Bezawit Getachew


Dr. Getachew recently joined the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rice University as an Assistant Professor in July 2020. Getachew was previously a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT where her research focused on the fabrication of electrically conductive water filtration membranes. She completed her Ph.D. and M.S. in Environmental Engineering at Yale University where she developed novel self-healing water filtration membranes, particularly using hydrogel-composite materials. Dr. Getachew completed her B.S. in Chemical Engineering at Yale University as well.

Research Areas

Dr. Getachew’s research focuses on understanding the performance of “smart materials” in the context of water treatment technologies and systems. Smart materials, also called responsive materials, undergo significant physico-chemical changes in response to external stimuli. Their dynamic behavior can be used for sensing, actuating, self-healing, and controlled-release applications, among many others. Smart materials could play a role in enhancing the versatility and sustainability of water treatment technologies and systems but advances in the design and synthesis of such functional materials are currently focused on and driven by applications outside the environmental engineering field. Research in Dr. Getachew’s lab aims to 1) evaluate the performance of different kinds of smart materials in environmentally relevant conditions, 2) integrate them into water treatment technologies and assess their performance against state-of-the-art technologies, and 3) design new materials and composite structures to enable previously unavailable functionalities.


2018 Ph.D., Yale University, New Haven, CT, Chemical and Environmental Engineering

2015 M.S. Yale University, New Haven, CT, Chemical and Environmental Engineering

2012 B.S. Yale University, New Haven, CT, Chemical Engineering


Changes or additions to will not take effect on the Rice sub-sites until after its next refresh which occurs at 5:15am, 10:15am, 1:15pm, 4:15pm and 7:15pm daily. (This does not affect