Kara L. Nelson

Kara L. Nelson
Associate Dean of Equity and Inclusion, College of Engineering
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.

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

Office Hours:

Spring 2021

Wed 4:10-5:00 PM via zoom

Note: No OH 4/7, 4/21, 4/29 (moved to 4/28 instead)


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.  She received her B.A. degree in biophysics from U.C. Berkeley, her M.S.E. degree in environmental engineering from the University of Washington, and her Ph.D. in environmental engineering from U.C. Davis.  Prof. Nelson’s research program addresses innovative strategies to improve the sustainability of, and equitable access to, urban water infrastructure, including technologies for potable and non-potable water reuse, nutrient recovery, decentralized systems, intermittent water supply, household water treatment, and affordable sanitation.  In particular, Dr. Nelson’s research focuses on the control of waterborne pathogens, including mechanisms of pathogen inactivation and new detection methods.  She has published over 80 articles in peer-reviewed journals.  Prof. Nelson leads the Engineering Thrust at the Engineering Research Center for Reinventing our Nation’s Urban Water Infrastructure (ReNUWIt), and recently served on the expert panel advising the State of California on the feasibility of direct potable water reuse.   Dr. Nelson was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) at a ceremony in the White House in 2004.  This award is the nation’s highest honor for scientists in the early stages of their career.  She currently conducts research in the United States, India, Bangladesh, Kenya, and Panama.  


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