Chandran has been collaborating with research groups in Brazil focused on facilitating energy efficient wastewater treatment there. Through this approach, sewage treatment plants can discharge better water quality to receiving water bodies such as Guanabara Bay, where sailing events for the 2016 Olympic Games will be held. Additionally, such improvements to water quality can be achieved while emitting lower amounts of greenhouse gases. Recently Chandran led a team of Columbia students, who developed bioprocess technologies to enhance the capacity of the Alegria sewage treatment plant, which discharges to Guanabara Bay. The technology was prototyped at Columbia and the prototype was demonstrated in Rio de Janeiro. Chandran has been instrumental in the similar upgrade of the wastewater treatment infrastructure of New York City for enhancing the degree of treatment and ultimately protecting very sensitive water bodies surrounding New York City. Chandran is an authority on environmentally sustainable wastewater treatment and sanitation. He was named a 2015 MacArthur Fellow for his work in “transforming wastewater from a pollutant requiring disposal to a resource for useful products, such as commodity chemicals, energy sources, and fertilizers.” His current work includes water utility partners around the globe focused on improving water quality, while simultaneously using far lower amounts of energy and chemicals and actually recovering chemicals and energy.