Three Ph.D. positions, Virginia Tech

January 27, 2023

Dr. Zhiwu (Drew) Wang’s lab in Virginia Tech is recruiting three Ph.D. students to begin in Fall 2023 for the three projects described below.  Detailed information about application submission can be seen at

1.Characterization of variability in MSW streams to identify critical material attributes for fuel production

A PhD or a MS student will be supported by this DOE project to understand the characteristics critical to turning low-cost, abundant municipal solid waste (MSW) into conversion-ready feedstocks for producing biofuels through gasification and solid-state anaerobic digestion (SS-AD) as targeted thermal and biological conversion technologies. Since this is a joint project among seven organizations, the candidate working on this DOE project will have the opportunity to learn collaborative skills between universities, national labs, and industrial partners. Candidates with experience in solid waste management are especially encouraged.

2.Pilot-scale bioplastic product fermentation and manufacturing from food wastes

A PhD will be supported by this USDA-funded project to convert a variety of food wastes to Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) which will be furthered processed into commercial grade bioplastic products such as flexible wrapping films or hard plastic containers that can not only be readily biodegradable in engineered systems but also in natural environments such as backyard composting or in the ocean. Candidates with experience in up-scaled biological processing and real-world research are especially welcomed.

3.Partial denitrification anammox technology for mainstream wastewater nitrogen removal

A Ph.D. or a M.S. student will be supported by this industrial project. The study will be performed in the Northern Virginia campus with the goal to achieve low energy and low carbon biological nitrogen removal from real municipal wastewater through a smart automatic controlling system. The success of this biotechnology would promote anammox technology into the full-scale application in mainstream wastewater treatment processes.