Erin M. Symonds

Graduate Student - Erin M. Symonds
Graduate Student – Erin M. Symonds

About my research:

I specialize in public health-related water microbiology as a PhD candidate in Dr. Mya Breitbart’s Genomics Laboratory. My research involves wastewater-related viruses, specifically the pepper mild mottle virus, and the use of these viruses to identify fecal pollution in the environment as well as to assess the pathogen removal efficiency of wastewater treatment systems. I am particularly interested in wastewater reuse issues and developing country contexts.


As a USF-CMS graduate student, I have been afforded the opportunity to pursue interdisciplinary research related to public health-related water microbiology through collaborations with the USF RECLAIM network as well as with NOAA. Furthermore, I have greatly benefited from the USF Challenge Grant program (an internal research grant for interdisciplinary studies) in which I was given the opportunity to conduct research with graduate students from other departments. The execution of our study “A rapid assessment of microbial risk from consuming lettuce in the Cochabamba Valley of Bolivia” gave me an unforgettable educational and research experience.”

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