Pascal Saikaly, Ph.D.



Research Interests

​My research focuses on integrating cutting-edge omic tools (genomic, proteomic, and transcriptomic) with bioprocess engineering to optimize and develop sustainable biotechnologies for wastewater reclamation and reuse that are robust, scalable, and capable of providing tailored water quality with minimization of energy, resources and carbon footprint. His specific research interests include: coupling bioelectrochemical systems (e.g. MFCs; MECs) with membrane filtration for wastewater treatment with resource recovery (water and energy), aerobic granular sludge system for biological nutrient removal and integrating anammox processes to mainstream wastewater treatment.

Selected Publications

  • Harnessing the Extracellular Electron Transfer Capability of Geobacter sulfurreducens for Ambient Synthesis of Stable Bifunctional Single-Atom Electrocatalyst for Water Splitting
    S. Pedireddy, R.J. Jimenez-Sandoval, M.K. Ravva, C. Nayak, D.H. Anjum, S.N. Jha, K.P. Katuri, and P.E Saikaly  
    Advanced Functional Materials (2021) DOI: 10.1002/adfm.202010916
  • Competition of two highly specialized and efficient acetoclastic electroactive bacteria for acetate in biofilm anode of microbial electrolysis cell
    V. Sapireddy, K.P. Katuri, M. Al, and P.E. Saikaly
    npj Biofilms and Microbiomes Vol.7, 47 (2021) DOI: 10.1038/s41522-021-00218-3
  • Comparative genome-centric analysis of freshwater and marine anammox cultures suggests functional redundancy in nitrogen removal processes
    M. Ali, D.R. Shaw, M. Albertsen, and P.E. Saikaly
    Frontiers in Microbiology, 11:1637, (2020)
  • Extracellular electron transfer-dependent anaerobic oxidation of ammonium by anammox bacteria
    D.R. Shaw, M. Ali, K.P. Katuri, J.A. Gralnick, J. Reimann, R. Mesman, L. van Nitrifik, M.S.M. Jetten, and P.E. Saikaly
    Nature Communications, 11:2058, (2020) DOI:
  • Application of an enrichment culture of the anammox bacterium “Ca.Scalindua sp. AMX11” for nitrogen removal under moderate salinity and in the presence of organic carbon
    M. Ali, D.R. Shaw, and P.E. Saikaly
    Water Research, Vol. 170, 115345, (2020)
  • Importance of species sorting and immigration on the bacterial assembly of different-sized aggregates in a full-scale aerobic granular sludge plant
    M. Ali, Z. Wang, K.W. Salam, H.R. Hari, M. Pronk, M.C.M.van Loosdrecht, and P.E. Saikaly
    Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 53, pp.8291-8301, (2019)
  • Gradual adaptation to salt and dissolved oxygen: strategies to minimize adverse effect of salinity on aerobic granular sludge
    Z. Wang, M.C.M. van Loosdrecht, and P.E. Saikaly
    Water Research, Vol.124, pp.702-712 (2017)
  • A Microfiltration Polymer-Based Hollow-Fiber Cathode as a Promising Advanced Material for Simultaneous Recovery of Energy and Water
    K.P. Katuri, N.M.S. Bettahalli, X. Wang, G. Matar, S. Chisca, S.P. Nunes, P.E. Saikaly
    Advanced Materials 28, pp. 9504-9511, (2016)
  • Metatranscriptomics reveals the molecular mechanism of large granule formation in granular anammox reactor 
    S. Bagchi, R. Lamendella, S. Strutt, M.C.M. van Loosdrecht, P.E. Saikaly
    Scientific Reports, Volume 6, Article number 28327, (2016)
  • A novel anaerobic electrochemical membrane bioreactor (AnEMBR) with conductive hollow-fiber membrane for treatment of low-organic strength Solutions
    K. Katuri, C.M. Werner, R.J. Sandoval, W. Chen, B.E. Logan, Z. Lai, G.L. Amy, and P.E. Saikaly
    Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 48, pp.12833-12841 (2014)


  • Ph.D., Environmental Engineering, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, USA, 2005
  • M.S., Environmental Technology, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon, 2001
  • B.S., Biology, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon, 1997

Professional Profile

  • 2021-Present: Professor, KAUST. Saudi Arabia
  • 2015-2021: Associate Professor, KAUST, Saudi Arabia
  • 2010-2015: Assistant Professor, KAUST, Saudi Arabia
  • 2008-2010: Assistant Professor, American University of Beirut, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Lebanon
  • 2005-2007: Postdoctoral Research Associate, North Carolina State University, Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, USA
  • 2005: Visiting Scholar, Microbial Diversity Course, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA
  • 2001-2005: Graduate Research Assistant, University of Cincinnati, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, USA
  • 1997-2001: Graduate Research Assistant, American University of Beirut, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering​

Scientific and Professional Membership

  • ​International Society for Microbial Electrochemistry and Technology (ISMET)
  • International Water ​Association (IWA)
  • Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP)​


  • ​International Society for Microbial Electrochemistry and Technology Best Scientific Discovery Award (with Dario Rangel Shaw). This award was based on the article on electro-anammox published in the prestigious journal Nature Communications, 2020
  • Third annual TAQADAM Showcase ‘People’s Choice Award’ (with Jiajie Xu, Bin Bian, Sara Aleid and Yara Aldrees).  The project entitled 'Transforming food waste into high-value products through carbon-CPU'. The project aims to utilize a next-generation biotechnology through carbon-CPU to transform food waste into useful fatty acids needed as livestock nutrients. This work has been highlighted in Arab News (, 2019
  • Best Poster Presentation Prize (with Manal Al Qahtani) at the 3rd Asia-Pacific Meeting of the International Society for Microbial Electrochemistry and Technology (AP-ISMET), in Busan, Korea. Her presentation was entitled “A novel electrically conductive and porous hollow fiber cathode design for recycling CO2 to CH4 through electromethanogenesis”, 2016
  • Second Prize Best Presentation Award (with Gerald Matar) at the 250th ACS National Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts, division of Environmental Chemistry in the ASC symposium. His presentation was entitled “Initiation and succession of biofouling communities on hydrophobic and hydrophilic membrane surfaces in a submerged membrane bioreactor”, 2015
  • International Society for Microbial Electrochemistry and Technology Innovation Award for Best Technological Advancement for 2013 (with Dr. Krishna Katuri and Dr. Lilian Malaeb). This award was based on our article on MFC-MBR published in the prestigious journal Environmental Science and Technology, 2014

KAUST Affiliations

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

Research Interests Keywords

Electromicrobiology Microbial Electrochemistry Anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox) process Aerobic Granular Sludge water reuse Resource recovery