Dr. Leigh-Anne Krometis
The growth of human populations and accompanying increased urbanization often introduces new contaminants to the environment or creates new pathways of human exposure to existing risks; simultaneously, growing populations create an ever-increasing demand for high quality natural resources, particularly clean water. In order to promote development while preserving public health, it is necessary to identify potential threats and engineer solutions to minimize exposure and risk. The broad goals of the Krometis research group are therefore to: identify emerging waterborne agents that pose a threat to public health; characterize environmental transport pathways that may result in human exposure to these contaminants; and assess the relative risks of specific contaminants in order to prioritize interventions.
Ongoing projects include quantifying the accumulation and re-suspension of pathogenic microorganisms in urban stream sediments, characterizing patterns of human exposure to waterborne contaminants in rural drinking supplies, and a comparison of the effects of inadequate sanitation discharges and mountaintop removal mining on benthic macro-invertebrate communities in Appalachian streams.
In addition to her interests in water and human/eco-health, Dr. Krometis is interested in the development of interdisciplinary education opportunities, particularly those that aspire to transcend the traditional science-humanities barrier. She currently serves as the co-Director of a unique NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, “Dynamics of Water and Societal Systems” which aims to engage rising juniors and seniors from colleges around the country in truly integrative team-research each summer at the Virginia Tech StREAM Lab in Blacksburg.
After joining Virginia Tech, Dr. Krometis spent three semesters as an Engineering Exploration instructor in the Engineering Education department, which serves all first-year engineering students. She currently regularly teaches a junior-level course on Nonpoint Source Pollution Assessment and Control and a graduate course on Advanced Topics in Watershed Management for the Biological Systems Engineering department. Dr. Krometis is also very involved in the University Honors Program, and serves as a senior fellow in the new Residential Honors College initiative.