Current research
        Fecal Pollution and Coliphage & Bacterial Fecal Indicators
        Point of Use Water Treatment
        Agricultural Waste
        other research topics coming soon...

Theses & Dissertation Topics (work may appear in multiple categories)
          ~ Produce and Processed Foods
          ~ Shellfish
        Risk Assessment
        Source Tracking
          ~ Agricultural Waste
          ~ Drinking Water
          ~ Environmental Waters
          ~ Wastewater and Human Waste
        Other Public Health

Current reserach

 Fecal Pollution and Coliphage & Bacterial Fecal Indicators

Stephanie Friedman's Molecular Detection of Microbial Indicators of Fecal Pollution
    Existing methods for determining fecal contamination in water provide quantitative estimates of E. coli and enterococci but these methods are not real-time nor do they distinguish among potential sources. The best that the existing methods do is indicate that possible fecal contamination occurred 24 hours ago. Resource managers need an early-warning indicator that will enable them to assess the sanitary condition of recreational waters in real-time and to minimize risks by posting swimming and fishing advisories as early as possible. An additional limitation of the current methods is that enterococci or E. coli alone do not provide a complete assessment of sanitary quality because they are not indicators of the entire scope of pathogens causing adverse environmental effects.     The state-of-the-science technique, real-time rapid cycle PCR, is capable of multiplexing (detecting several indicators in a single analysis). From the same water sample, it is proposed to develop real-time PCR that can be used to concomitantly detect entercocci and fecal indicator viruses. We will correlate the results from real-time PCR with the traditional 24 h methods for detection of E. coli or enterococci. The enumeration of both enterococci and fecal coliphages using real-time PCR will provide a more comprehensive and immediate assessment of the sanitary quality of recreational waters.

Dave Love's Rapid and Field Portable Coliphage Detection
    Simple, rapid and reliable fecal indicator tests are needed to better monitor and manage the sanitary quality of ambient waters and treated waters and wastes. Immunological agglutination assays are potentially rapid, simple, specific, inexpensive and can be stored at ambient temperatures for months. Such technology is ideal for practical use in field-kits and in non-lab settings and has already been developed for virus detection in the field-- for adenovirus and rotavirus in stool. Towards these goals, I developed, optimized and validated a rapid microbial water quality monitoring assay using immunological agglutination of viral indicators of fecal pollution.     This assay is immunoassay is simple to perform on a cardboard card by mixing a drop of virus enrichment with a drop of detection reagent. Visual agglutination or clumping of positive samples occurred in less than 60 seconds. The assay has a sensitivity over 95% and a specificity higher than 97% for two families of viral fecal indicators. The assay successfully identified viruses in similar proportions as a gold standard nucleic hybridization assay. This successful development and evaluation of a novel immunological agglutination technique for rapid and simple detection of fecal indicator viruses provides a new and improved tool to monitor the microbiological quality of drinking, recreational, shellfishing and other waters.

Jen Murphy's work on Campylobacter, Salmonella, and Coliphage
    Jen's research interests include the use of microbiological- and molecular-based methods to characterize pathogens and microbial indicators of fecal pollution in both animal feces and natural waters. Her studies focus on detection, enumeration, and genotypic characterization of Campylobacter, Salmonella, and F-RNA coliphages in seagull feces and coastal wetland waters impacted by seagulls. She spent one year in Christchurch, New Zealand learning a number of molecular-based methods, including those to further evaluate thermotolerant Campylobacter species, a leading cause of gastrointestinal illness in the world.

  Point of Use Water Treatment

Christine Stauber's Health Impact Study of the Biosand Filter in the Dominican Republic
Biosand Filter     Water is not only a basic need for life but also a human right according to the UN. Consumption of unsafe water causes gastrointestinal illnesses that kill more than 2 million. The solution to the problem of waterborne gastrointestinal illness is to provide universal access to safe, disease-free, reliable piped water supplies. But the costs of providing the necessary infrastructure are often prohibitive for communities in less developed nations. Recent evidence documents that simple and low-cost household interventions can provide safe water and decrease risks of diarrheal disease. For example, chlorination of household water in a dedicated storage container can reduce microorganisms by >99% and reduce diarrheal illness by 44% (Quick et al., 1999). While interventions such as chlorine disinfection has been successful in the field, there are drawbacks. In particular, chlorination is less effective in waters with higher turbidity.     Various filtration methods for reducing microbes in water have been widely known and practiced for decades and new ones continue to be developed and evaluated. One emerging point-of-use technology is the biosand filter (BSF), a household-scale, intermittently operated, slow sand filter. The long-term goal of the research is to characterize the performance of the filter in the field, and assess its ability to reduce diarrheal diseases. Currently, the Peace Corps, Rotary Club International and other partners are working together to supply filters and education in their use to thousands of households in many communities in the Dominican Republic (DR). In 2004-2005 alone, more than 2500 filters will be installed in homes in the DR. While this effort to introduce BSF for household water treatment is a potentially important intervention to provide safe water to those who lack it, scientific evidence is needed to determine if the BSF-treated water is of high microbiological quality and really safe and if such water reduces the household burden of diarrheal disease.

Joe Brown's Health Impact Study of Ceramic Filter Technology in Cambodia

    Recent meta-analyses of field trials have established that household-scale water treatment and safe storage can be an effective intervention for reducing diarrheal disease. One of the most promising and widely used technologies, locally produced ceramic filtration, has not yet been rigorously tested in a systematic field study to determine microbiological effectiveness, impact on diarrheal disease, or continued effectiveness over time in situ. This proposal outlines our strategy for validating a new ceramic filtration technology for household use in a triple-blinded, randomized controlled trial in a village in Cambodia. Since ceramic filtration technology is already in widespread use throughout Asia, Latin America, and Africa, there is a need to establish the microbiological effectiveness, health impacts, and sustainability of this intervention to inform potential users, implementers, and decision makers. Previous studies of other ceramic filtration devices have suggested that such interventions do provide an effective barrier against microbial pathogens in water and that this results in significant health gains in users. The issue of continued effectiveness and sustainability of using household ceramic water filters over time has not yet been studied. The proposed study will be the most rigorous evaluation of any HWTS technology intervention in a developing country to date.     The ceramic filter technology used in this trial has been newly developed in our laboratory to be >99.99% effective against waterborne viruses, bacteria, and protozoa, making it among the most effective HWTS technologies available. The filters are in production in Cambodia using low-tech, sustainable, and inexpensive methods of production. Since local materials and knowledge are used to produce the filters at a low cost, they represent a viable option for household-scale water treatment in a developing country context. The newly developed "F2" filters represent a significant improvement over currently used ceramic filters used in developing countries. In order to compare these filters with other technologies, this study aims to address three principal hypotheses. (1) The filter is an effective barrier to pathogens potentially present in drinking water. The F2 filter can remove bacteria and viral indicator organisms from drinking water in a developing country household setting by greater than 99.99%. (2) The filter benefits individuals and communities by reducing waterborne disease. The filter can reduce the burden of diarrheal disease among users by 20 70%. (3) This is a sustainable solution. The filters will maintain their effectiveness and will be in use by households for the study period and for 25 months thereafter. Quantitative and qualitative field and laboratory data will be collected to evaluate the effectiveness and health impact hypotheses over a period of 9 months in the village of Slab Ta Oun, Cambodia. A further study of 25 months will establish the longevity of the intervention with regard to continued effectiveness and impact.

  Agricultural Waste

Kimberly Blauth's Research Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria from Swine Farms in North Carolina and Resulting Community Health Effects
    Research Objective: This study is designed to determine if exposure to animal related agriculture results in an increased risk of acquiring antibiotic resistant bacteria when compared to those exposed to non-animal agriculture or no agriculture at all.

  other research topics coming soon...

Theses & Dissertations


Bell, Douglas, MS 1984, Mutagenic and Chemical Changes of Dilute Wood and Peat Smoke Under Simulated Atmospheric Conditions

Bell, Douglas, Ph.D 1988 The Effect of Atmospheric Photoreaction on the Mutagenicity of Chemical Fractions from Woodsmoke Particle Extracts

Rives, Glenn, MSPH 1983, Genotoxic Transformations of Woodstove Emissions in A Simulated Atmosphere


    Produce and Processed Foods

Casteel, Mike, Ph.d 2002, Development of Methods for the Recovery and Disinfection of Human Enteric Viruses and Other Microbes on Produce

Hsu, Fu-Chih, Ph.D 1997, Detection and Characterization of Enteric Bacteria and Bacteriophages as Indicators of Human and Animal Fecal Contamination in Foods

Love, Dave, MSPH 2004, Evaluation and Improvement of Methods to Recover and Detect Hepatitis A Virus and an Indicator Virus (F+RNA Coliphage MS2) in Representative Foods Associated with Viral Foodborne Outbreaks


Aiello, Allison, MS 1998, Detection and Occurrence of Enteric Viruses in Oysters and Clams from Point and Non-point Sources of Fecal Contamination by Using Cell Culture Infectivity and RT-PCR

Bachur, Beth, MSPH 1988, The Effect of Temperature and Salinity on the Depuration of Hepatitis A Virus and Other Microbial Contaminants from the Eastern Oyster

Carrick, R., MS 1976, The Development of An Improved Method For The Detection of Enteric Viruses in Oysters

Chung, Hyujn-Mei, Ph.D 1993 F-Specific Coliphages and their Serogroups, and Bacteroides Fragilis Phages as Indicators of Estuarine Water and Shellfish Quality

Freeman, Amanda, MSPH 1997, Detection of Somatic and Male Specific Coliphages in Fecally Contaminated Shellfish and Harvest Waters

Hilborn, Elizabeth, MPH 1994, Risk of Gastrointestinal Illness From Consumption of Raw Clams: Results of a Clinical Trial

Jaykus, Lee Anne, Ph.D 1993, Development of methods to Concentrate and Purify Human Enteric Viruses in Oysters for Detection by Reverse Transcriptase-Polymerase Chain Reaction and Oligoprobing

Love, Dave, MSPH 2004, Evaluation and Improvement of Methods to Recover and Detect Hepatitis A Virus and an Indicator Virus (F+RNA Coliphage MS2) in Representative Foods Associated with Viral Foodborne Outbreaks.

Mazanti, L., MS 1987, Thermal Inactivation of Hepatitis A Virus and Poliovirus in The Eastern Oyster, Crassostrea Virginica

Mullendore, Jennifer, MS 1999, Detection of Hepatitis A Virus in Inoculated Oysters by Molecular and Cell Culture Assays

Murray, Julie, MSPH 1990, The Effect of Temperature and Salinity on the Depuration of Hepatitis A Virus and Other Microbial Contaminants from Clams

Rullman, V., MS 1986, The Effect of Salinity and Food Availability on The Depuration of Hepatitis A Virus and Poliovirus L From The Eastern Oyster, Crassostrea Virginia

Werner-House, W., MSPH 1983, Uptake and Elimination of Simian Rotavirus AS-11 By the Eastern Oyster, Crassostrea virginica

Risk Assessment

Burruss, Anne, MSPH 1993, Pathogen Risk Assessment: Its Development and Use in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Davis, Andrea, MSPH 1997, Naegleria fowleri: Assessing the Risk from a Free-Living Ameba

Hilborn, Elizabeth, MPH 1994, Risk of Gastrointestinal Illness From Consumption of Raw Clams: Results of a Clinical Trial

Shea, Katherine, MPH 1995, Combined Ecological-Human Health Risk Assessment: A Case for Change


Meschke, John, Ph.D 2001, Comparative Adsorption, Persistence and Mobility of Norwalk Virus, Poliovirus Type 1, and F+RNA Coliphage in Soil and Groundwater

Caton, III, L., MS 1986, Short-Term Interactions of Hepatitis A Virus, Poliovirus, and Echovirus with Soils Suspended in Groundwater and Wastewater

Dean, C., Ph.D 1977, Interactions of Two Enteric Viruses in Four Soils

Hall, Rich, MSPH 1991, Reductions of Hepatitis A Virus, Echovirus, Poliovirus, and MS-2 in Miniature Soil Columns

Hazard, R., MS 1987, Reduction of Infectious Hepatitis Virus, Poliovirus, and Echovirus in Miniature Soil Columns

Seith, C., MS 1992, Comparison of the Fate and Transport of Hepatitis A Virus, Poliovirus-1, Echovirus-1, MS-2, Bacteriophage, and Indicator Bacteria in Unsaturated Sandy Loam Soil Columns

Woodruff, D., MS 1992, Clostridium Perfringens as a Sewage Indicator in Coastal Sediments: Development and Comparison of an Alternative Method of Analysis

Source Tracking

Stewart, Jill, Ph.D 2003 Microbial Source Tracking using F+RNA Coliphage Typing and Escherichia coli Antibiotic Resistance Assays

Stewart, Jill MS 1998, Detection and Characterization of Coliphages in a Ground Water Aquifer Rechargedwith Fecally Conatminated Surface Water


Cromeans, Theresa, Ph.D 1987, Replication of Hepatitis A Virus in vitro: Replication Kinetics, Cytopathic Effect, and Immunogold Detection of Viral Antigen in Infected Cell Cultures

Gregoricus, Nicole, MSPH 2003, Monitoring Neurovirulent Polioviruses in the Americas

Hsu, Fu-Chi, MSPH 1994, Genotyping F+RNA Coliphages by Hybridization with Oligonucleotide Probes

Jacobs, R., Ph.D 1980, Evaluation of the TSM Concentrating Adenoviruses

Pasanen, Tiine, MSPH 2003, The Prevalence and Molecular Epidemiology of Viruses Associated with Gastroenteritis in HIV-infected Individuals in Uganda

Sickbert-Bennett, Emily, MS 2002 Comparative Efficacy of Hand Hygiene Products in the Reduction of Bacteria and Viruses on the Hands

Zhang, H., MSPH 1995, An Infectious cDNA Clone of a Cytopathic Hepatitis A Virus: Genomic Regions Associated with Rapid Replication and Cytopathi Effect


    Agricultural Waste

Anderson, Maren, Ph.D 2003, Detection and Occurrence of Antimicrobially Resistant Enteric Bacteria in Groundwater on or Near Swine Farms in Eastern North Carolina

Casanova, Lisa, MS 2004 Antibiotic Resistance in Enteric Bacteria from North Carolina Swine Farms and Environmental Waters

Hill, Vincent, Ph.D 2001, Investigation of Constructed Wetlands, Lagoons, and Other Treatment Systems for Reducing Salmonella and Enteric Microbial Indicators in Swine Waste

Kase, Julie, Ph.D 2004, Detection and Characterization of Swine Hepatitis E Virus from Herds in North Carolina and Costa Rica

Shehee, Mina, Ph.D 2002, Recovery and Characterization of Yersinia Enterocolitica in Swine Wastes

Wilson, Sacoby, MS 2000, The Environmental Justice Issues Associated with the Growth and Restructuring of the Swine Industry in Mississippi

    Drinking Water

Anderson, John, MSPH 1989, Giardia lamblia and Cryptosporidium parvum in Six North Carolina Piedmont Community Water Supplies: Concentrations in Raw and Finished Waters and Associations with Fecal Coliforms and Enterocci

Casteel, Michael MS 1998 Inactivation of Cryptosporidium parvum Oocysts and Clostridium perfringens Spores in Water by Electrochemically Generated Mixed Oxidants

Fuji, T., MSPH 1988, Inactivation of Hepatitis A Virus and Other Model Viruses by Free Chlorine and Monochloramine

Handzel, Thomas, Ph.D 1998, The Effect of Imroved Drinking Water Quality on the Risk of Diarrheal Disease in an Urban Slum of Dhaka, Bangladesh: A home Chlorination Intervention Trial

Handzel, Thomas MSPH 1990, Male Specific Coliphages as Indicators of Drinking waters and as Model Organisms for the Reduction of Viruses by Water Treatment Processes

Ishida, G., MSPH 2001 Salmonella typhimurium Disinfection by a Combined Method of Ultraviolet Irradiation Followed by Monochloramine

Juliano, Jonathan, MSPH 1997 Simultaneous Recovery of Cryptosporidium parvum Ocycst, Escherichia coli and MS-2 Coliphage from Water Using a Disposible Ultrafilter

Likirdopulos, Christina, MSPH 2001 The Disinfection of Cryptosporidium parvum Oocysts and Bacillus subtilis Spores in Water Using Electrochemically Generated Oxidants Produced by Miniaturized Pencells

Oldham, C., MSPH 1988, Inactivation of Hepatitis A Virus, Poliovirus 1 and Echovirus 1 by Iodine in Water

Schwab, Kellog J., MS 1991, A Simple Membrane filter Method to concentrate Nd Enumerate Male-Specific Coliphages from Drinking Water

Shin, Gwy-Am Ph.D 1998 Norwalk Virus Reductions by Conventional Water Treatment Processes and Comparison with other Health-Related Viruses

Venczel, Linda, PhD 1997, Evaluation and Application of a Mixed Oxidant Disinfectin System for Waterborne Disease Prevention

    Environmental Waters

Meschke, Jonh, Ph.D 2001, Comparative Adsorption, Persistence and Mobility of Norwalk Virus, Poliovirus Type 1, and F+RNA Coliphage in Soil and Groundwater

Anderson, John, MSPH 1989, Giardia lamblia and Cryptosporidium parvum in Six North Carolina Piedmont Community Water Supplies: Concentrations in Raw and Finished Waters and Associations with Fecal Coliforms and Enterocci

Burris, J., MSPH 1987, Survival and Behavioral Responses of the Snail Elimia clavaeformis (Lea) in a Metal Contaminated Stream

Callahan, Katherine, MSPH 1994, Comparative Survival of Hepatitis A Virus, Poliovirus, and Indicator Organisms in Geographically Diverse Seawaters

Heaney, Chris MS 2004, Survey of Microbial Contamination in Ground and Surface Water Supplies in an Underserved African-American Community in Alamance and Orange Counties, North Carolina

Simmons III, Otto, Ph.D 2001, Survival, Concentration and Non-Microscopic Detection of Infectious Cryptosporidium Oocysts in Environmental Waters

Simmons, III, Otto, MSPH 1995, Concentration and Molecular Detection of Norwalk Virus and other Viruses in Water

Stewart, Jill, Ph.D 2003 Microbial Source Tracking using F+RNA Coliphage Typing and Escherichia coli Antibiotic Resistance Assays

Stewart, Jill MS 1998, Detection and Characterization of Coliphages in a Ground Water Aquifer Rechargedwith Fecally Conatminated Surface Water

Wait, Doug, MS 1982, Dieoff of Enteric Microorganisms

    Wastewater and Human Waste

Barbee, Susan, MSPH 1998, Application of in Vitro Cell Culture Assay to Cyrptosporidium Parvum Oocysts Inactivation by Thermal Processes

Barrett, Emily, MS 1998, Microbial Indicator Reductionin Seven On-Site Constructed Wetlands for Wastewater Treatment in the Southeastern U.S.

Battigelli, David, Ph.D 2002, The Reduction of Hepatitis A Virus and Other Model Viruses by Coagulation, Flocculation, Sedimentation, Rapid Sand Filtration, Chlorine Disinfection and High pH Lime Softening

Blauth, Kimberly, MSPH 2004, Inactivation of Ascaris ova by Thermophilic Anaerobic Digestion

Day, L., MSPH 1982, Mutagenic and Cytotoxic Properties of Coal Gasification Process Wastewaters; Chinese Hamster Ovary Cell Systems

Freund, Alice, MSPH 1975, Inactivation of Poliovirus in Alum Coagulated Secondary Sewage Effluent by Bromine and Chlorine

Gray, Mark, MSPH 1992, Survival of Hepatitis A Virus (HAV), Poliovirus 1, and F-Specific Coliphages in Disposable Diapers and Landfill Leachates

Hyatt, M., MSPH 1978, An Evaluation of Public Health Aspects of Ocean Outfalls in North Carolina

McGeorge, Leslie, MSPH 1980, Bacterial Mutagenicity of Coal conversion Waste-Waters

Nappier, Sharon, MSPH 2004, The Use of Thermal Inactivation of Male-Specific Coliphages as Potential Indicators of Pathogen Reductions in Thermophilic Anaerobic Digestion

Scandura, J., MS 1981, The Survival and Fate of Enteric Viruses in On-Site Septic Waste Disposal

Stea, Robert, 1999, Ecological Sanitation: Technical Issues on the Adequacy of On-Site Storage and Treatment of Human Waste

Tai, Ling, MSPH 1994, Detection of Norwalk Virus, Hepatitis A Virus, and Enterovirus in Wastewater By RT-PCR and Oligoprobe Hybridization

Van Abel, Nicole, MS 2004, Thermophilic Anaerobic Digestion to Control E. Coli 0157:H7, Other E. Coli Strains, and Bovine Enterovirus in Cattle Manure

Other Public Health

O'Connell, K., MSPH 1992, Development of a Method for the Isolation and Quantitation of Albumin for Use in the Analysis of Protein Adducts

Sasse, Andre, MPH 1992, Immunization Coverage and Surveillance: Challenges for the Poliomyelitis Global Eradication Initiative

Windhorst, Dana, MPH 1993, Occupational Exposure to Ethylene Oxide, Myelodysplastic Syndrome, and Acute Leukemia, A Case Report

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