• Alumni Image #1:
  • Image Caption Title #1: Teaching at UC Davis
  • Image Caption #1: Darby’s teaching record is outstanding – her teaching and course ratings are impressive, she has instituted a number of new undergrad courses, and was instrumental in revising the environmental engineering curriculum. She has received national and college level honors for her excellence as an engineering educator. Here, she is pictured teaching denitrification using a constructed wetland.
  • Alumni Image #2:
  • Image Caption Title #2: UV Light Disinfection
  • Image Caption #2: At UC Davis, Darby established a top-notch research program in water treatment. Her research on the use of UV light for disinfection of microorganisms in wastewater and drinking water has become the foundation of a technology now widely used in the field. Her seminal work was cited by the USEPA in developing industry guidelines.
headshot of Jeannie Darby

jeannie darby

Jeannie L. Darby

Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin, 1988
M.S., Tufts University, 1982
B.S., Rice University, 1978

Jeannie Darby has distinguished herself in all aspects of academic life including teaching, research, and university, public, and professional service. She is nationally recognized for innovations in engineering education and her research on UV disinfection has been seminal with regard to the critical factors controlling the disinfection process.

Between degree programs, Darby worked as an engineer for six years at Fluor Ocean Services, Stone & Webster, the Massachusetts Office of Energy, and Weston & Sampson Engineers. Soon after receiving her Ph.D. from UT Austin, she joined the faculty in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at UC Davis where she teaches a variety of courses related to water treatment. She held the Gerald T. and Lillian P. Orlob Professorship in Water Resources Engineering from 2005 to 2010 and was Department Chair from 2004 to 2009. She is also Co-Director of UC Davis ADVANCE Policy and Practices Review Initiative. 

Darby’s research focuses on water and wastewater treatment processes, including ultraviolet light disinfection, filtration, adsorption, and nutrient removal. She is currently investigating the effect of competing contaminants such as phosphate, vanadium, and silica on the effectiveness of iron-based adsorbents used to remove arsenic from groundwater. She is also involved in assessing various technologies for the removal of nitrate from potable water supplies and is currently PI on a $2M project aimed at assisting small water systems in California and co-PI on several other projects. She has been the principal research adviser of more than 50 graduate students and dozens of undergraduate students.

She has received national and college level honors for her excellence as an engineering educator. Darby was awarded the first UC Davis College of Engineering Outstanding Teaching Award, the National Society of Professional Engineers Engineering Education Excellence Award, the American Society of Engineering Education Sharon Keillor Award, the UC Davis Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduate Research, and the UC Davis Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award. She was also a founding member of the Center for Women in Engineering at UC Davis and has been instrumental in revising the environmental engineering curriculum.