Tracking and managing the Covid-19 pandemic through environmental surveillance.

WATERTALK 17- BY Dr kartik chandran and dr melanie bernitz

Water expert

 ‘Tracking and managing the Covid-19 pandemic through environmental surveillance.

Speakers Profile:

Dr. Kartik Chandran is a Professor of Environmental Engineering at Columbia University. Chandran’s work is enabled by harnessing microbial communities’ biochemical and metabolic potential and developing appropriate technologies for addressing global societal needs. His fundamental work focuses on managing the global nitrogen cycle and its links to the carbon, water, and energy cycles.

His applied work ranges from large-scale centralized wastewater treatment systems to community-scale decentralized resource-recovery systems and technologies across the globe. He received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 2015.  Chandran is a co-contributor to the National Academies report on Grand Challenges in Environmental Engineering for the Twenty-first Century.


Dr. Melanie Bernitz is the Senior Vice President for Columbia Health. She joined Columbia Health in 2016 and served as Associate Vice President and Medical Director through early 2021. Previously she served as the Executive Director of the Student Health Service at Columbia University Medical Center. Prior to that position, Dr. Bernitz was a resident, chief resident, and faculty member in Columbia’s Center for Family and Community Medicine.

With expertise in college health, family medicine, healthcare administration, and public health, Dr. Bernitz’s experience includes nearly 20 years of teaching and training medical students as well as overseeing primary care and prevention services on college campuses. As the head of Columbia Health, she supports the well-being of over 30,000 students at Columbia. She is a member of Columbia University’s COVID-19 Presidential Advisory Task Force and Public Health Working Group and has been a part of Columbia University’s leadership response to the COVID-19 pandemic.




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