Yanna Liang

Yanna Liang

Professor and Chair
College of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Environmental and Sustainable Engineering
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B.E. Environmental Engineering, Sozhou University of Science and Technology, 1992

M.S. Environmental Engineering, Utah State University, 2003

Ph.D. Environmental Engineering, Utah State University, 2006

Postdoc Bioenvironmental Engineering, Utah State University, 06-12/2006

Yanna Liang

Dr. Yanna Liang joined the University at Albany as Professor and Chair in the newly minted Department of Environmental and Sustainable Engineering in Summer 2017. Before Dr. Liang started her academic career in 2007 at Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC), she worked for the Environmental Protection Agency in China and the United States for more than eight years. She has secured more than $5 million external research funding from Federal and state agencies, industry and foundation and participated in over $4.63 million projects funded by NSF. She has published over 70 peer-reviewed journal papers and invited book chapters and presented her research through more than 81 conference presentations. As a result of her multidisciplinary work, Dr. Liang has been a regular panelist for NSF, DOE, DoED, NIH, EPA, DOD, USDA and a frequent reviewer for more than 40 scientific journals. Additionally, she is a registered professional engineer, a board certified environmental engineer, an ABET Program Evaluator, an ASCE ExCEED Teaching Fellow, and has won various awards from ASCE, AWRA, and AWMA. 


A Message from Dr. Liang

Throughout my career, I have grown to be passionate about sustainability. This is such an important and serious term and concept, and I believe that every scientific field and every corner of our society should apply the principle of sustainable development. No matter if it is environment, energy, and economy, we must consider our future generations and not just our own needs. This passion has been a driving force for my research over the years. At this new position, I wish to contribute to the training, educating and equipping of the next generation of scientists and engineers to be critical thinkers, problem solvers, lifelong learners and life changers. The sustainable principles they will learn here will guide their decision-making and help them to be responsible citizens. After all, we have only one earth, one home, at least for now. Thus, now is the time for us to treasure our beautiful environment.


Research Interests

My research interests are tied strongly to sustainable environment and energy. Besides working on conventional environmental research topics, such as remediation of organic and inorganic contaminants, water and wastewater treatment, I am passionate about research and development on renewable energy. In addition, to be proactive on protecting our environment, I am interested in understanding the fate and transport of emerging contaminants in different environmental matrices. Specifically, my research interests are:  

  1. Biodegradation and phytoremediation of organic contaminants in subsurface and groundwater
  2. Nanomaterials for environmental clean-up
  3. Microbial ecology in engineered and natural systems
  4. Fate and transport of engineered nanoparticles and emerging contaminants in aquatic and soil environments
  5. Microbial electrochemical cells for CO2 reduction 
  6. Biochemical and thermochemical conversion of renewable feedstocks to biofuels and bio-products 
  7. Water reuse and wastewater treatment

For more information about Dr. Liang's research, please visit her Sustainable Design Lab page.



Selected Peer-reviewed Journal Publications
(*: Graduate student; **: Undergraduate student)

Zhang, W.L., Zhang, D-Q., Zagorevski DV., Liang, Y.-N., 2019. Exposure of Juncus effuses to seven perfluoroalkyl acids: uptake, accumulation and phytotoxicity. Chemosphere. In press.

Londono N., Donovan AR., Shi H., Geisler M., Liang Y.-N. 2019. Effects of environmentally relevant concentrations of mixtures of TiO2, ZnO and Ag ENPs on a river bacterial community. Chemosphere. In press.

Zhang D-Q., Zhang W-L., Liang Y.-N. 2019. Bacterial community in a freshwater pond responding to the presence of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Environmental Technology. In Press.

El Asli, A., Mesbahi, NE., Oubakalla, R., Fels, LE., Hafidi, M., Liang, Y.-N. 2019. Domestic Wastewater Treatment and Lipid Accumulation for Biodiesel Production by an Isolated Heterotrophic Microalgae from an Arid Climate Zone. The Asia Journal of Applied Microbiology. 6(1): 1-9.

Zhang J., Yip, C.; Xia, C., Liang, Y.-N. 2019. Evaluation of methane release from coals from the San Juan basin and Powder River basin. Fuel. 244, 388-394.

Zhang, W.L., Zhang, D-Q., Liang, Y.-N., 2019. Nanotechnology in remediation of water contaminated by poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances: a review. Environmental Pollution. 247:266-276.

Park S., Liang, Y.-N., 2019. Bioleaching of trace elements and rare earth elements from coal fly ash. International Journal of Coal Science & Technology. 6 (1), 74-83.

Zhang, J*., Anderson, K*, Britt D., and Liang, Y.-N. 2018. Sustaining biogenic methane release from Illinois coal in a fermentor for one year. Fuel, 227: 27–34.

Zhang, J*., Bi, Z., Liang, Y.-N. 2018. Development of a nutrient recipe for enhancing methane release from coal in the Illinois basin. International Journal of Coal Geology. 187: 11-19.

Bi, Z., Zhang, J*., Zhu. Z*., Liang, Y.-N., Wiltowski T. 2018. Generating biocrude from partially defatted Cryptococcus curvatus yeast residues through catalytic hydrothermal liquefaction. Applied Energy. 209, 435-444.

Giang, H*., Zhang, J*., Zhu, Z*., Suni, I., Liang, Y.-N. 2018. Single chamber microbial electrochemical cells for CH4 production from CO2 utilizing a microbial consortium. International Journal of Energy Research. 42:1308–1315.

Xia, C., Kumar, A., Chen, X., Tucker, M., Liang, Y.-N. 2018. Conversion of corn stover hydrolysates to value-added products: comparison between Clostridium carboxidivorans P7 and two microbial communities. Biomass Conversion and Biorefinery. 8(1), 169-178.

More of Dr. Liang's publications, including conference proceedings, can be found here.


Awards and Honors

2019 Outstanding Presentation Award of the ACS Spring 2019 National Meeting ENVR Symposium of Innovative & Practical Approaches for the Treatment of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) 

2019 ABET PEV 

2018 ABET IDEAL Scholar 

2015 Faculty Mentor of Excellence, Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity, SIUC 

2014 Faculty mentor for Kim Jarosz, First place (Physical Science/Engineering), SIUC Undergraduate Research Forum 

2013 McNair Outstanding Mentor, SIUC 

2009 ASCE ExCEED Teaching Fellow 

2009 SIUC Research, Scholarly and Creative Activity Awards 

2006 AWRA-Utah section graduate student paper contest, first place 

2005 EWRI graduate student technical paper contest, second place 

2004-2006 Inland Northwest Research Alliance (INRA) fellow 

2004 Air & Waste Management Association (AWMA) Scholarship