Dr. Olya S. Keen




Research interests:

  • Emerging contaminants: detection and analytical chemistry; environmental effects; fate and transport; treatment processes; transformation products in the natural and engineered systems
  • Wastewater treatment and water reuse: advanced treatment technologies; resource recovery; applications for municipal effluent reuse, graywater reuse and in-house treatment and reuse for buildings and industries
  • Ultraviolet-based processes and advanced oxidation processes: direct and indirect photolysis in natural and engineered systems, UV and ozone based advanced oxidation processes, photocatalysis

Please see “Research” tab for current and recent projects and an overview of analytical capabilities.

Resources for job-seeking students:

  • WateReuse has a database of job postings related to water reuse and water resources in general: http://careers.watereuse.org/jobs/
  • This website from ORAU has a variety of job listings in many scientific fields that can be searched by keywords: https://www.zintellect.com/Home/Applicant

Research group news:



Xueying was one of the eight finalists of the Three-Minute Thesis competition at the Conference for Southern Graduate Schools in Knoxville, TN.  Congratulations, Xueying!


Xueying Brown won UNC Charlotte’s Three-Minute Thesis competition – both First Place and People’s Choice! – and will be representing our university at the Southeast Region competition.  Her presentation was based on her work studying the role of environmental buffers in potable water reuse.


PhD student Nicole Kennedy Neth and Dr. Keen traveled to Malmo, Sweden, to present their research at the International Water Association NOM 6 conference.  Travel was funded by NSF travel award No. 1521562.  Read more…


Dr. Keen was appointed as a Chair of Organic Contaminants Research Committee for the American Water Works Association Read more…


Keen Lab research was in the spotlight at the 2015 Annual Meeting of American Chemical Society in Denver.  Watch the press release video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fa0UmgTWUz8&list=PLLG7h7fPoH8LtUyqg-vxxZO3GlujdfXh6&index=4 or read about it here: http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/newsreleases/2015/march/chlorine-use-in-sewage-treatment-could-promote-antibiotic-resistance.html

The featured research studied the products that form when a common antibiotic doxycycline is exposed to chlorine during water disinfection.  Read more…


Dr. Keen is featured on ACS Denver twitter campaign #ACSdenver #cenoneword where people whose job involves chemistry were asked to describe their job in one word.  See what she and other people whose job involves chemistry said: https://storify.com/jkemsley/your-job-in-one-word


Dr. Keen was interviewed by the International Ultraviolet Association on her opinion on the challenges women face in engineering.

Read the article here: https://www.iuva.org/news/women-leave-professional- Read more…


Dr. Keen received an award from the International Ultraviolet Association for Best UV Research Paper for the Year 2012 for her journal article “The role of effluent nitrate in trace organic chemical oxidation during UV disinfection” co-authored with Drs. Karl Linden and Nancy Love and published in Water Research.

https://www.iuva.org/news/iuva-presents-awards Read more…


Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in conjunction with Chemistry Department was awarded a Major Research Instrumentation Grant from the National Science Foundation for an acquisition of an HPLC/ESI-MS ion trap system.  The new instrument will dramatically increase the capabilities for research of emerging contaminants. Read more…