Former Board Members

Dr. Andrea Rechenburg (2013-2017)

Andrea serves as the Executive Manager for the WHO Collaborating Centre for Health Promoting Water Management and Risk Communication at the Institute for Hygiene and Public Health, University of Bonn, Germany where she is responsible for the research and supervision of international research projects (Cameroon, Vietnam) in the field of environmental microbiology in particular water, sanitation and health. Prior to taking her current position in 2009, Andrea served as a researcher and manager for the Water Microbiology Lab at the Institute for Hygiene and Public Health, Bonn, Germany.
Andrea’s research interests include environmental microbiology associated with water, sanitation and hygiene, the microbiological impact of point sources and diffuse pollution on water quality, and the hygienic-microbiological aspects of centralised and decentralised sanitation systems, including water reuse. Andrea has served as a consultant to the World Health Organization on several projects and as an editor of the WHO CC´s Water& Risk Newsletter. Additional professional activities include: Reviewer for Water Science and Technology, Water Supply, International Journal for Water and Health and Anaerobe; Member of the Working Group Hygiene of the German Association for Water, Wastewater and Waste (DWA); Member German WASH network; Member WHO Task Force on Surveillance and Task Force on Target Setting and Reporting under the Protocol on Water and Health and; Member International Water Association (IWA) Specialist Group on Health-Related Water Microbiology).

Dr. Christobel Ferguson (2013-2017)
Christobel is the Manager of the Water Sciences Group within GHD. She manages a team of scientists and engineers that provide technical advice on water resource management and aquatic ecology to clients in the water, environment and mining industries. She has more than 20 years experience managing environmental research projects and has presented and published widely on water related microbiology, and in particular modeling pathogen fate and transport in water catchments.
Christobel was a board member of the Australian Water Association from 2005 to 2009 and is currently a Co-Convenor of the AWA Catchment Management SpecialistNetwork. Christobel previously held Adjunct positions at the University of NSW and the Australian National University. Christobel is a reviewer for a number of Water and Environmental Journals and has served on many expert panels for Water Utilities within Australia and for international water research agencies including The Water Research Foundation and the Water Environment Research Foundation. She is a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a member of the International Water Association.

Dr. Georg Reischer (2013-2017)
Georg Reischer studied Technical Chemistry at the Vienna University of Technology and graduated with a masters degree in Biochemistry, Biotech-nology and Microbiology. He did his PhD with Andreas Farnleitner at the same University specializing in microbial source tracking and environmental molecular diagnostics. In recent years his research interests broadened to intestinal microbiology, next generation sequencing and applied bioinfor-matics. He is currently a senior scientist at the Farnleitner Lab and member of the Inter-University Cooperation Center Water&Health in Vienna, Austria.

Dr. Orin Shanks (2013-2017)
Dr. Orin C. Shanks is a Research Geneticist at the United States Environmental Protection Agency in the Office of Research and Development, Microbial Contaminants Control Branch. His primary role is to supervise a molecular research laboratory specializing in the application of DNA-based molecular technologies for environmental microbiology. Projects focus on the development, validation, and implementation of molecular methods. Other research activities utilize next generation sequencing and computational biology to elucidate the influence of animal host age, diet, and biogeography on the shedding of fecal indicator bacteria.
Dr. Shanks is a U.S. patent holder for several DNA-based technologies and is currently working with the U.S. EPA Office of Water to develop official standardized operating protocols for human-associated fecal source identification technologies. He is an active member of the International Water Association and the American Society for Microbiology and enjoys collaborating with scientists worldwide. Dr. Shanks received his undergraduate and Master’s degrees from the University of Wyoming and his Ph.D. from Oregon State University.

Dr. Walter Betancourt (2013-2017)
Dr. Walter Betancourt is a Water Microbiologist and Assistant Research Professor of the Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science at The University of Arizona (UA). His most current research conducted along with Professor Charles Gerba at the UA Water and Energy Sustainable Technology (WEST) Center is focused on three major areas. The first area involves the study of human viruses in recycled water, drinking water, groundwater and surface waters using a combination of improved molecular and cell culture methods to detect and identify pathogenic virus species in these water systems. His second area of research is in microbial source tracking exploring multiple genetic markers present in uncultured fecal bacteria and newly discovered enteric viruses as alternative indicators of human sewage contamination in water sources for irrigation of edible crops.  Dr. Betancourt’s third area of research is focused on the study of waterborne protozoan parasites to gain thorough understanding of microbial water quality appropriate to protect public health applying the principles of microbial risk assessment.  As a Scientist, Dr. Betancourt recognizes the importance of conducting collaborative research to spur new scientific discovery for the protection of the environment and human health embracing the principle of “one world, one health”.