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  • Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Seminar

    Thu, Feb 03, 2022 @ 12:30 PM - 01:30 PM

    Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars

    Speaker: Katherine Graham, President's Postdoctoral Fellow, Environmental Engineering, Georgia Tech

    Talk Title: Viruses in the urban water cycle: sources of pollution, fate, and public health decision-making

    Abstract: Coastal environments across the globe are treasured for their ability to provide sustenance, recreational activities, job opportunities, and diverse habitats for flora and fauna. They are also important human habitats: in the US, 94.7 million people live in a coastal county and worldwide approximately 44 percent of people live within 150 km of a coastline. However, due to population growth, pollution, and overuse of natural resources, many water resources in coastal areas are polluted. Sources of microbial pollution, including wastewater and urban runoff, can transport pathogens to waters where they pose public health risks. However, current indicators for fecal contamination in the environment, like fecal indicator bacteria (FIB), have been shown to poorly correlate with pathogens in the environment, complicating their use in certain settings. Thus a better understanding of the sources and fate of pathogens in the environment and solutions that sustainably reduce the impact of these sources on water resources is needed. At the same time, there are benefits to be gleaned from characterizing anthropogenic pollution sources, as they can be reflective of the infectious diseases circulating in a community. Therefore, tools to harness the information present in sewage should be developed in tandem with strategies to reduce the impact of pollution sources on the environment.
    In this seminar, I will first detail how viral pathogens in urban runoff are removed in green stormwater infrastructure to prevent impairments to surface waters and groundwater. Second, I will show how information on pathogens in wastewater can be used to inform public health decision-making, particularly during the COVID 19 pandemic. I will then discuss future teaching and research directions at the intersection of water, climate, and health issues, with the ultimate goal of providing safe and accessible water for all.

    Biography: Katherine (Katy) Graham is a President Postdoctoral Fellow at Georgia Tech in Environmental Engineering. Katy received her BSE in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 2015 and completed her MS and PhD at Stanford University in 2021. She is broadly interested in the characterization of pathogens and microbial communities in the natural and built environments to inform public health risk assessment and decision-making. She collaborates with multidisciplinary scientists and engineers to understand how to sustainably mitigate sources of microbial pollution to the environment, the utilization of human waste to understand public health trends, and the use of genomic information on pathogens in the environment to inform advanced public health risk assessment models.

    Host: Dr. Amy Childress

    Webcast: https://usc.zoom.us/j/91873923659? Meeting ID: 918 7392 3659 Passcode: 975701

    Location: Ronald Tutor Hall of Engineering (RTH) - 526

    WebCast Link: https://usc.zoom.us/j/91873923659? Meeting ID: 918 7392 3659 Passcode: 975701

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Contact: Evangeline Reyes


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