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.  

Group Leader

Dr. Tim Julian Group Leader of Pathogens and Human Health Tel. +41 58 765 5632 Send Mail

Selected Publications

Carratalà, A.; Bachmann, V.; Julian, T. R.; Kohn, T. (2020) Adaptation of human enterovirus to warm environments leads to resistance against chlorine disinfection, Environmental Science and Technology, 54(18), 11292-11300, doi:10.1021/acs.est.0c03199, Institutional Repository
Montealegre, M. C.; Talavera Rodríguez, A.; Roy, S.; Hossain, M. I.; Islam, M. A.; Lanza, V. F.; Julian, T. R. (2020) High genomic diversity and heterogenous origins of pathogenic and antibiotic-resistant Escherichia coli in household settings represent a challenge to reducing transmission in low-income settings, mSphere, 5(1), e00704-19 (17 pp.), doi:10.1128/mSphere.00704-19, Institutional Repository
Nadimpalli, M. L.; Marks, S. J.; Montealegre, M. C.; Gilman, R. H.; Pajuelo, M. J.; Saito, M.; Tsukayama, P.; Njenga, S. M.; Kiiru, J.; Swarthout, J.; Islam, M. A.; Julian, T. R.; Pickering, A. J. (2020) Urban informal settlements as hotspots of antimicrobial resistance and the need to curb environmental transmission, Nature Microbiology, 5(6), 787-795, doi:10.1038/s41564-020-0722-0, 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


Risk Factors for Pathogenic and Antimicrobial Resistant Escherichia coli in Drinking Water based on nationally representative Household-Level Survey.
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.