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Drexel Researchers Participate In A Microbial Risk Assessment Workshop In Sao Paolo, Brazil

July 24, 2013

Drexel researchers in Sao Paolo, BrazilRepresentatives from Drexel’s University’s Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering Department attended the Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment Innovation Institute conference held at the University of Sao Paolo School of Public Health in Sao Paulo, Brazil from July 1 through July 10, 2013.  

This conference was sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Center for Advancing Microbial Risk Assessment (CAMRA).  In attendance from Drexel were Dr. Charles Haas, Dr. Patrick Gurian, post-doc Dr. Michael Ryan, and doctoral student Kerry Hamilton.  Additional participants of this conference consisted of early career scientists including junior faculty, postdoctoral researchers, and advanced graduate students from throughout the Americas, including the U.S., Mexico, Columbia, Venezuela, and Brazil.  The goal was to teach participants the tools and skills to quantitatively assess microbial risk to human health in various situations in both the indoor and outdoor environment.  Topics covered included: hazard identification and methods for microorganisms detection, dose response, infectious disease transmission modeling, risk characterization and management, risk communication, and computer models for risk assessment.  

These assessment methods were used in a variety of case studies.  Samples of these case studies can be viewed on the CAMRA Wikipage.  The workshops, lectures, and group work during this conference resulted in a productive dialogue about effective regulatory approaches for water reuse as they pertain to developing countries that all have varying levels of bio-contaminants in their water.  As regulatory methods are developed to ensure safe water reuse, professionals will need to be trained to assess the data and develop effective safety standards.  The goal of these workshops is to initiate this training process.

CAMRA developed this program on curricula delivered previously in Singapore, the Netherlands, Japan, Canada, and the U.S. and is scheduled to be taught next summer in India, as part of ongoing effort to consolidate international knowledge of quantitative microbial risk assessment.

Sarah Colins
Research Development Coordinator
Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering