Global Water Reuse, Food and Health Workshop Presenters (as of 10/4/18)

 Workshop Co-Chairs:

Amy R. Sapkota (University of Maryland, College Park)
Dr. Sapkota is a Professor of Environmental Health at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, and the Director of CONSERVE: A Center of Excellence at the Nexus of Sustainable Water Reuse, Food & Health, funded by USDA-NIFA. She is also the PI of a new NSF-funded graduate training program, UMD Global STEWARDS. Dr. Sapkota received a PhD in Environmental Health Sciences from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and an MPH in Environmental Health Sciences from the Yale School of Public Health. She completed her post-doc with the Environmental Microbial Genomics Group at Ecole Centrale de Lyon (Lyon, France).
Dr. Sapkota's research interests lie in the areas of environmental microbiology, environmental microbial genomics and exposure assessment. Her projects evaluate the complex relationships between environmental microbial exposures and human infectious diseases, with a special focus on assessing the public health impacts associated with water reuse.


Yael Mishael (Hebrew University)
Dr. Mishael’s scientific interests are within the fields of soil chemistry and mineralogy center on colloid and interface phenomena. Her approach has been to conduct basic science studies which serve as a basis for environmental application-oriented research. Dr. Mishael’s expertise is in modifying clay surfaces to design optimized sorbents which in turn efficiently bind pollutants. The modification is achieved by adsorbing organic molecules as monomers, micelles or polymers on the clay surface. She focuses on characterizing these clay composites and studying the interactions within the composite (clay surface and modifiers) and the interactions of pollutants with these composites. 
Dr. Mishael has a BSc in chemistry and a PhD in Physical Chemistry of Soil Colloid and Surfaces, all of HUJI. Since 2005, she has been on the faculty in the department of soil and water Sci. of HUJI.

Erick Bandala (Desert Research Institute)
Dr. Bandala is Assistant Research Professor for Advanced Water Technologies at Desert Research Institute. Dr. Bandala research interests in Environmental Engineering include A) The Water-Energy-Food NEXUS; B) Water Security; C) International Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (IWASH); D) Advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) for environmental restoration; E)  Synthesis, characterization and application of nanomaterials for environmental restoration; G) Development of Climate Change adaptation methodologies for water security. Dr. Bandala is author or co-author of 81 peer-reviewed papers in international journals (average impact factor 2.7; 2100 citations, h-index 25); 5 books, 26 book chapters and 65 works published in proceedings of international conferences. 


Clive Lipchin (Arava Institute for Environmental Studies)
Dr. Lipchin currently serves as director of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies' Center for Transboundary Water Man agement where he oversees research and development projects, workshops and conferences that focus on transboundary water and environmental problems facing Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. His specialty is in water resources management and policy. 
Dr. Lipchin also consults for a number of international water agencies such as the World Bank, EU, UNDP and USAID and has been involved most recently with the European Union's Water Initiative project for the Mediterranean region and the USAID Conflict Management and Mitigation (CMM) program and the USAID Middle East Regional Cooperation (MERC) program. He also serves as the Israeli partner for the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) funded project - CONSERVE (COordinating Nontraditional Sustainable watER use in Variable climatEs): A Center of Excellence at the Nexus of Sustainable Water Reuse, Food and Health.

Keynote Speaker

Bryan W. Brooks (Baylor University)
Dr. Brooks is Distinguished Professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Institute of Biomedical Studies, and Director of Environmental Health Science at Baylor University, Waco, Texas. Dr. Brooks’ research, which focuses on water quality and reuse, developing approaches to define chemical hazards and risks, environmental, aquatic and comparative toxicology and pharmacology, bioaccumulation, sustainable molecular design, and the ecology and toxicology of harmful algae blooms, is ongoing on 5 continents. The author of over 175 manuscripts, he serves as Editor-in-Chief of Environmental Management (Springer Nature).  Dr. Brooks coordinates the Global Horizon Scanning Project, which is identifying priority environmental quality research needs around the globe. He is Principal Investigator for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s groundbreaking UNCOVER-EH effort (, which includes novel assessment of the environmental public health workforce in health departments of the USA, including identification of emerging issues and grand challenges.

Presenters (in alphabetical order)

Acharya, Kumud (Desert Research Institute)
Dr. Kumud Acharya serves as the Executive Director of the Division of Hydrologic Sciences at Desert Research Institute, Nevada. Dr. Acharya is an ecological engineer who specializes in environmental restoration, invasive species, and ecohydrology. Dr. Acharya’s research combines basic and applied science from engineering, biology, ecology, and the natural sciences to restore and construct aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. His particular research interest is in how human management of watersheds affects the structure of aquatic communities and environments. 
Dr. Acharya leads the Ecological Engineering group at Desert Research Institute, which researches the ecological health of rivers, lakes, and wetlands and the effects of climate change on aquatic systems. He also participates in international research on water quality and management in China, Japan, Nepal, the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, and Thailand. 

Alebachew, Mulunesh (Bahir Dar University Ethiopia)
Dr. Mulunesh Abebe Alebachew is an Assistant Professor at Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia. She has a multidisciplinary educational background of Psychology and Social Work. She has got her BA degree in Educational Psychology, her MA degree in Developmental Psychology and her PhD degree in Social Work and Social Development from Addis Ababa University in 2001, 2005 and 2013 respectively. Dr. Mulunesh has conducted various research projects and published mainly on gender and women empowerment issues. Her major research activities include harmful traditional practices, violence against women, women’s land rights and women in agriculture. Throughout her career life, Dr. Mulunesh has been serving in various leadership positions including Counselor, Co-founder and Director of Gender Office at University of Gondar, Director of Gender Office at Bahir Dar University, Department Head of Social Work, and Coordinator of Postgraduate, Research and Community Service at the Faculty of Social Sciences Bahir Dar University. Currently, she is Vice President for Research and Community Service of Bahir Dar University and overseeing various internal research, community service and technology transfer projects as well as over 130 external collaborative projects at Bahir Dar University.              

Baur, Cynthia (University of Maryland, College Park)
Dr. Baur is the Endowed Chair and Director of the Herschel S. Horowitz Center for Health Literacy, School of Public Health, University of Maryland. From 1999 to 2017, Dr. Baur held senior communication positions at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, and the federal Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Baur holds a doctorate in communication from the University of California, San Diego.   


Betancourt, Walter (The University of Arizona)
Dr. Betancourt earned a PhD in Marine Science from the College of Marine Science, University of South Florida in 2003. He conducted postdoctoral research training at Michigan State University, Texas A&M University, and University of Hawaii. Currently, he holds an Assistant Research Professor position at The University of Arizona and his research is focused on viruses in water and food.  Fecal source tracking is another major research area he is working on at the Water and Energy Sustainable Technology Center in Tucson, AZ, which involves the application of qPCR assays for quantification of fecal anaerobe genomes to accurately identify and quantify sources of fecal contamination in irrigation waters in the southwestern U.S.  He is a Fulbrighter, active member of the International Water Association, and Co-Investigator of the CONSERVE Project. 

Chefetz, Benny (Hebrew University)
Dr. Chefetz’s research interests relate to physico-chemical processes of organic pollutants occurring in water, reclaimed wastewater, soils and sediments. An overarching goal is to elucidate physical, chemical and biological processes that influence the fate of organic molecules in the environment with special emphasize on the agricultural environment. Special interests are: (1) Fate of pharmaceutical compounds in soil and water; (2) Sorption-desorption behavior of xenobiotics in soils and sediments; (3) Irrigation with reclaimed wastewater: effects on human health; (4) Nano particles in the environment; (5) Nature and reactivity of dissolved organic matter.  


Davis, Allen (University of Maryland, College Park)
Dr. Davis is Professor and Charles A. Irish Sr. Chair in Civil Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Maryland.  For over two decades, he has been investigating sources and treatment of pollutants in stormwater runoff with a focus on nature-based practices, particularly bioretention.  In 2010 he was awarded the A. James Clark School of Engineering Faculty Outstanding Research Award. He is author or co-author of over 120 peer-reviewed journal articles and a text on Stormwater Management for Smart Growth.  He is currently Editor-in-Chief of the ASCE Journal of Sustainable Water in the Built Environment.  He is a Licensed Professional Engineer in Maryland, Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Fellow of the ASCE Environmental and Water Resources Institute, and a Diplomate, Water Resources Engineer.  

Feitelson, Eran (Hebrew University)
Dr. Feitelson is a Professor at the Department of Geography of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.  He is the founder and head of the Advanced School for Environmental Studies.  He was previously head of the Federmann School for Public Policy and Government and chair of the Department of Geography.  He holds an MA in geography and economics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a PhD from the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University.  He has published over 100 articles in refereed journal and edited volumes on water policy issues, transport policy, environmental policy, and planning.  His research focused on trans-boundary water issues in the Israeli-Arab context, transport and environment policies and land and planning policies and politics.  In addition to his academic work Dr. Feitelson has participated in several national planning teams in Israel and has been a member or chair of many national committees.  


Goldstein, Rachel Rosenberg (University of Maryland, College Park)
Dr. Rosenberg Goldstein is an Assistant Research Professor at the University of Maryland with a joint appointment in the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources and the School of Public Health. Dr. Goldstein is the co-project director for the Extension Activity within CONSERVE: A Center of Excellence at the Nexus of Sustainable Water Reuse, Food, and Health. Dr. Goldstein specializes in environmental health focusing on environmental microbiology and environmental communication. She received a PhD in Toxicology and Environmental Health and an MPH in Environmental Health Sciences from the University of Maryland, as well as a BA in Environmental Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to completing her graduate degrees, Dr. Goldstein worked as an Environmental Communications Specialist consulting with the US EPA to provide communications and data management for voluntary partnership programs.

Hayouka, Zvi (Hebrew University)
Dr. Hayouka’s lab currently performs research that combines the fields of organic chemistry, peptide chemistry, food microbiology and biochemistry to explore and design novel peptide-based antimicrobial agents for food and clinical applications.Pathogenic infections present a relentless threat to human health, while the overuse of antibiotics in medicine and agriculture has contributed to the rise of dangerous antibiotic-resistant pathogens. One of Dr. Hayouka’s major goals is to cope with bacterial resistance and persistence by developing peptide-based, antimicrobial agents. His lab is currently exploring three unique types of compounds: random antimicrobial peptide mixtures, bacterial toxin-antitoxin inhibitors, and quorum-sensing quenchers to disrupt bacterial cell-to-cell communication. These are novel approaches with immense potential for the development of treatments against problematic pathogens including foodborne pathogens to improve human health and food safety.

Kan, Iddo (Hebrew University)
Dr. Kan's scientific interests incorporate agricultural economics, environmental and resource economics, regional economics and political economics. Owing to his background in the scientific disciplines of soil and water (B.Sc.) and agricultural economics, his expertise is in integrating natural processes into economic analyses with the objective of characterizing management strategies and policies under optimal and/or equilibrium conditions. The analytical approaches are based on programming models used for theoretical analyses and empirical applications, and applications involving econometric methods.


Lea-Cox, John (University of Maryland, College Park)
Dr. Lea-Cox is a Professor and Research and Extension Specialist at the University of Maryland, College Park. He teaches courses in Principles of Water and Nutrient Management, Greenhouse Crop Production and co-teaches Sustainable Seminar courses.  His research and extension programs are focused primarily on providing people with real-time information from their farming operations, so they can make more rational, economic decisions about their everyday production practices.


Liang, Xin-Zhong(University of Maryland, College Park)
Dr. Liang’s current research interests include: [1] Developing improved physics representations, focusing on precipitation and terrestrial hydrology, land-ocean-atmosphere and convection-cloud-radiation interactions, and integrated global and regional models to advance numerical simulations of the Earth climate system; [2] Developing a modeling framework for a system of systems to understand the food-energy-water nexus for strategic decision making in navigating a sustainable future; [3] Applying these models to improve seasonal-interannual climate prediction and future climate change projection, and to assess environmental consequences and address sustainability issues in a changing climate.


Messer, Kent (University of Delaware)
Dr. Messer is the S. Hallock DuPont Chair and the director of the Center for Experimental & Applied Economics at the University of Delaware. He also co-directs the USDA-funded national Center for Behavioral and Experimental Agri-Environmental Research (CBEAR). Messer received a BA from Grinnell College, a MS from the University of Michigan, and a PhD from Cornell University. Messer’s research interests include the behavioral response to food risks and the interface between agriculture and the environment. He had published over 75 publications, served as editor of the Agricultural and Resource Economics Review and an Associate Editor for the American Journal of Agricultural Economics.  Messer has been an investigator of interdisciplinary proposals worth over $70 million from numerous sources including NSF, EPA, NOAA, and USDA.  His recent book is “The Science of Strategic Conservation: Protecting More with Less” published by Cambridge University Press. 


Micallef, Shirley (University of Maryland, College Park)
Dr. Micallef is an Associate Professor in microbial ecology and safety of fresh produce at the University of Maryland. Her work focuses on human pathogen-plant interactions, focusing on human pathogen colonization of plants. Her research also evaluates factors and practices that affect enteric pathogen fate and dispersal in the field, and agro-environmental reservoirs of foodborne pathogens and antimicrobial resistance. She integrates these research findings to identify the biotic and abiotic factors that influence plant microbiomes, as an approach to improve food safety. She has developed national and international collaborations in the area of fresh produce safety, and is part of CONSERVE. She has a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in botany from the University of Malta, a PhD in microbial ecology from the University of Massachusetts and postdoctoral training in environmental microbiology from the University of Maryland, School of Public Health. 


Moser, Duane (Desert Research Institute)
Dr. Moser has over 20 years of professional experience and directs the Environmental Microbiology Laboratory at the Desert Research Institute in Las Vegas. Prior to joining DRI, he completed postdoctoral fellowships with the Environmental Microbiology Group at Pacific Northwest National Lab and Geology Department at Princeton University. He holds a PhD in Biology from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and the Great Lakes WATER Institute; an MS in Microbiology from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, and a BS in Microbiology from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Moser’s group employs DNA-based tools, environmental chemistry, and cultivation microbiology to support a diverse project portfolio, ranging from astrobiology and microbial diversity/evolution to soil ecology, water reuse, and bioremediation. To date, he has authored or coauthored more than 60 peer-reviewed publications, including two in Science, and numerous reports and white papers. 


Percival, Robert (University of Maryland Carey School of Law)
Robert V. Percival is the Robert F. Stanton Professor of Law and the Director of the Environmental Law Program at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law.  He received a BA summa cum laude from Macalester College and a JD/MA from Stanford University. Percival was the managing editor of the Stanford Law Review and he was named the Nathan Abbott Scholar for graduating first in his law school class.  Following graduation, he served as a law clerk for Judge Shirley M. Hufstedler of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and for Supreme Court Justice Byron R. White.  Percival joined the Maryland faculty in 1987 after serving as a senior attorney for the Environmental Defense Fund.  He has been a visiting professor of law at Harvard Law School, the Georgetown University Law Center, the China University of Political Science and Law, and Comenius University.  Percival is the principal author of the most widely used environmental law casebook, now in its eighth edition.


Pradhan, Abani (University of Maryland, College Park)
Dr. Pradhan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Science (NFSC) & the Center for Food Safety and Security Systems, and the Director of NFSC Graduate Program at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD). His research interests include food safety, quantitative risk assessment, predictive microbiology, and food safety engineering. He has been conducting interdisciplinary research to address critical food safety issues related to foodborne pathogens, e.g., Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, Toxoplasma gondii, in different food categories. His recent recognitions include UMD College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (AGNR) On-campus Junior Faculty Award of Excellence (2014), Excellence in Instruction Award from the AGNR Alumni Chapter (2015), the Chauncey Starr Distinguished Young Risk Analyst Award from the Society for Risk Analysis (2015), and AGNR Paul R. Poffenberger Excellence in Teaching and Advising Award (2018).

Sapkota, Amir (University of Maryland, College Park)
Dr. Amir Sapkota is an Associate Professor of Environmental Health at the University of Maryland School of Public Health (UMD-SPH), College Park, MD. He also serves as the Director of the Exposome Small Molecule Core facility within UMD-SPH. He received his PhD from The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Post-Doctoral training from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), Lyon, France. His expertise is in the area of Exposure Assessment and Environmental Epidemiology. His research has two primary focus areas: 1) Impact of climate change on human health, and 2) Exposure to combustion related air pollution and cardiopulmonary diseases. Most recently, he spent six months in Nepal as the Senior Fulbright Fellow. He has authored numerous manuscripts on issues related to climate change, extreme weather events and human health which are available at:


James Adkins grew up on a small fresh market vegetable and grain farm on Maryland's Eastern Shore. After graduating from the University of Maryland with a degree in Biological Resource Engineering in 1999, he began a career as an Ag Engineer for University of Delaware Cooperative Extension focusing on vegetable harvest mechanization and irrigation. His position has since evolved into a Research Scientist for Irrigation Technologies and Precision Agriculture. James serves as the Farm Manager for UD's Warrington Irrigation Research farm developing techniques to improve irrigation management for grain and vegetable crops. His research evolves the evaluation and refinement of soil moisture sensing technologies, variable rate sprinkler irrigation, subsurface drip irrigation, plasticulture, fertigation, chemigation and drainage systems in addition to his extension education programs. James still operates the family farm and retail produce market with his wife and 3 small children.

Jim Lewis is a Senior Extension Agent for Caroline County in Maryland and provides information, consultation and educational programs to the county's agriculture community. He is also an affiliate member of the Plant Science & Landscape Architecture department in the University of Maryland's College of Agriculture & Natural Resources. Jim has a bachelor’s degree in crop science and a master’s degree in weed science from the University of Maryland.

Brad Miller is a 6th generation farmer from Clinton, Maryland. He and his family own and operate a 267-acre vegetable farm, market, and bakery; Miller Farms. Miller Farms produces vegetables which are sold directly to consumers through a variety of outlets; including an on-farm market, farmers markets, grocery stores, and restaurants throughout Maryland and DC. Brad graduated from Frostburg State University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Law and Society with a concentration in Legal Studies. In 2014, he became a Fellow of the LEAD Maryland Foundation, Class VIII. Brad is the current President of the Maryland Vegetable Grower Association and sits on the executive board of the Maryland State Horticultural Society.