Tag Archives: india

Lunch and Learn Recap: Elena Naumova, Environmental Indicators of Enteric Infections and Water Safety in Southern India

Elena Naumova, director of the Tufts Initiative for the Forecasting and Modeling of Infectious Diseases (InForMid) and Associate Dean for Research at the Tufts School of Engineering, spoke last week as part of the Tufts Environmental Studies and Tufts Institute of the Environment Lunch and Learn program. Her presentation on the Environmental Indicators of Enteric Infections and Water Safety in Southern India covered student research projects sponsored through a collaboration between the Tufts School of Engineering and Christian Medical College in Vellore, India.

 A mathematician by training, Naumova emphasized the importance of translating data into usable information that allows for action and policy.

Naumova began by laying out the importance of preventing waterborne diseases. Globally, there are 4 billion cases of diarrhea annually, 2.2 million of which lead to death. Of those 2.2 million, 80% of the deaths are among infants. Unsafe water is a large factor in these diseases.

Modern mathematical tools allow for an understanding of waterborne outbreaks in “temporal and spatial patterns”, Naumova said. “Practically all waterborne diseases exhibit strong seasonal patterns distinct for a specific pathogen in a given population [and] locality”, in a phenomenon known

as seasonality. An example familiar to New England residents, of course, would be the peaks of flu that occur in the winter. “Variability in seasonal characteristics can provide clues on important factors influencing disease occurrence, exposure, [and] spread.” These environmental factors, when they are within human control, could be a key to disease prevention. Climate change, however, will affect our ability to use these seasonal indicators as the patterns we have come to recognize begin to shift radically.

Naumova further presented statistics on the seasonality of cryptosporidiosis in the United States and the United Kingdom, salmonellosis in the United Status, and rotavirus in India.

She then laid out two studies conducted by some of her students, Dr. Stefan Collinet-Adler, Andrea Brown, Alexandra Kulinkina, and Negin Ashoori. Both studies examined the transmission of infectious diarrhea in 300 urban and rural households in the Vellore district of Tamil Nadu, India. The first study focused on the role of flies, which can carry pathogens such as norovirus, salmonella, and rotavirus. In the tests conducted, 72% of the flies tested positive for potential human pathogens. The second study used GIS to map ground water quality and distribution systems in Vellore.

Naumova here noted the importance of recognizing the difference between water quality and quantity: the focus of these studies was on quality, for lack of water leads to other severe problems but obviously cannot cause waterborne diseases.

Elena said she is always looking for students who are interested in going abroad and conducting research and will do whatever she can to make that possible!

Multiple Positions, Institute for Sustainable Communities (Various Locations)

Founded in 1991, ISC is a not-for-profit organization that provides technical expertise and leadership training to solve important global issues such as sustainable development, energy efficiency and environmental protection resulting in lasting change. Headquartered in the USA, ISC has an international staff of approximately 80 people. ISC has offices in Montpelier, VT, Washington D.C., Serbia, China, Bangladesh, and India. ISC is committed to improving the quality of life and the earth’s ecosystem; maximizing effectiveness through creativity and high quality work; and compassion, honesty and respect toward one another and ISC’s partners. Apply for the Washington, DC position.  Apply for the 
Vermont, India and Thailand positions.

Regional Coordinator, World Agroforestry Centre (New Delhi, India)

DEADLINE: Nov 16, 2013

World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) is hiring a Regional Coordinator , based in Delhi, India. Learn more/apply.

Summer Ecosystem Experiences fellowship for undergraduates (various locations)

The Earth Institute Center for Environmental Sustainability (EICES) at Columbia University invites you to Apply Now for the 2014 Summer Ecosystem Experiences for Undergraduates (SEE-U) Program:- Students at all colleges and universities may apply*
- Earn 6 points of science credit from Columbia University in just 5 weeks.
- Takes place in one of three environmental hotspots or human impacted field sites.
- Designed for students of all majors.  No prerequisites required to enroll.


Special fellowship funding is available from EICES.

SEE-U is held in beautiful, yet human impacted, ecological settings – your choice of:

India | Western Ghats *New Field Site*
India is globally recognized as a megadiverse country, containing 70% of the world’s biodiversity. Embark on a journey to explore India’s ecology in the Western Ghats, a unique biologically rich ecosystem home to many of the world’s plants and animals.
Brazil| The Atlantic Forest & Serra do Mar State Park
The Atlantic Forest is one of the most endangered regions in the world. You will work and live in some of the largest remaining tracts of this diverse forest. Tropical flora and fauna abound here, including several endangered primates.


Jordan| Amman, Aqaba, Dana, and Ajloun
You will embark in the exploration and appreciation of Jordan’s ecology through coursework and field research. This location is ideal for biodiversity studies, as a wide variety of flora and fauna are found in Jordan’s wetland, marine, freshwater, desert, and forest ecosystems.


Rolling Admissions.  Our next application review date is
NOVEMBER 1, 2013.

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