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Christopher Cohu, PhD is a leading scientist in the field of plant stress physiology, phytoremediation, photosynthesis and plant productivity. Cohu received his Doctorate in Botany from Colorado State University and the Program in Molecular Plant Biology. There he developed as a scientist in the field of phytoremediation and plant stress with a focus on heavy metals such as copper, iron and manganese. He later joined the engineering company Solix Biosystems in Fort Collins, Colo. where he directed a team of algae scientists. He developed cutting-edge technologies in wastewater effluent remediation, recycling and remediation of toxic byproducts from hydraulic fracturing fluids and gases, and biofuel production. After Solix Biosystems he joined a world-renowned lab at the University of Colorado, Boulder and focused on investigating how to increase plant photosynthesis and plant biomass under stressful environments (including spaceflight and teraforming) for numerous plant species, both crop and non-crop. Cohu also worked with Dow AgroSciences in their Agronomic Traits division. There he developed new inventions and technologies for increased plant productivity for both agronomic yield and plant biomass. Since 2007, Cohu has been active as cofounder and CEO of Phytoremediation and Phytomining Consultants United (PPCU). He has been involved in remediation consulting and field deployment efforts to clean up heavy metals, metalloids, radionuclides and organic pollutant degradation using both plants and plant-associated microorganisms in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Recently, his work in the field of phytoremediation was highlighted in Superfund, Meet Super Plants, The New York Times. 

Cohu has been teaching at CMU since 2016 in the ENVS degree program, and higher-education teaching in environmental and biology related topics since 2004.

Relevant field experience:

  • 2020 and 2019 TPH and BTEX endophyte-assisted phytoremediation system installation, Weld County, CO.
  • 2019 TPH, BTEX and PAH endophyte-assisted phytoremediation installation, Corpus Christi, TX.
  • 2019 TCE endophyte-assisted phytoremediation system installation, Smithfield, KY.
  • 2019 Benzene phytoremediation at pipeline release on Sage-Grouse habitat using native vegetation, WY.
  • 2019 1,4-D and vinyl chloride endophyte-assisted phytoremediation system in salt-impacted landfill, CO.
  • 2018 BTEX, TPH and DCE endophyte-assisted phytoremediation system, Fairbanks, AK.
  • 2018 TPH, BTEX and PAH endophyte-assisted phytoremediation system using pump-and-irrigate, WY.
  • 2018 TPH and BTEX endophyte-assisted phytoremediation system, Dos Palos, CA.
  • 2017 TCE and 1,4-D endophyte-assisted phytoremediation system, Playa Vista, CA.
  • 2016 Nitrogen and Phosphorus phytoremediation for lakes and lagoons, Front Range, CO.
  • 2015 TCE endophyte-assisted phytoremediation system installation, Norco, CA.
  • 2014 TCE phytoremediation installation in Iowa – fully remediated site
  • 2013 Selenium and Uranium Phytoremediation on a polluted sprayfield site
  • 2010 Co-created a Large-Scale Algae and Bacteria Bioreactor to Remediate Hydraulic Fracturing Water and Gas Byproducts. Ute Indian Reservation, CO.
  • 2009 Co-created an Algae Bioreactor for Remediation of Nutrients from Municipal Wastewater Streams

Cohu's teaching philosophy has grown and evolved over several years of teaching. He believes courses should include several themes: curiosity, comprehension, interaction, respect and fun. He approaches his teaching responsibilities with the feeling that it is an opportunity for him to share his experiences, just as a college education is an opportunity for students to experience science. He strives to make lasting connections with students and always aims to create an atmosphere of respect. Cohu's ultimate goal is to create foundations to foster an environment where students feel inclined to participate and have fun, all without fear of intimidation.