Dr. Joan B. Rose Awarded First Hei-jin Woo Award

Sept. 11, 2008
Award dedicated to the memory of a leading Korean female engineer and scientist

Professor Joan Rose received the first Hei-jin Woo Award for Achievements of Women in the Water Profession for her contribution to water quality and the protection of health worldwide.

The IWA Hei-jin Woo Award is dedicated to the memory of Hei-jin Woo, a leading Korean female engineer and scientist who worked in the water field. The award recognizes the achievements of women in the water profession, and was presented for the first time during the opening ceremony of the World Water Congress in Vienna on September 7.

IWA President Dr. David Garman stated “The Hei-jin Woo Award recognizes women’s contribution to the advancement of the management of water. Joan Rose is a very worthy first recipient having established herself as a global leader in the health assessment of water supplies using both traditional techniques and advanced molecular science. Women are often under-represented in our profession, and this award brings to the forefront female colleagues who lead their fields.”

Dr. Rose works in the field of water pollution microbiology or public health microbiology. She has described her own journey of scientific inquiry as an attempt to understand the relationship between microbial water quality and human health. While practitioners in water sciences and engineering have focused on “indicators,” Rose has advanced the field by examining key parasites and viruses as waterborne pathogens and has supported the advancement of a waterborne pathogen genomics program. Her work has involved development of methods, surveys, investigations of waterborne outbreaks of disease, which includes the fate of these microbials in the environment, an understanding of the risk they pose and finally approaches for water quality and public health protection. Her work has had local, national and international impacts and she continues to strive to promote water safety and global health.

Over the course of more than three decades, she has developed molecular methods for the detection of emerging waterborne pathogens including the important parasite Cryptosporidium, and more recently for microbial source tracking. She has surveyed waters globally and has studied beaches, sewage-impacted waters, water reclamation systems and drinking waters, studying the effect of climate change on water quality. Finally, she has focused on quantitative microbial risk assessment, methods, tools and frameworks, bringing environmental monitoring into a risk, evidence-based decision-making process to protect public health.

Rose is currently co-director of the Center for Advancing the Microbial Risk Assessment and Center for Water Sciences at Michigan State University, and focuses much of her work on the transboundary waters of the Great Lakes. She has published more than 250 manuscripts.

Source: International Water Association