Wastewater-based Disease Monitoring

Effective and fast monitoring diseases in a community is important to prevent the spread of infections and minimize the potential exposures. Because people can shed disease-associated biomarkers in their feces and/or urine, the municipal wastewater system is useful to track community-wide health issues. For example, the viral particles in wastewater are associated with the infections of enteric viruses (e.g., norovirus and rotavirus) and some respiratory viruses (e.g., coronavirus). People with prostate cancer shed an elevated level of prostate-specific antigen (KLK3) in urine. Our lab aims to develop high-throughput "omics" techniques for discovering and quantifying wastewater biomarkers that are relevant to acute and chronic human diseases. The developed assays will be applied to monitor, track, and forecast health risks at the community level.


N. M. Negretti, Y. Ye, L. M. Malavasi, S. M. Pokharel, S. Huynh, S. Noh, C. R. Gourley, C. A. Ragle, S. Bose, T. Looft, C. T. Parker, G. Clair, J. N. Adkins, M. E. Konkel. (2020). A porcine ligated loop model reveals new insight into the host immune response against Campylobacter jejuni. Gut Microbes, Vol 12, 1-25. 

Y. Ye, L. Zhao, M. J. Imperiale, K. R. Wigginton. (2019). Integrated cell culture-mass spectrometry method for human infectious virus monitoring. Environ. Sci. & Technol. Lett., Vol 6, 407-412.

Surgical Mask

Virus Fate in the Urban Water Cycle

Viruses are notorious for a number of acute and chronic human diseases. Many types of viruses can survive in our engineered water systems for a long periods of time before they encounter the next host and then start a new infection cycle. Better predicting their fate and transport in the urban water cycle would greatly help with the improvement of water treatment processes and quick response to emerging viral pandemics. We are interested in unravel the molecular mechanisms underlying virus survivability through different water treatment units or inactivation materials as to model the inactivation kinetics of viruses.



Y. Ye, P. H. Chang, J. Hartert, K. R. Wigginton. (2018). Reactivity of enveloped virus genome, proteins, and lipids with free chlorine and UV254. Environ. Sci. & Technol., Vol 52, 7698-7708.​

Y. Ye, R. M. Ellenberg, K. E. Graham, K. R. Wigginton. (2016). Survivability, partitioning, and recovery of enveloped viruses in untreated municipal wastewater. Environ. Sci. & Technol., Vol 50, 5077-5085.​​​