UNC Water Microbiology Conference 2017: May 15-17

International Symposium on Health-Related Water Microbiology: May 15-19

The 19th International Symposium on Health-Related Water Microbiology is organized by the International Water Association (IWA) Specialist Group on Health-Related Water Microbiology (HRWM). In 2017, the Symposium will run concurrently with the UNC Water Microbiology Conference to create a forum for researchers and practitioners focused on microbiology and public health to come together around the intersection of the two. The Conferences will be held in Chapel Hill.

The Conferences will blend interactive workshops with scientific symposia and poster socials, offering participants a variety of opportunities to exchange ideas, debate challenging topics and explore potential collaborations. The focus will be on water microbiology from watershed to human exposure including current concerns in recreational waters, shellfish harvesting waters, emerging technologies and quantitative tools.

IWA members will be able to participate in all Water Microbiology Conference sessions as well a dedicated track each day for members of the IWA Specialist Group on Health-Related Water Microbiology.

Conference Program (PDF) Abstract Book (PDF) Attendee List (PDF)

Individualized Writing Coaching During the Conference

  • Just starting a new manuscript and wondering where to begin?
  • Not sure how to craft your thesis or dissertation into manuscripts?
  • Made progress on a manuscript draft but feel stuck?
  • Have a manuscript in progress that needs polishing?
  • Attended the “Writing a Publishable Scientific Paper” workshop, but still have questions about your own project?

Sign up for a 30-minute consultation during the Water Microbiology conference, and receive individualized one-on-one coaching focused on your specific writing questions, challenges, and roadblocks. Bring your manuscript at any stage, and we can work with your writing at all levels, from overall structure and organization to individual stylistic choices. Participation is limited to 15 slots. Attendance at the “Writing a Publishable Scientific Paper” side event workshop is encouraged but not required. Email Lisa Casanova at: lcasanova@gsu.edu to secure your spot!

Conference Organizing Committees

Local Committee – UNC

Mark Sobsey
Rachel Noble
Jill Stewart
Jamie Bartram
Denene Blackwood
Heather Pace

HRWM Committee

Gary Toranzos- Chair
Rosina Girones- Secretary
Hiroyuki Katayama- Vice-Chair
Marion Savill- Past-Chair

Conference Themes

Sources & Reservoirs

  • One Health, including human and animal wastes
  • Effluents, discharges, biosolids, biofilms and stormwaters
  • Drinking, reclaimed, recreational and irrigation waters
  • Rural water supply and sanitation
  • Disasters and extreme events


  • Survival, persistence, transport, fate and occurrence
  • Hazards (including antimicrobial resistance, water based and zoonotic organisms)
  • Shellfish, produce, irrigation, water reuse
  • Health risks, epidemiology and one health issues
  • Emerging pathogens and exposures



  • Rapid molecular and enzymatic methods
  • Alternative indicators including coliphages and bacterial spores
  • Metagenome, resistome and community analysis
  • Method comparison, validation and performance
  • Microbial source tracking
  • Modeling and prediction


Management & Treatment

  • Water and wastewater treatment and disinfection technologies including onsite wastewater systems
  • Criteria, standards, surveillance and monitoring
  • Stormwater including BMPs
  • QMRA, decision analysis, water safety plans and surveillance
  • Post-treatment microbial dynamics