CLEMSON — A Clemson University environmental engineering professor who has advised scores of students and worked to keep nation’s water sources clean has been named associate dean for research and graduate studies in the College of Engineering and Science.

Tanju Karanfil, who has been at Clemson for 17 years, begins his new job on Jan. 1.

He has been chairman of the environmental engineering and Earth sciences department since 2008. As a consultant, Karanfil has also provided technical assistance to several drinking water and wastewater utilities, especially in the Southeast.

His new job puts him at the forefront of educating the human capital and managing the research that are critical to attracting high-tech industry to South Carolina and the nation as a whole.

Karanfil said he will also focus on the college’s scholastic achievements, a key driver in how universities shape their reputation.

The college, he said, has great faculty, staff and students. Karanfil sees several opportunities for research and graduate education, including large grants and multi-disciplinary research.

“I feel there is an excitement in the college,” Karanfil said. “And I’m the lucky one selected to lead research and graduate education.

“With the engineering and science departments together in the same college, we have great opportunities. We will seize on them and capitalize on them. We will invent our own future and address the world’s problems. ”

Anand Gramopadhye, the college’s dean, said Karanfil brings impeccable credentials in research, scholarship, leadership and graduate-student advising.

“I truly believe his vision will propel the college to greater success,” Gramopadhye said.

Karanfil said that while he likes to see his research cited, the most satisfying part of his job is working with students and postdoctoral scholars. He has advised more than 65 of them.

 “You see it —you are influencing humans and their careers,” he said. “It’s something you really take pride in. It’s like a big family. I have my own kids, but the students and posdocs are part of my family as well.”

Karanfil’s primary teaching and research interests are in the fundamentals and applications of physiochemical processes in water, wastewater and hazardous waste treatment systems.

 His research group has also investigated the behavior of nanomaterials, especially carbon nanotubes and graphenes, in engineered and natural systems.

 Karanfil lives in Clemson. He and his wife, Nefise, have two children, Merva, 21, and Bilal, 15.

Karanfil received  his  bachelor’s  degree  in  environmental  engineering from  Istanbul Technical University in Turkey in 1988. He completed his graduate work in environmental engineering, including his Ph.D. in 1995 and postdoctoral studies in 1996, at the University of Michigan under the  supervision of Walter J. Weber Jr., a member of National Academy of Engineering.