Loren Hopkins, the chief environmental science officer for the City of Houston Health Department and professor in the practice of statistics at Rice University, has been named to the National Academies’ Committee on Community Wastewater-based Disease Surveillance.
Led by Hopkins in her Health Department role, an interdisciplinary team of researchers at Rice has been collaborating with city officials to collect and analyze wastewater samples since soon after the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020. The results serve as a barometer of the spatiotemporal prevalence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus throughout the city.
Hopkins is one of 15 physicians and other researchers named to the committee administered through the Water Science and Technology Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. She expects the committee to issue its first report on the wastewater-borne spread of COVID-19 later this year.
Hopkins will serve on the committee through February 2024. She earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in environmental science and engineering from Rice.