Dr. Ryan Ziels joined UBC Civil Engineering as an Assistant Professor in February 2017. His research is in the area of resource recovery via biological waste treatment processes for the benefit of human and environmental health. Specifically, he seeks to advance the knowledge of microbial ecology within these engineered processes, leading to improved performance in the recovery of water, nutrients, bioenergy, and other resources. Currently, Dr. Ziels is investigating anaerobic treatment technologies for the recovery of biomethane, as well as microbial biotechnologies for nutrient removal.

Dr. Ziels received his PhD and MSE degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Washington, and his BS degree in Environmental Resources Engineering from Humboldt State University.

Research Interests

Sustainable biological wastewater treatment, resource recovery, microbial ecology, multi-omics, anaerobic digestion, biological nutrient removal, microbial biotechnology.


CIVL 204 Fundamentals of Environmental Engineering
CIVL 407 Environmental Lab Analysis
CIVL 569 Environmental Biotechnology


  • R. M. Ziels, Svensson, B. H., Sundberg, C., Larsson, M., Karlsson, A., and Yekta, S. S., “Microbial rRNA gene expression and co-occurrence profiles associate with biokinetics and elemental composition in full-scale anaerobic digesters”, Microbial biotechnology, In Press.
  • S. Campanaro, Treu, L., Rodriguez-R, L. M., Kovalovszki, A., Ziels, R. M., Maus, I., Zhu, X., Kougias, P. G., Basile, A., Luo, G., üter, A., Konstantinidis, K. T., and Angelidaki, I., “New insights from the biogas microbiome by comprehensive genome-resolved metagenomics of nearly 1600 species originating from multiple anaerobic digesters”, Biotechnology for Biofuels, vol. 131568514026311346912671341110284921549995520161910813501171018119975232741854491783462288663129325235174346411194240657, no. 1121217, 2020.
  • R. M. Ziels, Nobu, M. K., and Sousa, D. Z., “Elucidating Syntrophic Butyrate-Degrading Populations in Anaerobic Digesters Using Stable-Isotope-Informed Genome-Resolved MetagenomicsABSTRACT”, mSystems, no. 4, 2019.
  • S. A. Baldwin, Taylor, J. C., and Ziels, R. M., “Genome-resolved metagenomics links microbial dynamics to failure and recovery of a bioreactor removing nitrate and selenate from mine-influenced water”, Biochemical Engineering Journal, vol. 151, p. 107297, 2019.
  • K. I. Cogert, Ziels, R. M., and Winkler, M. K. H., “Reducing Cost and Environmental Impact of Wastewater Treatment with Denitrifying Methanotrophs, Anammox, and Mainstream Anaerobic Treatment”, Environmental Science & Technology, vol. 53, no. 21, pp. 12935 – 12944, 2019.
  • R. M. Ziels, Sousa, D. Z., Stensel, H. D., and Beck, D. A., “DNA-SIP based genome-centric metagenomics identifies key long-chain fatty acid-degrading populations in anaerobic digesters with different feeding frequencies”, The ISME journal, vol. 12, no. 1. pp. 112-123, 2018.
  • R. M. Ziels, Beck, D. A., and Stensel, H. D., “Long-chain fatty acid feeding frequency in anaerobic codigestion impacts syntrophic community structure and biokinetics.”, Water Research, vol. 117, pp. 218-229, 2017.
  • R. M. Ziels, Karlsson, A., Beck, D. A., Ejlertsson, J., Yekta, S. S., Bjorn, A., Stensel, H. D., and Svensson, B. H., “Microbial community adaptation influences long-chain fatty acid conversion during anaerobic codigestion of fats, oils, and grease with municipal sludge”, Water research, vol. 103, pp. 372–382, 2016.
  • M. J. Lust, Ziels, R. M., Strand, S. E., Gough, H. L., and Stensel, H. D., “Biodegradation kinetics of 17alpha-ethinylestradiol in activated sludge treatment processes”, Environmental Engineering Science, vol. 32, no. 7, pp. 637–646, 2015.
  • R. M. Ziels, Beck, D. A., Martí, M., Gough, H. L., Stensel, H. D., and Svensson, B. H., “Monitoring the dynamics of syntrophic β-oxidizing bacteria during anaerobic degradation of oleic acid”, FEMS microbiology ecology, vol. 91, no. 4, 2015.
  • R. M. Ziels, Lust, M. J., Gough, H. L., Strand, S. E., and Stensel, H. D., “Influence of bioselector processes on 17α-ethinylestradiol biodegradation in activated sludge wastewater treatment systems.”, Environmental science & technology, vol. 48, no. 11, pp. 6160-6167, 2014.

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