Department Environmental Microbiology

Yinyin Ma (PhD student Umik)

Environmental Microbiology

Our research focuses on microbial life and activities in the environment. We strive to understand the basic rules and principles that govern the functioning of microbes and microbial communities, and then apply those principles to solve pressing applied problems.

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Selected Publications

Pathogens and Human Health: Article about the substantial diversity of soil-associated E. coli including pathogenic and antibiotic resistant strains in households in Bangladesh. Article

Microbial Systems Ecology: Article about bacterial evolution: bacterial genes are organized in a modular way, and over evolutionary times bacteria keep or lose whole modules. Article

Drinking Water Microbiology: Article about heterogeneity (µm-cm) in structure, bacterial numbers, and community composition of a biofilm grown inside a flexible hose, emphasizing the importance of sample size for both fundamental research and the monitoring of real drinking water installations. Article

Microbial Community Assembly: Article about the perspective about bridging the gap between synthetic and environmental microbial ecology. How can we integrate reductionist and holistic microbial ecology research? Article

Umik Seminars

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January 21, 2021

Legionella in drinking water systems can pose a health risk. But the complexity of the stagnation issue means that a much more nuanced approach is required to manage this risk than has previously been supposed.

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Selected Research Projects

Application of Wastewater-based Epidemiology to SARS-CoV-2 Detection
Inhalation of legionella bacteria – which thrive in warm water – can cause illness: in a new project, an Eawag-led multidisciplinary research team is investigating how the risks associated with these bacteria can best be managed.
Exploration of the impact of water chlorination on fecal carriage of antimicrobial resistant bacteria amongst a cohort of Bangladeshi children
In order to better understand natural processes and also to be able to better control the activities of microbial communities in technical systems such as wastewater treatment plants, we need to understand how microbial communities work.