Virginia Tech® home

Natasha Bell, P.E.

Assistant Professor
  • Research Area: Ecological Engineering


Ph.D., Biosystems Engineering, Clemson University, 2019

M.S., Agricultural and Biological Engineering, University of Illinois, 2013

B.S., Biosystems Engineering, Clemson University, 2011


2023-Assistant Professor, Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech

2019 – 2023-Assistant Professor-Engineering, East Carolina University 

2013 – 2015-Environmental Staff Engineer-Langan Engineering and Environmental Service


  • 2023 Scholar Teacher Award, College of Engineering and Technology, East Carolina University
  • 2019 Honored Instructor Award, Campus Living, East Carolina University 
  • 2018 United State Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) NIFA Predoctoral Fellowship 
  • 2017 Presidential Service Award, Clemson University – for superior service to graduate students 
  • 2012 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship 

Courses in ecological engineering, with a focus on design of green infrastructure and nature-based solutions for water remediation from urban and rural sources. 

The National Academy of Engineering has identified providing access to clean water, managing the nitrogen cycle, and improving urban infrastructure as three of their 14 Grand Challenges for Engineering in the 21st century.

The Bell Lab focuses on the development of resilient best management practices that inform decision-making and policies within the water-energy-food nexus. Specifically, our research investigates the efficacy of and biogeochemical processes underlying ecological engineered technologies, including treatment wetlands and subsurface bioreactors, to remediate agricultural pollutants, municipal and onsite wastewater, and stormwater. 

Refereed Publications and Proceedings (*student advisee)

Drummond, D.*, Brink, S.*, Bell, N.L. Assessment of recycled and manufactured adsorptive materials for phosphate removal from municipal wastewater. Journal of Contemporary Water Research & Education – Special Issue on Undergraduate Research and Education (under review).

Hitchcock, D.R., Bell, N.L., Strosnider, W.H.J., Smith, M.C. 2022. Spatiotemporal water quality variability in a highly loaded surface flow wastewater treatment wetland. Journal of Environmental Quality. 51(1), 101-111.

Bell, N.L., Hitchcock, D.R., Jeffers, S.N., White, S.A. 2021. Potential susceptibility of seven aquatic plant species to infection by five common pathogenic species of Phytophthora. Plant Disease. 105(12), 4074-4083.

Garcia Chance, L.M., Bell, N.L., Chase, M.E., Spivey, W.W., White, S.A. 2019. South Carolina Irrigation Water Source Methods for the Specialty Crops Production Industry. Southern Nursery Association Proceedings of Research Conference. 63, 155-161.

Ridge, G.A., Bell, N.L., Gitto, A.J., Jeffers, S.N, White, S.A. 2019. Workshop: Phytophthora species associated with plants in constructed wetlands and vegetated channels at a commercial ornamental plant nursery over time. HortTechnology, 29, 736-744.

Bell, N.L., Garcia, L.M., White, S.A. 2018. Clean WateR3: Evaluation of three treatment technologies to remove contaminants from recycled production runoff. Acta Horticulturae. 1191, 199-206.

Bell, N.L., Cooke, R.A.C., Olsen, T. David, M.B., Hudson, R. 2015. Characterizing the Performance of Denitrifying Bioreactors during Simulated Subsurface Drainage Events. Journal of Environmental Quality. 44, 1647-1656.

Cooke, R.A. and Bell, N.L. 2014. Protocol and Interactive Routine for the Design of Subsurface Bioreactors. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 30, 761-771.

Jayakaran, A.D., Libes, S.M., Hitchcock, D.R., Bell, N.L., and Fuss, D. 2014. Flow, Organic, and Inorganic Sediment Yields from a Channelized Watershed in the South Carolina Lower Coastal Plain. Journal of the American Water Resources Association. 50, 943-962.

Non-Refereed Publications

Bell, N.L., Etheridge, R., Hall, S. 2022. Ecological Engineered Treatment Technologies (EETTs) for Aquaculture and Wastewater. Resource Magazine: Engineering and technology for a sustainable world. Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. July/August 2022 Special Issue.

White, S.A., Garcia Chance, L.M., Bell, N.L., Chase, M.E. 2019. Potential and Problems of Floating Treatment Wetlands for Mitigating Agricultural Contaminants. Wetland Science & Practice. 36(2), 119-124.

Bell, N.L., Majsztrik, J.C., White, S.A. 2018. Water Treatment Series - Part 5: Microbial Technology. Nursery Management magazine. January 2018 Issue.

Outreach and Extension Online Resources (*student advisee)

Lineberger, A.*, Bell, N.L. 2022. Website: ECU Environmental Engineering Outreach Program targeting community youth who are underrepresented in STEM.

Hale-Phillips, K.R.*, Bell, N.L., White, S.A. 2018. Video: Agricultural Bioreactors.

Hale-Phillips, K.R.*, Bell, N.L., White, S.A. 2018. Video: Agricultural Water Reuse and Remediation.

2021-2026. National Science Foundation – Coastlines and People.  Focused CoPe: Supporting Environmental Justice in Connected Coastal Communities through a Regional Approach to Collaborative Community Science. $4,999,056 (Co-PI)

2023-2025 North Carolina Department of Justice – Environmental Enhancement Grant. Mitigating Nutrient Loads from a CAFO in the Cape Fear River Basin. $175,002 (Co-PI)

2021-2024. National Science Foundation – IUSE GEOPAths. GP-UP: Strengthening the Geoscience Workforce by Scaffolding Community Outreach and Research Experiences (SCORE) through WaterCorps. $314,595 (Co-PI)

2021-2024. University of North Carolina Research Opportunities Initiative. Enhancing Sustainable Water Treatment while Adding Value to Aquatic Systems. $1,211,028. (PI)

2021-2022. NC Sea Grant and NC Water Resources Research Institute. Hybrid Constructed Wetlands to Further Reduce Nitrogen and Phosphorus Loads from Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plants. $26,474. (PI). 

2021-2022. ECU Faculty Senate Teaching Grants Program. Campus as a living laboratory for green stormwater infrastructure. $10,000 (PI). 

2020-2021. University of North Carolina Policy Collaboratory. Nutrient Loading from Onsite Wastewater Systems in the Falls Lake Watershed. $20,000 (Co-PI)

2018-2021. United States Dept. of Agriculture – National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Potential of Woody Substrate-based Bioreactors to Remediate Plant Pathogens in Agricultural Runoff for Onsite Water Reuse. $89,083 (Co-PI)

2017-2018. Horticultural Research Institute. Pairing Vegetative Buffers and Slow Sand Filtration to Remediate Diseases from Irrigation Runoff. $15,000 (Co-PI)

2018. South Carolina Water Resources Center, United States Geological Survey. Statewide survey of irrigation source water quality and water use techniques in the specialty crops production industry. $87,373 (Co-PI)