James A. Smith, Henry L. Kinnier Professor of Civil Engineering, has been elected as a member of the Virginia Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine, or VASEM. Smith joined the faculty at UVA Engineering in 1992, after earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in environmental engineering at Virginia Tech and master’s and doctoral degrees in civil engineering at Princeton University, and following seven years as a research hydrologist for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Water Resources Division.

At UVA, Smith leads the Water Treatment Technologies Research Group where his team tests and designs solutions for point-of-use water purification in the developing world. Smith is being recognized by VASEM for his contributions to environmental engineering and advances in natural remediation of contaminated ground water.

His research led to the development of the MadiDrop+, a water purification tablet made of porous ceramic embedded with silver. When the MadiDrop+ tablet is placed in a 10- to 20-liter water storage container, it releases silver ions to disinfect waterborne pathogens such as V. choleraShigella and E. coli. One MadiDrop+ treats more than 7,000 liters of water over its 12-month lifespan at a cost of less than two-tenths of a cent per liter.

Smith co-founded the Charlottesville-based company Silivhere Technologies, Inc. with the goal of producing the highly effective point-of-use water purification system that is low cost and easy to use, making clean water more accessible to people who live in areas where water that is safe to use is difficult to find.

A prolific researcher, Smith has authored over 150 papers. He also serves as the associate dean for graduate education at UVA Engineering, an appointment he received in 2020

Membership in the Virginia Academy is one more accolade in a resume full of honors and awards. Smith is an American Academy of Environmental Engineers Fellow, a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow, a Diplomate of the American Academy of Water Resource Engineers, and recipient of the Edlich-Henderson Innovator of the Year Award. He is also active in The American Society of Civil Engineers, serving as the Vice Chair of the society’s Point of Use Water Treatment Technology Committee and the associate editor of the Journal of Environmental Engineering.

The Virginia Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine was founded in 2013. Modeled after the National Academies, the Virginia Academy concentrates expertise of the most accomplished and innovative leaders in science, engineering and medicine to provide nonpartisan, objective guidance to decision-makers.

Professor James A. Smith portrait in lab

James A. Smith, Henry L. Kinnier Professor of Civil Engineering, has been elected as a member of the Virginia Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine.