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Growing up in the 1970s, science journalist Elizabeth Kolbert was fascinated by the work of Barry Commoner, Ph.D., a prominent microbiologist. Back then, the environmentalist movement was just getting its legs, and Dr. Commoner was one of the loudest voices to sound the alarm about the environmental dangers posed by modern technology. As proof of his impact on the public’s growing awareness, Time magazine once referred to him as the Paul Revere of ecology.
If you live in New York City, avoiding dog feces on the sidewalk is an art form. But do fecal bacteria persist on the sidewalk after the feces are picked up? Can the bacteria transfer to your shoes? And to the indoors?
Professor of Chemistry Alessandra Leri, Ph.D., and Biology alumna Marjan Khan ’20 set out to answer these questions by quantifying the fecal pathogens enterococci and E. coli on New York City sidewalks, on shoe soles, and in the indoor environment.