Bridget Hegarty

Postdoctoral Scholar

2019, Ph.D. Environmental Engineering at Yale University
2016, M.Phil. Environmental Engineering at Yale University
2015, M.S. Environmental Engineering at Yale University
2013, B.S. Biological Engineering at Cornell University

Areas of Interest
Broadly, I seek to improve our understanding of the complex and interconnected microbial communities of the built environment by leveraging techniques from microbiology and bioinformatics. My two primary foci are viral-bacterial interactions in drinking water and fungal community ecology in homes. In addition to using more traditional microbiological methods, I am particularly interested in applying next generation sequencing, machine learning, and network modeling to these areas.

Research Projects
My postdoc work is part of the Blue Sky initiative and focuses on characterizing and understanding the interactions between bacteria and virus in drinking water using tools from microbiology and bioinformatics, including metagenomics and network modeling.

For my PhD dissertation, I focused on improving our understanding of fungi in the built environment with two specific aims:
1. using metatranscriptomics to determine whether water activity modulates fungal toxicity
2. characterizing the differences in fungal ecology between homes with and without mold damage in order to build a machine learning tool capable of correctly classifying which homes have mold damage

Hegarty, B; Haverinen-Shaughnessy, U; Shaughnessy, R; Peccia, J. (2019) Spatial gradients of fungal abundance throughout a damp building. ES&T Letters: 10.1021/acs.estlett.9b00214
Bope, A; Haines, S; Hegarty, B; Weschler, C; Peccia, J; Dannemiller, K. (2019) Microbial degradation of phthalate esters in floor dust under elevated relative humidity. Environ Sci-Proc Imp: 10.1039/c9em00050j
Hegarty, B; Dannemiller, K; Peccia, J. (2018). Gene expression of indoor fungal communities in damp buildings: implications for human health. Indoor Air: 10.1111/ina.12459
Kwan, S; Shaughnessy, R; Hegarty, B; Haverinen-Shaughnessy, U; Peccia, J. (2018). The reestablishment of microbial communities after surface cleaning in schools. J Appl Microbiol: 10.1111/jam.13898

Oral Conference Presentations
Hegarty, B; Dannemiller, K; Peccia J. Does dampness increase fungal spore toxicity? Connecting negative health effects and fungal gene expression. To be presented at the July 2019 Carpet Workshop at the Ohio State University in Columbus, OH.
Hegarty, B.; Pan, A.; Haverinen-Shaughnessy, U; Shaughnessy, R; Peccia, J. Machine learning for the classification of moldy buildings using microbial community data. Presented at the May 2019 AEESP Conference in Tempe, AZ.
Hegarty, B. Gene Expression of Fungal Communities in Damp Buildings: Implications for Human Health. Presented at the July 2018 Indoor Air Conference in Philadelphia, PA.
Hegarty, B. and Plata, D. Equity in the Job Search: Tools to Successfully navigate the job search and promote gender equity in STEM a half-day workshop at the May 2019 AEESP Conference in Tempe, AZ.

Honors and Awards
2018 SWE Outstanding Collegiate Member Award
2018 SWE Region F Collegiate Emerging Leader Award
2016 Community Service Award from the Yale University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
2014  National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship
2013 Certificate of Engineering in Training (F.E.)
2011 Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society
2011 Alpha Epsilon Biological Engineering Honor Society

Other Interests
photography, hiking, taekwondo, judo, skiing, reading

Contact Information