockholm Water Prize winner) Bruce Rittmann, she found a welcome home to make her research thrive. There, she focused on microbes that were...

The Big Picture of Energy Options

July 19, 2017

Bruce Rittmann, Ph.D., Director, Biodesign Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology will give an overview of the energy needs and solutions for our planet. This is a Spirit of the Senses salon open to group members and Biodesign employees and their guests. If you have questions, email

Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance hosts first conference

May 19, 2017

As agribusiness grows to feed an increasing global population, so do concerns about the sustainability of current agricultural practices. The use of phosphorus in big agriculture is one such practice which has come under the microscope of sustainability experts. The element is a common ingredient in plant fertilizer and animal feed and is an essential building block for life, however, an overabundance of phosphorus can leak toxins into the environment. Researchers have long been aware...