Department Environmental Microbiology

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


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January 9, 2023

The genetic diversity of populations should decrease as they expand across space – but this is not the case with bacteria. Fungi play a role here.

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Selected Research Projects

Application of Wastewater-based Epidemiology to SARS-CoV-2 Detection
We combine computational, experimental and clinical approaches to develop a clearer view of microbiomes.
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.
Fate of antibiotic resistance during microbial range expansion