Joseph Helble headshot

Joseph J. Helble

Adjunct Professor of Engineering

President, Lehigh University

Joe Helble ES21

Professor Helble test rides a project prototype by students in "Introduction to Engineering." (Photo by Douglas Fraser)


Joseph J. Helble was named the 15th president of Lehigh University in 2021. Prior to becoming Dartmouth's provost in 2018, he served for 13 years as Thayer's dean. Helble earned his BS in chemical engineering from Lehigh and his PhD in chemical engineering from MIT. From 1987–1995, he worked as a research scientist at Physical Sciences, Inc., and in 1993 also served as a fellow with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He then joined the faculty at the University of Connecticut as professor of both chemical and environmental engineering and served first as Graduate Program Chair and then as Chemical Engineering Department Head. Before joining Thayer, Helble was named the 2004–2005 Roger Revelle Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), allowing him to spend that academic year addressing technology and environmental policy initiatives in the US Senate. Helble has served on numerous EPA Science Advisory Board panels and on the editorial boards of Environmental Engineering Science and Fuel Processing Technology. He is presently chair of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Engineering Deans’ Public Policy Committee. Helble is a recipient of a young faculty Career Award from NSF, an outstanding young faculty award from the University of Connecticut School of Engineering, and the Barnard Award from AAAS. He is the author of over 100 publications in the areas of air pollution, aerosols, nanoscale ceramics, and air quality, and holds three US patents related to nanoscalepowder production. In 2014, Helble, along with three Thayer colleagues, was a recipient of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education for the design and implementation of Dartmouth’s Engineering Entrepreneurship Program.

Research Interests

Environmental impacts of fossil energy utilization with emphasis on mercury; particulate matter; air pollution control; CO2 capture; combustion-derived pollution


  • BS, Chemical Engineering, Lehigh University 1982
  • PhD, Chemical Engineering, MIT 1987


  • Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education, 2014
  • Environmental Leadership Faculty Award, University of Connecticut, 2005
  • Roger Revelle Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (2004 - 2005)
  • Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei, China, honorary Advisor Professor, 2004
  • Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering, elected 2004
  • CAREER Award, National Science Foundation, 1998
  • Barnard Award, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 1994

Professional Activities

  • American Chemical Society, Division of Fuel Chemistry National Meetings Program Chair, 2007
  • Editorial Board, Environmental Engineering Science, 2004 -
  • Editorial Board, Fuel Processing Technology (Elsevier Science Publishers) 2002 -
  • University of Vermont, College of Engineering and Mathematics Board of Advisors, member 2005 -
  • Brown University, College of Engineering, Chemical Engineering Advisory Board, member 2005 -
  • EPA Science Advisory Board, reviews of "Air Toxics Research Strategy" and "EPA Draft Report on the Environment 2003," 2003-2005
  • Conference Organizer and Program Chair, Engineering Foundation Conference on Nanoparticles and Nanostructures by Vapor Phase Synthesis, Barga Italy, 2002

Research Projects

  • Aerosol science and air quality engineering

    Aerosol science and air quality engineering

    Aerosol science and air quality engineering is concerned with fine particles which, when present in the atmosphere, are known lung irritants, contribute to visibility degradation, and affect light scattering and absorption, making them an important to the atmospheric energy balance and climate change. Little is known, however, regarding the influence of particle shape, surface composition, and even size distribution to these problems. Work in our laboratory utilizes kinetic and thermodynamic models and fundamental studies under controlled conditions to better understand the influence of these particles, and to devise strategies to control them. Specific current projects include studies of Hg pollutant chemistry and of fine particle reactivity.

Selected Publications

  • Zeng, T., Helble, J.J., Bool, L.E., and Sarofim, A.F., Iron Transformations During Combustion of Pittsburgh #8 Coal, Fuel 88, 566-572 (2009).
  • Smith, C.A., Krishnakumar, B., and Helble, J.J., Homogeneous and heterogeneous mercury oxidation in a bench-scale flame-based flow reactor, Proc. AWMA Annual Meeting (2009).
  • Garabedian, R., and Helble, J.J., Modeling Coalescence in Multiple Particle Systems, J. Aerosol Science 39, 71-81 (2008).
  • Krishnakumar, B., and Helble, J.J., Understanding Mercury Transformations in Coal-Fired Power Plants: Evaluation of Homogeneous Hg Oxidation Mechanisms, Env. Sci. Tech. 41(22), 7870-7875 (2007).
  • Mamani-Paco, R., and Helble, J.J., Size, and Time of the Day Influences on the Morphology Distributions of Atmospheric Fine Particles at the Baltimore Supersite, Atmos. Environment 41, 8021-8029 (2007).
  • Schladt, M., Filburn, T., and Helble, J.J., Supported Amine Sorbents Under Temperature Swing Absorption for CO2 and Moisture Capture, Indus. Eng. Chem. Res. 46 (5), 1590 -1597 (2007).


  • Apparatus for producing nanoscale ceramic powders | 5,599,511
  • Apparatus for producing nanoscale ceramic powders | 5,447,708
  • Process for producing nanoscale ceramic powders | 5,358,695


Dean Helble on Dartmouth's PhD Innovation Program

TEDxDartmouth 2011- Joseph Helble: The World's "Sputnik Moment"


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