Dr. Wen-Tso Liu is the Arthur C. Nauman Endowed Professor of Environmental Engineering and Science program at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Liu’s research focuses on water microbiome that describes the ecological roles and societal benefits of microbes in watershed, drinking water systems, and wastewater treatment and reclamation systems. Working with his colleagues and students, his major contributions in water microbiome can be exemplified by the success in isolating, identifying, and characterizing key organisms in enhanced biological phosphorus removal processes (e.g., polyphosphate and glycogen accumulating organisms such as Tetrasphaera elongatae and Candidatus Defluviicoccus tetraformis); the invention of a molecular tool known as T-RFLP (terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism) that could rapidly profile microbial communities prior to the advance in amplicon sequencing technologies; and the discovery of microbial dark matters in methanogenic treatment systems, including the identification of a novel methyl-reducing methanogen (Candidatus Methanofastidiosum methylthiophilus) previously known as WSA2 or Arc I. To actively bridge microbial ecology with engineering practice, his recent studies explore the use of mass balance concept with 16S amplicon sequencing to provide an ecological view on the digestion efficiency of anaerobic digesters at global scale and integrate ecological theory with disinfectant decay and microbial growth kinetics models to predict bacteria (re)growth in indoor plumbing.
Dr. Liu also actively participates in ISME and IWA events. He has served as a convener for ISME meetings a few times and is a member of ISME J Editorial Board since 2006. He has helped in organizing and chairing sessions as a member of Scientific Committee at several IWA specialized conferences such as Microbial Ecology and Water Engineering [MEWE] conference, Leading Edge Conference on Water and Wastewater Technologies, and Biofilms. He is also a member and a past secretary of the MEWE Management Committee.