is a Civil Engineering Professor from the United States specialized in geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering. He contributed to UNU-FLORES activities since 2013 and in 2014 he joined UNU-FLORES as the Head of Unit – Waste Management. He also took a leading role in establishing the UNU-FLORES PhD Program in the Integrated Management of Water, Soil, and Waste. Before joining UNU, Prof. Hettiarachchi previously served at the Lawrence Technological University, in Michigan, USA, where he held the position of Director of Civil Engineering Graduate Programs from 2010 to 2013. He was also a Visiting Professor at the University Calgary, Alberta, Canada in 2013. Prof. Hettiarachchi’s current research focus is mainly on circular economy and sustainability with a special emphasis on management of solid waste and wastewater.
Serena Caucci is a Senior Researcher in the Waste Management Unit at UNU-FLORES. She works on academic and capacity development activities in waste management aspects within the Water-Soil-Waste Nexus, supports the process of research product development, and contributes to the ongoing capacity development work related to multi-stakeholder projects such as the Safe Use of Wastewater in Agriculture (SUWA). Before joining UNU-FLORES, Serena worked at the Institute of Hydrobiology at Technische Universität Dresden (TU Dresden) on water sanitation and antibiotic resistance in anthropogenic-driven environments. She received her master’s in environmental science from the University of Florence in Italy and PhD on environmental microbiology from TU Dresden in Germany.
Kai Schwärzel is an Academic Officer at UNU-FLORES and leads the Soil and Land-use Management unit. The overall goal of his work is to understand, quantify, and predict processes that control water and matter fluxes in variable saturated soils ranging from the plot to catchment scale. He is using lab and field experiments, as well as numerical modeling, to deal with these problems. After completing his PhD, Dr. Schwärzel worked as a Postdoc at the Chair of Site Ecology and Soil Protection, TU Berlin. During his time at TU Berlin, his research focused mainly on the impact of dewatering of wetlands on hydraulic soil properties, water budget, trace gas fluxes, and crop yields. In 2004, Dr. Schwärzel became a Senior Researcher at the Institute of Soil Science and Site Ecology at TU Dresden. His research over the last decade has focused on the impact of soils, land use management and climate on water and matter fluxes, and related soil properties. He has studied the functions of soils under various types of land use and management with respect to flood prevention in mountainous regions and with respect to soil physical health. The work of Dr. Schwärzel combines aspects of soil physics/hydrology and soil-plant-atmosphere interactions.