Leon van Paassen

Assoc Professor
Sch Sustain Engr & Built Envrn
BDI Associate Faculty
Biodesign Swette EB

Location: TEMPE

Contact Information
(480) 965-1075


  • Ph.D. Applied Sciences, Department of Biotechnology, Delft University of Technology 2009
  • M.Sc. Applied Earth Sciences (Engineering Geology), Delft University of Technology 2002

Research Interests

Engineering Geology, Environmental Biotechnology, Geotechnical Engineering, Resource Engineering, Soil physics, Geochemistry


Leon van Paassen is Associate Professor at Arizona State University (ASU) and Senior Investigator at the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Centre for Bio-mediated and Bio-inspired Geotechnics (CBBG). He has more than 15 years research experience and expertise in the biological, chemical, and physical characterization of soils, biochemical reactive transport and multiphase flow in porous media. Past and current research projects include, bio-based ground improvement through microbially induced carbonate precipitation, liquefaction mitigation through desaturation by stimulating nitrate-reducing bacteria to produce nitrogen gas, using bio mineralization for dust suppression, bio-mediated iron precipitation for permeability reduction and bio-inspired scour protection for submerged foundation systems. His affiliation to CBBG and collaboration with industrial partners allowed him to develop and transfer several of these technologies from a proof-of-concept in the laboratory to field scale demonstration projects for a variety of geotechnical and geo-environmental engineering applications. He teaches courses on Geotechnical Engineering, Engineering Geology, Bio-based Geotechnical Engineering and Advanced Geotechnical Testing. Since May 2020 he acts as Co-Principal Investigator for CBBG at ASU and leads the research thrust on Environmental Protection and Restoration, which includes projects on restoring surface crusts of disturbed soil sites, groundwater remediation of chlorinated solvents or heavy metals, nutrient removal from surface water and the development of microbial enhanced permeable reactive barriers. His mission is to integrate the fields of environmental biotechnology and geotechnical engineering, aiming to develop sustainable solutions, which improve resource efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of civil and mining engineering industry.