Department Environmental Microbiology

Pathogens and Human Health

Research areas

Despite dramatic reductions in infectious disease burden over the past century, morbidity and mortality remain strikingly high. For example, there are over 4 billion cases of gastrointestinal illness and 14 billion cases of respiratory illness worldwide every year. Combined, gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases are responsible for over 3 million deaths of children under five annually. These diseases, and other environmentally-mediated diseases like hepatitis, helminth infections, and tropical-cluster diseases rely on a variety of environmental reservoirs during transmission from infected to susceptible individuals.

Our research agenda is to reduce global infectious disease burden through the study of pathogen transmission at the boundary between humans and the environment.

For a full list of our publications, please visit Google Scholar.  

Pathogens and Human Health Group, March 2019.
From left to right: Tim Julian, Lisa Teichmann, Ramon Lang, Céline Jacquin, Sara Beck, Victor Huanambal, Camila Montealegre, Elyse Stachler, Esther Greenwood, Franziska Genter, Ana K. Pitol, Diya Yu

Group Leader

Dr. Tim JulianGroup Leader of Pathogens and Human HealthTel. +41 58 765 5632Send Mail

Selected Publications

Genter, F.; Marks, S. J.; Clair-Caliot, G.; Mugume, D. S.; Johnston, R. B.; Bain, R. E. S.; Julian, T. R. (2019) Evaluation of the novel substrate RUG for the detection ofEscherichia coli in water from temperate (Zurich, Switzerland) and tropical (Bushenyi, Uganda) field sites, Environmental Science: Water Research and Technology, doi:10.1039/C9EW00138G, Institutional Repository
Verbyla, M. E.; Pitol, A. K.; Navab-Daneshmand, T.; Marks, S. J.; Julian, T. R. (2019) Safely managed hygiene: a risk-based assessment of handwashing water quality, Environmental Science and Technology, 53(5), 2852-2861, doi:10.1021/acs.est.8b06156, Institutional Repository
Beck, S. E.; Hull, N. M.; Poepping, C.; Linden, K. G. (2018) Wavelength-dependent damage to adenoviral proteins across the germicidal UV spectrum, Environmental Science and Technology, 52(1), 223-229, doi:10.1021/acs.est.7b04602, Institutional Repository
Hong, P.-Y.; Julian, T. R.; Pype, M.-L.; Jiang, S. C.; Nelson, K. L.; Graham, D.; Pruden, A.; Manaia, C. M. (2018) Reusing treated wastewater: consideration of the safety aspects associated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes, Water, 10(3), 244 (22 pp.), doi:10.3390/w10030244, Institutional Repository
Julian, T. R.; Vithanage, H. S. K.; Chua, M. L.; Kuroda, M.; Pitol, A. K.; Nguyen, P. H. L.; Canales, R. A.; Fujii, S.; Harada, H. (2018) High time-resolution simulation of E. coli on hands reveals large variation in microbial exposures amongst Vietnamese farmers using human excreta for agriculture, Science of the Total Environment, 635, 120-131, doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.04.100, Institutional Repository


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
Microbial stability in reclaimed and treated grey water