Yu (Rain) Miao

Assistant Professor,  Civil and Environmental Engineering
Assistant Professor,  Marine and Environmental Sciences



  • 417 Snell Engineering Center


  • Mugar 118

Related Links

Research Focus

Environmental biotechnology for groundwater remediation, wastewater treatment, and public and ecological health


  • PhD, Environmental Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles, 2019
  • MS, Environmental Engineering, Nanjing University, China, 2015
  • BS, Environmental Engineering, Ocean University of China, China, 2012

Honors & Awards

UCLA Chancellor’s Award for Postdoctoral Research, 2022

World Microbe Forum FEMS Congress Attendance Grant, 2021

UCLA Outstanding Doctor of Philosophy in Civil Engineering, 2019

Excellent Master Thesis in Jiangsu Province, 2016

Outstanding Graduate of Nanjing University, 2015

Teaching Interests

Environmental Biological Processes

Environmental Microbiology and Ecology

Professional Affiliations

Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP)

Research Overview

Environmental biotechnology for groundwater remediation, wastewater treatment, and public and ecological health

With the increasing anthropogenic practices and unexpected natural activities, as well as the poor management of resources and environments under changing climate, ecosystems and food security are stressed, especially in the vulnerable and marginalized areas. Thus, advances in environmental stewardship, adaptation design for resiliency, ecosystem, and global change need to be prioritized. Microbiomes governing various bioprocesses have been utilized widely, while it is still difficult to untangle the varying microbial roles and status in the ecology underlying the changing environments. The interdisciplinary research in Miao Lab will apply systems biology through biphasic top-down (integrated meta-omics and machine learning) and bottom-up (individual microbe-based experiment and simulation) ways, to delineate the principles and interactions of microbial ecology and evolution, and conduct validation in multi-scale tests. We will link environmental informatics with extensive approaches in synthetic biology from DNA (genome editing), cellular (metabolic regulation), and community (reconstruction) levels to understand and modulate ecosystems. Three core questions will be answered, 1) how to quantitatively evaluate and predict environmental status by microbial genotype and phenotype; 2) how to pinpoint and manipulate microbial physiology to enhance bioprocesses; 3) how to incorporate emergent properties of microbiomes into physicochemical technologies. Our ultimate goal is to establish solutions to improve environmental sustainability, public health and ecosystem services, through providing information, leading technical innovation, and tackling real-world issues in applications.

Selected Publications

  1. Ramos, P., Chetrit, E., Yehuda, N., Kogan, D., Miao, Y., Nativ-Roth, E., Kushmaro, A., Berkovich, R., Mahendra, S., Gottlieb, M. physical and antimicrobial properties of chitosan/silver nanoparticle composite hydrogels: role of the crosslinker. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 2022, in press
  2. Ramos, P., Kwok, I.Y., Ngo, J., Zgonc, D., Miao, Y., Pornwongthong, P., Blotevogel, J., Mahendra, S. A, B, Cs of 1,4-dioxane removal from water: Adsorption, biodegradation, and catalysis. Current Opinion in Environmental Science & Health, 2022, 29, 100386. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.coesh.2022.100386
  3. Hung, W.C., Miao, Y., Truong, N., Jay, J., Mahendra, S., Jones, A. Tracking antibiotic resistance through the environment near a biosolid Spreading Ground: resistome changes, distribution, and metal(loid) co-selection. Science of the Total Environment, 2022, 153570. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.153570
  4. Miao, Y., Heintz, M.B., Bell, C.H., Johnson, N.W., Polasko, A., Favero, D., Mahendra, S. Profiling microbial community structures in biostimulation and bioaugmentation strategies for treating 1,4-dioxane contaminated groundwater. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 2021, 124457. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2020.124457
  5. Polasko, A.#, Miao, Y.#, Kwok, I., Park, K., Park, J.O., Mahendra, S. Vinyl Chloride and 1,4-Dioxane Metabolism by Pseudonocardia dioxanivorans Journal of Hazardous Materials Letters, 2021, 2, 100039. (# Co-First authors) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hazl.2021.100039
  6. Chen, R.#, Miao, Y.#, Liu, Y., Zhang, L., Zhong, M., Adams, J.M., Dong, Y., Mahendra, S. Identification of novel 1,4-dioxane degraders and related genes from activated sludge by taxonomic and functional gene sequence analysis. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 2021, 125157. (# Co-First authors) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2021.125157
  7. Pica, N.E., Miao, Y., Johnson, N.W., Ramos, P., Mahendra, S., Blotevogel, Jens. Bioelectrochemical treatment of 1,4-dioxane in the presence of chlorinated solvents: Design, process, and sustainability considerations. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 2021, 9 (8), 3172–3182. https://doi.org/10.1021/acssuschemeng.0c08152
  8. Zhang, L., Johnson, N.W., Miao, Y., Liu, Y., Li, Z., Chen, R., Chen, H., Zhong, M., Li, Z., Dong, Y., Mahendra, S. Biodegradation mechanisms of sulfonamides and corresponding antibiotics resistance genes by Phanerochaete chrysosporium – luffa fiber system at the transcriptome level. Chemosphere, 2020, 266, 129194. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2020.129194
  9. Li, J., Liang, Y., Miao, Y., Wang, D., Shi, P., Jia, S. Metagenomic insights into aniline effects on microbial community and biological sulfate reduction pathways during anaerobic treatment of high-sulfate wastewater. Science of the Total Environment, 2020, 742, 140537. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.140537
  10. Miao, Y., Johnson, N.W., Phan, T., Heck, K., Gedalanga, P.B., Zheng, X.R., Adamson, D., Newell, C., Wong, M.S., Mahendra, S. Monitoring, Assessment, and Prediction of Microbial Shifts in Coupled Catalysis and Biodegradation Treatment for 1,4-Dioxane and Co-contaminants. Water Research, 2020, 173, 115540. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2020.115540
  11. Horst, J.F., Bell, C.H., Lorenz, A., Heintz, M., Miao, Y., Saling, J., Favero, D., Mahendra, S. Bioremediation of 1,4-dioxane: Successful demonstration of in situ and ex situ approaches. Groundwater Monitoring & Remediation, 2019, 39 (4), 15-24. https://doi.org/10.1111/gwmr.12354
  12. Berger, A.W., Valenca, R., Miao, Y., Ravi, S., Mahendra, S., Mohanty, S. Biochar increases nitrate removal capacity of woodchip biofilters during high-intensity rainfall. Water Research, 2019, 165, 115008. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2019.115008
  13. Li, J., Cai, M.H., Miao, Y., Luo, G., Li, W.T., Li, Y., Li, A.M. Bacterial community structure and predicted function in an acidogenic sulfate-reducing reactor: effect of organic carbon to sulfate ratios. Bioresource Technology, 2019, 293, 122020. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biortech.2019.122020
  14. Miao, Y., Johnson, N.W., Gedalanga, P.B., Adamson, D., Newell, C., Mahendra, S. Response and recovery of microbial communities subjected to oxidative and biological treatments of 1,4-dioxane and co-contaminants. Water Research, 2019, 149, 74-85.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2018.10.070
  15. Miao, Y., Johnson, N.W., Heck, K., Guo, S.J., Powell, C.D., Phan, T., Gedalanga, P.B., Adamson, D.T., Newell, C.J., Wong, M.S., Mahendra, S. Microbial responses to combined oxidation and catalysis treatment of 1,4-dioxane and co-contaminants in groundwater and soil. Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2018, 12 (5), 1-13.
  16. Miao, Y., Zhang, X.X., Jia, S.Y., Liao, R.H., Li, A.M. Comprehensive analyses of functional bacteria and genes in a denitrifying EGSB reactor under Cd(II) stress. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 2018, 102 (19), 8551-8560.
  17. Liao, R., Miao, Y., Li, J., Li, Y., Wang, Z., Du, J., Li, Y., Li, A., Shen, H. Temperature dependence of denitrification microbial communities and functional genes in an expanded granular sludge bed reactor treating nitrate-rich wastewater. RSC Advances, 2018, 8 (73), 42087-42094.
  18. Zhao, L.D., Lu, X., Polasko, A., Johnson, N.W., Miao, Y., Yang, Z.M., Mahendra, S., Gu, B.H. Co-contaminant effects on 1,4-dioxane biodegradation in packed soil column flow-through systems. Environmental Pollution, 2018, 243, 573-581.
  19. Miao, Y., Guo, X.C., Jiang, W., Zhang, X.X., Wu, B. Mechanisms of microbial community structure and biofouling shifts under multivalent cations stress in membrane bioreactors. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 2017, 327, 89-96.
  20. Miao, Y., Wang, Z., Liao, R.H., Shi, P., Li, A.M. Assessment of phenol effect on microbial community structure and function in an anaerobic denitrifying process treating high concentration nitrate wastewater. Chemical Engineering Journal, 2017, 330, 757-763.
  21. Jia, S.Y., Zhang, X.X., Miao, Y., Zhao, Y.T., Ye, L., Li, B., Zhang, T. Fate of antibiotic resistance genes and their associations with bacterial community in livestock breeding wastewater and its receiving river water. Water Research, 2017, 124, 259-268.
  22. Gedalanga, P., Madison, A., Miao, Y., Richards, T., Hatton, J., DiGuiseppi, W.H., Wilson, J., Mahendra, S. A multiple lines of evidence framework to evaluate intrinsic biodegradation of 1,4-dioxane. Remediation Journal, 2016, 27 (1), 93-114.
  23. Miao, Y., Liao, R.H., Zhang, X.X., Wang, Y., Wang, Z., Shi, P., Liu, B., Li, A.M. Metagenomic insights into Cr(VI) effect on microbial communities and functional genes of an expanded granular sludge bed reactor treating high-nitrate wastewater. Water Research, 2015, 76, 43-52.
  24. Miao, Y., Liao, R.H., Zhang, X.X., Liu, B., Li, Y., Wu, B., Li, A.M. Metagenomic insights into salinity effect on diversity and abundance of denitrifying bacteria and genes in an expanded granular sludge bed reactor treating high-nitrate wastewater. Chemical Engineering Journal, 2015, 277, 116-123.
  25. Guo, X.C.#, Miao, Y.#, Wu, B., Ye, L., Yu, H.Y., Liu, S., Zhang, X.X. Correlation between microbial community structure and biofouling as determined by analysis of microbial community dynamics. Bioresource Technology, 2015, 197, 99-105. (# Co-First authors)
  26. Shi, P., Ma, R., Zhou, Q., Li, A.M., Wu, B., Miao, Y., Chen, X., Zhang, X.X. Chemical and bioanalytical assessments on drinking water treatments by quaternized magnetic microspheres. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 2015, 285, 53-60.
  27. Jia, S.Y., He, X.W., Bu, Y.Q., Shi, P., Miao, Y., Zhou, H.P., Shan, Z.J., Zhang, X.X. Environmental fate of tetracycline resistance genes originating from swine feedlots in river water. Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part B: Pesticides, Food Contaminants, and Agricultural Wastes, 2014, 49 (8), 624-631.
  28. Liao, R.H., Li, Y., Wang, Z., Miao, Y., Shen, K., Shi, P., Ma, Y., Li, W.T., Li, A.M. 454 pyrosequencing analysis on microbial diversity of an expanded granular sludge bed reactor treating high NaCl and nitrate concentration wastewater. Biotechnology and Bioprocess Engineering, 2014, 19 (1), 183-190.
  29. Liao, R.H., Li, Y., Yu, X.M., Shi, P., Wang, Z., Shen, K., Shi, Q.Q., Miao, Y., Li, W.T., Li, A.M. Performance and microbial diversity of an expanded granular sludge bed reactor for high sulfate and nitrate waste brine treatment. Journal of Environmental Sciences, 2014, 26 (4), 717-725.
  30. Wang, Z., Zhang, X.X., Huang, K.L., Miao, Y., Shi, P., Liu, B., Long, C., Li, A.M. Metagenomic profiling of antibiotic resistance genes and mobile genetic elements in a tannery wastewater treatment plant. PloS ONE, 2013, 8 (10).
  31. Liao, R.H., Miao, Y., Hong, Y., Li, Y.M., Shen, Z.Y., Wang, Z.M. Nitrate reduction using nanoscale zero valent iron supported by porous suspended ceramsite. Advanced Materials Research, 2013, 726, 677-682.
Yu Miao


Dec 20, 2022

New Faculty Spotlight: Yu (Rain) Miao

Yu (Rain) Miao joins the Civil and Environmental Engineering department in January 2023 as an Assistant Professor with a joint appointment in Marine and Environmental Sciences.

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