Irene Lo

Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering










“When I hung my head from time to time, Professor Lo came to show me her concern and back me up... She inspired me to perform at full stretch, whenever and whatever.”


Professor Lo was born and grew up in Hong Kong. She received her MS and PhD degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. She has been working at HKUST since 1992. She got married in 1995 and her husband received his PhD in business administration (specialist in brand licensing and development). Their different professional backgrounds always encourage them to learn various things from each other. Also they don’t have kids and thus they use their free time for doing the things that they both enjoy.

Irene’s research interest includes remediation of contaminated soil and groundwater, nanotechnology for water and wastewater treatment, and thermal treatment technologies for municipal solid waste. In 2004, she received the ASCE James R. Croes Medal which is the most prestigious award to recognize scholars with exceptionally meritorious achievements in civil engineering. She is the first Chinese scientist as principal investigator to receive this award since 1912.

Moreover, Irene along with her former PhD student and her research partners in Denmark was selected by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) for the 2007 Samuel Arnold Greeley Award. She is one of the pioneers in conducting field monitoring and applying tracer study in the technology of Permeable Reactive Barrier (PRB), which allows better understanding of the effectiveness of the technology, and geochemical variation and hydraulic flow pattern in the groundwater and along the PRB.

Irene is also recognized as an outstanding teacher, being the recipient of HKUST's 2006 Michael G Gale Medal for Distinguished Teaching. She devotes her time to teaching and tries her very best to inspire and motivate students. She has consistently demonstrated a warmth and interest in students’ careers and personal success that has inspired their affection and gratitude. She truly believes that excellence in teaching comes through professionalism as well as passion, and this professionalism has been a consistent theme in her teaching career at HKUST.

‘When I hung my head from time to time’, says one student, ‘she came to show me her concern and back me up... She inspired me to perform at full stretch, whenever and whatever’.