FLOODING AND THE URBAN MICROBIOME

Professors Elizabeth Hénaff, Tega Brain, and Andrea Silverman (From the Department of Civil and Urban Engineering) have won the second annual Seed Grant Award from the Marron Institute! Their proposal is focused on “The Impact of Flooding on the Urban Microbiome and City Residents’ Exposure to Sewage Pathogens.”


Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal

Working at a study location in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn, the team will evaluate how urban flooding changes the microbial community of urban surfaces, investigate the ways in which the resulting microbial fingerprint evolves over time after a flood event, and determine how long it takes for the community to return to a pre-flood profile. The project team will focus in particular on human health considerations, specifically determining how long sewage pathogens may stay viable/infective after a flood event.

Research: the Brooklyn Experimental Media Center (BxmC)

The Brooklyn Experimental Media Center (BxmC) is the research arm of IDM at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. The BxmC provides an interdisciplinary environment for media research at NYU Tandon, partnering faculty and students from the Integrated Digital Media program with collaborators from across NYU, New York City, and beyond. Our research combines experimental practices in media arts and engineering, constantly modifying industry-standard technologies and creating new ones. The BxmC has a close relationship with the School of Engineering’s Future Labs—Data, Urban, Digital, and Veterans—to provide students with opportunities for internships and startup development in the ever-growing NY tech startup scene.

Graduate students in IDM participate in research initiatives through the BxmC, and in our partnerships with other programs and schools at NYU as well as schools throughout New York City who participate in the NYC Media Lab.  Our research labs include:

  • The NYU Ability Project, a joint research initiative with the Occupational Therapy Department (NYU Steinhardt) and the Interactive Telecommunications Program (NYU Tisch) supports research in client-centered, assistive technology and adaptive design for people with disabilities.
  • The Mobile Augmented Reality Lab supports research into design modalities where digital experiences meet the physical world.

Our faculty and students collaborate with others across NYU in research that integrates digital media and society. These projects range from using motion capture technology to reimagine theatrical performance, to developing novel uses of virtual/augmented reality for health and wellness, to the integration of STEAM learning into special needs education, to the development of citizen science tools to empower NYC residents to monitor and report on noise pollution in their communities, to helping NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory develop next-generation user interfaces for space exploration, to assisting with the search and visualization of the historical record of New York City.

Some of our top research areas include:

  • Assistive Technology
  • Augmented and Virtual Reality
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Motion Capture
  • Real-Time Performance
  • Social Activism and Civic Technology
  • User Experience (UX)