Cristian Picioreanu, Ph.D.



Research Interests

Prof. Picioreanu's research focuses on the mathematical modeling of complex interactions between physical, chemical, and biological processes, with applications in environmental science and technology. Based on his chemical engineering background, he combines numerical simulations with observations, leading both to insights into fundamental processes and to improved design of environmental and biotechnological engineering applications. Water production and reuse have been the central research topic. Main interests are processes involving biofilms, both desired (granular sludge, membrane biofilm reactors, microbial fuel cells, phototrophic processes) or as a nuisance (biofouling in membrane processes, bioclogging in porous media, medical applications, biocorrosion). Individual-based modeling and pattern formation in microbiological systems, modeling interactions in coral reefs, and simulations of biomedical processes are also within his research scope. 

Selected Publications

  • Computational and experimental investigation of biofilm disruption dynamics induced by high-velocity gas jet impingement. L. Prades, S. Fabbri, A.D. Dorado, X. Gamisans, P. Stoodley, C. Picioreanu. mBio, 11(1), e02813-19, (2020).
  • Hydrodynamic flow transition dynamics in a spacer filled filtration channel using direct numerical simulation. A. Qamar, S. Bucs, C. Picioreanu, J. Vrouwenvelder, N. Ghaffour N. Journal of Membrane Science, 590, 117264, (2019).
  • Determination of mechanical properties of biofilms by modeling the deformation measured using optical coherence tomography. C. Picioreanu, F. Blauert, H. Horn, M. Wagner. Water Research, 145, 588-598, (2018).
  • Effect of biofilm structural deformation on hydraulic resistance during ultrafiltration: a numerical and experimental study. M. Jafari, P. Desmond, M.C.M. Van Loosdrecht, N. Derlon, E. Morgenroth, C. Picioreanu. Water Research, 145, 375-387, (2018).
  • Characterization of feed channel spacer performance using geometries obtained by X-ray computed tomography. V.A. Haaksman, A. Siddiqui, C. Schellenberg, J. Kidwell, J.S. Vrouwenvelder, C. Picioreanu. Journal of Membrane Science, 552, 124-139, (2017).
  • Impact of cell cluster size on apparent half-saturation coefficients for oxygen in nitrifying sludge and biofilms. C. Picioreanu, J. Pérez, M.C.M. Van Loosdrecht. Water Research, 106, 371-382, (2016).
  • A framework for modeling electroactive biofilms performing direct electron transfer. B. Korth, L.F.M. Rosa, F. Harnisch, C. Picioreanu. Bioelectrochemistry, 106 (partA), 194-206, (2015).
  • Spacer geometry and particle deposition in spiral wound membrane feed channels. A.I. Radu, M.S.H. Van Steen, J.S. Vrouwenvelder, M.C.M. Van Loosdrecht, C. Picioreanu. Water Research, 64, 160-176, (2014).
  • Model based evaluation of the effect of pH and electrode geometry on microbial fuel cell performance. C. Picioreanu, M.C.M. Van Loosdrecht, T.P. Curtis, K. Scott. Bioelectrochemistry, 78(1), 8–24, (2010).
  • A computational model for biofilm-based microbial fuel cells. C. Picioreanu, I.M. Head, K.P. Katuri, M.C.M. Van Loosdrecht, K. Scott. Water Research, 41(13), 2921–2940, (2007).


  • Ph.D., Biochemical Engineering, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands, 1999
  • M.Sc., Organic Chemical Technology, University Politehnica of Bucharest, Romania, 1990 

Professional Profile

  • 2021-present: Full Professor (Environmental Science and Engineering), KAUST, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia
  • 2020-2021: Full Professor (Environmental Biotechnology), Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands
  • 2013-2020: Associate Professor, Biotechnology, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands
  • 2004-2013: Assistant Professor, Biotechnology, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands
  • 2000-2003: Postdoctoral researcher, Biotechnology, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands
  • 1996-1999: Doctoral researcher, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands
  • 1990-1996: Lecturer, Department of Chemical Engineering, University “Politehnica” Bucharest, Romania


  • 2018: "Teacher of the Year", Faculty of Applied Sciences, TU Delft.
  • 2017: "Teacher of the Year", Life Science and Technology, TU Delft.
  • 2014, 2018: Melchor Visiting Professor, University of Notre Dame, Indiana, US
  • 2014: Research Fellow, Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematics, University of Cambridge, UK 

KAUST Affiliations

  • ​Water Desalination and Reuse Center (WDRC)
  • Division of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering (BESE)​

Research Interests Keywords

Numerical modeling Biofilms Membrane engineering Bioreactor engineering Multi-scale simulations Water Treatment