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 role of contaminated surfaces in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 within communities and the effectiveness of hand hygiene and surface disinfection interventions. Article

Microbial Systems Ecology: Paper showing that bacteria compensate for the trade-off between reproduction and survival through evolving phenotypic heterogeneity in lag time. Article

Drinking Water Microbiology: Critical opinion on the possible role of COVID-19 lockdown stagnation on Legionella growth in building plumbing systems. Article

Microbial Community Assembly: Article showing that patterns of microbial spatial self-organization can diversify and acquire different properties. Article


March 22, 2021

The motto of today’s World Water Day is “Valuing water – What means water to you?”. With this motto, the United Nations wants to raise awareness of the vital importance of water and call on people to think about the value of water. In an interview, Eawag Director Janet Hering explains the importance of water for the aquatic research institute Eawag and also her personally.

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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.