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

Umik Seminars

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June 18, 2021

Bacteria from an Indian landfill could help eliminate contaminated chemicals. The focus is on pesticides such as lindane or brominated flame retardants, which accumulate in nature and in food chains. Researchers at Eawag and Empa used these bacteria to generate enzymes that can break down these dangerous chemicals.

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Open position

We have a vacancy for a Postdoctoral Researcher on Legionella Ecology in Buildings. Applications must be submitted by 15 June 2021.

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.