UF Researchers Refining Wastewater Health Signals (UF EPI)

UF Researchers Refining Wastewater Health Signals

University of Florida investigators in the College of Public Health and Health Professions (PHHP), the College of Veterinary Medicine, and the Emerging Pathogens Institute—have spent the past two years building testing capacity and refining wastewater analysis techniques to better detect viruses, bacteria and even chemical markers of health—such as pesticides and illegal drugs.

Their efforts started early in the pandemic when PHHP and EPI researchers brainstormed how to adapt their skills to help protect the health of Floridians and those who work and study on UF’s campus. Tara Sabo-Attwood, an associate dean of PHHP, and Joseph Bisesi, an assistant professor in the UF Department of Environmental and Global Health (EGH) in PHHP, had experience surveying for toxins in environmental samples.

They began talking with two microbiologists in their department about how their skills could be combined for detecting the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, and its genetic variants in wastewater. Tony Maurelli is a professor and associate chair of the EGH department, and an expert in infectious disease surveillance.  John Lednicky is a research professor who specializes in detecting and isolating viruses.

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