Jeanne M. VanBriesen is the Duquesne Light Company Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Department of Engineering and Public Policy and the director of the Center for Water Quality in Urban Environmental Systems (Water QUEST) at Carnegie Mellon University. VanBriesen holds a B.S. in education and an M.S. and Ph.D. in civil engineering from Northwestern University. She is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Delaware.

VanBriesen’s research is in environmental systems, including urban water system sustainability and the built environment water cycle, and the energy-water nexus and watershed decision making. She has published more than 60 scientific articles and given more than 150 professional presentations. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, the Colcom Foundation, the Heinz Endowments, the Packard Foundation, and the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Technology Alliance. She has supervised 21 Ph.D. dissertations and six M.S. theses. VanBriesen has served on the U.S. EPA Science Advisory Board, as well as the boards of the Association for Environmental Engineering and Science Professors and the Ohio River Basin Consortia for Research and Education. She is currently the chair of the board of directors of the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Sciences (CUAHSI).

VanBriesen is a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), as well as of its Environmental Water Resources Institute (EWRI). VanBriesen has received numerous awards, including the 2015 Margaret S. Peterson Woman of the Year Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers, the 2015 Carnegie Science Center Environmental Award, the 2013 Philip L. Dowd Fellowship at Carnegie Mellon, the 2015 Barbara Lazarus Award for Graduate Student and Junior Faculty Mentoring at Carnegie Mellon University, the 2009 American Society of Civil Engineers Pittsburgh Chapter Professor of the year, and the 2007 Pennsylvania Water Environment Association Professional Research Award in 2007. VanBriesen was a selected presenter at the National Academy of Engineering Indo-US Frontiers of Engineering Symposium on Infrastructure in 2008, and an invited speaker at the National Academy of Engineering Education Symposium in 2010. She was selected as a National Academy of Engineering Gilbreth Lecturer in 2011.

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Improving Technologies for Water Treatment


1996 Ph.D., Civil Engineering, Northwestern University

1993 MS, Civil Engineering, Northwestern University

1990 BS, Education, Northwestern University

Media mentions

CMU Engineering

Akinci, Cagan, and VanBriesen named 2022 AAAS Fellows

Burcu Akinci, Jonathan Cagan, and Jeanne VanBriesen, senior faculty members in the College of Engineering, have been named 2022 AAAS Fellows.

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Lyle awarded Fok Presidential Fellowship

Lyle is assessing climate risk to water distribution systems, including quantifying changes to infrastructure reliability, analyzing effects on water utility operations and finances, and developing general climate adaptation strategies.

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Waldvogel works on LANL sustainability and zero-carbon plans

In her current position at LANL, Waldvogel is able to fulfill what she calls her passion—solving problems while making processes more efficient.

Civil and Environmental Engineering

VanBriesen named Division Director of the National Science Foundation's CBET

VanBriesen becomes another CMU professor to make significant contributions to the research community in addition to her role in academia, both of which allow her to demonstrate her expertise in finding interdisciplinary solutions to environmental problems.

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Ibekwe awarded David A. Long Scholarship

Ibekwe will use the award to continue her research in evaluating the dynamic between climate change and water quality.

VanBriesen appointed vice provost for faculty

CEE/EPP’s Jeanne VanBriesen was appointed vice provost for faculty, effective July 1.

CMU Engineering

Are coal-fired power plants affecting your drinking water?

A new study from Jeanne VanBriesen takes a national look at whether coal-fired power plants are unintentionally affecting drinking water treatment plants.


VanBriesen’s research supports unfavorable findings for “clean coal”

Research by CEE’s Jeanne VanBriesen was referenced by Reuter’s in its analysis of the impact of clean coal on environmental health.

VanBriesen joins Lead Task Force

On May 9, it was announced that Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald has formed the Lead Task Force. One of the nine members of the task force is CEE/EPP’s Jeanne VanBriesen.

CMU Engineering

Professorships honor academic leaders

Through endowed professorships, the college honors and supports faculty by providing the resources they need to remain at the forefront of their fields.