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Varun K. Kasaraneni

  • Associate Professor
    Environmental Science & Engr.

I was born on the banks of river Krishna in the city of Vijayawada, India. I moved to the states for my graduate studies over 18 years ago and now, I am an associate professor at Gannon University, Erie, PA.
My interest in environmental engineering was sparked as a result of witnessing increasing pollution in river Krishna due to urbanization. My research work focuses are in the areas of Urban pollution, Stormwater management, Plastic pollution and Drinking water treatment. In my current research projects, we are working to understanding how urban litter contributes to plastic pollution in great lakes and develop solutions to remove micro- and macro plastics from water.
Prior to joining Gannon, I worked for two years as Visiting Assistant Professor at Wilkes University, PA.

  • Scott Steinbrink, Varun Kasaraneni, Saeed Tiari, Lin Zhao. Pathway for continuing success: Scholars of Excellence in Engineering and Computing Studies (SEECS). National Science Foundation S-STEM (Award:2221052) Amount awarded: $1,499,998
  • Lisa Nogaj, Matt Heerboth, Varun Kasaraneni, Steven Mauro. Advanced Mass Spectrometry for Northwestern Pennsylvania. Hirtzel Foundation 2020. Amount awarded:  $285,033
  • Varun Kasaraneni and Sherri Mason. Quantifying Urban Litter Contribution to Plastic Pollution and Assessing Best Mitigation Practices. 2020 Pennsylvania Sea Grant. Amount awarded: $117,066
  • Varun Kasaraneni. Regional Summer School of Excellence. 2019 PA DEP Coastal Zone Management grant. Amount requested:  $12,217.
  • Michelle Homan and Varun Kasaraneni. Environmental Engineering outreach activities. 2019 AEESP Foundation Grant. Amount awarded: $2,000
  • Michelle Homan and Varun Kasaraneni. 2020 Erie Earth Day Festival & Activities. 2019 PA DEP Environmental Education Amount awarded: $2,955
  • Julie McMonagle and Varun Kasaraneni.  Pennsylvania Environmental Council, 2017 Pocono Forests and Waters Conservation Landscape Mini-Grant to host a 3-day summer Environmental Science camp. Amount awarded: $3,916.46
  • Contaminant Accumulation in Best Management Practices: Implications for the Performance of Catchment Basins. Involved in grant writing as a doctoral student. RI Department of Transportation 2014. Amount awarded: $116,916
  • Water and Wastewater Treatment (ENV 451 / GENV 551)
  • Water and Wastewater Treatment Lab (ENV 453 / GENV 553)
  • Environmental Research Methods (GENV 692/GENV 500)
  • Solid Waste Management (ENV 477 / GENV 577)
  • Air Pollution Control Eng. (ENV 455/GENV 555)
  • Environmental Engineering (ENV 403 / GENV 643)
  • CAD for Environmental Engineers (ENV 212)
  • Intro. to Engineering and Computing (ENG 102)
  • First Year Seminar (ENG 100)
  • Senior Design I (ENV 494)
  • Senior Design II (ENV 495)
  • Professional and Personal Enrichment Seminar, SEECS 401, 402, 201, 202

• Ph.D.,  University of Rhode Island,  Civil and Environmental Engineering  (2015)                                              
• M.S.,   Youngstown State University, Civil and Environmental Engineering (2008)                                          
• B.S.,    Acharya Nagarjuna University, Civil Engineering (2005)

• Associate Professor                Aug 2022 - present
   Department of Environmental Science and Engineering
    Gannon University,  Erie, PA

• Assistant Professor                Aug 2017 - Aug 2022
   Department of Environmental Science and Engineering
    Gannon University,  Erie, PA

• Visiting Assistant Professor             Aug 2015  -  Aug 2017
   Department of Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences
    Wilkes University,  Wilkes Barre, PA

  • American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
  • The Environmental & Water Resources Institute (EWRI)
  • American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE)
  • Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP)
Peer Reviewed Journal Publications
  1. Khan, S., E. Dialynas, V. K. Kasaraneni, and A. N. Angelakis. "Similarities of Minoan and Indus Valley hydro-technologies." Sustainability 12, no. 12 (2020): 4897.
  2. Chalbot, M. C. G., Pirela, S. V., Schifman, L., Kasaraneni, V., Oyanedel-Craver, V., Bello, D., ... & Demokritou, P. (2017). Synergistic effects of engineered nanoparticles and organics released from laser printers using nano-enabled toners: potential health implications from exposures to the emitted organic aerosol. Environmental Science: Nano.
  3. Kasaraneni, Varun K; Oyanedel-Craver, Vinka. (2016). Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Contamination in Soils of San Mateo Ixtatán, Guatemala: Occurrence, Sources, and Health Risk Assessment. Journal of Environmental Quality.
  4. Schifman, L. A., Kasaraneni, V. K., Sullivan, R. K., Oyanedel-Craver, V., & Boving, T. B. (2016). Bacteria Removal from Stormwater Runoff Using Tree Filters: A Comparison of a Conventional and an Innovative System. Water,8 (3), 76.
  5. Schifman, L. A., Kasaraneni, V., Sullivan, R. K., Craver, V. O., & Boving, T. B. (2015). New antimicrobially amended media for improved non-point source bacterial pollution treatment. Environmental Science & Technology. 49 (24), pp 14383 -14391.
  6. Kasaraneni, Varun K.; Schifman, Laura A.; Boving, Thomas B; Oyanedel-Craver, Vinka. (2014). Enhancement of surface runoff quality using modified sorbents. ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering 2.7: 1609-1615.
  7. Kasaraneni, V.; Kohm, S. E.; Eberle, D.; Boving, T.; Oyanedel-Craver, V. (2014). Enhanced containment of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons through organic modification of soils. Environmental Progress & Sustainable Energy 33.1: 47-54

Peer Reviewed Book Chapters

  1. Laura A. Schifman, Varun K. Kasaraneni, and Vinka Oyanedel-Craver.  Contaminant Accumulation in Stormwater Retention and Detention Pond Sediments: Implications for Maintenance and Ecological Health. Integrated and Sustainable Environmental Remediation. January 1, 2018 , 123-153 DOI:10.1021/bk-2018-1302.ch007

Conference Publications

  1. Helms, M.A., Andraso, L., Kasaraneni, V.K., 2021. Microplastics in Urban Stormwater: Sampling and Separation Method. The World Environmental and Water Resources Congress, American Society of Civil Engineers, pp. 324–335.
  2. Vernaza, K.M., Tiari, S., Steinbrink, S., Zhao, L., Kasaraneni, V.K., 2021. Effect of Evolving Design Requirements on Students’ Motivation.  2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access.
  3. Geiger, Jason, Justin Drehs, Matthew Colbert, Lydia Andraso, and Varun Kasaraneni. "Effect of Pyrolysis Temperature on Biochar Characteristics and Sorption." In World Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2020: Water, Wastewater, and Stormwater and Water Desalination and Reuse, pp. 84-92. Reston, VA: American Society of Civil Engineers, 2020.
  4. Kasaraneni, V. K., & Gee, D., & Tiari, S., & Sundaram, R. (2020, March), First-Year Service Learning Project: Engineering Education with a Broader Social Purpose Paper presented at 2020 ASEE North Central Section conference, Morgantown, West Virginia.

My research interests can be broadly divided in to three areas as follows:

  1. Advanced stormwater treatment to protect surface water quality: Stormwater is a leading cause of surface water pollution around the world. It is a conduit for several pollutants such as nutrients, pesticides, heavy metals, bacteria. My research focuses on developing and testing engineered filter media that is capable of removing a wide range of pollutants from stormwater runoff.  One of the novel factors of my work is developing filter media by incorporating nanoparticles and organic polymers into agricultural waste products. Presence of excessive nitrates and phosphorous is major cause of Harmful algal blooms. One of the current projects is developing biochar-alumina composite materials for enhanced removal of phosphorous and nitrates from stormwater runoff.   
  2. Drinking water treatment technologies for developing communities: Developing communities around the world lack infrastructure to provide clean and safe drinking water leading to illness and death to millions of residents. My research in this area focuses on developing and enhancing domestic point of use water treatment technologies (POUs) such as sand filters, ceramic bucket filters.  Most POU technologies don’t meet the drinking water standard by US EPA. My students are currently working on enhancing treatment capabilities of sand filters by incorporating of biochar-nano composite materials. 
  3. Environmental accumulation, fate and transport of emerging contaminants: Quantifying the levels of contamination and understanding the fate and transport properties of contaminants in environmental systems is key to mitigate environmental and public health hazards. Work in progress in this area is on transport properties of Cyanobacteria and Cyanotoxins in soils adjacent to eutrophic lakes and ponds (Harmful algal blooms) and levels of Cyanotoxins in groundwater in Lake Erie basin.

Other topics of interest include environmental applications and implications of nanomaterials, recycling and microplastics in urban environment.


University Service

  • Faculty Senate member   2021 - Present
  • CEB Academic Affairs Committee Member - 2020 -2023
  • Liberal Studies Committee Member Fall 2023 - Present
  • University Academic Safety Committee (UASC)  Member - 2019 -Dec 2023
  • Director, Regional Summer School of Excellence Dec 2018 - Dec 2022 
  • Industrial Engineering- faculty search committee  2021-22
  • Industrial Engineering- faculty search committee  2019
  • Physics - faculty search committee  2018

Professional Service

      Journal reviewer

  • International Journal of environmental science and technology
  • International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
  • Environmental Engineering science
  • Environmental Progress & Sustainable Energy
  • Journal of Hazardous Materials
  • Nanotechnology for Environmental Engineering
  • Science of Total Environment
  • Water, Air, & Soil Pollution

      ASCE’s Environmental & Water Resources Institute

  • Chair of Advanced Renewable Energy Technologies Committee 2023 - Present
  • Panel Moderator- Groundwater Quality Issue in PA  EWRI 2019
  • Reviewer and Session moderator for groundwater quality 2018, 2019
  • Member Groundwater Quality Committee 2017- present
  • Member Renewable Energy Technologies  2018 - present

      Penn State Behrend-Sigma Xi Undergraduate Research conference

  • Session Chair and Reviewer for Environmental Science Session 2018

Community service

  • Erie HACK 2019 Steering committee member 2019
  • Glass recycling committee member 2019
  • Erie Earth day festival steering committee member 2019,2020





Varun           K. Kasaraneni

+1 8148717188
Office: Z 421

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