US professor wins 2016 Stockholm Water Prize

Professor Joan Rose, winner of the 2016 Stockholm Water Prize

Joan Rose has been named the 2016 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate for her contributions to public health, by assessing risks to humans from water and creating guidelines and tools for decision-makers and communities to improve global wellbeing.

“Joan has, like few other scholars, been able to combine superb s

cience with effective advocacy, development of practical guidelines and enlightenment of the general public,” Jens Berggren, Director, Stockholm Water Prize, at Stockholm International Water Institute, told The Source. “She has shown an exceptional ability to spread the knowledge of the paths that pathogens take through nature and infrastructure far beyond the circles of science and created understanding as well as techniques and tactics to prevent outbreaks of illness.”

Professor Rose holds the Homer Nowlin Chair in Water Research at Michigan State University. She has dedicated her professional life to water quality and public health, and is a leading world authority on water microbiology.

In its citation, the Stockholm Water Prize Committee noted that the nexus of water-related microbiology, water quality and public health is rife with theoretical and practical uncertainty. Rose is one of the few individuals who can tackle the increasing and changing challenges to clean water and health; from state-of-the-art science and original research, through professional dissemination, effective legislative lobbying, and practical guidance and awareness-raising.

“I am very honoured to be part of a list of such distinguished past winners,” said Rose. “The Prize calls attention to the most important issues around water in the 21st century, and for me, that is water quality. I have always been motivated by the principles of public health, and how to prevent disease. A key barrier, our water infrastructure, is crumbling or non-existent in many parts of the world. The global population unserved by sewage treatment is counted in the billions.”

Rose is one of the world’s foremost authorities on Cryptosporidium. She has pioneered the use of new molecular tools, such as viral metagenomics, for surveying and mapping microbial water quality challenges and her influence is greatly amplified by her successful translation of this science to policymakers, practitioners and the general public.