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Water and Emerging Challenges Group

Health effects of emerging contaminants

“Emerging Contaminants” is a broad label for chemicals of public health significance about which little is known regarding toxicology, fate and transport, or human health implications. Research focuses on the diverse aspects of emerging contaminants including toxicology, chemistry, exposure assessment, bioinformatics, engineering and biology as well as science communication.

Main goal: Foster collaboration and exchange ideas among members and provide resources to address emerging environmental health issues.

Group Leader

Knappe, Detleff
Professor, Dept. of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering
Email  |  Bio

Dr. Knappe is the S. James Ellen Distinguished Professor, in Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, NC State. His research broadly focuses on understanding and reducing human exposure to organic micropollutants. His research focuses on (1) developing targeted and untargeted analytical methods to assess environmental occurrence of and human exposure to organic micropollutants, (2) assessing environmental fate and transport of organic micropollutants, and (3) evaluating and developing engineered water treatment processes to reduce exposure to organic micropollutants. He has served in leadership roles in scientific and broader communities, such as a member of the North Carolina Secretaries’ Science Advisory Board (jointly convened by the Departments of Environmental Quality and Health and Human Services) and as Associate Editor for the journal AWWA Water Science.

Ecumen, Ayse
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Forestry and Environmental Resources
Email  |  Bio

Dr. Ercumen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, recruited in NC State’s Global Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) cluster hire. Dr. Ercumen’s expertise is in environmental transmission of infectious diseases and health impact evaluations of environmental interventions, with a focus on underserved communities. Her previous research (R01HD078912) has demonstrated that basic sanitation improvements fail to sufficiently reduce exposure to enteric pathogens to improve child health. Her current research (R01HD108196) is focused on broader housing improvements in low-income countries to reduce early-life exposure to pathogens. Other research areas include drinking and recreational water quality, antimicrobial resistance and One Health. Dr. Ercumen has conducted research in Bangladesh, India, Uganda and the US, including large-scale randomized controlled trials and cohort studies.