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Kellogg J. Schwab, PhD

Director: JHU Water Institute and the JHU Global Water Program


Departmental Affiliation(s):

Environmental Health Sciences
Molecular Microbiology and Immunology (Joint)

Center & Institute Affiliation(s):

Contact Information

615 N. Wolfe St Room E6620
Baltimore , Maryland   21205

(410) 614-5753
(410) 955-9334

SciVal Experts Research Profile


PhD , University of North Carolina , 1995
MS , University of North Carolina


Kellogg Schwab is a Professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and Director of the JHU Global Water Program and JHU Center for Water and Health. The Global Water Program integrates Hopkins researchers from public health, engineering, behavior, policy and economic disciplines to address the critical triangle of water, food and energy. The goal of this program is to achieve sustainable, scalable solutions for disparate water needs both internationally and domestically. Dr. Schwab’s research focuses on environmental microbiology and engineering with an emphasis on the fate and transport of pathogenic microorganisms in water, food and the environment. This work includes extensive laboratory-based research designed to develop and evaluate molecular detection methods with subsequent application of these methods in field-based investigations. Data gathered during these studies are then integrated into exposure assessments for risk analysis and microbial risk assessment. In collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health laboratories Dr. Schwab has investigated numerous waterborne and foodborne outbreaks of viral gastroenteritis. Dr. Schwab’s current research projects involve improving environmental detection methods for noroviruses (the leading cause of non-bacterial gastroenteritis worldwide) by integrating quantitative reverse transcription-PCR, proteomics and pyrosequencing. He is also investigating how important human pathogens including noroviruses, hepatitis A virus, rotaviruses, Campylobacter, antibiotic resistant E. coli and enterococci, Cryptosporidium parvum, Toxoplasma gondii and molds such as Aspergillus persist and are transported through environmental media (water, air, and food). Applying classical and molecular diagnostic tools, he has developed and participated in multiple research projects designed to evaluate the public health impacts of improving water access and potable water quality and the effectiveness of point-of-use water treatment. His research group has also examined the health effects of inadequate management of human and animal waste with a focus on assessing the impact of concentrated animal feeding operations on human health, the environment and quality of life in the communities in which these operations are located. He continues to evaluate the impact of human pollution on urban streams and the Chesapeake Bay caused by aging and deteriorating distribution systems by combining microbial, chemical and geographic information system (GIS) data. Recent international work has focused on developing field-portable microbial and chemical laboratories. These self-contained labs facilitate evidence-based assessments of point of use and community level water treatment systems designed to provide potable water to individuals in low income countries including Nicaragua, Peru, Ghana and South Africa.

Honors and Awards

Graduate Student Travel Award, 1993 Hoechst Celanese Excellence in Graduate Research Award, 1993 American Society of Microbiology Travel Award, 1995 Division of Molecular Virology Training Award, 1997-1999 Division of Molecular Virology Award for Excellence in Postdoctoral Research, 1999 Johns Hopkins Award for Excellence in Advising, Mentoring and Teaching, 2005 Delta Omega Public Health Honor Society Alpha Chapter 2009  American Society for Microbiology Distinguished Lecturer 2012-14 

Participation on Advisory Panels and Committees -

-Governor Glendening’s Task Force on Upgrading Sewerage systems in Maryland, Maryland Department of the Environment, Appointed by JHBSPH Dean Al Sommer to be the Johns Hopkins representative for this committee Baltimore MD. 07/01 to 12/01. -American Water Works Association Microbial Research Needs Advisory Panel. Invited member. 09/14-15/01. -USEPA Experts Workshop on Public Health Impacts of Sewer Overflows. Invited panelist. Washington, DC, 08/14-15/02 -Maryland Department of the Environment – Maryland State Water Quality Advisory Committee (SWQAC) Alternate. Appointed by JHBSPH Dean Al Sommer to be the Johns Hopkins representative for this committee 1/1/03 – 12/31/05 -Workshop to Develop a Protocol for Reliable Genetic Methods for the Detection of Viruses, for use in EPA’s Water Programs. Invited panelist. Cincinnati, OH 01/15-16/03 -Military Infectious Diseases Research Program – Norovirus Conference. Invited panelist. Silver Spring MD 09/23-24/03 -Joint Medical Technology Workshop - US Army Medical Research and Material Command. Invited panelist. Landsdowne VA 11/30 -12/03 /03 -Governor Ehrlich’s Maryland Water Security and Wastewater Systems Advisory Council Appointed by JHBSPH Dean Al Sommer to be the Johns Hopkins representative for this committee. 01/04- 12/06 -National Ecological Observatory Network - Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases Workshop. Invited panelist. Belmont MD 08/31-09/02/04 -Paul Allen’s Vulcan Inc. Visions Meeting of the Global Solutions Institute for Environment and Energy. Invited panelist. Seattle WA 10/18-20/04 -Water Environment Research Foundation WERF Project 03-CTS-12PP Project Advisory Committee Invited Member. –“Characterizing the quality of effluent and other contributory sources during peak wet weather events”. 2005-2008 -U.S. Congressional briefing on the Public Health Impact of Industrial Animal Production, Invited panelist. Washington DC 7/7/05 -Johns Hopkins/American Red Cross – Public health assessment of Hurricane Katrina shelter evacuees in Mississippi and Alabama. Invited assessor. 9/1 to 9/6/05 -Institute of Medicine of the National Academies – Environmental Public Health Impacts of Disasters: Hurricane Katrina, Invited presenter. 10/20/05 -US EPA The third Candidate Contaminate List (CCL) Microbial Expert Focused Workshop, Invited panelist. Washington DC 6/6-8/06 -American Academy of Microbiology Colloquium – Clean Water: What is Acceptable Microbial Risk, Invited panelist. Tucson AZ, 10/6-8/06 -US EPA Total Coliform Rule / Distribution System Technical Workshop, Invited panelist. Washington DC 1/30/07-2/1/07 -US EPA The third Candidate Contaminate List (CCL) Microbial Expert Review, Invited panelist. Washington DC 3/20-21/07 -American Water Works Association: Developing an Estimate of Waterborne Disease – A Path Forward. Invited panelist. Tucson AZ, 05/8-10/07 -AWWA The third Candidate Contaminate List (CCL) Microbial Response, Invited panelist. Washington DC 4/1/08 -JHU Knowledge for the World tour Invited panelist. Denver, CO 4/3-4/08 -American Academy of Microbiology. Global Antibiotic Resistance: New Approaches to an Old Problem. Invited panelist. Annecy, France 10/11-14/08 - Institute of Medicine of the National Academies – Sustainably Healthy Environments: Water, Cities, Climate. Invited presenter. Washington DC. 10/12/09 - Symposium on Water and Health in collaboration with Safe Water Network.  Beyond the Pipe – Delivering safe water solutions to underserved populations.  Meeting coordinator, speaker, moderator. JHU 10/22/09 - The New York Academy of Sciences.  Water and Health: Global Issues and Our Shared Responsibilities.  Conference coordinator, speaker, moderator. New York, New York. 11/13/09 - United Nations World Water Organization- The high level conference on water and global health. Invited panelist  New York City 4/8-9/10. WateReuse Research Foundation. The Value of Epidemiological Research on Reclaimed Water. Invited presenter. Washington DC. 11/3/10.  WateReuse Research Foundation.  Research Advisory Council. Appointed member. Jan 2011-2014. Global Assimilation of Information for Action (GAIA) Climate, Climate Change and Public Health. Conference coordinator, speaker, moderator. Baltimore, MD 4/12-14/11. The United Nations Association.  Oil of the 21st century: water scarcity and its global impact. Invited presenter. Washington DC. 5/31/11. Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Symposium - Multi use water services for the poor. Conference coordinator, speaker, moderator. Bellagio, Italy 8/29-9/3/11.  NOW12 Brown Advisory- The rise of the megacity: Challenges for social, medical and environmental health. Invited panelist Washington DC 4/16/12   Rapid pathogen detection workshop. Sponsored by the FDA and General Mills. Invited participant Washington DC 08/14/12

Environmental Health Sciences, environmental microbiology, microbial fate and transport, water quality, drinking water treatment, disinfection, groundwater, wastewater, sewage, water and wastewater distribution systems, gastroenteritis, diarrhea, enteric pathogens, parasites (cryptosporidium, toxoplasma, giardia), viruses (norovirus, norwalk-like viruses, hepatitis A virus, rotavirus), bacterial indicators of water quality, bacteriophage, antibiotic resistant bacteria, molecular detection of microorganisms (PCR, RT-PCR, microarrays, hybridization), infectious diseases, microbial risk assessment, food borne and waterborne outbreak investigations, urban environmental pollution, airborne microorganisms, concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO), Chesapeake Bay research

    Select recent publications

  • Sapkota AR, Kinney EL, George A, Hulet RM, Cruz-Cano R, McDermott P, Schwab KJ, Zhang G, Joseph SW.  Lower Prevalence of Antibiotic-resistant Salmonella on Large-Scale U.S. Conventional Poultry Farms that Transitioned to Organic Practices.  Science of the Total Environment. Accepted for Publication.  2014.

    Sapkota AR, Hulet RM, Zhang G, McDermott P, Schwab KJ, Joseph SW.  Immediate reductions in the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant Enterococci as U.S. conventional poultry farms transition to organic practices. Environ Health Perspect. V119 (11). p1622-1628,  2011.

  • Chalew T, Ajmani G, Huang H, Schwab KJ. Evaluating nanoparticle breakthrough during drinking water treatment: a pathway of human exposure. Env. Health Perspectives. V121(10). pp 1161-1166. 2013.

    Chalew T, Schwab KJ. Toxicity of commercially available engineered nanoparticles to Caco-2 and SW 480 human intestinal epithelial cells. Cell Biol. Toxicol. V29(2). pp 101-116. 2013.

  • Huang H, Cho H, Jacangelo J, Schwab KJ. Mechanisms of membrane fouling control by integrated magnetic ion exchange and coagulation. Env. Sci Technol. V46, p10711-10717.  2012.

    Ajmani G, Goodwin D, Marsh K, Fairbrother DH, Schwab KJ, Janangelo J, Huang H, Modification of low pressure membranes with carbon nanotube layers for fouling control.  Water Research, V46(17) pp5645-5654. 2012.

    Huang H, Cho H, Schwab KJ. Jacangelo JG, Effects of magnetic ion exchange pretreatment on low pressure membrane filtration of natural surface water. Water Research, V46(17) pp5483-5490. 2012.

    Cho H, Huang H, Schwab KJ. Effects of solution chemistry on the adsorption of Ibuprofen and Triclosan onto carbon nanotubes.  Langmuir. V27 (21). P12960-12967. 2011.

    Huang H, Jacangelo JG, Schwab KJ. Decentralized membrane filtration system for sustainable and safe drinking water supply in low-income countries: Journal of Environmental Engineering-ASCE. V137 (11), p 981 2011. 

  • Opryszko M, Guo Y, MacDonald L, MacDonald L, Kiihl S, Schwab KJ. Impact of water-vending kiosks and hygiene education on household drinking water quality in rural Ghana.  American J. Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, V88(4) pp 651-660. 2013.

    Julian T, MacDonald L, Guo Y, Marks S, Kosek M, Yori P, Pinedo S, Schwab KJ. Fecal Indicator Bacteria Contamination of Fomites and Household Demand for Surface Disinfection Products – A Case Study from Peru. American J. Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. V89(5). Pp869-872. 2013.

    Pickering A, Julian T, Marks S, Mattioli M, Boehm A, Schwab KJ, Davis, J. Fecal contamination and diarrheal pathogens on surfaces and in soils among Tanzanian households with and without improved sanitation.  Environ. Sci. and Technol.V46 (11), p5736-43. 2012.

    Harding A, Schwab KJ. Using limes and synthetic psoralens to enhance solar disinfection of water (SODIS): A laboratory evaluation with norovirus, Escherichia coli, and MS2. Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. V86 (4). P566-572. 2012.

    Alcorn T, Opryszko M, Schwab KJ. Formative ethnographic research to improve the evaluation of a novel water system in Ghana.  American J. Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. V84 (5) p.801-805. 2011.

    Gibson KE, Opryszko M, Schissler J, Guo Y, Schwab KJ.  Evaluation of Human Enteric Viruses in Surface Water and Drinking Water Resources in Southern Ghana.  American J. Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 84(1). p20-29.  2011. 

  • Gibson KE, Schwab KJ, Spencer BS, Borchardt M. Measuring and Mitigating Inhibition during Quantitative Real Time PCR Analysis of Viral Nucleic Acid Extracts from Large-Volume Environmental Water Samples. Water Research, V46 pp4281-4291. 2012

    Julian T, Schwab KJ. Challenges in environmental detection of human viral pathogens.  Current Opinion in Virology.  V2 p 1-6. 2012

    Seitz SR, Leon JS, Schwab KJ, Marshall Lyon G, Dowd M, McDaniels M, Abdulhafid G, Fernandez ML, Lindesmith L, Baric R, Moe CL.  Norovirus infectivity in humans and persistence in water. Appl. Environ. Microbiol.V77 (19), p 6884-6888. 2011.

    Gibson KE, Schwab KJ. Thermal inactivation of human norovirus surrogates.  Food and Environ Virology. V3 (2) p 74-77.  2011.

    Gibson KE, Schwab KJ. Detection of Bacterial Indicators and Human and Bovine Enteric Viruses in 100 L Surface and Ground Water Samples Potentially Impacted by Animal and Human Wastes in Lower Yakima Valley, Washington.  Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 77 (1), p355-362. 2011.

    Gibson KE, Schwab KJ. Tangential Flow Ultrafiltration with Integrated Inhibition Detection for the Recovery of Surrogates and Human Pathogens from Large-Volume Source and Finished Drinking Water.  Appl. Environ. Microbiol.  77 (1), p385-391. 2011.