We provide industry and community solutions in the areas of:

  • sustainable advanced water treatment technologies
  • membrane separations
  • energy, and resource recovery and management
  • social and behavioural research.

Research areas

We have the capability to develop and demonstrate water and wastewater treatment technologies at both the laboratory and pilot scale. These include desalination and low-pressure membrane systems, which are central to the Institute's research program.

Our research focus areas include:

  • increase water recovery from desalination processes
  • scaling and fouling reduction of membrane systems
  • development of advanced oxidation materials and processes for organics destruction
  • minimisation of the residuals and residuals treatment
  • improve the performance and management of small scale treatment systems
  • industrial water treatment
  • recovery of valuable resources from domestic and industrial wastewater.

Research staff & students

Read about our researchers, and find contact details.

Name Contact details Research interests
Professor Mikel Duke
[email protected]
+61 3 9919 7682
Desalination, industrial wastewater treatment, membrane separations, distillation, resource recovery, inorganic and organic membrane materials design and fabrication, oxidation, bioreactor applications and photocatalysis.
Professor Stephen Gray
Deputy leader
[email protected]
+61 9919 8097
Water recycling, desalination, potable reuse, membrane materials and applications.
Dr Marlene Cran [email protected]
+61 9919 7642
Membrane materials, autopsy, cleaning; nanomaterials for membrane integrity monitoring; optical sensors for contaminant detection.
Noel Dow [email protected]
+61 9919 8025
Wastewater treatment, desalination, membrane processes, chemical analysis techniques, process control.
Professor Jun-de Li [email protected]
+61 9919 4104
Wastewater treatment, desalination, membrane separations, distillation, resource recovery.
Associate Professor Shobha Muthukumaran [email protected]
+61 3 9919 4859
Water and wastewater treatment, membrane separation technologies including membrane fabrication, membrane bioreactors, water recycling and reuse, resource recovery, and advanced oxidation processes.
Dr Daniel Ooi [email protected]
+61 9919 2200
Community-based water management, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) community needs, residential water user preferences, social and political barriers to recycled water.
Professor John Orbell [email protected]
+61 9919 8066
The application of computational chemistry methods for the understanding and optimisation of membrane filtration at the molecular level. The application of electromagnetic fields to the control of scaling and membrane fouling.
Dr Peter Sanciolo [email protected]
+61 9919 8053
High water recovery desalination, accelerated seeded precipitation, ion exchange separation, decentralised potable water supply, membrane distillation, wastewater pasteurisation, bluegreen algae detection, enzymatic deinking of recycled paper, adsorbing colloid flotation.
Associate Professor Ashok Sharma [email protected]
+61 3 9919 4519
Integrated urban water management, water-sensitive urban design, green infrastructure, decentralised water and wastewater systems, hydraulic design, system optimisation, hydraulic and hydrological modelling.
Dr Fotios Sidiroglou [email protected]
+61 9919 4913
Imaging (material characterisation and analysis), fibre optics (lasers and amplifiers), and sensing (e.g. chemical sensing, coating development, temperature and strain analysis). Development of functionalised membranes or nanostructures at the end of optical fibres for monitoring pollutants (e.g. PFAS, heavy metals) in water.
Dr Thomas Yeager [email protected]
+61 9919 8103
ANAMMOX cultivation and water treatment, pulsed electromagnetic field testing, microalgae and bioreactor expertise.
Dr Jianhua Zhang [email protected]
+61 9919 7617
Wastewater treatment, desalination, potable water reuse, PFAS decontamination from soil and water, multifunctional membrane fabrication for pervaporation, nanomaterial fabrication.


Name Thesis topic
Rajneesh Gautam (PhD) Integration of trigeneration with Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactor (AnMBR) technology for sustainable wastewater treatment.
Ngoc Han (PhD) Improving water reuse for a commercial paper mill.
Noushin Islam (PhD) Factors affecting construction and demolition waste management on large infrastructure projects in Australia.
Johnson Luo (PhD) Fractional recovery of minerals from waste water by utilising meta-stable solution kinetic behaviours.
Maedeh Nadimi (PhD) Proof concept study of a novel integration of membrane distillation and advanced oxidation processes for wastewater treatment.
Mahdi Shahrooz (PhD) Stimuli-responsive omniphobic membranes for membrane distillation of oily waters


Name Thesis topic
Ludovic Dumee (PhD) Design and characterisation of carbon nanotube bucky-paper membranes for membrane distillation.
Li Gao (PhD) Theoretical and experimental investigation of permeate gap membrane distillation.
Khaled Ibn Abdul Hamid (PhD) The effect of ozone on ceramic membranes for application to secondary treated effluent.
Angela Hausmann (PhD) Membrane distillation in dairy processing.
Thilini Hettiarachchi (Masters) Applications study of membrane distillation for the dairy industry.
Ikechukwu Anthony Ike (PhD) Enhancing membrane filtration and persulphate advanced oxidation processes for water treatment.
Uchenna Kennedy Kesieme (PhD) Mine waste water treatment and acid recovery using membrane distillation and solvent extraction.
Jessica Lai (PhD) Improving the durability and performance of hollow fibre membranes with nanocomposite and inorganic/organic hybrid materials.
Darli Myat (PhD) Experimental and theoretical investigations of membrane fouling – Examining the nature of foulant-foulant and foulant-membrane interactions.
Morley Muse (PhD) Characterisation of chlorella vulgaris cell wall breakdown to improve anaerobic hydrolysis.
Marziyeh Nazari (PhD) Nano-structured films on optical fibres as chemical sensors and actuators.
Lavern Nyamutswa (PhD) Light transmitting photocatalytic membrane for chemical-free fouling control in water treatment.
Chathuri Piyadasa (PhD) Effects of commercially available pulsed electromagnetic field devices on bacterial viability and calcium carbonate precipitation.
Rackel Reis (PhD) Surface modification of thin-film composite membranes by direct energy techniques.
Anbu Vanangamudi (PhD) Bioactive surface modifications for fouling resistant nanofibre composite membranes.
Zongli Xie (PhD) Hybrid organic-inorganic pervaporation membranes for desalination.
Po Zhang (PhD) Fouling and its control in membrane distillation for the treatment of reverse osmosis brine.
Jianhua Zhang (PhD) Theoretical and experimental investigation of membrane distillation.
Meris Zheng (PhD) A critical analysis of current practices in the treatment of household food waste in Australia – strategic and technical improvements within a Micro Circular Economics (MCE) context.

Our associates, adjuncts and students provide vital research and support to the research area. As part of our Occupational Trainee program (OT), we receive students from Australia and overseas universities to work on research projects.

ASsociates Deptartment/College Research interests
Professor Stephen Bigger VU First Year College® Packaging/plastic degration
Dr Domenico Caridi Engineering and Science Innovative foods
Dr Efrat Eilam Arts and Education Sustainability education
Professor Sam Fragomeni Engineering and Science Concrete
Sarah Fraser Engineering and Science Water
Professor Anne-Marie Hede Graduate Research Centre Consumer behaviour
Dr Joshua Johnson Engineering and Science Plant biology
Professor Roger Jones Business Climate change
Professor Akhtar Kalam Engineering and Science Alternative energy
Associate Professor Wally Karnilowicz Health and Biomedicine Cross-cultural and cultural psychology
Professor Terence McCann Health and Biomedicine Mental health
Dr Nitin Muttil Engineering and Science Urban rainfall-runoff modelling
Dr Anne Ng Engineering and Science River water quality modelling
Dr Lawrence Ngeh Engineering and Science Water management
Dr Megan O'Shea Engineering and Science Conservation and restoration of temperate grasslands
Dr Cagil Ozansoy Engineering and Science Renewable energy systems
Dr Gitesh Raikundalia Engineering and Science Health informatics
Associate Professor Jeannie Rea Communication, Culture & Creative Arts Communication, social action
Dr Gina Reyes P&C Program Management Climate change
Dr Randall Robinson Engineering and Science Sustainability and environment
Professor Vincent Rouillard Engineering and Science Stochastic processes
Associate Professor Nick Sciulli Business Climate change
Associate Professor Juan Shi Engineering and Science Intelligent control
Dr Xiao Su Health and Biomedicine Health and nutrition
Dr Md Nazim Uddin Engineering and Science Ecology
Professor Todor Vasiljevic Health and Biomedicine Membrane technologies in dairy processing


Emeritus Proefessors Deptartment/College Research interests
Professor Chris Perera Engineering and Science Water resources and management
Professor David McCallum Arts and Education History of human sciences, sociology of law
Professor Michelle Towstoless Health and Biomedicine  
Professor Yanchun Zhang Engineering and Science Informatics


Dr John Cary


John was Interim Director of the Institute for Sustainability and Innovation 2005 to 2006. He has over 30 years of experience undertaking behavioural research related to natural resource management, water use, and public attitude measurement. He is a member of the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Social Science Expert Advisory Group and is a FSANZ Fellow.

Dr Dharma Dharmabalan


Dharma is currently employed by Tasmania Water as their General Manager, Works Delivery. Previous to taking up this position, he served at Coliban Water, Central Highlands Water for five years and Barwon Water for 13 years. He is an active member with CRC for Water Quality and Treatment and currently Project Leader & Deputy Program Leader, for Distribution systems.

Dr Edward (Ted) Anderson Gardner

ex Central Queensland University

Ted was the foundation manager (Chief Scientist) of the Urban Water Cycle Science Group at the Environment Resources Centre at Indooroopilly. His specialist fields are in system thinking as applied to the Urban Water Cycle, metabolism of ecologically sensitive subdivision (water, energy and nutrient balances), microbiology and quantitative microbial risk assessment of alternative urban water supplies etc.

Bahay Ozcakmak, Adjunct Associate Professor

Parkway Process Solutions

Bahay is the group managing director of Parkway Process Solutions (PPS), a leading provider of innovative water treatment products, services, solutions & technology. PPS is the primary operating division of Parkway Corporate Limited, an ASX-listed industrial water treatment company. Bahay has extensive corporate development experience and technology commercialisation expertise, particularly in the energy and mining sectors, where he has led the successful acquisition of several flagship projects and major corporate transactions, particularly with listed companies.

Bahay has broad corporate experience ranging from business and corporate strategy development through to CEO and director level roles in the energy and mining sectors. Recent experience with resources companies have been focused on gold, copper, nickel, cobalt, lithium, potash and uranium projects.

Other Adjuncts

  • Nigel Corby
  • Dr Eddy Ostarcevic
  • Nazin Uddin
  • Terence McCann
  • Megan O’Shea

Emeritus professors

  • Bodiyabaduge (Chris) Perera  
  • Yanchun Zhang
  • David McCallum

Industry advisory committee

Our programs are strongly connected to industry partners through the advisory committee and adjunct appointments, and via partnerships on individual research projects.

We also undertake consultancy projects across our broad portfolio of research areas. Our laboratory facilities are available to our industry partners and a list of equipment available is listed below.

  • Barwon Water
  • Central Highlands Water
  • Coliban Water
  • Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • EPA Victoria
  • Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water
  • Greater Western Water
  • Integrated Elements
  • Melbourne Water
  • Metropolitan Planning Authority
  • National Measurement Institute
  • Port Philip & Westernport CMS
  • Sonic Essentials
  • South East Water
  • Steripak Pty Ltd
  • Victorian Water Industry Association
  • Water Research Australia
  • Wyndham City Council

Laboratory facilities

Our laboratory facilities are available to our industry partners and include:

  • laboratory and pilot plant membrane facilities for flat sheet, hollow fibre and ceramic membranes
  • membrane autopsy facilities.

  • X-ray Diffraction (XRD)
  • Perkin Elmer FTIR with ATR and Gas Cell
  • Griswold water systems WAVE - high frequency electromagnetic field generation system for testing reverse osmosis membrane fouling
  • Dolphin water care series 3000 - high pulsed frequency electromagnetic field generation system for testing reverse osmosis membrane fouling
  • ICP (inductively coupled plasma - atomic emission spectrometer) for trace level metals analysis
  • GCMS (gas chromatography - mass spectrometer) for organics identification and analysis
  • GCFID (gas chromatography - flame ionisation detector) for general analysis
  • Single quad LCMS (liquid chromatography - mass spectrometer) including ESI, APCI, for unstable or high MW organics identification and analysis
  • Gradient HPLC (with PDA, ELSD, Electrochemical & Fluorescence detectors) for general analysis
  • Scanning UV/Vis spectrophotometer
  • TOC/TN (total organic carbon / total nitrogen) analyser
  • Ion chromatograph for dissolved anions analysis
  • High temperature GPC (gel permeation chromatograph)
  • Zetasizer nano for measuring zeta potential and particle size
  • Streaming Potential Analyser (SurPASS)
  • Aqualog Spectroflurometer
  • Contact Angle
  • Biogas analyser
  • Moisture analyser
  • TriStar3000 porosity analyser (Micromerities USA)
  • Mettler Toledo Differential Scanning Calorimeter
  • Mettler Toledo Thermogravimetric analyser
  • Instron 5 kN Tensile Testing Machine.


Our staff are experts in their fields of advanced membrane treatment, novel desalination processes, social and behavioural aspects of water use, environment assessment and ecology.

If you require further information about water research, or would like to know how we can work in partnership with you, please contact us at:

Postal address:
Victoria University
PO Box 14428
Melbourne, VIC 8001

Victoria University
Building 4 (via gate 3), Room 4103 Werribee campus
Hoppers Lane
Werribee 3030

Phone: + 61 3 9919 8248
Fax: + 61 3 9919 7696

Professor Mikel Duke
Professorial research fellow
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +61 3 9919 7682