Jeseth Delgado Vela

Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Dr. Jeseth Delgado Vela joined Duke University as an Assistant Professor in August 2023. Her work focuses on leveraging environmental biotechnology to improve urban water infrastructure. She integrates molecular tools and modeling to understand how microbial community interactions and dynamics affect engineered water treatment systems. Dr. Delgado Vela earned a Ph.D. and M.S. in Environmental Engineering and M.S. at the University of Michigan, and a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to joining Duke, she was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Howard University. She was a recipient of the Ford Foundation Dissertation Award (2016), was named an Early Career Research Fellow by the Gulf Research Program (2022), and was awarded an NSF CAREER Award (2022).

An updated CV is available here:

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Contact Information

  • Office Location: 121 Hudson Hall, Durham, NC 27708
  • Office Phone: +1 919 668 2154
  • Email Address:
  • Websites:


  • B.S. University of Texas, Austin, 2012
  • M.S. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2014
  • Ph.D. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2018

Research Interests

Biofilms in the urban water cycle, nitrogen cycling microbial communities, public health surveillance via wastewater, and microbial communication in biofilms

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • National Science Foundation CAREER Awards - CBET. National Science Foundation (NSF). 2022

Courses Taught

  • CEE 692: Independent Study: Advanced Topics in Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • CEE 690: Advanced Topics in Civil and Environmental Engineering

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Al-Faliti, Mitham, Phillip Wang, Adam L. Smith, and Jeseth Delgado Vela. “Phage phylogeny, molecular signaling, and auxiliary antimicrobial resistance in aerobic and anaerobic membrane bioreactors.” Water Research 256 (June 2024): 121620.
  • Philo, Sarah E., Kara B. De León, Rachel T. Noble, Nicolette A. Zhou, Rashed Alghafri, Itay Bar-Or, Amanda Darling, et al. “Wastewater surveillance for bacterial targets: current challenges and future goals.” Applied and Environmental Microbiology 90, no. 1 (January 2024): e0142823.
  • Wang, P., A. Zarei-Baygi, J. Delgado Vela, and A. L. Smith. “Metagenomic Analysis of the Antibiotic Resistance Risk between an Aerobic and Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactor.” ACS ES and T Water 3, no. 7 (July 14, 2023): 1865–73.
  • Delgado Vela, J., and M. Al-Faliti. “Emerging investigator series: the role of phage lifestyle in wastewater microbial community structures and functions: insights into diverse microbial environments.” Environmental Science: Water Research and Technology 9, no. 8 (June 2, 2023): 1982–91.
  • Delgado Vela, Jeseth, and Joshua P. Boltz. “Innovations in Process Engineering.” Water Environment Research : A Research Publication of the Water Environment Federation 95, no. 5 (May 2023): e10842.