Zhiqiang Hu named Curators' Distinguished Professor

September 20, 2023

Zhiqiang Hu

Zhiqiang Hu has been named a Curators’ Distinguished Professor at the University of Missouri, the highest honor bestowed on faculty, for his outstanding research around environmental engineering.

Hu is a William Andrew Davidson Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and is internationally recognized for his work in water and wastewater engineering.

“Receiving this recognition is truly an honor,” he said. “I express my heartfelt gratitude to my research team members and collaborators for their outstanding contributions, which have been duly recognized.”

Hu’s work has significantly impacted the environmental engineering discipline. What sets him apart is the high quality of his research and vast applications of his work. For instance, his research team has conducted pioneering studies on the impact of nanomaterials on various environmental processes such as nitrogen removal, anaerobic sludge digestion and landfill efficiency. His work, along with research by other scientists, led to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issuing a new regulation on nanoscale chemical substances in commerce.

He is also working on a process to use anaerobic digestion—the process by which microbes break down organic material to carbon dioxide and methane without using oxygen—to support the reduction of wastes and convert them into bioenergy and value-added biproducts. Recently, he demonstrated how to optimize properties of a special class of green algae and mass produce them for green energy sources, nanotechnology-enhanced products and public drinking water supplies.

“Dr. Hu is an outstanding scholar and representative for the University of Missouri,” said Praveen Edara, interim dean and chair of civil and environmental engineering. “He has helped put MU on the map in areas of environmental engineering, water, wastewater treatment and sustainability.”

Because of his pioneering research, Hu served as an EPA Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) Science Review Board Member and an ad hoc member of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Scientific Advisory Panel, U.S. EPA. In 2019, he was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for distinguished contributions to the field of microbial processes and toxicology, particular in water, wastewater and water treatment.

Over the past three years, Hu has been named among the World’s Top 2% of Scientists List published by researchers at Stanford University. Based on his rankings from that database, he is among the top 1% of scientists among all disciplines in the world.

Hu was one of two Mizzou Engineering professors to receive the Curators Distinguished Professorship. Jianlin “Jack” Cheng, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science (EECS), and Xiu-Feng “Henry” Wan, a professor of molecular microbiology and immunology with joint appointments, also received the honor at the Sept. 7 UM Board of Curators meeting. The board also approved Curators’ Distinguished Professor Emerita Status for Marjorie Skubic.

See a full list of MU’s 2023 Curators’ Distinguished Professors here.