Joan Rose
Michigan State University, USA; IWA Board Member; IWA Journal Editor, IWA Board Member


Joan B. Rose is an international authority on water microbiology, water quality, and public health safety, and she co-directs both MSU’s Center for Advancing Microbial Risk Assessment (CAMRA) and its Center for Water Sciences (CWS). Joan, together with her water detectives, are developing new genetic analytics to study waterborne health threats. Water quality studies today tend to focus on the indicators of pathogens, but Joan’s work targets actual threat agents such as viruses, mapping water quality and health risks in waterways throughout the world. Joan is a pioneer in the emerging science of viral metagenomics – sequencing virus DNA in water sources, discharges and shipping ballast using next-generation high-throughput technology. Such technology promises to significantly improve methods protect water and food supplies, and Joan now is applying it to assess the safety of fresh produce. Her global activity includes investigation of waterborne disease outbreaks and the study of water supplies, treatment, and reclamation. Her applied research interests include study of microbial pathogens in recreational waters and climatic factors impacting water quality. Joan has been a chair of the IWA Specialist Group on Health-related Water Microbiology, she is a Distinguished Fellow (having been elected as a Fellow in 2010 and as Distinguished Fellow in 2014) was a Board Member from 2016 until 2021 and chaired the IWA COVID-19 Task Force. Dr. Rose has served on the Strategic Council for the IWA from 2011-2015 and is Vice Chair of the US National Committee for the IWA.  She received the first International Water Association Hei-jin Woo Award for Achievements of Women in the Water Profession in 2008.

She holds the Homer Nowlin Chair in Water Research at Michigan State University in the Depts of Fisheries & Wildlife and Plant, Soil and Microbiological Science. and currently leads of the Global Water Pathogens Project in partnership with UNESCO;  She is the winner of the 2016 Stockholm Water Prize.  She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. She currently serves on the EPA Science Advisory Board for the Great Lakes.

Dr. Rose earned her B.Sc. and Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Arizona, Tucson and is an international expert in water microbiology, water quality and public health safety. She has published more than 300 manuscripts. Her work addresses the use of new molecular tools for surveying and mapping water pollution for recreational and drinking water, irrigation water, coastal and ballast waters; assessment of innovative water treatment technology for the developed and developing world; and use of quantitative microbial risk assessment. She is the 2001 recipient of the Clarke Water Prize and recently been awarded Honorary Citizenship in Singapore for her contributions to water quality, water education and Singapore’s water security 4-taps program.

Connect with Joan Rose on IWA-Connect.