Public health assessment using wastewater-based epidemiology

Dr.Rahul Kumar
Tue, 1st Mar, 2022 10:00 amAdd to Calendar 2022-03-01 10:00:16 2022-03-01 10:00:16 Title Description Location IIT Palakkad UTC public
Tue, 1st Mar, 2022 11:00 am
Abstract: SARS-CoV-2 monitoring has emphasized the attractiveness of population health assessment using wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE). Access to near real-time data on human health conditions and behaviour is essential for concerned authorities to protect lives and limit economic losses. WBE is an emerging, non-invasive, and cost-effective tool to monitor public health at a near-real time scale, complementing additional data sources. The WBE study is primarily based on extracting and measuring urinary biomarkers of chemical and biological origin in the community wastewater. The type and amount of mass loadings of these biomarkers reveal the wealth of information on the population health and exposure to chemicals, biological agents, or other environmental factors. Triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, WBE is now widely practiced worldwide. However, it is still in the infancy stage in India and requires collaborative effort to realize its full potential.


Dr. Rahul Kumar is currently the postdoctoral research scholar (March 2020-present) at Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering, Arizona State University, USA. He received his Ph.D. (2016-2020) in Civil Engineering from the University of Auckland, New Zealand. He completed his masters (2011-13) in Environmental Science and Engineering from IIT (ISM) Dhanbad. Before joining the doctoral program at the University of Auckland, he worked in an India-based Environmental consulting firm as an Environmental Scientist (2013-2016). He was involved in Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) studies of several industrial projects.

Dr. Kumar's research interests lie in the field of environmental chemistry and environmental health. He is fascinated by the wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) approach, a rapidly emerging public health monitoring tool to understand community health. He is also interested in understanding emerging contaminants' fate in the environment and developing innovative solutions to treat water and wastewater by exploring novel materials.

Dr. Kumar is currently actively involved in various WBE projects to assess population health, including community-level SARS-CoV-2 surveillance, estimating consumption of pharmaceuticals and illicit drugs by communities, and measuring communities' exposure to air pollutants and phthalates. He has developed analytical methodologies to detect >100 urinary biomarkers (present in ng/L to μg/L concentrations) in wastewater on tandem liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS).

Dr. Kumar Ph.D. thesis was focused on investigating the occurrence and removal of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) and drugs of abuse in wastewater treatment of New Zealand. He also studied the photocatalytic removal of PPCPs using a conducting polymer in the real wastewater matrix.

Dr. Kumar has mentored undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral research students on their projects throughout his Ph.D. and postdoc career. He has published nine research papers in peer-reviewed journals, and a few are under revision in high-impact journals, including Science Advances. He has also presented his research at renowned international conferences, including the American Chemical Society. He was invited by Shimadzu Corporation sponsored webinar to present his research at National Environmental Monitoring Conference, Bellevue, Washington (2020).

Dr. Kumar has received several awards and recognitions in his academic career. He was nominated by the MHRD, India, and selected by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, New Zealand, for the prestigious New Zealand commonwealth fellowship worth $129,000 to pursue Ph.D. in New Zealand. He received the merit certificate from the American Chemical Society for the best platform presentation in the Division of Environmental Chemistry. He had also obtained a GATE fellowship to pursue his masters in IIT (ISM) Dhanbad.

Dr. Kumar's publications can be accessed through the google scholar link below.

Time: Mar 1, 2022 10:00 AM India
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