Faculty Directory
Aaron I. Packman

Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and (by courtesy) Mechanical Engineering and Chemical and Biological Engineering


2145 Sheridan Road
Tech A314
Evanston, IL 60208-3109

847-491-9902Email Aaron Packman


Packman Research


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Mechanical Engineering

Chemical and Biological Engineering

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Ph.D. Environmental Engineering and Science, with minor in Geology, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA

M.S. Environmental Engineering and Science, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA

B.S. Mechanical Engineering, with minor in History, cum laude, Washington University, St. Louis, MO

Research Interests

My research focuses on water, sediments, and microbiota, with particular emphasis on the basic processes that control interfacial dynamics in aquatic systems and the coupling of physical transport processes with biological and biogeochemical processes. I seek to define critical structure-transport-transformation relationships in dynamic environments such as rivers and surface-attached microbial communities (biofilms). My work is highly collaborative and encompasses fluid mechanics, particle transport and morphodynamics, aquatic chemistry, and microbiology. Important applications include benthic microbial ecology, nutrient and carbon cycling, contaminant transport and water quality, ecosystem degradation and restoration, waterborne disease transmission, and control of biofilms in human infection and engineered water systems.

Significant Recognition

  • Fulbright Distinguished Chair Award (2013)
  • Cole-Higgins Award for Excellence in Advising, Northwestern University (2012)
  • Huber Research Prize, American Society of Civil Engineers (2008)
  • Career Award, National Institutes of Health (NIAID K25) (2006)
  • McCormick Faculty Excellence Award, Northwestern University (2006)
  • Searle Junior Teaching Fellow, Northwestern University (2001-2002)
  • Career Award, National Science Foundation (1999)
  • Department of Defense Graduate Fellowship (1991-1994)
  • Myers Fellowship (full scholarship), Washington University (1987-1991)

Significant Professional Service

  • Limnology and Oceanography – Fluids and Environments, Associate Editor, 2010–Present
  • Water Resources Research, Associate Editor, 1999–2009)
  • International Journal of Sediment Research, Editorial Board (2003–Present)
  • Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Board of Directors, 2009–Present
  • International Association for Sediment Water Science, Board of Directors, 2005–Present, Vice President (2011 – present)
  • ASCE, Task Committee on Pathogens in Wet Weather Flows, 2008–Present
  • NSF Hydrologic Synthesis Summer Institute, Director, June-August 2010

Selected Publications

  • Drummond, Jennifer D.; Davies-Colley, Robert J.; Stott, Rebecca; Sukias, James P.; Nagels, John W.; Sharp, Alice; Packman, Aaron I., Erratum, Environmental Science and Technology
  • Drummond, Jennifer; Wright-Stow, Aslan; Franklin, Paul; Quinn, John; Packman, Aaron, Fine particle transport dynamics in response to wood additions in a small agricultural stream, Hydrological Processes
  • Bogler, Anne; Packman, Aaron; Furman, Alex; Gross, Amit; Kushmaro, Ariel; Ronen, Avner; Dagot, Christophe; Hill, Colin; Vaizel-Ohayon, Dalit; Morgenroth, Eberhard; Bertuzzo, Enrico; Wells, George; Kiperwas, Hadas Raanan; Horn, Harald; Negev, Ido; Zucker, Ines; Bar-Or, Itay; Moran-Gilad, Jacob; Balcazar, Jose Luis; Bibby, Kyle; Elimelech, Menachem; Weisbrod, Noam; Nir, Oded; Sued, Oded; Gillor, Osnat; Alvarez, Pedro J.; Crameri, Sandra; Arnon, Shai; Walker, Sharon; Yaron, Sima; Nguyen, Thanh H.; Berchenko, Yakir; Hu, Yunxia; Ronen, Zeev; Bar-Zeev, Edo, Rethinking wastewater risks and monitoring in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nature Sustainability
  • Dallmann, J.; Phillips, C. B.; Teitelbaum, Y.; Sund, N.; Schumer, R.; Arnon, S.; Packman, A. I., Impacts of Suspended Clay Particle Deposition on Sand-Bed Morphodynamics, Water Resources Research
  • Venkataramanan, Vidya; Lopez, Denise; McCuskey, David J.; Kiefus, Daniel; McDonald, Robert I.; Miller, William M.; Packman, Aaron I.; Young, Sera L., Knowledge, attitudes, intentions, and behavior related to green infrastructure for flood management, Science of the Total Environment
  • Griffin, James S.; Haug, Loren A.; Rivera, Vivien A.; Hernandez Gonzalez, Liliana M.; Kelly, John J.; Miller, William M.; Wells, George F.; Packman, Aaron I., Soil hydrology drives ecological niche differentiation in a native prairie microbiome, FEMS microbiology ecology
  • Preziosi-Ribero, Antonio; Packman, Aaron I.; Escobar-Vargas, Jorge A.; Phillips, Colin B.; Donado, Leonardo David; Arnon, Shai, Fine Sediment Deposition and Filtration Under Losing and Gaining Flow Conditions, Water Resources Research
  • Ward, Adam S.; Wondzell, Steven M.; Schmadel, Noah M.; Herzog, Skuyler; Zarnetske, Jay P.; Baranov, Viktor; Blaen, Phillip J.; Brekenfeld, Nicolai; Chu, Rosalie; Derelle, Romain; Drummond, Jennifer; Fleckenstein, Jan H.; Garayburu-Caruso, Vanessa; Graham, Emily; Hannah, David; Harman, Ciaran J.; Hixson, Jase; Knapp, Julia L.A.; Krause, Stefan; Kurz, Marie J.; Lewandowski, Jörg; Li, Angang; Martí, Eugènia; Miller, Melinda; Milner, Alexander M.; Neil, Kerry; Orsini, Luisa; Packman, Aaron I.; Plont, Stephen; Renteria, Lupita; Roche, Kevin; Royer, Todd; Segura, Catalina; Stegen, James; Toyoda, Jason; Wells, Jacqueline; Wisnoski, Nathan I., Spatial and temporal variation in river corridor exchange across a 5th-order mountain stream network, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences


  • Patent application, "UV Disinfectant Device for Biofilm Flow Cell,” Packman, A.I., Zhang, W., and Sileika, T., submitted September 27, 2010

In the Classroom

My core teaching philosophy encompasses two main elements: 

Technical skills should always be developed in the context of important problems and systems. This not only provides a framework for integrating skills and experiences, thereby improving learning and retention of the primary material, but also provides a strong motivation for learning, contributes to development of problem-solving capability beyond the primary material, and fosters a broad technical background and familiarity with current societal issues. 

Every aspect of every course should be a learning opportunity. Transmitting factual information and analytical methodology is straightforward, but broader skills are often de-emphasized in conventional courses. I use assignments such as laboratory exercises, student-led discussions, group projects, and case studies to supplement conventional assessment tools such as examinations and homework assignments.

  • CIV ENG 260 Fundamentals of Environmental Engineering
  • CIV ENG 440 Environmental Transport Processes
  • CIV ENG 448 Biophysicochemical Processes in Environmental Systems
  • CIV ENG 516 Seminar in Environmental Engineering