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PhD Dissertation Defense

Event Date/Time
Event Location
Zoom Meeting:

https://msu.zoom.us/j/95364776534

Meeting ID: 953 6477 6534
Passcode: 548103
Speaker
Camille McCall
Event Description
VIRAL GENOMICS FOR IDENTIFICATION OF SIGNALS OF DISEASE IN ENVIRONMENTAL SAMPLES

PhD Dissertation Defense

VIRAL GENOMICS FOR IDENTIFICATION OF SIGNALS OF DISEASE IN ENVIRONMENTAL SAMPLES

By 

Camille McCall

Advisor: Dr. Irene Xagoraraki

Tuesday August 4, 2020

11:00 a.m.

Zoom Meeting:

https://msu.zoom.us/j/95364776534


Meeting ID: 953 6477 6534

Passcode: 548103

Abstract

Viruses have been responsible for some of the most notorious outbreaks and pandemics in modern history. With increases in urbanization and global transportation we can expect viruses to remain a major concern both now and in the future. It is important to establish new ways to monitor virus circulation in communities and forecast the onset of a potential outbreak. Since centralized wastewater treatment facilities have the capacity to collect wastewater from thousands or millions of inhabitants per day, a wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) system can serve as an indicator of population health. This work aims to identify signals of disease in wastewater and potential for early detection of viral disease outbreaks in communities using molecular approaches and optimized sequencing strategies.  

Untreated wastewater samples were collected from a wastewater treatment plant situated in a large metropolitan area in the United States. Viral pathogens were identified in samples using qPCR and viral metagenomics (viromics). Mechanistic modeling and statistical approaches were used to determine the potential for early detection of select viral diseases. Public health data was applied to confirm the incidence of diseases associated with pathogens found in wastewater. Overall findings from this work suggests that WBE can be used to detect early peaks in select viral disease cases within a community before health care facilities are notified. Optimized metagenomic approaches and qPCR suggest that important viruses classified as enteric, respiratory, bloodborne, vector-borne and others are excreted in wastewater and can be monitored to make inferences about population health and potential for emerging disease outbreaks. Moreover, results indicate that specific public reporting of important viruses causing flu-like and gastrointestinal illness can enhance the efficacy of WBE to assess the burden of pathogens causing nonspecific illnesses. WBE along with molecular approaches and viral metagenomics has the potential to revolutionize public health and government responses to outbreaks. New approaches of this nature can be implemented in communities across the globe in an effort to mitigate the impacts of viral disease outbreaks on the economy and public health.