President Acharya

Kumud025 cropKumud Acharya, Ph.D. serves as the Desert Research Institute’s (DRI) Interim President. From two state-of-the-art research campuses in Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada, Dr. Acharya leads over 400 scientists, engineers, and research support staff who rank among the top in the world in their specialties.

As a research professor in ecological engineering, Dr. Acharya has led pioneering work in Nevada to help local and state water managers address aquatic invasive species threatening both Lake Mead and Lake Tahoe. His 20-plus years of environmental study have blended both traditional research on the health of rivers, lakes and wetlands, with applied research to better understand the impact of climate change on aquatic ecosystems across Nevada and throughout the world. 

Dr. Acharya has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers and served as first-author on many publications focused on water and ecosystem health. In addition to his research, he has also served as associate editor of the Journal of Water Resources Research and associate editor of the Journal of the American Water Resources Association. 

He advises graduate students and postdocs as a faculty member in the Hydrologic Sciences Program at the University of Nevada, Reno; and the Water Resources Management Program at the University of Las Vegas; and serves as co-director and a visiting professor at DRI’s Joint International Water Laboratory at Hohai University in Nanjing, China. 

Dr. Acharya began his career at the Desert Research Institute (DRI) in 2006 as an assistant research professor in hydrology. During his tenure at DRI, he has secured over $20 million in external research grants and contracts and helped spearhead some of DRI’s largest international collaborations focused on water quality and management in China, Nepal, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates and Thailand.  

He previously served as the executive director of DRI’s Division of Hydrologic Sciences; senior director of the Center for Environmental Remediation and Monitoring, director of the Nevada Water Resources Research Institute; and Chief Technology Advisor for WaterStart – a Nevada Knowledge Fund-supported venture focused on attracting water technology companies to Nevada. 

Prior to joining DRI, Dr. Acharya served five years combined as a postdoctoral and endowed research fellow at Arizona State University and the University of Louisville. He has a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering, M.S. in Environmental Engineering, and Ph.D. in Biology and Environmental Sciences.


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