About Daniel Oerther

Daniel Oerther

Civil, Arch & Environ Engr
211 Civil Engineering

573-341-6072 | oertherd@mst.edu


Daniel Barton Oerther (born October 11, 1972) is internationally renowned for leadership bridging engineers, nurses, and sanitarians to advance environmental health practice through science diplomacy.

Dan advocates for the use of Ernst Boyer's four models of scholarship in higher education, namely: discovery; integration; engagement; and teaching and learning. He uses 16S ribosomal RNA-targeted techniques for fundamental studies of the ecology of bacteria in engineered and natural systems; he adapts healthcare's approach to structured reviews to support evidence-base engineering practice; he uses community-based participatory research to create and evaluate programs and policies to improve access to clean water, nutritious food, and energy efficiency in developing communities; and he innovates within and beyond the classroom including blended, flipped, and mastery pedagogy to increase the time for active learning with students.

Professor Oerther earned his BA in biology, and his BS, MS, and PhD in environmental health engineering. His postgraduate studies include microbial ecology, environmental health, public health, and public administration. From 2000 through 2009, he was a member of the faculty of the University of Cincinnati. He joined the Missouri University of Science and Technology in 2010 as the John A. and Susan Mathes Chair, and he joined the US Department of State in 2014 as a senior science advisor to the Secretary's Office of Global Food Security.

Professor Oerther's credentials include: Professional Engineer (PE) in DC, MO, OH; Board Certified Environmental Engineer (BCEE) and Board Certified Environmental Scientist (BCES) of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists; Chartered Engineer (CEng) in the United Kingdom; Certified Environmental Health Specialist (CEHS) in Missouri; Diplomate of the American Academy of Sanitarians (DAAS); Certified Environmental Professional (CEP, via eminence) of the Academy of Board Certified Environmental Professionals; and Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv) in the United Kingdom.

Professor Oerther's leadership experiences, include:
- 1) Academic appointments: Head, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Cincinnati; Founding Co-Director, Ohio Center of Excellence in Sustaining the Urban Environment; Chair, Faculty Senate Budget Committee, University of Cincinnati; Director, Environmental Research Center, Missouri S&T; Founding Director, Science Diplomacy Lab, Missouri S&T; Faculty Senator, Missouri S&T; Member, Strategic Planning Committee, Missouri S&T; President, Graduate Faculty, Missouri S&T;

- 2) Professional society appointments: Director and Chief Information Officer, Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors; Trustee, Treasurer, President, American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists; Director, Engineers Without Borders USA; Chair, Engineering and Public Policy Division, American Society for Engineering Education; Trustee and Treasurer, Sigma Theta Tau Building Corporation; Trustee and Chair, Chartered Institute of Environmental Health; Trustee, CIEH Welfare Fund; President, Cincinnati Chapter of the Ohio Society of Professional Engineers; Associate Editor, Journal of Environmental Engineering; Associate Editor, Water Environment Research journal; International Editorial Advisory Board, Perspectives in Public Health journal;

- 3) Political Appointments: Member, Climate Protection Steering Committee, City of Cincinnati, Ohio; Member, Green Practices Commission, City of University City, Missouri; Member, Missouri Board of Certification for Environmental Health Professionals; Vice Chair, Phelps County Extension Council, Missouri; Gubernatorial Nominee, Missouri Board of Nursing; Gubernatorial Appointment with Senate Confirmation, Missouri Hazardous Waste Commission;


Expertise areas

Environmental biotechnology, Urban sustainability, Global development, Interprofessional environmental health, Scholarship of teaching and learning, (SoTL), Social entrepreneurship, Science diplomacy, Environmental engineering, Water, Sanitation, Hygiene, (WaSH), Water quality, Food security, Nutrition, Human computation, Poverty alleviation, Energy efficiency, Public health

Current research projects

  • COAST - Caribbean Ocean and Aquaculture Sustainability faciliTy - parametric insurance to promote food security and livelihoods for sustainable fisheries
  • GRoWES: Global Research on WaSH (water, sanitation and hygiene) to Eliminate childhood Stunting
  • Pula Cloud - human computation to alleviate poverty while solving wicked problems
  • STEMpathy - integrating nursing and engineering to improve human-centered design
  • STOP-AMR: Science TO Prevent AntiMicrobial Resistance - raising public awareness to prevent the spread of antimicrobial resistance in the environment

Professor Oerther visiting an elementary school in Tanzania where his team deployed technology for drinking water treatment.

Research interests

Professor Oerther's scholarship in environmental biotechnology integrates ecological theory, modeling approaches from bioprocess engineering, and genome-enabled molecular biology tools to identify, enumerate, and determine the spatial organization and metabolic activity of phylogenetically-defined microbial populations in natural, built, and clinical environments.

Professor Oerther's scholarship in sustainable development integrates professional leadership - to local, regional, and (inter)national political bodies and non-government organizations - with stochastic-based decision support systems to identify culturally appropriate, cost effective, technology-driven solutions to emerging challenges of ((resistant + resilient) + (urban environments + rural communities))

Awards and recognition

Course information