Kara L. Nelson

Nelson headshot
Blum Chancellor's Chair in Development Engineering
Environmental Engineering

Detection, removal, and inactivation of pathogens in water and sludge; Water reuse; Nutrient recovery; Drinking water and sanitation in developing countries; Wastewater based epidemiology.

Office 663 Davis Hall
Email karanelson@berkeley.edu
Phone (510) 643-5023

Office Hours:

Spring 2023

Thu 12:30-1:30 PM in person (preferred; 663 Davis) or via zoom (if needed)


Dr. Kara Nelson is the Blum Chancellor's Chair in Development Engineering and a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley.  Prof. Nelson teaches courses and conducts research on critical issues at the intersection of public health and the environment.  Her research program investigates practices for wastewater based epidemiology, water reuse, disinfection, nutrient recovery, and international WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene), which draw on her expertise in a wide range of treatment processes including filtration, membrane processes, ion exchange, and disinfection with UV, sunlight, and ammonia.  Prof. Nelson teaches courses on innovation in the water sector, drinking water and wastewater treatment processes, pathogen detection and inactivation, and natural treatment systems.  She led the Engineering Research Thrust at ReNUWIt (www.renuwit.org) and a large regional program to monitor SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater (COVID Wastewater Based Epidemiology for the Bay Area; www.covid-web.org).  Prof. Nelson is passionate about creating a climate in which everyone belongs and can reach their full potential, and previously served as Associate Dean for Equity and Inclusion in the College of Engineering.


Ph.D. - Environmental Engineering, University of California at Davis, 2001
M.S.E. - Environmental Engineering, University of Washington, 1996
B.A. - Biophysics, University of California at Berkeley, 1992