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
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.