Daniel Oerther

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Daniel Oerther
Daniel Oerther head shot lobby Department of State.jpg
Oerther at Department of State in 2015
Daniel Barton Oerther

(1972-10-11)October 11, 1972
ResidenceRolla, MO, USA
Other namesDan Oerther
CitizenshipUnited States of America
Alma mater
Known for
Scientific career
FieldsEnvironmental Health Engineering
ThesisUsing molecular signature methods to measure the in situ physiology of Acinetobacter spp. in enhanced biological phosphorus removal activated sludge (2002)
Doctoral advisorLutgarde Raskin

Daniel Barton Oerther (born October 11, 1972) is an American Professor of Environmental Health Engineering. He is best known for the use of 16S ribosomal RNA-targeted techniques for fundamental studies of the ecology of bacteria in engineered and natural systems,[1][2] for the use of community-based participatory research to create and evaluate programs and policies to improve access to clean water, nutritious food, and energy efficiency in developing communities,[3][4][5] and for innovation in the scholarship of teaching and learning.[6][7][8]

Life and education[edit]

Born in Columbus, OH, Oerther grew up in Louisville, KY, and graduated from Saint Xavier High School. He earned a Baccalaureate of Arts in Biological Sciences (1995) and a Baccalaureate of Sciences in Environmental Engineering (1995) from Northwestern University. He earned a Masters of Science in Environmental Engineering (1998) and a doctorate (2002) from the University of Illinois. He completed post-doctoral training in microbial ecology at the Marine Biological Laboratory, environmental health at the University of Cincinnati, public health at The Johns Hopkins University, and public administration at Indiana University.


University of Cincinnati[edit]

From 2000 through 2009, Oerther was a member of the faculty of the University of Cincinnati where he served as Head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.[9] At Cincinnati, he established the Ohio Center of Excellence in Advanced Energy: Sustaining the Urban Environment, created a campus-wide minor in sustainability,[10] and founded a student chapter of Engineers Without Borders.[11]

Missouri University of Science and Technology[edit]

In 2010, Oerther joined the faculty of the Missouri University of Science and Technology as the John A. and Susan Mathes Endowed Chair of Environmental Engineering.[12] At Missouri, he promoted the Solar Village,[13] established the Diplomacy Lab program on campus,[14] and led student study-abroad to India[15] and Brazil.[16]

United States Department of State[edit]

From 2014-2019, Oerther was a Foreign Affairs Officer at the United States Department of State in the Secretary's Office of Global Food Security where he provided expert advice on agricultural policy.[17] At State, he lead the creation of COAST - (the Caribbean Oceans and Aquaculture Sustainability faciliTy);[18] and he represented the United States at the Second International Conference on Nutrition,[19] the launch of the Blue Growth Network in St. George's, Grenada, the second Our Ocean Conference in Valparaiso, Chile,[20] and the 43rd plenary session of the Committee on World Food Security in Rome, Italy.

American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists[edit]

In 2013, Oerther joined the Board of Trustees of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists as Treasurer.[21] He was elected Vice President in 2019, and will lead the Academy as President-elect (2020), President (2021), and Past-president through 2022. His recognition from the Academy includes the 2009 University Research Honor Award for, "Improved water quality in northwest Tanzania," the 2014 Excellence in Environmental Engineering and Science Education Award,[22] the 2016 Superior Achievement Award for, "Improved water quality in Ixcan, Guatemala,"[23] the 2017 Frederick George Pohland Medal,[24] and the 2018 Stanley E. Kappe Award.[25]

Additional appointments[edit]

Oerther is lifetime honorary member of The Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (2011);[26] and a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing (2016),[27] the Royal Society of Arts (2017), the Royal Society for Public Health (2017), the Society of Environmental Engineers in the United Kingdom (2018), the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (2018),[28] and the Academy of Nursing Education of the National League for Nursing (2018).[29]

Oerther is an Associate Editor of the, Journal of Environmental Engineering published by the American Society of Civil Engineers.[30] He was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Sigma Theta Tau International Building Corporation (2013-2021),[31] and the Welfare Fund Committee of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (2019-2021).

Oerther is a Visiting Professor at the Institute of Science and Technology for Advanced Studies and Research, Gujarat, India; an Adjunct Professor in the School of Life Sciences, Manipal University in Karnataka, India; and a Faculty Consultant at Future University in Egypt.[32]

Social Entrepreneurship[edit]

Oerther is a proponent of Boyer's model of scholarship in higher education, including: discovery, integration, engagement, and teaching.[33] In an effort to translate the discoveries of the university to benefit society-at-large, he has practiced award-winning social entrepreneurship.[34] Oerther's accomplishments include bringing clean drinking water, [35] improved access to healthcare,[36] and knowledge-economy jobs to Tanzania, Ghana, and Kenya working with the non-profit organizations, Village Life Outreach Project and Good Health Messengers, and establishing PulaCloud, LLC;[37] improving access to safe, nutritious food in food deserts in urban Cincinnati[38] and rural Missouri;[39] demonstrating small-home living;[40] and eliminating childhood stunting in Brazil and Guatemala working with non-profit organizations, Amazon River Cruises and Healthy Communities.[41]

Scholarly Activities[edit]

Environmental Biotechnology[edit]

Oerther is part of a diverse team of faculty pioneering the field of environmental biotechnology – where 16S ribosomal RNA-targeted techniques and microbial genomics are used to advance the fundamental understanding of ecology in engineered and natural systems used by environmental engineers and scientists to treat water, soils, and gases.[42] His contributions have included:

Interprofessional Environmental Health[edit]

Oerther leads teams of engineers, nurses, and other health care professionals to provide clean drinking water and nutritious food to developing communities around the world. His contributions have included:

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning[edit]

Oerther integrates course content and pedagogical approaches from diverse fields to improve student learning in environmental engineering and science. His contributions have included:


Oerther's awards include: