Optimizing Sample Processing Methods to Monitor Viruses in Wastewater

Student working in lab to recover viruses from wastewater.

Student working in lab to recover viruses from wastewater

Build ultrafilter modules and apply chemistry and microbiology knowledge to explore emerging research questions related to virology in wastewater.

Project description

Wastewater-based virus surveillance is an effective way to monitor viral diseases at a community. Because infected individuals may shed viruses in their feces and/or urine, wastewater is a reservoir of different viruses, such as SARS-CoV-2, hepatitis A virus, and norovirus. While molecular methods, such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and genomic sequencing, are extremely sensitive to analyze viruses by detecting or sequencing their DNA/RNA, inhibitors present in the wastewater matrices can severely affect the sensitivity and accuracy of these assays. This project will primarily focus on the optimization of wastewater processing methods to generate high-concentration and high-quality viral DNA/RNA for downstream molecular analysis.

Project outcome

This project will contribute standard methods for detecting and sequencing viruses in wastewater, and the developed method will make an impact on viral disease prediction and prevention through wastewater-based epidemiology. At the end of the project, students can produce a research poster or presentation to synthesize their contributions. 

Project details

Timing, eligibility and other details
Length of commitment About a semester (3-5 months)
Start time Spring
In-person, remote, or hybrid? In-person
Level of collaboration Undergraduate students will work with a graduate student mentor
Benefits Academic credit; work study; Honors credit
Who is eligible
Juniors and seniors

Project mentor

Yinyin Ye

Assistant Professor

Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering

Phone: (716) 645-4002

Email: yinyinye@buffalo.edu

Start the project

  1. Email the project mentor using the contact information above to express your interest and get approval to work on the project. (Here are helpful tips on how to contact a project mentor.)
  2. After you receive approval from the mentor to start this project, click the button to start the digital badge. (Learn more about ELN's digital badge options.) 

Preparation activities

Once you begin the digital badge series, you will have access to all the necessary activities and instructions. Your mentor has indicated they would like you to also complete the specific preparation activities below. Please reference this when you get to Step 2 of the Preparation Phase. 


Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering