Natalie Mladenov

Dr. Natalie Mladenov

Professor, William E. Leonhard, Jr. Chair, Director of the Water Innovation and Reuse Lab

Academic Affairs
College of Engineering
Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering

San Diego



Natalie Mladenov is a member of the Environmental Engineering faculty in the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering at San Diego State University where she directs the Water Innovation and Reuse Lab (WIRLab) and teaches courses on physical, chemical, and biological processes for water pollution control, and environmental engineering fundamentals. She received her B.S. in Civil Engineering and B.A. in Art from the University of South Florida, and her Master's and Ph.D. degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder. 

Areas of Specialization

Natalie’s expertise is in biogeochemical processes influencing pollutant fate and transport in natural and engineered systems. Her research probes fundamental processes driving photochemical and biological degradation and mobilization of contaminants and applies optical spectroscopic techniques for monitoring organic contaminants. 

Awards & Honors

2022-2023 SDSU Presidential Research Faculty Fellow

2022 Top 50 Women of Influence in Engineering in San Diego Award - San Diego Business Journal

2022 Outstanding Engineering Educator Award - San Diego County Engineering Council

2020 Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors, AEESP Thesis Advisor Award.

2018 SDSU CCEE Department Most Influential Faculty Award 

2015 SDSU Grants and Research Enterprise Writing (GREW) Fellow 

2014 EcoReps Award for Innovation in Advancing Sustainability at Kansas State University

2013 American Society of Civil Engineers, Excellence in Civil Engineering Education (ExCEEd) Teaching Fellow Certifications


ENV E 320 Designing Solutions for Environmental Problems 

ENV E 355 Environmental Engineering 

ENV E 647 Physical and Chemical Processes of Water Pollution Control

ENV E 648 Biological Processes and Bioremediation


Rivera, E., N. Mladenov, L. Astete Vasquez, G. McKenzie, V. Gonzalez. 2022. Low maintenance anammox enrichment and nitrogen removal with an anaerobic baffled reactor. Bioresource Technology, Vol. 364, 128047, 

Pinongcos, F., N. Mladenov, J. Calderon, M. E. Verbyla, A. M. Kinoshita, R. Gersberg, C. M. Batikian. 2022. Chemical and microbial markers for discriminating sanitary sewer contamination in coastal, urban streams, Environmental Science & Technology: Water. 

Garcia, D., G. Muñoz Meléndez, A. Arteaga, L. Ojeda-Revah, and N. Mladenov*. 2022. Greening urban areas with decentralized wastewater treatment and reuse: a case study of Ecoparque in Tijuana, Mexico. Water, Special issue: Nature Based Solutions as Urban Blue-Green-Brown Infrastructures, 

Mladenov, N., N. Dodder, L. Steinberg, W. Richardot, J. Johnson, B. Martincigh, C. Buckley, T. Lawrence, E. Hoh. 2022. Persistence and removal of trace organic compounds in centralized and decentralized wastewater treatment systems. Chemosphere. 

Rocha, A., Verbyla, M.E., Sant, K., Mladenov, N. (2022). Detection, quantification, and simplified wastewater surveillance model of SARS-CoV-2 in the Tijuana River. ACS ES&T Water.

Calderón, J.S., Verbyla, M.E., Gil, M., Pinongcos, F., Kinoshita, A.M., Mladenov, N. (2022). Persistence of fecal indicators and microbial source tracking markers in water flushed from riverbank soils. Water, Soil, & Air Pollution, 233(83): 1–13.

Mladenov, N., D. Parsons, A. Kinoshita, F. Pinongcos, D. Garcia, D. Lipson,  L. Mendoza Grijalva, M. Mueller, T. A. Zink. 2021. Groundwater-surface water interactions and flux of organic matter and nutrients in an urban, Mediterranean stream. Science of the Total Environment,

Verbyla, M.E., Calderón, J.S., Flanigan, S., Garcia, M., Gersberg, R., Kinoshita, A.M., Mladenov, N., Pinongcos, F., Welsh, M. (2021). An assessment of ambient water quality and challenges with access to water and sanitation services for individuals experiencing homelessness in riverine encampments. Environmental Engineering Science, 38(5): 389-401.

Snyder, K., N. Mladenov, W. Richardot, N. Dodder, A. Nour, C. Campbell, E. Hoh. 2021. Photochemical dissolution and degradation of industrial crude oil and natural seep oil in seawater. Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 165, 112049

Mendoza, L.M., N. Mladenov, A. M. Kinoshita, F. Pinongcos, M. E. Verbyla, R. Gersberg. 2020. Fluorescence-based monitoring of anthropogenic pollutant inputs to an urban stream in Southern California, USA. Science of the Total Environment, 718: 137206