Faculty Directory
George Wells

Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering


2145 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208-3109

Email George Wells


Wells Research Website


Civil and Environmental Engineering

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Ph.D. Civil & Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA

M.S. Civil & Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA

B.S. Chemical Engineering and B.A. Environmental Engineering, Rice University, Houston, TX

Research Interests

  • Environmental biotechnology
  • Microbial ecology of engineered and impacted natural systems
  • Microbial nitrogen and phosphorus cycling and shortcut biological nutrient removal systems
  • Sustainable biological wastewater treatment
  • Resource and energy recovery from waste
  • Bioelectrochemical systems: soil microbial fuel cell and electrolysis cells, soil sensing
  • Microbial greenhouse gas production and management
  • Biofilms, biofilm reactors, and biofouling
  • Mathematical modeling of biofilms and bioprocesses

Significant Recognition

  • US NSF International Research Fellowship (2011) EAWAG 75th Anniversary Postdoctoral Fellowship (2010) US EPA STAR Fellowship for Graduate Environmental Studies (2007) US NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (2004)

Selected Publications

  • Farmer, McKenna; Sabba, Fabrizio; Jia, Zhen; Dunlap, Patrick; Barnard, James; Qin, Cindy Dongqi; Straka, Levi; Kozak, Joseph A.; Downing, Leon; Wells, George, Confronting Assumptions of Phosphorus-Accumulating Organisms and Glycogen-Accumulating Organisms, ACS ES and T Water (2023).
  • Cao, Shenbin; Koch, Konrad; Duan, Haoran; Wells, George F.; Ye, Liu; Zhao, Yingfen; Du, Rui, In a quest for high-efficiency mainstream partial nitritation-anammox (PN/A) implementation, Science of the Total Environment (2023).
  • Feng, Shuchen; Owens, Sarah M.; Shrestha, Abhilasha; Poretsky, Rachel; Hartmann, Erica M.; Wells, George, Intensity of sample processing methods impacts wastewater SARS-CoV-2 whole genome amplicon sequencing outcomes, Science of the Total Environment (2023).
  • Jia, Zhen; Yuan, Quan; Roots, Paul; Sabba, Fabrizio; Rosenthal, Alex F.; Kozak, Joseph A.; Wells, George F., Partial Nitritation/Anammox and biological phosphorus removal integration in a single bioreactor under mainstream conditions, Bioresource Technology (2023).
  • Yuan, Quan; Jia, Zhen; Roots, Paul; Wells, George, A strategy for fast anammox biofilm formation under mainstream conditions, Chemosphere (2023).
  • Klaus, Stephanie; Campolong, Cody; Rosenthal, Alex; Sabba, Fabrizio; Baideme, Matthew; Wells, George; De Clippeleir, Haydee; Chandran, Kartik; Bott, Charles, Comparison of carbon sources in a partial denitrification/anammox MBBR using glycerol, acetate, and methanol, Environmental Science: Water Research and Technology (2023).
  • Obrzut, Natalia; Carnelli, Patricio F.F.; Brauer, Sophie; Notestein, Justin M.; Wells, George F.; Gray, Kimberly A., Valorization of Lignin under Mild Conditions, ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering (2023).
  • Sabba, Fabrizio; Farmer, McKenna; Jia, Zhen; Di Capua, Francesco; Dunlap, Patrick; Barnard, James; Qin, Cindy Dongqi; Kozak, Joseph A.; Wells, George; Downing, Leon, Impact of operational strategies on a sidestream enhanced biological phosphorus removal (S2EBPR) reactor in a carbon limited wastewater plant, Science of the Total Environment (2023).


Cantwell, B. J., Criddle, C. S., Scherson, Y. D., & Wells, G. F. “Microbial Production of Nitrous Oxide Coupled with Chemical Reaction of Gaseous Nitrous Oxide.”  US Patent Appl. 13/066911, filed 4/27/2011