Dr. Amy Pruden
Dr. Pruden is the W. Thomas Rice Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Her research program at Virginia Tech focuses on applied environmental microbiology.
Dr. Pruden serves as an Associate Editor for the journal Environmental Science & Technology and has published more than 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts and book chapters on subjects pertaining to bioremediation, pathogens, and antibiotic resistance. She is currently the PI on a USDA CAP grant focusing on farm-to-fork sources for the spread of antibiotic resistance and Co-PI on an NSF Partnership for International Research and Education grant where students have the opportunity to collaborate abroad in examining antibiotic resistance genes in wastewater treatment plants in different countries.
In relation to global change, Dr. Pruden studies the role of microbial communities in dynamic environmental systems. For example, there is currently a boom in the manufacture of nanomaterials, and therefore a need to understand the implications of these new products in terms of biodegradability by and toxicity to microbes in wastewater treatment plants. Similarly, efforts to conserve water and energy result in new “green” building designs that impose atypical water flow regimes in pipes. This will shift the kinds of microbes that reside there and the potential for pathogens to establish. A third example: how will changes in antibiotic use guidelines for livestock impact the actual attenuation of antibiotic resistant bacteria and the antibiotic resistance genes that they carry?
At Virginia Tech, Dr. Pruden teaches CEE 5194 Environmental Engineering Microbiology and an IGEP Course on Interdisciplinary Research, GRAD 5134. She is a core faculty member in three interdisciplinary graduate education programs, Water for Health, Sustainable Nanotechnology, and Interfaces of Global Change.