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Our Team


Daniel Yeh, PhD, PE, BCEE

Principal Investigator

Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering at University of South Florida


Robert Bair, PhD

Senior Development Engineer

Dr. Bair is an expert on anaerobic membrane bioreactors for decentralized wastewater treatment. His passion is seeing technological advancements serving the needs of marginalized communities. During his PhD work he worked on the NEWgenerator and has served as designer, builder, and operator of the system. He plans to continue improving the system with the intent of commercialized.


Cynthia Castro, PhD, EIT

Project Manager & Technical Lead

Dr. Castro works on developing off-grid wastewater treatment systems for low- and middle-income countries. Her research interests include nutrient recovery and management, bio-electrochemical systems, electrochemical processes, water reuse, and sustainable sanitation. Prior to joining USF, she worked on fundamental understanding of microbial fuel cells (MFC) and oxygenic photogranules for energy-efficient wastewater treatment.

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Daniella Saetta, PhD

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Dr. Saetta work at USF & NASA's Kennedy Space Center where she is supporting the Bioregenerative Water Purification project. She received her PhD in Environmental Engineering from Arizona State University in 2021. Her research focused on the implementation of urine diversion systems in the United States. Her research stood on a strong backbone of cyber technologies, including low-cost sensors and data-driven control. Prior to ASU, Daniella received her B.S. and M.E. degrees in Environmental Engineering at the University of Florida.


Hsiang-Yang (Gary) Shyu

PhD Student 

Gary's research focuses on Non-sewered Sanitation Systems for nutrient recovery from wastewater. As a part of his Ph.D. research, he is analyzing field trial data from the NEWgenerator. He is currently using the data to developing dynamic models for further system optimization.

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Talon Bullard

PhD Student 

Talon specializes in resource recovery for long-duration, deep-space human exploration. He developed the Organic Processor Assembly (OPA) as part of his M.S.. Talon is currently investigating the development and application of aerobic treatment technologies in space.

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Itzé (Ally) Kenny 

Masters Student

Ally's research focuses on nutrient recovery from wastewater streams through struvite precipitation. Her master’s work focuses on the development of a high-rate recovery process. Her general goals are to remediate and prevent environmental pollution in both local and international contexts.


Alexandra Smith

Masters Student 

Alexandra joined the lab after interning at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center while working on a biological water treatment system for space applications. She is pursuing a Master of Science degree in Integrative Biology, concentrating on Environmental Microbiology and Ecology. Her current research revolves around the operation of the Organic Processing Assembly system.


Ben Hoque

Masters Student

Ben joined the lab as an undergraduate research assistant and currently works on the design, construction, and operation of a lab-scale struvite precipitation reactor.


Flaubert Nascimento Akepeu

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Flaubert, a senior in Chemical Engineering, supports the decentralized nutrient management team through reactor construction and sample collection. He also assists with the operation of the Organics Processing Assembly (OPA) for space applications.


Nam Nguyen

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Nam, an Environmental Engineering student,  supports the development and testing of a high-rate struvite reactor for decentralized nutrient management.


Ana Ferret

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Ana, a second year Biomedical Sciences student, supports the Organic Processing Assembly (OPA) through sample collection, chemical analysis, and data collection.


Katrina Haarman

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Haarman, a senior in Chemical Engineering working for the Bioregenerative Technologies for Space Applications Project.

Team: Our Team

Affiliate Team Members


Paul Long
Fwd Designs, LLC

Control and Manufacturing Specialist


Manuel Delgado-Navarro

Control and Automation Specialist


Ahmet Erkan Uman, PhD 

Lecturer, Istanbul Medeniyet Univ., Department of Engineering and Natural Sciences. 


Lindelani Xaba

Prototype Engineer - NEWgen System

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Theodorah Tania Ncube

Prototype Engineer - Direct Filtration System

Team: Team Members

Lab Alumni

Funke Adeosun, PhD

Funke focused on the development of a resilience and reliability framework for decentralized wastewater treatment technologies. Her dissertation can be found here.

Pacia Diaz, PhD

Pacia looked at how urban water management could make coastal cities more resilient to climatic changes and disasters. Her dissertation can be found here. 

Melanie Pickett, PhD, EI

Melanie's research incorporated membrane systems into algal cultivation using wastewater as a feedstock. Her dissertation can be found here. 

Jorge Calabria, PhD, ENV SP, EI

Jorge investigated the horticultural applications for anaerobically treated wastewaters. For his PhD he designed and tested a nutrient capture system for decentralized wastewater treatment systems. His dissertation can be found here. 

Onur Ozcan, PhD

Onur focused on anaerobic membrane bioreactor reactor design and modeling. He was instrumental in the development of the NEWgenerator. His dissertation can be found here. 

Ana Lucia Prieto, PhD

One of the original PhD students in the Membrane Biotechnology Lab. She worked on the first iterations of the AnMBR system as well as algal biofuels. Her dissertation can be found here. 

Anh Do, PhD

Anh's research explored the use of AnMBRs for landfill leachate and investigated the system's ability to remove micropollutants and pharmaceuticals. His dissertation can be found here. 

Russell Ferlita, PhD, PE

Russell's work investigated the removal of carbon from reverse osmosis systems by biofilms growing on the membrane. His dissertation can be found here. 

Caryssa Joustra, PhD, EI, LEED AP BD+C

Caryssa developed a framework for assessing building resilience through better water management strategies. Her work can be found here

Team: Team Members
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