David A. Holcomb

PhD Program
Environmental Sciences and Engineering
Advisor: Dr. Jill Stewart

David uses environmental microbiology to evaluate water and sanitation infrastructure. In his PhD research, he is using molecular detection and stochastic modeling to characterize fecal pathogen transmission within the household environment. Conducted in the context of an onsite sanitation impact evaluation in Maputo, Mozambique, this research will advance understanding of the mechanisms by which sanitation affects health to support the design of more effective sanitation solutions. David received his bachelor’s degree in environmental science from UNC and researched the impacts of climate change on forest biodiversity and on access to water and sanitation infrastructure before returning to UNC for his graduate studies.

Profile Information
Selected Projects
Selected Research Products
  • Geostatistical prediction of microbial water quality throughout a stream network using meteorology, land cover, and spatiotemporal autocorrelation. 2018. D. Holcomb, K. Messier, M. Serre, J. Rowny, J. Stewart. Environmental Science and Technology. 52(14): 7775–7784. doi:10.1021/acs.est.8b01178.
  • Vulnerability assessment for loss of access to drinking water due to extreme weather events. 2015. J. Luh, E. Christenson, A. Toregozhina, D. Holcomb, T. Witsil, L. Hamrick, et al. Climactic Change. 133(4): 665-679. doi:10.1007/s10584-015-1493-0.
  • A controlled, before-and-after trial of an urban sanitation intervention to reduce enteric infections in children: research protocol for the Maputo Sanitation (MapSan) Study, Mozambique. 2015. J. Brown, O. Cumming, J. Bartram, S. Cairncross, J. Ensink, D. Holcomb, J. Knee, P. Kolsky, et al. BMJ Open. 5(6): e008215. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2015-008215.
Email: David A. Holcomb