Kaoru Ikuma


Associate Professor
Cerwick Faculty Fellow


328 Town Engr
813 Bissell Rd
Ames, IA 50011-1066




  • Ph.D. Civil and Environmental Engineering, Duke University, 2011
  • M.S. Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 2007
  • B.S. Biochemistry, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 2005
  • B.S. Biology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 2005

Interest Areas

  • Environmental microbiology and biotechnology
  • Biodegradation of hazardous contaminants
  • Sustainable water and wastewater treatment
  • Water security
  • Environmental justice


Below are the most recent peer-reviewed papers. See my Google Scholar profile for a full list of publications.

Wang Y., Ikuma K., Brooks S., Varonka M., Deonarine A. Non-mercury methylating microbial taxa are integral to understanding links between mercury methylation and elemental cycles in marine and freshwater sediments. Environmental Pollution 2024, 346: 123573. [doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2024.123573]

Spellman C.D., Burton Z.T.*, Ikuma K., Strosnider W.H.J., Tasker T.L., Roman B., Goodwill J.E. Continuous co-treatment of mine drainage with municipal wastewater. Journal of Environmental Management 2024, 354: 120282. [doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2024.120282]

Villanueva P., Yang J., Radmer, L., Liang X.*, Leung T., Ikuma K., Swanner E., Howe A., Lee J. One-week ahead prediction of cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms in Iowa lakes. Environmental Science & Technology 2023, 57(49): 20636-20646. [doi:10.1021/acs.est.3c07764]

Lazarus E., Myer A.S., Ikuma K., Rivero I.V. Three dimensional printed biofilms: Fabrication, design, and future biomedical and environmental applications. Microbial Biotechnology 2023, 00: 1-15. [doi:10.1111/1751-7915.14360]

Weems C., Poleacovschi C., Ikuma K. A Perspective for Identifying Intersections among the Social, Engineering and Geosciences to Address Water Crises. Frontiers in Water 2023, 5. [doi:10.3389/frwa.2023.1280528]

 Nelson T.N.T., Poleacovschi C., Ikuma K., Garcia I., Weems C.F., Rehmann C.R., Estes K. The knowledge-behavior gap in tap water consumption in Puerto Rico: An analysis of trust amongst older adults after Hurricane Maria. ASCE OPEN 2023, 1. [doi:10.1061/AOMJAH.AOENG-0005]

Croll H.C.*, Ikuma K., Ong S.K., Sarkar S. Systematic performance evaluation of reinforcement learning algorithms applied to wastewater treatment control optimization. Environmental Science & Technology 2023, 57: 18382-18390. [doi:10.1021/acs.est.3c00353]

Croll H.*, Ikuma K., Sarkar S., Ong S.K. Reinforcement learning applied to wastewater treatment process control optimization: Approaches, challenges, and path forward. Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology 2023, 53: 1775-1794. [doi:10.1080/10643389.2023.2183699]

Brown P.*, Ikuma K., Ong S. K. Biological phosphorus removal and its microbial community in a modified full-scale activated sludge system under dry and wet weather dynamics. Water Research 2022, 216: 118338. [doi:10.1016/j.watres.2022.118338]

Spellman C. D., Daer S.*, Ikuma K., Silverman I., Goodwill J. E. Sulfite-activated ferrate for water reuse applications. Water Research 2022, 216: 118317. [doi:10.1016/j.waterres.2022.118317]

Primary Strategic Research Area

Resilient Infrastructures