Academy of Distinguished Alumni
Rula A. Deeb Ph.D., BCEEM, PMP
Inducted to the Academy of Distinguished Alumni on
Rula Deeb received her Ph.D. (1999) and M.S. degree (1994) in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. Her focus was in environmental engineering. Her B.S. degree (1991) was from Warren Wilson College in North Carolina, where she studied Chemistry and Mathematics. After a postdoctoral research position at Berkeley, Dr. Deeb started her professional career at Malcolm Pirnie, which became part of Arcadis in 2009. She then joined Geosyntec in 2013 where she is now a Senior Principal.
Dr. Deeb is widely known as a leading expert on emerging contaminants in the environment. She has contributed through fundamental and applied research, and through solution-oriented projects, to our understanding of the occurrence, fate and transport, and remediation of persistent organic chemicals in soil and groundwater, including legacy and emerging contaminants. These include PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether), NDMA (n-nitrosodimethylamine), 1,2,3-TCP (trichloropropane), endocrine disrupting chemicals, and pharmaceuticals and personal care products. Across all these topics, Dr. Deeb’s efforts have led to practical tools for evaluating risks, decision-making about risks, and specific guidance for best practices to assess and treat environmental media impacted by these contaminants.
Dr. Deeb’s commitment to the field is evident through her active participation with the Interstate Technology Research Council (ITRC). She has participated in the National Academy of Engineering’s (NAE’s) Frontiers of Engineering Program (2007, 2009, 2010) as well as the National Academies Arab-American Frontiers of Science, Engineering, and Medicine program since 2011. In this role, she has worked to enhance scientific exchange and dialogue between young scientists, engineers, and medical professionals in the U.S. and the Arab League.
During her career, Dr. Deeb has authored and coauthored nearly 300 reports, archival journal papers, book chapters, and conference papers on the sources, fate, and prevalence of soil and groundwater contaminants, management approaches for complex sites, and global trends in remediation. Her work has garnered a number of awards, including the Industry Recognition Award for outstanding contribution as a member of the Remediation Risk Management ITRC Team (2010) and the Engineering Innovation Young Outstanding Leader Award from U.C. Berkeley (2008).
Dr. Deeb has been a strong partner to Berkeley CEE by participating in seminars and classes on campus, and through serving as a mentor for students and early career alumni. She also serves as Chair of the Industry Advisory Board for the large Stanford-Berkeley NSF-funded Engineering Research Center, ReNUWIt (Reinventing the Nation's Urban Water Infrastructure).