Dr. Heyang Yuan joined the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Temple University as an assistant professor in August 2019. Dr. Yuan received a BS degree at Tongji University in China, a MS degree at the Technical University of Munich in Germany, and a PhD in Environmental Engineering with Dr. Zhen (Jason) He at Virginia Tech. Prior to joining the Temple University, Dr. Yuan worked as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Yuan leads the BioNex Laboratory at Temple University. His research interests focus on integrating engineering, microbiology and electrochemistry to address the grand challenges at the nexus of water, energy and health.

Research Interests

  • Develop biotechnologies for simultaneous wastewater treatment, desalination, bioenergy production and resource recovery
  • Understanding and modeling microbial communities and functional dynamics in engineered biological systems
  • Fate and removal of emerging biological contaminants such as antibiotic resistance genes in bioreactors
  • Material-microbe interactions

Courses Taught




CEE 2711

Environmental Chemistry & Microbiology


CEE 2712

Introduction to Environmental Engineering


CEE 3711

Environmental Engineering


CEE 3715

Microbiological Principles of Environmental Engineering


Selected Publications

  • Zhang, J., Yuan, H., Deng, Y., Abu-Reesh, I.M., He, Z., & Yuan, C. (2019). Life cycle assessment of osmotic microbial fuel cells for simultaneous wastewater treatment and resource recovery. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 24(11), pp. 1962-1975. Springer Science and Business Media LLC. doi: 10.1007/s11367-019-01626-6

  • Zhang, J., Yuan, H., Abu-Reesh, I.M., He, Z., & Yuan, C. (2019). Life Cycle Environmental Impact Comparison of Bioelectrochemical Systems for Wastewater Treatment. Procedia CIRP, 80, pp. 382-388. Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.procir.2019.01.075

  • Zhang, J., Yuan, H., Deng, Y., Zha, Y., Abu-Reesh, I.M., He, Z., & Yuan, C. (2018). Life cycle assessment of a microbial desalination cell for sustainable wastewater treatment and saline water desalination. Journal of Cleaner Production, 200, pp. 900-910. Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2018.07.197

  • Liu, H., Zhang, B., Yuan, H., Cheng, Y., Wang, S., & He, Z. (2017). Microbial reduction of vanadium (V) in groundwater: Interactions with coexisting common electron acceptors and analysis of microbial community. Environmental Pollution, 231, pp. 1362-1369. Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2017.08.111

  • Yuan, H., Sun, S., Abu-Reesh, I.M., Badgley, B.D., & He, Z. (2017). Unravelling and Reconstructing the Nexus of Salinity, Electricity, and Microbial Ecology for Bioelectrochemical Desalination. Environmental Science & Technology, 51(21), pp. 12672-12682. American Chemical Society (ACS). doi: 10.1021/acs.est.7b03763

  • Li, X., Sun, S., Yuan, H., Badgley, B.D., & He, Z. (2017). Mainstream upflow nitritation-anammox system with hybrid anaerobic pretreatment: Long-term performance and microbial community dynamics. Water Research, 125, pp. 298-308. Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2017.08.048

  • Yuan, H. & He, Z. (2017). Platinum Group Metal-free Catalysts for Hydrogen Evolution Reaction in Microbial Electrolysis Cells. The Chemical Record, 17(7), pp. 641-652. Wiley. doi: 10.1002/tcr.201700007

  • Sevda, S., Abu-Reesh, I.M., Yuan, H., & He, Z. (2017). Bioelectricity generation from treatment of petroleum refinery wastewater with simultaneous seawater desalination in microbial desalination cells. Energy Conversion and Management, 141, pp. 101-107. Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.enconman.2016.05.050

  • Yuan, H., Miller, J.H., Abu-Reesh, I.M., Pruden, A., & He, Z. (2016). Effects of electron acceptors on removal of antibiotic resistant Escherichia coli, resistance genes and class 1 integrons under anaerobic conditions. Science of the Total Environment, 569-570, pp. 1587-1594. Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.07.002

  • Zou, S., Yuan, H., Childress, A., & He, Z. (2016). Energy Consumption by Recirculation: A Missing Parameter When Evaluating Forward Osmosis. Environmental Science & Technology, 50(13), pp. 6827-6829. American Chemical Society (ACS). doi: 10.1021/acs.est.6b02849

  • Yuan, H., Abu-Reesh, I.M., & He, Z. (2016). Mathematical modeling assisted investigation of forward osmosis as pretreatment for microbial desalination cells to achieve continuous water desalination and wastewater treatment. Journal of Membrane Science, 502, pp. 116-123. Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.memsci.2015.12.026

  • Hou, Y., Yuan, H., Wen, Z., Cui, S., Guo, X., He, Z., & Chen, J. (2016). Nitrogen-doped graphene/CoNi alloy encased within bamboo-like carbon nanotube hybrids as cathode catalysts in microbial fuel cells. Journal of Power Sources, 307, pp. 561-568. Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.jpowsour.2016.01.018

  • Yuan, H., Lu, Y., Abu-Reesh, I.M., & He, Z. (2015). Bioelectrochemical production of hydrogen in an innovative pressure-retarded osmosis/microbial electrolysis cell system: experiments and modeling. Biotechnology for Biofuels, 8(1). Springer Science and Business Media LLC. doi: 10.1186/s13068-015-0305-0

  • Yuan, H. & He, Z. (2015). Integrating membrane filtration into bioelectrochemical systems as next generation energy-efficient wastewater treatment technologies for water reclamation: A review. Bioresource Technology, 195, pp. 202-209. Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2015.05.058

  • Sevda, S., Yuan, H., He, Z., & Abu-Reesh, I.M. (2015). Microbial desalination cells as a versatile technology: Functions, optimization and prospective. Desalination, 371, pp. 9-17. Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.desal.2015.05.021

  • Yuan, H., Hou, Y., Wen, Z., Guo, X., Chen, J., & He, Z. (2015). Porous Carbon Nanosheets Codoped with Nitrogen and Sulfur for Oxygen Reduction Reaction in Microbial Fuel Cells. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 7(33), pp. 18672-18678. American Chemical Society (ACS). doi: 10.1021/acsami.5b05144

  • Yuan, H., Abu-Reesh, I.M., & He, Z. (2015). Enhancing desalination and wastewater treatment by coupling microbial desalination cells with forward osmosis. Chemical Engineering Journal, 270, pp. 437-443. Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.cej.2015.02.059

  • Yuan, H., Li, J., Yuan, C., & He, Z. (2014). Facile Synthesis of MoS2@CNT as an Effective Catalyst for Hydrogen Production in Microbial Electrolysis Cells. ChemElectroChem, 1(11), pp. 1828-1833. Wiley. doi: 10.1002/celc.201402150

  • Yuan, H., Herzog, B., Helmreich, B., Lemmer, H., & Müller, E. (2014). Determination of optimal conditions for 5-methyl-benzotriazole biodegradation with activated sludge communities by dilution of the inoculum. Science of the Total Environment, 487, pp. 756-762. Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.10.111

  • Herzog, B., Yuan, H., Lemmer, H., Horn, H., & Müller, E. (2014). Effect of acclimation and nutrient supply on 5-tolyltriazole biodegradation with activated sludge communities. Bioresource Technology, 163, pp. 381-385. Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2014.04.097

  • Yuan, H., Mei, R., Liao, J., & Liu, W. Nexus of Stochastic and Deterministic Processes on Microbial Community Assembly in Biological Systems. Frontiers in Microbiology, 10. Frontiers Media SA. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.01536

  • Yuan, H., Hou, Y., Abu-Reesh, I.M., Chen, J., & He, Z. Oxygen reduction reaction catalysts used in microbial fuel cells for energy-efficient wastewater treatment: a review. Materials Horizons, 3(5), pp. 382-401. Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). doi: 10.1039/c6mh00093b

  • Lu, Y., Qin, M., Yuan, H., Abu-Reesh, I., & He, Z. When Bioelectrochemical Systems Meet Forward Osmosis: Accomplishing Wastewater Treatment and Reuse through Synergy. Water, 7(12), pp. 38-50. MDPI AG. doi: 10.3390/w7010038

  • Yuan, H. & He, Z. Graphene-modified electrodes for enhancing the performance of microbial fuel cells. Nanoscale, 7(16), pp. 7022-7029. Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). doi: 10.1039/c4nr05637j