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Jeanne VanBriesen to lead the NSF Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems

Jeanne VanBriesen

Jeanne VanBriesen begins her term as NSF division director for CBET on August 16, 2021.

August 3, 2021

The U.S. National Science Foundation has selected Dr. Jeanne M. VanBriesen of Carnegie Mellon University to serve as division director for the Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems. VanBriesen, who begins her NSF term on August 16, is currently Duquesne Light Company Professor in the department of civil and environmental engineering and the department of engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon.

"I am excited to welcome Dr. VanBriesen, whose expertise in interdisciplinary engineering research will help NSF advance scientific frontiers and address clean energy, climate change and other national challenges," said Linda Blevins, acting NSF assistant director for Engineering. "With Dr. VanBriesen’s leadership, NSF will continue to build valuable research partnerships and support the development of engineers as both teachers and scholars." 

VanBriesen recently served as Carnegie Mellon’s vice provost for faculty, and she previously served as chair of the faculty senate. She joined the Carnegie Mellon faculty in 1999 as an assistant professor in the department of civil and environmental engineering and was awarded the Duquesne Light Company chair in 2014. Before joining academia, VanBriesen was a high school science teacher.

VanBriesen’s main research interests are in sustainable natural and engineered water systems. She has conducted research on biodegradation and thermodynamics of microbial systems. Most recently, her work has included studying effects of energy extraction and utilization on drinking water quality. She has published more than 70 journal articles, given more than 150 research and educational presentations, and supervised more than 20 doctoral students.

VanBriesen is a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and a Fellow of the Association for Environmental Engineering and Science Professors. She was recently named a Diplomate of Water Resources by the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers. She has been recognized for mentoring, teaching and research with awards such as the Carnegie Mellon Barbara Lazarus Award and the ASCE Margaret S. Peterson Award. She received her bachelor’s degree in education and her master’s and doctoral degrees in civil engineering from Northwestern University.

The Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems (CBET), in the NSF Directorate for Engineering, supports discoveries in chemical and biochemical systems; environmental engineering and sustainability; bioengineering and engineering healthcare; and fundamental transport, thermal and fluid phenomena.


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The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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