Headshots of JJ Miranda and Brian Mailloux


On March 28, 2023, JJ Miranda, assistant professor of biological sciences, and Brian Mailloux, professor of environmental sciences and co-chair of the environmental science department, co-authored a new research paper alongside Barnard-affiliated staff and students in the scientific journal Microbiology Spectrum. The paper, "Building-Level Detection Threshold of SARS-CoV-2 in Wastewater," aims to analyze the use of sewage testing for SARS-CoV-2 in its ability to detect levels of circulating viruses to help inform public health decisions and contain viral outbreaks. The researchers tested its usefulness by surveilling the wastewater of Barnard College dormitories and attempting to predict SARS-CoV-2 cases based on detected viral shedding. The paper reveals technical limitations of wastewater surveillance and diagnostic testing, emphasizing that sewage testing could not consistently detect individual positive COVID-19 cases and that wastewater surveillance may be more efficiently used for the mitigation of outbreak clusters. Other authors included in this study are: Nicole Rondeau ’18, Barnard plumber Oliver Rose, Cynthia Yang ’02 - Assistant Vice President & Special Advisor to the President, Caroline Ray - Associate Director of Public Health Response, Abigail Schreier ’21, Lina Ariyan ’22, Ellen Alt ’21, Annabelle Elikan ’23, Jenna Everard ’23, Maya Tessler ’22, Grace Tulinsky ’24, and Janet Vo ’22.