Water Seminar – Invited Speaker!

Thanks so much to Anisha Patel, MD, MSPH, for her excellent presentation (4-8-13) at our seminar, jointly sponsored by Water INTERface and HNFE! Dr. Patel addressed the topic of: “Making Water the Easy Choice: The Current State of Drinking Water Access, Policies and Practices in Schools”. Dr. Patel is an Associate Professor at the University of California San Francisco, and a pediatrician. Her research addresses healthy beverage consumption in schools, childcare, and home settings.

“(De)Personalized Medicine”

Personalized medicine uses a patient’s genetic information to help determine the best type of treatment for them. This sounds promising, however in many cases environmental factors dominate genetic factors.  For example, traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors are better predictors of disease than genetic factors.  In a recent issue of Science, Horwitz et al, argue that it is essential to integrate clinical, social, and environmental data with the individualized genomic and molecular information when treating a patient in order to provide the best care.

The implications of a genomics-based to “personalized” medical treatment are considerable.  For example, treatment of native American Pima Indians (who are at high genetic risk of diabetes but have a low indicence of disease) would result in exaggerated risk assessment and overtreatment. The authors suggest that personalized treatment would be “equally inappropriate” for present day Pima Indians consuming a Western diet, due to the importance of “gene-environment interactions.”

What are your thoughts?


Horwitz, R.I., et al., Medicine. (De)personalized medicine. Science, 2013. 339(6124): p. 1155-6.

Translational Obesity Research Conference at Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech invites you to participate in our first biennial obesity conference entitled “How can translational research solve the obesity epidemic?” 

When: June 17-18, 2013

Where: Blacksburg, VA

Speakers from Louisiana State University, Wake Forest University, and Harvard University will be attending.

Registration is now open. For more information, visit:


From the Pharmacy to the Tap: Emerging Contaminants from Water Reuse

Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs) are substances found in many of the lotions, sunscreens, soaps and medications that many of us use on a daily basis, but they are also finding their way into water sources. Many personal care products enter the waste water stream through showering and cleaning, and most drugs are not fully absorbed by the body and are excreted. PPCPs are an emerging challenge for the water industry because their concentrations vary throughout the year and current treatment methods have a limited ability to remove PPCPs from the water. For more information about PPCPs in California check out this article. For more information about PPCPs and the research being performed to remove them check out the EPA’s site.

Drinking water with pharmaceuticals

Source: http://growingblue.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/PPCPs-in-Water-300×193.jpg

To help reduce the amount of pharmaceuticals entering the water supply, the Virginia Tech AWWA/VAWEA student chapter is helping out the Blacksburg Police Department as they participate in the National Drug Tack Back program, which provides a way for the community to responsibly dispose of expired or unused medications. On April 27th from 10am to 2pm bring any pharmaceuticals that you would like to dispose of to the Blacksburg Community Center at 725 Patrick Henry Drive and help keep the rivers and landfills free of contamination. See the Town of Blacksburg Calendar for more information!

Our own Amanda Sain honored as outstanding graduate student.


Congratulations to Amanda Sain for receiving the honor of being named an outstanding master’s degree student by the Virginia Tech Graduate School.

Amanda’s research is focused on the intersection of water quality and air quality with an emphasis on aqueous inorganic constituents, specifically Manganese. She has a passion for looking into where water and public health intersect so that drinking water continues to be safe and accessible.