Love Life? Love Earth!

About Me

Hey, I am Liyuan Hou, a.k.a. Joanna. I am an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Utah State University (USU).

As a researcher, my interests include three research themes: (1) degradation mechanisms and products of non-biodegradable plastics; (2) interrelationship among the microplastics and environmental microbes; (3) converting wastes into biodegradable plastics.

Prior to being an assistant professor at USU, I worked at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) as a postdoctoral researcher in Dr. Erica L. Majumder's lab. I earned my Ph.D. degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Missouri in 2019, under the supervision of my academic adviser, Dr. Zhiqiang Hu. And I focused on exploring anaerobic treatment processes to treat low-strength wastewater with proposing a novel concept - the specific affinity of anaerobic sludge as a better indicator for determining effluent water quality as well as for design and operation considerations. In 2014, I got my Master's degree in Environmental Engineering at the Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences. During this time, I worked on the diversity, distribution, and responses of microbial communities to environmental changes in a human-disturbed watershed under Dr. Chang-ping Yu.

“Scientists investigate that which already is; Engineers create that which has never been.” I aspire to both investigate and create. As a female engineer, my short-term goal is to focus on applying functional microorganisms to degrade environmental contaminants in real life. My long-term goal is to strike a balance between doing research and applying my findings and theories in practice in such a way that ultimately impacted the world.

All of my publications can be found on (Google Scholar), and my lab is always hiring high-motivated undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about academic collaboration, industrial opportunities, career consulting, or even just say hi.

Utah State University

Logan, Utah 2022 – Present

Assistant Professor

Civil & Environmental Engineering

University of Wisconsin - Madison

Madison, Wisconsin 2020 – 2022

Postdoctoral Researcher

Department of Bacteriology

State University of New York - ESF

Syracuse, NY 2019 – 2020

Postdoctoral Researcher

Chemical Engineering

University of Missouri

Columbia, Missouri 2014 – 2019

Doctor of Philosophy

Civil & Environmental Engineering

Chinese Academy of Sciences

Xiamen, China 2011 – 2014

Master of Engineering

Environmental Engineering

Huaqiao University

Xiamen, China 2007 – 2011

Bachelor of Engineering

Environmental Engineering