MSU Prof Gets Fulbright, To Study Water Bio-Engineering Overseas

EAST LANSING — Volodymyr Tarabara, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Michigan State University, has been named a Fulbright Scholar and will conduct research on water quality control in the Republic of Georgia.

The highly coveted Fulbright grants are issued by the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to foster international academic exchange. It is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Each year, about 1,200 U.S. scholars study in 155 countries.

Tarabara will spend five months spread over 2014-2016 in Tbilisi, the capital and largest city in the Republic of Georgia, which is located on the southeastern edge of Europe. The host institution is the Agricultural University of Georgia. The project is in cooperation with a team from the Eliava Institute of Bacteriophages, Microbiology and Virology.

His research will focus on the use of bacterial viruses, called bacteriophages, as human virus surrogates in water quality control applications.

“Georgian researchers are considered to be among the best in the world in the science and application of bacteriophages,” Tarabara said. “At the same time, the country is in need of modern engineering solutions to ensure microbiological safety of its waters. I hope that my project will lay a foundation for a laboratory that would serve as a regional hub for water treatment research where engineers and microbiologists collaborate toward the common goal of protecting Georgia’s water supply.”

Tarabara’s work can be broadly defined as water quality engineering. His areas of specialization include membrane separation processes and materials science of synthetic membranes. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors, International Water Association, and North American Membrane Society. He regularly teaches graduate-level courses on environmental transport and unit processes.

The Fulbright program was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by then-Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. In addition to funding trips like Tarabara’s for scholars, the program awards grants annually to 1,600 U.S. students, 4,000 foreign students, and 900 visiting scholars, along with several hundred teachers and professionals. Approximately 310,000 “Fulbrighters” have participated in the program since 1946.

The MSU College of Engineering has six academic departments serving 4,800 undergraduate and more than 800 graduate students through 10 undergraduate and nine graduate degree programs. More at

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