Semrau earned a Faculty Recognition Award, which is intended for faculty early in their careers who have demonstrated substantive contributions to the university through achievements in scholarly research or creative endeavors; excellence as a teacher, adviser and mentor; and distinguished participation in service activities of the university.
Semrau is an international expert in methanotrophy, microbes that use methane as a source of carbon and energy. Additionally, he has significantly advanced sustainability at U-M with his teaching and service, including foundational contributions to the Graham Sustainability Institute and a new undergraduate minor in sustainability.
His research interests include the genetics, biochemistry and molecular ecology of methanotrophs, with an eye to developing novel applications of these microbes. He has isolated and characterized a wide range of methanotrophs, enhancing understanding and ability to apply these microbes, particularly for the control of methane emissions, creation of biofuels, and for the production of novel metal-binding compounds with significant medical uses. He holds three U.S. patents, has published many articles in high-impact journals, and has given scores of invited talks.
Semrau launched U-M’s Student Sustainability Initiative and has expanded interdisciplinary undergraduate education through his environmental and sustainability courses. He has chaired or co-chaired 10 doctorate committees and directed 13 master’s and eight undergraduate student projects.
As the Graham Fellow for Research Development, Semrau oversaw the Graham Institute’s initial programming, recruited external advisory board members and institute partners, and created graduate fellowships to attract and retain top students. He designed the cross-campus sustainability minor while serving as associate director of the Program in the Environment.
Semrau has received the College of Engineering Monroe-Brown Service Excellence Award and Vulcans Excellence in Teaching Award; American Society of Civil Engineering, Michigan Student Chapter-Professor of the Year Award; Civil and Environmental Engineering Departmental Award for Excellence in Teaching; and the national civil engineering honor society’s James M. Robbins Award for Excellence in Teaching. The University of Texas at Austin has presented him with an Outstanding Young Alumnus/Alumna Award.
To learn more about faculty recognition awards, please visit record.umich.edu.