Purdue Water Community

Brown Bag Lunch Seminar Series - Zhi (George) Zhou

September 11 @ 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM - Birck Nanotechnology Building (BRCK), room 2001.

The Purdue Water Community will be hosting a Brown Bag lunch seminar series during the fall semester.

Zhi(George) Zhou an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering and Environmental and Ecological Engineering. He will speak on Thursday, Sept 11 at noon in the Birck Nanotechnology Building (BRCK), room 2001.  

*Sandwiches will be provided*


Antimicrobials and Antimicrobial Resistance in Natural and Urban Environments


Natural and urban environments could be a substantial reservoir for antimicrobials and antimicrobial resistant microorganisms that potentially pose health risks to humans. A variation of fluorescencein situ hybridization (FISH) technique was developed to quantify the methylation of a specific adenine residue in the 23S rRNAs responsible for macrolide-lincosamide-streptogramin B (MLSB) antimicrobial resistance. Thecombination of this FISH method with phylogenetic probes allows the quantification of antimicrobial resistance in particular organisms in situ and avoids the biases of culture-based methods and PCR. A robust and automated image analysis method was developed to automatically measure and process FISH signals. The difference in the prevalence of resistance across microorganisms suggests the need for caution in extrapolating from indicator organisms. These findings highlight the need for a fundamental understanding of the relationship between antimicrobial use and prevalence of antimicrobial resistance and the importance of developing culture-independent molecular microbiology techniques for water quality assessment. Additionally, antimicrobials, MLSB antimicrobial resistance, resistance genes, metals, and other environmental factors were measured in surface waters and soils in urban environments in Singapore, which is a highly urbanized city in Southeast Asia. Most detected antimicrobials in surface waters were below 100 ng/L and most antimicrobials in soils were below 10 ng/g, and the levels of antimicrobial resistance were relatively high in water samples and relatively low in soils. Antimicrobial resistance was positively correlated with total macrolide (> 7 ng/L), resistance gene ermG, and population densities (>15%). High levels of antimicrobial resistance may be correlated with certain antimicrobials in a local region, and affected by anthropogenic pressures and other environmental factors. These results can help us better understand the correlations among human activities, environmental factors, and antimicrobial resistance, and will provide important information to evaluate health risks of antimicrobials and antimicrobial resistance in the environment.


Dr. Zhou is an assistant professor of Civil Engineering and Environmental and Ecological Engineering at Purdue University. His research focuses on the application of biotechnologies in engineering systems. His recent projects include development of molecular microbiology techniques to evaluate antibiotic resistant bacteria in natural and urban environments, production of cost-effective biofuels, nanomaterials for water purification, and indirect and direct potable reuse. Between 2010 and 2014, he was an assistant professor of Environmental Engineering at the National University of Singapore. Between 2007 and 2010, he worked as a consulting engineer at Carollo Engineers at California. Dr. Zhou received his Ph.D. degree in Environmental Science in Civil Engineering with a specialization on water quality microbiology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2007.


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