Nearly 40 percent of the world’s population faces water scarcity. Making this water safe to drink is a big part of the issue – about 80 percent of the world’s wastewater is dumped back into the environment with little treatment, according to a 2017 UNESCO report.
University of Cincinnati Professor of Environmental Engineering Dionysios (Dion) Dionysiou, Ph.D., whose research is in water and wastewater treatment technologies, has spent his career addressing water pollution. Dionysiou works primarily with advanced oxidation processes and nanotechnologies, developing sensors and membranes to identify and treat pollutants in water.
Clarivate Analytics ranked Dionysiou one of its global highly cited researchers of 2018, an honor given to authors with multiple papers ranking in the top one percent by citations for their field during a given year.
Additionally, Dionysiou was recently selected as a 2018 Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors Fellow and appointed as guest professor at China University of Geosciences and Huazhong Agricultural University, two institutions in Wuhan, China. Dionysiou is currently fellow of six professional societies and has been honor as guest professor by seven global universities.
Dionysiou attributes much of his career success to his interactions between him and his students, as well as his general interest in the field.
“You need to have collaborations in this field,” said Dionysiou, who has about 15 students working under his guidance in the lab. “You need ideas, you need to be active and you have to like what you do.”
Building a portfolio as long and impressive as Dionysiou’s is no easy task. It requires hours of dedication and work. Between writing proposals, serving on committees, guiding students and reviewing manuscripts, Dionysiou balances all his tasks with an intentional and systematic approach.
Dionysiou is originally from Cyprus, a small island in the Mediterranean, off the coast of Greece. He relates his current workload to picking olives as a child. With thousands of olives in one grove, angled between varying slopes and weeds, the work can look impossible at first glance. But with the right approach and perspective, it soon becomes manageable.
“You have to be very patient,” said Dionysiou. “You can pick a few olives, and then a few more, and soon you’re not as overwhelmed.”
As the 19th century composer Richard Wagner once said, “The eye is scared, but the hand is brave.” This is a commonly used phrase in Greece, and Dionysiou has used it as motivation in the field.
UC is preparing for the challenges of the 21st century with its innovative research agenda and its strategic direction, Next Lives Here. Researchers such as Dionysiou help the university meet these brave ambitions through their innovative, and sometimes patient, work.