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Garner named Wadsworth Faculty Fellow

Emily Garner

Emily Garner has been named the Maurice and Jo Ann Wadsworth Faculty Fellow. (Submitted Photo)

Emily Garner, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at West Virginia University, has been named the Maurice and JoAnn Wadsworth Faculty Fellow in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources

Story by Adrianne Uphold, Graduate Assistant


Garner was selected as a Wadsworth Fellow in recognition of her progress and potential to grow an independent research program in the Statler College.  

“I am honored to be selected for this faculty fellowship,” Garner said. “I look forward to this opportunity to advance my research on sustainable approaches for drinking water and wastewater treatment and to support the hard work of my research team.” 

Alongside this most recent appointment, Garner was named an inaugural Bridge Faculty Fellow, a campus-wide science and technology policy, leadership and communications initiative, in June. The initiative brings together researchers at WVU to address the state’s most pressing water issues. There Garner will provide support directly to the Bridge team and connect her research to the science and technology policy sphere.

Garner’s research looks at water treatment processes and their effectiveness of removing potential contaminants, while also ensuring that the water remains of the same high quality when it reaches the consumer’s tap.  

Our research group studies the bacteria that grow in drinking water distribution system pipes and other contaminants that can form or enter the water as water travels through these pipes and how to best control these contaminants, especially in aging drinking water distribution infrastructure,” Garner said. “This work is significant because much of our buried drinking water infrastructure in the United States is aging, and often in use well beyond its intended life span.” 

Over the past year, Garner has been working alongside Timothy Driscoll, from the WVU Department of Biology, Gordon Smith of WVU Public Health and a team of others from WVU and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources to track the spread of COVID-19 in communities around the state by testing wastewater. The team has been recently awarded $2.9 million to monitor wastewater statewide for traces of COVID-19.  

“My research team also utilizes molecular methods – methods that target the DNA of microorganisms – to track fecal pollution in waterways,” Garner said. “These methods allow us to identify sources of pollution, as well as to develop reliable strategies for monitoring pollution, to mitigate these environmental impacts. This work is significant because mitigating fecal pollution to waterways is important for protecting our water resources and ensuring they provide safe sources of drinking water as well as opportunities for safe recreation.” 

Garner’s goals for this research are to continue to advance our knowledge of water treatment technologies and strategies for safe and sustainable management of water and wastewater systems.  

Garner received her Ph.D. in civil engineering from Virginia Tech in 2018 and a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from WVU in 2013 before joining the Statler College.  



Contact: Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
304.293.4135, Paige Nesbit

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Phone: 304-293-4135