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Leigh-Anne Krometis


Ph.D., Environmental Sciences and Engineering, University of North Carolina, 2009

M.S., Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech, 2004

B.S., Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech, 2002


Aug 2011 - present - Assistant Professor, Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech

Sept 2009 - July 2011 - Research Assistant Professor, Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech

April 2009 - Aug 2009 - Postdoctoral Research Associate, Environmental Sciences and Engineering, University of North Carolina

Selected Major Awards

  • 2014 - College of Engineering Dean’s Award for Outstanding Assistant Professor
  • 2012 - Virginia Tech Favorite Faculty Award
  • 2012 - Alpha Epsilon Outstanding Faculty Award
  • 2009 - University of North Carolina Graduate Education Advancement Board Dissertation Impact Award
  • 2004 - ASABE Robert E. Stewart Engineering and Humanities Award

Courses Taught Last Five Years

  • BSE 2004: Into to Biological Systems Engineering
  • BSE 3334: NPS Assessment and Control
  • BSE 5124: Advanced Topics in Watershed Management
  • ENGE 1024 - Engineering Exploration

Other Teaching and Advising

I currently serve as a Senior Fellow in the Virginia Tech Honors Residential College, a new living-learning community for interdisciplinary undergraduates on campus. As a fellow, I participate in various social and academic activities to promote a sense of community. Within BSE specifically, I have been faculty advisor for the department chapter of Alpha Epsilon, the national honor society for agricultural and biological engineers, since Fall 2010. I have a particularly strong interest in interdisciplinary teaching that crosses traditional science-humanities boundaries; as a doctoral student I was part of a team that developed, taught, and assessed a philosophy course on “Cheating Death”. Results from this assessment were published in College Teaching in early 2011.

Program Focus

Growth of human populations and accompanying increased urbanization often introduces new contaminants to the environment or creates new pathways of human exposure to existing risks while simultaneously creating an ever-increasing demand for high quality natural resources, particularly clean water. In order to promote development while preserving public health, it is necessary to identify potential threats and engineer solutions to minimize exposure and risk. The broad goals of my research group are to: 1) identify (detect, quantify) waterborne agents that pose a threat to public health; 2) characterize environmental transport pathways that may result in human exposure to these contaminants; and 3) assess the relative risks of specific contaminants in order to prioritize interventions (remediation). In keeping with these goals, specific research group projects include: detection of human and non-human markers of fecal contamination in private drinking water supplies; identification of correlations between demographic characteristics and drinking water contamination by E. coli and/or heavy metals in rural communities; development of a stochastic model to estimate human risk associated with indicator bacteria impaired watersheds; assessment of the proximity of state-identified water quality impairments in Central Appalachia to mining and agricultural landuses; and characterization of patterns of sediment and water contamination by pollutants of human health concern in Stroubles Creek.

Current Projects

  • Evaluating biological water quality impairments in Central Appalachian mining communities
  • Linking private household drinking water supplies and rural health in Virginia
  • Tracking fecal indicator bacteria within Stroubles Creek

Program Focus

Although I do not have an explicit extension appointment, I have developed a strong collaboration with Dr. Brian Benham’s Virginia Household Water Quality Program (VAHWQP), which seeks to provide low cost water quality testing and education on household system maintenance to Virginian families reliant on private drinking water supplies (i.e. wells, springs, and cisterns). Through this programming, homeowners with chronic water quality problems and few financial resources are introduced to the Southeast Rural community Assistance Project (SERCAP) which provides technical assistance, grants, and low interest loans to Virginian families to improve on-site water and wastewater systems.

Current Projects

  • Linking private household drinking water supplies and rural health in Virginia

Selected Recent Publications

(* undergraduate student, ** graduate student, *** post-doc)

  • Smith**, T., L. H. Krometis, C. Hagedorn, B. Benham, A. H. Lawrence, E. Ling, P. Ziegler, S. W. Marmagas. 2014. Associations between fecal indicator bacteria prevalence and demographic data in private water supplies in Virginia.Journal of Water and Health. doi:10.2166/wh.2014.026.
  • Fahrenfeld, N., K. Knowlton, L. Krometis, W. C. Hession, K. Xia, E. Lipscomb, K. Libuit*, B. Green*, A. Pruden. 2014. Manure application's effect on levels of antibiotic resistance genes and their attenuation rates in soil: Field-scale mass balance approach. Environmental Science and Technology 48(5): 2643-2650.
  • Hathaway, J. M., L. H. Krometis, W. F. Hunt. 2014. Exploring Seasonality in E. coli/Fecal Coliform Ratios in Urban Watersheds. Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering 140(4): 04014003.
  • Coffey, R., B. Benham, L. Krometis, M. L. Wolfe, E. Cummins. 2013. Assessing the effects of climate change on waterborne microorganisms: Implications for EU and USA water policy. Human and Ecological Risk AssessmentDOI:10.1080/10807039.2013.802583.
  • Krometis, L., R. T. Noble, G. W. Characklis, A. D. Blackwood, M. D. Sobsey. 2013. Assessment of E. coli partitioning behavior via both culture-based and qPCR methods. Water Science and Technology 68(6): 1359-1369.
  • Allevi**, R. P., L. Krometis, C. Hagedorn, B. Benham, A. Lawrence, E. Ling, P. Ziegler. 2013. Quantitative analysis of microbial contamination in private drinking water supply systems. Journal of Water and Health 11(2): 244-255.
  • Krometis, L., L. Chinery. 2013. Burden of disease from produce and seafood contamination. In: Environmental Burden of Disease Assessment: A Case Study in the United Arab Emirates. Springer, US. pp. 307-348.
  • Characklis, G., L. Krometis, J. LoBuglio. 2013. Burden of disease from coastal water pollution. In: Environmental Burden of Disease Assessment: A Case Study in the United Arab Emirates . Springer, US. pp. 263-288.
  • Davidson, C., L. H. Krometis, S. Al-Harthi, J. Macdonald-Gibson. 2012. Foodborne exposure to pesticides and methylmercury in the United Arab Emirates. Risk Analysis. 32: 381-394.
  • Krometis, L.H., E. P. Clark, V. Gonzalez, M. E. Leslie. 2011. The “death” of disciplines: Development of a team-taught course to provide an interdisciplinary perspective for first-year students. College Teaching 59(2): 73-78.
  • Benham, B., L. H. Krometis, G. Yagow, K. Klein, T. Dillaha. 2011. Watershed modeling for TMDLs. In: Microbial Source Tracking: Methods, Applications, and Case Studies. Springer, US. pp. 313-335.
  • Krometis, L. H., G. W. Characklis, P. N. Drummey, M. D. Sobsey. 2010. Comparison of indicator organism and Salmonella spp. partitioning behavior in an urban watershed. Journal of Water and Health 8(1): 44-59.
  • Krometis, L. H., G. W. Characklis, M. D. Sobsey. 2009. Identification of particle size classes inhibiting protozoan recovery from surface water samples via USEPA Method 1623. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 75(20): 6619-6621.
  • Krometis, L. H., P. N. Drummey, G. W. Characklis, M. D. Sobsey. 2009. Impacts of microbial partitioning on wet detention pond effectiveness. Journal of Environmental Engineering 135(9): 758-767.
  • Krometis, L.H., T. A. Dillaha, N. G. Love, S. Mostaghimi. 2009. Evaluation of a filtration/dispersion method for enumeration of particle-associated E. coli. Journal of Environmental Quality 38(3): 980-986.
  • Cizek, A. R., G. W. Characklis, L. H. Krometis, J. A. Hayes, O. D. Simmons III, S. DiLonardo, K. A. Alderisiio, and M. D. Sobsey. 2008. Comparing the partitioning behavior of Giardia and Cryptosporidium with that of indicator organisms in stormwater runoff. Water Research 42(17): 4421-4438.
  • Krometis, L. H., G. W. Characklis, M. J. Dilts, O. D. Simmons, III, C. A. Likirduplos, M. D. Sobsey. 2007. Intra-storm variability in microbial partitioning and microbial loading rates. Water Research 41(2): 506-516.

Selected Recent Funding

  • Use of fecal source-tracking techniques in groundwater quality management to reduce waterborne disease outbreaks, VT-ICTAS, $119,528, 7/14-7/16, Principal Investigator (co-PI: C. Hagedorn).
  • Tazewell County Cancer Project, Tazewell County (Virginia) Board of Supervisors, $74,976, 7/14-7/15, Co-Principal Investigator (PI: K. Hosig, A. Smith; Co-PIs: S. Marmagas, J. Li, S. Wetzel).
  • StREAM Lab Examination of Critical Watershed Processes Governing Dissemination of Agricultural Sources of Antibiotic Resistance, VT-ICTAS, $74,863, 7/12-6/13, Co-Principal Investigator (PI: A. Pruden; Co-PIs: K. Xia, K. Knowlton, C. Hession, Z. Liu).
  • REU Site: Dynamics of Water and Societal Systems - An Interdisciplinary Research Program at the Virginia Tech StREAM Lab, National Science Foundation (NSF), $314,289, 3/12-3/15, Co-Principal Investigator (PI: W. C. Hession).
  • Assessment of Biological Water Quality Impairments in Central Appalachian Mining Communities, Appalachian Research Initiative for Environmental Science (ARIES), $350,000, 10/11-6/15, Principal Investigator (co-PI: E. Sarver).
  • What's in Your Water? Linking Rural Health and Household Drinking Water Safety, National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA), $195,193, 8/11-7/12, Principal Investigator (co-PIs: B. Benham, P. Ziegler).