Claudia Gunsch is the Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement, providing leadership in the area of faculty advancement, including providing support for faculty and academic units as they work to develop policies, programs, and practices in response to the recent campus climate survey. She plays a key role in developing strategies to strengthen Duke’s efforts to ensure an inclusive and respectful environment where faculty, students, and staff can thrive and excel.

Dr. Gunsch is the Theodore S. Kennedy Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and holds secondary appointments in the Nicholas School of the Environment and the Department of Biomedical Engineering. She has been recognized for her research, teaching and service activities with a number of awards, including the 2009 National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award, 2013 Langford Lectureship Award, 2016 Capers and Marion McDonald Award for Excellence in Mentoring and Advising, and the 2016 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize. In addition, she was named a Bass Fellow in 2016. Dr. Gunsch earned her B.S. from Purdue University, her M.S. from Clemson University, and her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin.

Dr. Gunsch’s research focuses characterizing and engineering environmental microbiomes. Students and postdoctoral associates in her group apply fundamental concepts from the fields of microbiology, genomics and bioinformatics to environmental engineering applications. Current research projects focus on exploring ballast water microbiomes, exploring correlations between microbial adaptation and evolution stemming from their exposure to contaminants, characterizing the fate of genetically modified crop transgenes, developing genetic bioaugmentation technologies for improving the bioremediation efficacy of recalcitrant contaminants and developing innovative water treatment technologies for industrial and developing world applications.


  • Ph.D., University of Texas, Austin (2004)
  • M.S., Clemson University (2000)
  • B.S., Purdue University (1998)