The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award to Fangqiong Ling, assistant professor of energy, environmental & chemical engineering at the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis and principal investigator of the Environmental Genomics and Microbiology Lab.

The five-year, $500,000 award will fund Ling’s research to advance the science of wastewater-based epidemiology — tracking the spread of infectious disease using microbial biomarkers in wastewater. To do this, Ling will develop a new computational framework to model urban populations from microbiomes in wastewater; and develop and validate tools to better use wastewater surveillance data. The research can improve wastewater-based epidemiology sampling programs and data interpretation. One of the project’s educational programs will involve collaboration with the mySci program at the university’s Institute for School Partnership.

Ling’s Environmental Genomics and Microbiology Lab uses computational and experimental research to study bacteria at the boundaries of built and natural environments. She explores the use of microbiomes as environmental sensors for use in public health and ecosystem health.

Ling is one of multiple Washington University recipients of the prestigious CAREER award, a foundation-wide program that supports early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of their organization’s mission. 


The McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis promotes independent inquiry and education with an emphasis on scientific excellence, innovation and collaboration without boundaries. McKelvey Engineering has top-ranked research and graduate programs across departments, particularly in biomedical engineering, environmental engineering and computing, and has one of the most selective undergraduate programs in the country. With 140 full-time faculty, 1,387 undergraduate students, 1,448 graduate students and 21,000 living alumni, we are working to solve some of society’s greatest challenges; to prepare students to become leaders and innovate throughout their careers; and to be a catalyst of economic development for the St. Louis region and beyond.

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