Wigginton Group Research

Environmental viruses
Human and animal viruses are a tremendous burden on our health and well-being. Environmental engineering and public health specialists therefore need to be able to detect viruses in complex environmental samples and understand how they are inactivated in natural and engineered system. Our research group works to improve virus detection and monitoring methods. We also seek a mechanistic description of virus fate in the environment and in systems designed to mitigate their spread. We are particularly interested in how differences in virus genomes and virus particle structures influence their susceptibility to inactivation.

Wastewater Reuse
Municipal and animal wastewaters can be valuable sources of energy and nutrients. For example, biosolids and urine can be used as agricultural fertilizers rather than landfill materials or surface water pollutants. If not properly treated, wastewater products can contain harmful pathogens, synthetic organic compounds, and antibiotic resistance genes. Our work in this area involves characterizing the fate of pollutants in wastewater reuse processes so that beneficial wastewater-derived products do not result in increased risks to human and environmental health.