The Great Lakes Energy Institute (GLEI) together with the Institute for Smart, Secure and Connected Systems (ISSACS), is broadly exploring the relationship of the Case Western Reserve University community with water. Through the Provost’s Office, we are evaluating the interest and potential direction for a formalized water initiative in research and/ or education at Case Western Reserve University.


For over a decade, water has been identified as a potential new direction for research and scholarship at Case Western Reserve University. The National Academy of Engineering cites access to clean water as a grand challenge. Issues such as algal blooms in Lake Erie and deteriorating water infrastructure in legacy cities are particularly important in the Great Lakes region.

Recently, the Great Lakes Energy Institute (GLEI) engaged with Case Western Reserve University faculty, benchmarked Case Western Reserve assets against other regional universities with water institutes, and conducted a strategic analysis of opportunities. The results of that study identified significant and diverse faculty interest, and suggested that our established strengths in sensors, materials, data analytics, Internet of Things (IoT), and health could be leveraged as strengths in water.

GLEI together with the Institute for Smart, Secure and Connected Systems (ISSACS), is broadly exploring the relationship of the Case Western Reserve community with water. Through the Provost’s Office Seed Sprint program, we are evaluating the interest and potential direction for a formalized water initiative at CWRU.


Research Opportunities

Strengths and Assets

• Electrochemical and bio-sensors
• Data analytics and big data analysis
• Modeling of complex infrastructures and systems
• Water treatment and contaminant transformation


Northeast Ohio serves as an ideal testbed to deploy innovative new technologies to test, analyze, and purify water for national or global applications. Case Western Reserve University faculty engage in active research collaboration with key industry partners, as well as with governmental, environmental, and public health organizations in our region. Furthermore, we are preparing our students with the latest knowledge and capabilities in the sciences and engineering so that they may become future leaders in industry and our communities. Through our multidisciplinary research institutes, including the Great Lakes Energy Institute, the Institute for Smart, Secure and Connected Systems, the Mary Ann Swetland Center for Environmental Health, and the Coleman P. Burke Center for Environmental Law, Case Western Reserve offers many opportunities for industry and the community to engage with experts in water-related research.

Current Research Projects

  • Emerging Contaminants: From Environmental Fate and Transformation to Novel Water Treatment Technologies
    • Faculty Technical Leads: Huichun (Judy) Zhang, Civil Engineering 
  • Sustainable Water Infrastructure Preservation Enabled with Advanced Cyberinfrastructure and Data Analytics and Advanced Photocatalytic Materials for Environmental Quality Improvement
    • Faculty Technical Leads: Xiong (Bill) Yu, Civil Engineering 
  • Novel Electrochemical Sensor for Detection of PPB-levels of Heavy Metal Contaminants in Water
    • Faculty Technical Leads: Rohan Akolkar, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
  • Microfabricated Chemical, Biological, and Medical Sensors and Detection Systems
    • Faculty Technical Leads: Chung Chiun Liu, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering 
  • Real Time Monitoring of Algal Bloom Evolution
    • Faculty Technical Leads: Daniel Scherson, Chemistry, Kenneth Loparo, Electrical Computer, and Systems Engineering
  • Engineered Proteins to Enable Advanced Nutrient Recycling Technologies
    • Faculty Technical Leads: Julie Renner, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
  • Data Analytics for Prediction of Harmful Algae Blooms in Lake Erie
    • Faculty Technical Leads: Laura Bruckman, Materials Science and Engineering
  • Amphibian Monitoring and Mitigation Strategies in Disturbed Wetlands
    • Faculty Technical Leads: Mike Benard, Biology
  • Enzyme Evolution and Trace Metal Biogeochemistry in Modern Lakes and Ancient Oceans
    • Faculty Technical Leads: Sarah Bagby, Biology
  • Hydrogeomorphic Analysis of Post-Wildfire Floodplain Stability and Sediment Residence Times in Mountain Systems
    • Faculty Technical Leads: Nicholas Sutfin, Earth Environmental and Planetary Sciences

Water research is related to a number of modern technology and problems as well as a variety of sciences and academic programs available at Case Western Reserve University.

Interested in working with water researchers at CWRU? Contact Great Lakes Energy Institute
Director Grant Goodrich at gxg183@case.edu or 216.368.0748.


Photo Gallery

Julie Renner giving a presentation on the analysis of binging pesticides on nutrient recycling.


CWRU faculty and GLEI staff intently watching Renner's presentation.


Enjoying some water at the Water Discussion Panel!


The wonderful speakers from Case Western Reserve University, the University of Arkansas and Orange County Water District for the Water Discussion Panel.


Thought-provoking conversations at our Cleveland Water Alliance event.


Our ThinkEnergy students pledging to Take back the Tap!


The winning photo from our Instagram contest!


Another excellent and adorable photo from our Instagram contest!