My research interests are in environmental health microbiology, with a focus on water quality.  I am developing novel tools and technologies to detect and track pathogens in water.  I am also interested in evaluating impacts of non-point source pollution, and in evaluating the manner in which land-based activities (e.g. development, storm water management or agricultural practices) can affect human exposure to microbial contaminants.  Overall, this research is leading to a greater understanding of how environmental conditions can affect human health, and how humans themselves influence this process.

Current areas of research include:

  • Developing tools and technologies to measure microbial contaminants in water
  • Studying recreational waters impacted by nonpoint source pollution
  • Evaluating relationships between land use and water quality
  • Modeling how storm events affect pathogen loading into waterbodies
  • Characterizing the emergence and dissemination of antibiotic resistant bacteria, particularly MRSA

stewart labA typical day in the Stewart Lab, with all students demonstrating exemplary lab safety.

Recent News:

  • Maya Nadimpalli (PhD, in progress) and Katie Overbey (B.S. in Environmental Sciences, in progress) recently wrote guest blog posts describing aspects of their research for the UndertheC Marine Sciences Blog. Maya’s post is available here and Katie’s here (April, 2014).
  • Maya Nadimpalli (PhD, in progress) was awarded a GPSF Graduate Student Mentorship Award (March, 2014).
  • Betsy Pierce’s (M.S., in progress) abstract for the ASM 2014 General Meeting was accepted for a Young Investigators Oral Presentation. Betsy will be presenting her Masters’ findings, titled “Staphylococcus aureus among Industrial Hog Operation Workers and their Household Contacts in Eastern North Carolina: Persistence of Nasal Carriage,” in Boston, May 17-20. Go Betsy!
  • Billy Gerhard (B.S. in Biology, in progress) was recently accepted to the MSPH program in ESE. Congrats Billy!