Environmental Biotechnology and Global Sanitation

Areas of Focus:

1.) Combining biological process engineering with micro/biotechnological tools to improve analysis, design, and operation of natural and engineered waste transformation (to value products and energy) systems. To accomplish this, we use molecular techniques, mathematical modeling, and lab and field scale experimental approaches.

2.) Addressing sanitation issues in underserved communities. We strive for convergent research, aiming to contribute with our engineering and science skills, as well as our experience in several countries, to attempt to increase access to sustainable sanitation, and protect public health and the environment.

3.) Integrating results from experiments with microbial ecological theory and mathematical modeling. Our focus is fundamental understanding of microbial community structure and function and linking this knowledge to engineering solutions.


Dr. Francis de los Reyes III

Francis_TEDDr. de los Reyes is a Professor of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, Associate Faculty of Microbiology, and Training Faculty of Biotechnology at North Carolina State University. He has been teaching and doing research on wastewater engineering for 25 years. At NC State University, he has been teaching undergraduate and graduate classes on drinking water treatment, wastewater treatment plant design, environmental microbiology, environmental biotechnology, and water and sanitation in developing countries. His research focuses on biological processes and combines modeling, bioreactor experiments, and molecular microbial ecology tools in addressing fundamental and practical issues in environmental biotechnology and environmental engineering. His research on global sanitation encompasses technologies along the sanitation chain. Current or past collaborations include partners in the Philippines, India, China, South Africa, Malawi, Belgium, Pakistan, Rwanda, Madagascar, Kenya, and Ghana. Read more.

Research Projects

Intensification of Anaerobic Digestion: Co-Digestion of Grease Interceptor Waste (GIW) with Thermally Hydrolyzed (TH) and non-TH Biosolids, F. L. de los Reyes III (PI), Urban Water Consortium, ┬áMarch 2020 – December 2021. Read more.

Wastewater Surveillance of SARS-CoV-2, F. L. de los Reyes III (PI), Rice University, June 2020- December 2021.

RAPID: Monitoring for SARS-CoV-2 in municipal wastewater to elucidate infection dynamics across major metropolitan areas of the United States, F. L. de los Reyes III (PI), Nadine Kotlarz, Jeseth Delgado-Vela (Howard Univ.), Lauren Stadler (Rice Univ.), Adam Smith (USC) (Co-PIs), National Science Foundation RAPID, May 2020- June 2021.

Tracking SARS-CoV-2 in the Wastewater across a Range of North Carolina Municipalities, Francis de los Reyes (PI), Angela Harris (coPI), NC Policy Collaboratory, June 2020- December 2020.

ERC Planning Grant: Sanitation and Water Infrastructure of the Future for Marginalized Communities, F. L. de los Reyes III (PI), NSF, September 2019 – August 2021. Read more.

Developing high-yield and resilient anaerobic co-digestion of alternative wastes, F. L. de los Reyes III (PI), Environmental Research and Education Foundation, October 2018- December 2021. Read more.

Commercial Partner Engagement for Trash Excluder, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, July 2019 – February 2021.

Using Microbial Ecological Theory to Understand Microbial Community Dynamics and Improve Function of Anaerobic Bioreactors, F. L. de los Reyes III (PI), Joel J. Ducoste (co-PI), National Science Foundation. August 2018 – December 2021. Read more.

Reliable and Hygienic Pit Emptying Using Modified Screw Augers, F. L. de los Reyes III (PI), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Oct. 2013 – Mar. 2021. Read more.

Recently Completed Research

Completed Projects