Lawrence A. Baker, Research Professor

Vita (Nov. 2016) - .pdf

Ecological Engineering Group
Dept. Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering


My research applies my hybrid education in environmental engineering and ecology to the study of applied biogeochemistry, with a focus on human ecosystems – cities and farms. I like to work in “Pasteur’s quadrant”, moving between theory and application. My research is highly interdisciplinary, and I often lead interdisciplinary research groups. In recent years, I have been very active in various synergistic activities, including many workshops on urban sustainability, both as an organizer and participant. I have become increasingly interested in how social and political factors drive the biogeochemistry of urban systems and how these systems will have to adapt to create resilient human ecosystems.

Recent appointments

  • University of Minnesota Water Council (2016)
  • U.S. EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors Subcommitee on Safe and Sustainable Water, effective Sept. 5, 2015-Sept. 4, 2017.

Hosted conference

Waste Not: Closing the Loop on Organics Wastes. Conference held at the Earl Brown Center, University of Minnesota, June 2, 2015.

Recently funded projects (2014-2015)

  1. Creation of a Parkinson Disease Registry and Initial Studies to Address Its Causes and Genetic Susceptibility, co-PI with Tim Church and others, U of M MnDrive, $500,000 awarded 7/1/14.
  2. Waste  Not: Closing the Loop on Organics Wastes for the Twin Cities.  PI, with T. Smith, W. Lazarus, R. Ruan, G. Shurson, C. Rosen, S. Hughes, Food Ventures Progam (MNDrive), $620,000 for years 1 and 2 (through 6/16).
  3. International WaTERS Research and Training Network (Water-related Training, Education and Research in the global South), co-applicant with Leila Harris (PI) and 8 others, Social Science Research Council of Canada, $200,000, awarded 3/28/14.

Recent consulting

  • Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy – ongoing (confidential).
  • Northeastern Minnesota Friends of Wilderness - analysis of potential impacts of a large copper mine, 2013-2015.
  • UMore Park – analysis of water in the UMore Park (ecovillage), 2011.
  • Midwest Environmental Advocates – testimony on water quality impacts of cooling tower blowdown from an ethanol plant.
  • Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy – testimony on various water quality regulations; testimony on water quality problems with a copper and iron mining (various projects, 2006-2015); testimony for ethanol plant EAW, 2009.
  • Friends of the Sunrise River – this was pro bono consulting, in my role as the organization’s chair, on the environmental and social impacts of a proposed gas-fire power plant (2008-2009). The plant was not built; a solar energy plant was recently built on the site.
  • American Water Works Research Foundation  - analysis of salt sources in municipal water systems (with CH2MHill), 2002-2004.
  • City of Phoenix Water Services Department – project to reduce tastes and odors in water supplies (with ASU), 1999-2002.