Faculty Portrait

Contact Information

Name: Amir Motlagh, Ph.D.

Title: Assistant Professor

Office Location: RVR 4015

Email: motlagh@csus.edu

Office Phone: (916) 278-2937

Mailing Address: 6000 J Street, MS 6029, Sacramento, CA 95819-6029

Specialty : Environmental Engineering


  • Ph.D. Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Utah, 2016
  • M.S. Civil Engineering, University of Toledo, 2011
  • B.S. Civil Engineering, Shiraz University, 2009


  • CE 150: Principles of Environmental Engineering
  • CE 150L: Environmental Engineering Laboratory
  • CE 133: Design of Urban Water and Sewer Systems
  • CE 153: Design of Water Quality Control Processes
  • CE 252B: Environmental Quality Processes II (Biological Processes)
  • CE 252C: Environmental Quality Processes III (Physical/Chemical Processes)

Technical Interests

  • Interface of environmental process engineering and environmental microbiology
  • Applied and environmental molecular biology and bioinformatics
  • Microbial communities in suspended- and attached-growth biological treatment processes
  • Sustainable processes to treat and recover nutrients in the wastewater and landfill leachate
  • Physicochemical and biological treatment and reuse of municipal solid waste 

Research Projects

Optimization of a cost-effective and eco-friendly technique for treatment of agricultural runoff containing pesticides

  • Funding agency: Research & Creative Activity Program, CSUS, 2020
  • Role: Principal Investigator

Investigate bacterial contamination and their origins in surface water using molecular markers

  • Funding agency: Ken Kerri Endowment Fund, CSUS, 2018
  • Role: Principal Investigator 

Evaluation of ammonia removal in wastewater treatment using intermittent aeration

  • Funding agency: U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2017
  • Role: Principal Investigator

Environmental engineering laboratory equipment upgrade for curriculum enhancement through student research projects

  • Funding agency: American Public Works Association, 2017
  • Role: Principal Investigator

Peer-reviewed Publications

  1. Motlagh, A. M., & Yang, Z. (2019). Detection and occurrence of indicator organisms and pathogens. Water Environment Research, 91(10), 1402-1408.
  2. Lozinski, D., Bolyard, S. C., Reinhart, D. R., & Motlagh, A. M. (2019). Treatment of leachate organic matter through sunlight driven processes. Waste Management94, 18-26.
  3. Bolyard, S. C., Motlagh, A. M., Lozinski, D., & Reinhart, D. R. (2019). Impact of organic matter from leachate discharged to wastewater treatment plants on effluent quality and UV disinfection. Waste Management, 88, 257-267.
  4. Yang, Z., & Motlagh, A. M. (2018). Electronics and Metal Finishing Processing. Water Environment Research, 90(10), 1620-1633.
  5. Kibler, K., Reinhart, D.R., Hawkins, C., Wright, J., Motlagh, A.M. (2018) “Food waste and the food-energy-water nexus”, Waste Management, 74, 52-62.
  6. Kordkandi, S., & Motlagh, A. (2018). Optimization of peroxone reaction rate using metaheuristic approach in the dearomatization and discoloration process. Environmental Progress & Sustainable Energy37(2), 695-702.
  7. Reinhart, D. R., Mackey, R., Levin, S., Joslyn, R., & Motlagh, A. (2017). Field investigation of an elevated temperature Florida landfill. In: Geotechnical Frontiers 2017 (pp. 298-301).
  8. Bhattacharjee, A.S., Motlagh, A.M., Gilcrease, E.B., Islam, M.I., Casjens, S. R., Goel, R. (2017) “Complete genome sequence of lytic bacteriophage RG-2014 that infects the multidrug resistant bacterium Delftia tsuruhatensis ARB-1”, Standard in Genomic Sciences, 12(1), 82.
  9. Motlagh, A.M., Bhattacharjee, A.S., Coutinho, F.H., Dutilh B.E., Casjens, S., Goel, R. (2017) “Metagenomic approach to study phage-host interactions in sediments of the hypersaline environment of the Great Salt Lake”, Frontiers in Microbiology, 8(352).
  10. Bhattacharjee, A., Motlagh, A.M., Jetten, M. Goel, R. (2016) “Methane dependent denitrification from ecosystem to laboratory-scale enrichment for engineering applications”, Water Research, 99, 244-252.
  11. Motlagh, A.M., Bhattacharjee, A., Goel, R. (2016) “Biofilm control with natural and genetically-modified phages”, World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology, 32(4), 1-10.
  12. Motlagh, A.M., Bhattacharjee, A.S., Goel, R. (2015) “Microbiological study of bacteriophages induction in presence of chemical stress factors in enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR)”, Water Research, 81, 1-14.
  13. Bhattacharjee, A.S., Choi, J., Motlagh, A.M., Mukherjee, S.T., Goel R. (2015) “Bacteriophage therapy for membrane biofouling in membrane bioreactors and antibiotic-resistant bacterial biofilm”, Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 112(8), 1644-1654.
  14. Motlagh, A.M., Goel, R. (2014) “Sustainability of activated sludge processes”. In: Water Reclamation and Sustainability, 391-414, Waltham, MA: Elsevier Science Ltd. ISBN 9780124165762.
  15. Goel, R.K., Motlagh, A.M. (2014) “Biological phosphorus removal”. In: Comprehensive Water Quality and Purification, 150-162, Burlington, MA: Elsevier Science Ltd. ISBN 9780123821836.
  16. Damasceno de Oliveira, L., Motlagh, A.M., Goel, R., De Souza Missagia, B., De Abreu Filho, B.A., Lautenschslager, S.R. (2014) “The use of bottle caps as submerged aerated filter medium”, Water Science and Technology, 69(7), 1518-1525.
  17. Motlagh, A.M., Pant, S., Gruden, C. (2013) “The impact of cell metabolic activity on biofilm formation and flux decline during cross-flow filtration of ultrafiltration membranes”, Desalination, 316, 85–90.
  18. Zaky, A., Escobar, I., Motlagh, A.M., Gruden, C. (2012) “Determining the influence of active cells and conditioning layer on early stage biofilm formation using cellulose acetate ultrafiltration membranes”, Desalination, 286, 296-303.