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Ameet Pinto

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


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  • 417 SN
  • 617.373.5241

Research Focus

Microbial ecology and physiology, drinking water treatment and distribution, wastewater treatment, public health microbiology, molecular microbiology, 'omics analyses


Ameet is investigating microbial ecosystems at the interface of infrastructure and public / environmental health with particular focus on the urban water infrastructure – drinking water and wastewater systems. His goal is to characterize and manipulate microbial communities to (1) protect and improve public and environmental health and (2) improve functional reliability and economic feasibility of water infrastructure.

Ameet graduated in 2003 with his baccalaureate in Chemical Engineering from the Institute of Chemical Technology, University of Mumbai. He received his Master of Sciences in Environmental Engineering from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2005 and graduated with this PhD from Virginia Tech in 2009. His doctoral work was in the area of wastewater engineering with particular focus on upset event detection and mitigation and the effect of perturbation on the microbial ecology of activated sludge systems. Ameet completed his post-doc at the University of Michigan and subsequently worked at the University of Glasgow as a Lecturer (2012-2015) and then Senior Lecturer (2015) before joining Northeastern University in January 2016.


  • 2009 PhD in Civil Engineering at Virginia Tech
  • 2005 MS in Environmental Engineering at University of Alaska Fairbanks

Honors & Awards

  • 2019 Paul L Busch Award for Innovation in Applied Water Quality Research, The Water Research Foundation
  • 2019 CEE Outstanding Young Alumni Award, Virginia Tech
  • 2018 ISME/IWA Bio Cluster Award (Rising Star)
  • 2018 NSF Faculty Early CAREER Award
  • 2014 Bright IDEAS Award, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, UK
  • 2013 First Grant Scheme, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, UK
  • 2013 Start Grant, The Royal Society, UK
  • 2005-2006 Deans List of Outstanding Instructors, Virginia Tech, USA

Professional Affiliations

  • International Water Association
  • American Water Works Association
  • International Society of Microbial Ecology
  • Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors

Research Overview

Microbial ecology and physiology, drinking water treatment and distribution, wastewater treatment, public health microbiology, molecular microbiology, 'omics analyses

Selected Research Projects

  • Estimating the Comammox Contribution to Ammonia Oxidation in Nitrogen Removal Systems
    • – Principal Investigator, Water Environment & Reuse Foundation
  • CAREER: Developing a Spatial-Temporal Predictive Framework for the Drinking Water Microbiome
    • – Principal Investigator, National Science Foundation

Selected Publications

  • M.J. Kiristis, M. Emelko, A.J. Pinto, Applying Biotechnology for Drinking Water Biofiltration: Advancing Science and Practice, Current Opinions in Biotechnology, 57, 2019, 197-204
  • N.M. Hull, F. Ling, A.J. Pinto, M. Albertsen, et al., Drinking Water Microbiome Project: Is it Time?, Trends in Microbiology, 27(8), 2019, 670-677
  • I. Bradley, M. Sevillano-Rivera, A.J. Pinto, J.S. Guest, Impact of Solids Residence Time on Community Structure and Nutrient Dynamics of Mixed Phototrophic Wastewater Treatment Systems, Water Research, 150(1), 2019, 271-282
  • S. Potgieter, A.J. Pinto, M. Sigudu, H. du Preez, E. Ncube, S. Venter, Long-Term Spatial and Temporal Microbial Community Dynamics in a Large-Scale Drinking Water Distribution System with Multiple Disinfectant Regimes, Water Research, 139(1), 2018, 406-419
  • S.T. Calus, U.I. Ijaz, A.J. Pinto, NanoAmpli-Seq: A Workflow for Amplicon Sequencing from Mixed Microbial Communities on the Nanopore Sequencing Platform, Gigascience, 7(12), 2018


Oct 26, 2020

Ameet Pinto Awarded WRF Grant for Rapid Detection of Microbials in Water Utilities

CEE Assistant Professor Ameet Pinto was awarded a $522K Water Research Foundation grant for his proposal titled “Rapid Detection and Quantitation of Active Microorganisms.”


Sep 21, 2020

Civil and Environmental Engineering Solutions to the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and its Industrial Advisory Board held a series of panel discussions entitled “Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) solutions addressing the COVID-19 Pandemic”.


Sep 16, 2020

Monitoring Outbreaks of COVID in the Sewage

CEE Assistant Professor Ameet Pinto is screening the city of Somerville, MA’s wastewater to gauge whether COVID-19 cases are increasing or decreasing.

In the Media

Sep 04, 2020

Somerville to Monitor Wastewater for Evidence of COVID-19

CEE Assistant Professor Ameet Pinto was featured by the City of Somerville and WBUR on how he is working with Somerville officials to track coronavirus outbreaks through sewage testing.

professor in lab looking down squirting into lab dish


Aug 19, 2020

Can Real-Time Microbial Monitoring Advance Microalgal Wastewater Treatment?

In a new $2M grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, CEE Assistant Professor Ameet Pinto is collaborating with researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Buffalo, a municipality, and private industry to study the use of algae in purifying wastewater and biofuel production.


May 18, 2020

Effects of COVID-19 on Water Supply Usage

CEE Assistant Professor Ameet Pinto, MES/COS/CEE Associate Professor Aron Stubbins, and CEE Assistant Professor Kelsey Pieper were awarded a $200K NSF RAPID grant for “Extreme water use patterns and their impact on the microbial and chemical ecology of drinking water.”


Apr 07, 2020

Benjamin Gincley Awarded 2020 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Interdisciplinary Engineering PhD student Benjamin Gincley received a prestigious and highly competitive 2020 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship (GRFP).


Sep 26, 2019

Ameet Pinto Receives 2019 Paul L. Busch Award from the Water Research Foundation

Receiving the 2019 Paul L. Bush Award from the Water Research Foundation, Ameet Pinto describes his innovative research.


May 08, 2019

Pinto Awarded NSF Grant for Biofilter Operation

CEE Assistant Professor Ameet Pinto was awarded a $340K NSF grant, in collaboration with Tanju Karanfil from Clemson University and Jess Brown from Carollo Engineers, for “Developing an Eco-Genomic Framework for Biofilter Operation”.

two female students in suits posing with blurred glass interior building in background


May 07, 2019

CEE PhD Students Receive NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

Two Northeastern Civil and Environmental Engineering PhD students, Cassandra Nickles and Katherine Vilardi, received 2019 Graduate Research Fellowships from the National Science Foundation (NSF). This highly prestigious and selective program has historically awarded only 10% of applicants. According to the NSF, “Fellows are anticipated to become knowledge experts who can contribute significantly to research, teaching, and innovations […]

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