Dr. Yates conducts research in the area of water and wastewater microbiology. Her research focuses on assessing the potential for the contamination of water by human pathogenic microorganisms. As the intentional use of reclaimed water and biosolids (which may contain pathogenic microorganisms) increases, it is necessary to understand the potential impacts of these practices on public health.
Specific areas of research include:
- developing and improving methods to detect microorganisms in environmental samples (e.g., water, wastewater, biosolids, and soil) using traditional cultural methods as well as molecular methods;
- developing methods to assess the vulnerability of ground water to fecal contamination using bacteriophages;
- examining the factors that control the persistence of pathogenic microorganisms in the environment;
- assessing the potential for microbial contamination of ground water using both laboratory soil columns and field tracer studies;
- assessing the efficacy of water, wastewater, and biosolids treatment processes to inactivate pathogenic microorganisms and
- assessing the potential for the use of mathematical models to predict the survival and transport of microorganisms in soil-water systems.