Martha Dagnew recognized as a trailblazer in environmental engineering

The Faculty of Engineering at Western University is proud to celebrate the recognition of Martha Dagnew, associate professor in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering as one of the inaugural Canadian recipients of the prestigious 3M 25 Women in Science Program. 

martha-dg-insDagnew, who also leads the Biofilm Engineering and Wastewater Resource Recovery Laboratory at Western University and directs the Greenway Wastewater Technology Testing Bay at the City of London's Greenway Pollution Control Plant, joins a cohort of exceptional women scientists whose innovative work is transforming the landscape of environmental sustainability. 

"I am thrilled to be selected as the first Canadian cohort for the distinguished 3M 25 Women in Science Program; thank you team 3M,” said Dagnew. 

One of her notable contributions is her work on source water protection, where she develops comprehensive frameworks, technologies and processes to safeguard source waters amidst changing environmental conditions. Her research encompasses a holistic approach to addressing water pollution and scarcity, focusing on developing smaller-footprint treatment technologies for existing and new water systems. 

Dagnew 's pioneering efforts extend to her work on anaerobic membrane bioreactors for wastewater treatment. This innovative technology combines traditional anaerobic processes with membrane technology, offering a smaller footprint solution for water treatment while generating energy and recovering nutrients. 

Now, as an associate professor at Western University, she leads groundbreaking research initiatives to protect source water in the face of climate change. Her work focuses on advancing nutrient load reduction techniques, encompassing energy-efficient membrane-aerated biofilm, ZeeLight and the passive rope-type BioCord media. Additionally, she is developing processes and technologies for destroying forever chemicals (PFAS), notably the innovative green ePFASx Tech. 

“Representation in science has always been one of the biggest challenges, and highlighting women's work in STEM is essential to attracting more young girls into the sciences," emphasized Dagnew. Her dedication to empowering the next generation of scientists underscores her commitment to fostering diversity and inclusivity in STEM fields. 

In recognition of her contributions to science, Dagnew will also be included in the digital book 25 Women in Science 2024, which will be released later this year.