Research

Water and Health Infrastructure, Resilience, and Learning (WHIRL)

In collaboration with Wayne State University and the University of Michigan, we are exploring the critical interdependencies between water and health infrastructure to understand and improve resilience related to drinking water crises across the United States. My team is using machine learning tools to develop a predictive model of drinking water health risk using both drinking water system and public health data. These tools may be used as a prototype early warning system for drinking water risk from certain contaminants in vulnerable areas to enhance resilience. This work is funded by the National Science Foundation and the North Carolina Sea Grant and Water Resources Research Institute.

The Impact of Intensive Livestock Production on the Disease Ecology of Antibiotic Resistant Staphylococcus

I am part of a multi-investigator team analyzing the risks for human health of antibiotic use in high-density hog farms. My students and I are developing a Bayesian belief network model to predict the risks that humans will become infected with multi-drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus as a result of intensive antibiotic use in hog farms. This research is funded by the National Science Foundation.

You can see a news story about the research project here.

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Point-Of-Use (POU) Water Filters for Mitigating Waterborne Contaminants from Private Drinking Water Wells in North Carolina

In partnership with communities in North Carolina that lack access to municipal water supplies, we are researching the effectiveness of POU filters to remove certain priority drinking water contaminants, including lead, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), and microbial contaminants, from private well water. We are testing the performance of filter devices in households dependent on private wells over time to understand the feasibility of POU filters for high-risk areas. This work is funded by the North Carolina Policy Collaboratory.

Racial Disparities in Access to Public Water and Sewer Service in North Carolina

For the past three years, my students and I have been analyzing publicly available data to document racial disparities in access to community water and sewer service in North Carolina. We have mapped locations where such disparities exist, analyzed water quality in selected communities lacking access to public water, and analyzed the health implications. Our research is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the IBM Junior Faculty Development Award.

Findings

Related stories:

UNC Study Explores Reasons for Disparities in Access to Municipal Water and Sewer Systems in N.C.

Public Health a Low Priority for Water and Sewer Extensions, Study Finds

Well served?

I also talk about the project in this video.

An overview of my project on racial disparities in water access.