Abstract: Viruses are important pathogens that are commonly associated with contaminated water. Norovirus, for example, is a waterborne virus that is responsible for 10x more illnesses in the U.S. than the next most common waterborne pathogen. To address risks of waterborne virus illnesses, drinking water standards include enteric virus reduction requirements; however the utility of these standards is limited in the absence of methods that can demonstrate they are achieved. Viruses are very difficult to concentrate, purify, and identify. Detection typically relies on culture-based or PCR-based methods; however, most viruses are not readily cultured, and their lack of conserved genes and rapid evolution complicates PCR primer development and sequencing efforts. In this presentation, I will report on our work focused on improving virus detection and monitoring in wastewater and drinking water.
Biography: Krista Rule Wigginton received a B.S. degree in Chemistry (2001) at the University of Idaho, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Environmental Engineering (2004, 2008) at Virginia Tech under the guidance of Prof. Peter Vikesland. After conducting her postdoctoral research at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Lausanne, Switzerland (2008-2010) under the guidance of Prof. Tamar Kohn, she joined the faculty of the University of Maryland, College Park (2011-2012) in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Currently an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Michigan, her research team focuses on the mechanistic fate of viruses in treatment processes, and on improving virus detection in water. She is the recipient of the NSF CAREER award and Paul L. Busch Award.