University of California, Riverside

Bourns College of Engineering

Sharon Walker

Faculty Profile

Faculty Profile

Sharon Walker

Interim Dean, Student Academic Affairs
John Babbage Chair in Environmental Engineering
Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering
Sharon Walker

Ph.D. Environmental Engineering
Yale University, 2004

Bourns Hall A237
University of California, Riverside
Riverside, CA 92521

Telephone: 951-827-6094
Facsimile: 951-827-5696
Personal Webpage

Former Institutions: None


Sharon Walker received her Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering, from the Department of Chemical Engineering at Yale University in 2004. She earned her M.S. in Chemical and Environmental Engineering from Yale in 2000 and two Bachelor of Science degrees from the University of Southern California in Environmental Engineering and Environmental Studies in 1998. Dr. Walker is a member of the American Chemical Society (ACS), Association for Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP), American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), Association of Women in Science (AWIS), and Society of Women Engineers (SWE). She is also a member of Chi Epsilon, Tau Beta Pi, and Golden Key honor societies. She is currently a faculty advisor to the UC Riverside Alpha Beta chapter of Tau Beta Pi and the Society of Women Engineers UCR chapter. She was awarded the 2008 Woman of Distinction Award by the Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio Council for her outreach efforts in Science Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education and the 2011 Chancellor's Award for mentoring undergraduates in research.   Other honors include her Fulbright Scholarship at Ben Gurion University in Israel (2009-2010) and an ELATE fellowship (2014-2015).  Most recently, Dr. Walker served as the Associate Dean of the Graduate Division at UCR (2014-2015). 


  • Ph.D. Environmental Engineering, Yale University, 2004
  • M.S. Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Yale University, 2000
  • B.S. Environmental Engineering, Environmental Studies, University of Southern California, 1998


  • Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement 2011
  • NSF Career Award 2010-2015
  • Fulbright Fellowship 2009-2010
  • John Babbage Chair in Environmental Engineering 2005-present
  • Woman of Distinction, Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio Award 2008
  • UC Regents Faculty Fellowship 2005, 2007
  • UC Faculty Senate Research Award 2005, 2008
  • Tau Beta Pi- National Engineering Honors Society - member
  • Chi Epsilon- Civil Engineering Honors Society – member
  • UC Riverside, John Babbage Chair (1/1/05 - 6/30/2008)
  • Regents' Faculty Fellowship/Faculty Development Award, 9/2005
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency STAR Fellowship 2001-2004
  • American Chemical Society Certificate of Merit, Environmental Chemistry Division 2003
  • American Chemical Society Graduate Student Award in Environmental Chemistry 2002
  • National Water Research Institute Graduate Fellowship 2000-2003

Research Areas

Dr. Walker's research interest lies at the intersection of physical, chemical, and biological processes in natural and engineered aquatic systems. In particular, work has focused on understanding the factors controlling particle adhesion and transport in subsurface environments. The emphasis has been to explore the fundamental mechanisms involved in cellular adhesion, and the interactions occurring at the molecular scale between the bacterium and mineral surfaces. These mechanisms apply to not only to bacterial-mineral interactions, but also between bacteria with surfaces such as membranes, filter media, and biomedical materials. Additionally, these approaches are applied to the area of nanoparticle stability and fate in aquatic environments.

The overall goal of Dr. Walker's work is to optimize effective water treatment and distribution, wastewater reclamation, and to understand mechanisms controlling particle transport in aquatic environments. Current research areas include the following:

  • 1.Application molecular techniques to find possible links between genetic characteristics of bacteria and their adhesion and transport behavior, and expanding current predictive capability for transport of various bacterial species in aquatic systems.
  • 2.Examination of the sensitivity of bacterial adhesion to physical and chemical fluctuations as would occur in natural (i.e. groundwater) and engineered (i.e. water and wastewater treatment plants) systems through the investigation of the removal of cells in a radial stagnation point flow (RSPF) system, a parallel plate (PP) flow chamber, and traditional packed bed columns.
  • 3.Study of nanoparticle attachment and detachment kinetics in flowing systems.

Selected Publications

  • Priester, J.H.; Ge, Y; Mielke, R.E.; Horst, A.M.; Cole Moritz, S.; Espinosa, K.; Gelb, J.; Walker, S.L.; Nisbet, R.M.; An, Y-J; Schimel, J.P.; Palmer, R.G.; Hernandez-Viezcas, J.A.; Zhao, L.; Gardea-Torresdey, J.L,; Holden, P.A. 2012 “Soybean Susceptibility to Manufactured Nanomaterials: Evidence for Food Quality and Soil Fertility Interruption” PNAS 109, (37), E2451–E2456.
  • Chen, G. and Walker, S.L. 2012 “Fecal Indicator Bacteria Transport and Deposition in Saturated and Unsaturated Porous Media” Environmental Science and Technology DOI:10.1021/es301378q
  • Abit, S.M.; Bolster, C.H.; Cai, P.; Walker, S.L. 2012 “Influence of feedstock and pyrolysis temperature of biochar amendments on transport of Escherichia coli in saturated and unsaturated soil” Environmental Science and Technology 46 (15), pp 8097–8105 DOI: 10.1021/es300797z
  • Zhao, W.; Liu, X.; Huang, Q.; Walker, S.L.; Cai, P. 2012 “Interactions of pathogens Escherichia coli and Streptococcus suis with clay minerals” Applied Clay Science (in press)
  • Chowdhury, I.,Cwiertny, D. M. and Walker, S. L. 2012 “Combined Factors Influencing the Aggregation and Deposition of nano-TiO2 in Presence of Humic Acids and Bacteria” Environmental Science &Technology Special Issue 46 (13), pp 6968–6976 DOI: 10.1021/es2034747
  • Marcus, I.M.; Herzberg, M., Walker, S.L., Freger, V., 2012 “Pseudomonas aeruginosa Attachment on QCM-D Sensors: The Role of Cell and Surface Hydrophobicities”, Langmuir, 28 (15), pp 6396–6402 DOI: 10.1021/la300333c
  • Marcus, I.M.; Bolster, C.H.; Cook, K.L.; Opot, S.R.; and Walker, S.L 2012 “Impact of Growth Conditions on Transport Behavior of E. coli” Journal of Environmental Monitoring 14(3):984-91 DOI: 10.1039/C2EM10960C
  • Chowdhury, I. and Walker, S. L. 2012 “Deposition and Attachment Mechanisms of TiO2 Nanoparticles in a Parallel Plate System” Journal of Colloid and Interface Science 369:16-22 DOI : 10.1016/j.jcis.2011.12.019
  • Haznedaroglu, B.Z.; Yates, M.; Maduro, M.; Walker, S.L. 2012 “Effects of Residual Antibiotics in Groundwater on Salmonella typhimurium: Changes in Antibiotic Resistance, in vivo and in vitro Pathogenicity” Journal of Environmental Monitoring DOI: 10.1039/C1EM10723B; 14(1):41-47 (cover article of January 2012 edition)
  • Gong, A.; Lanzyl, C.; Cwertiny, D.; Walker, S. 2012 “Influence of Varying Levels of Extracellular Polymeric Substances (EPS) on Hydroxyl Radical Mediated Disinfection of Escherichia coli” Environmental Science and Technology (published online 11/14/2011) 46(1) 241-249

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

College Information

Bourns College of Engineering
446 Winston Chung Hall

Tel: (951) 827-5190
Fax: (951) 827-3188