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Erica Fuhrmeister, PhD, Postdoctoral Scholar and National Science Foundation Fellow

Spring 2019 Featured Trainee:

Erica Fuhrmeister, PhD

  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Pickering Lab, Tufts University School of Engineering
  • Recipient: National Science Foundation Fellowship titled, “Transfer of Antimicrobial Resistance Genes between Humans, Animals and the Environment in Urban Bangladesh”

Erica is a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of CIMAR’s Dr. Amy Pickering at the Tufts University School of Engineering, investigating the transfer of antimicrobial resistance between humans, animals, and the environment. She is particularly interested in antimicrobial resistance in enteric pathogens in low- and middle-income countries. Her other interests include science education for undergraduate students, and she is part of the Pickering Lab team developing new research methods for the Prevalence of Antibiotic Resistance in the Environment (PARE) project. Headed by CIMAR’s Dr. Carol Bascom-Slackfrom the Tufts Center for Translational Science Education, PARE is a citizen-science driven research project partnering 125 undergraduate institutions in the United States along with others in Botswana, France, and India, allowing for large-scale monitoring of antibiotic-resistant organisms in the environment.

Erica received her B.S. in environmental engineering from the Johns Hopkins University. She conducted research at the Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she worked on a model to characterize sanitation practices and safe waste disposal in developing countries. This work culminated in an Environmental Science & Technology paper titled, “Estimates of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Biochemical Oxygen Demand, and Fecal Coliforms Entering the Environment Due to Inadequate Sanitation Treatment Technologies in 108 Low and Middle Income Countries.”

As a Ph.D. student at the University of California at Berkeley, Erica studied enteric pathogens in rural Bangladesh, specifically assessing the impact of improved sanitation interventions on fecal contamination in household reservoirs. She also studied the association between commonly used fecal indicators and the presence of pathogens.

Erica is a recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship as well as the National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology. The latter is titled, “Transfer of Antimicrobial Resistance Genes between Humans, Animals and the Environment in Urban Bangladesh.”

We sat down with Erica to ask her about her experiences at Tufts. Here’s what she had to say:

“CIMAR has provided the opportunity to connect with other researchers with different skill sets. This has been an asset to our PARE project, which includes researchers from many different disciplines such as molecular and cell biology, environmental engineering, and community health. It has been great to see the enthusiasm surrounding citizens science, which is an integral part of PARE.”