Photo of Dr. William Mitch, Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Stanford University.
Bio-X Affiliated Faculty

Employing a fundamental understanding of organic chemical reaction pathways, Dr. William Mitch's research explores links between public health, engineering and sustainability. Topics of current interest include:

  • Public Health and Emerging Carcinogens: Recent changes to the disinfection processes fundamental to drinking and recreational water safety are creating a host of highly toxic byproducts linked to bladder cancer. Dr. Mitch's lab seeks to understand how these compounds form in order to be able to adjust the disinfection process to prevent their formation.
  • Global Warming and Oceanography: Oceanic dissolved organic matter is an important global carbon component, and has important impacts on the net flux of CO2 between the ocean and atmosphere. The lab seeks to understand some of the important abiotic chemical reaction pathways responsible for carbon turnover.
  • Sustainability and Persistant Organic Pollutants (POPs): While PCBs have been banned in the US, we continue to produce a host of structurally similar chemicals. Dr. Mitch's lab seeks to understand important chemical pathways responsible for POP destruction in the environment, in order to design less persistent and problematic chemicals in the future.
  • Engineering for Sustainable Wastewater Recycling: The shortage of clean water represents a critical challenge for the next century, and has necessitated the recycling of wastewater. The Mitch lab seeks to understand ways of engineer this process in ways to minimize harmful byproduct formation.
  • Carbon Sequestration: The lab is evaluating the formation of nitrosamine and nitraminecarcinogens from amine-based carbon capture, as well as techniques to destroy any of these byproducts that form.