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Photo: Edward Robert Atwill

Edward Robert Atwill- BA, DVM, MPVM, PhD
Professor and Researcher
Population Health & Reproduction

1477 Drew Ave
Suite 101, Davis, CA 95618

+1 530 754 2154


Research Focus

The primary goal of my research and extension program is to identify management strategies for minimizing microbial contamination of surface water supplies and ground water resources; preharvest microbial food safety; characterizing the underlying processes of environmental dissemination of microbial hazards; development of monitoring methods for assessing environmental or agroecosystem health; assessing vertebrate reservoirs of zoonotic pathogens through California's diverse landscapes; and to extend this breadth of information to individuals, institutions, and agencies involved in the complex issue of microbial water quality, preharvest food safety, and sustainability of California agriculture.

Specialty Focus

  • Epidemiology of waterborne zoonotic pathogens and preharvest food safety
  • Biotic and abiotic processes governing fate and transport of zoonotic pathogens
  • Beneficial management practices for pathogen mitigation in agricultural and natural systems


1985 BA Animal Physiology, University of California, San Diego, CA
1990 DVM Food Animal, University of California, Davis, CA
1991 MPVM Herd Health & Epidemiology, University of California, Davis, CA
1994 PhD Infectious Disease & Epidemiology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Honors and Awards

2012 Golden Fleece Award, California Wool Growers Association
2011 Outstanding Achievement Award - Research/Academia, Society for Range Management
2005 Pfizer Animal Health Award for Research Excellence, School of Veterinary Medicine, UC Davis
2001 Award for Outstanding Achievement in UC Cooperative Extension, Friends of Agricultural Extension, California. Finalist.
2000 Award for Outstanding Achievement in UC Cooperative Extension, Friends of Agricultural Extension, California. Finalist.

Active Research Grants

Co-Investigator, Behavioral management of deleterious aggression in rhesus macaques, Brenda McCowan (Principal Investigator), National Center for Research Resource, NIH

Co-Principal Investigator, Bacteria source tracking, grazing management practice implementation, and assessment for watersheds in the Lahontan region, Kris Kuyper (Principal Investigator), Proposition 84, California State Water Resources Control Board

Co-Principal Investigator, Laboratory services for the Safe-to-Swim Program, Xunde Li (Principal Investigator), California State Water Resources Control Board

Principal Investigator, Laboratory services for Cryptosporidium and Giardia analysis in wildlife fecal samples, (Principal Investigator), Portland Water Bureau, City of Portland, Oregon

Co-Investigator, Expanding the utility of social network analysis for multilevel health outcomes, Brenda McCowan (Principal Investigator), Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute Of Child Health & Human Development, NIH

Co-Principal Investigator, Developing and validating methods for accurately measuring the shedding of Escherichia coli O157:H7 by rangeland cattle and assessing water quality, Xunde Li (Principal Investigator), Russell L. Rustici Rangeland and Cattle Research Endowment, UC Davis

Principal Investigator, Western Center for Food Safety, (Principal Investigator), Food and Drug Administration

Co-Principal Investigator, Prevalence and Risk Factors of Cryptosporidium in Diary Cattle Farm West Java-Indonesia, Umi Cahyaningsih, Bogor Agricultural University (Principal Investigator), CRDF Global

Most Recent 10 Publications

  • Link Icon 2014 Harter T, Watanabe N, Li X, Atwill ER, Samuels W Microbial groundwater sampling protocol for faecal-rich environments Ground Water,
  • Link Icon 2014 Chen C, Fushing H, Atwill ER, Koehl P biDCG: a new method for discovering global features of DNA microarray data via an iterative re-clustering procedure PLoS One,
  • Link Icon 2014 VanderWaal KL, Atwill ER, Isbell LA, McCowan B Quantifying microbe transmission networks for wild and domestic ungulates in Kenya Biol Conserv,
  • Link Icon 2014 Li X, Watanabe N, Xiao C, Harter T, McCowan B, Liu Y, Atwill ER Antibiotic-resistant E. coli in surface water and groundwater in dairy operations in Northern California. Environ Monit Assess,
  • Link Icon 2014 Partyka ML, Bond RF, Farrar J, Falco A, Cassens B, Cruse A, Atwill ER Quantifying the sensitivity of scent detection dogs to identify fecal contamination on raw produce. J Food Prot,
  • Link Icon 2013 Vanderwaal KL, Atwill ER, Isbell LA, McCowan B Linking social and pathogen transmission networks using microbial genetics in giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis). J Anim Ecol,
  • Link Icon 2013 Kilonzo C, Li X, Vivas EJ, Jay-Russell MT, Fernandez KL, Atwill ER Fecal shedding of zoonotic food-borne pathogens by wild rodents in a major agricultural region of the central California coast. Appl Environ Microbiol,
  • Link Icon 2013 VanderWaal KL, Atwill ER, Hooper S, Buckle K, McCowan B Network structure and prevalence of Cryptosporidium in Belding's ground squirrels Behav Ecol Sociobiol,
  • Link Icon 2013 Roche LM, Kromschroeder L, Atwill ER, Dahlgren RA, Tate KW Water quality conditions associated with cattle grazing and recreation on national forest lands. PLoS One,
  • Link Icon 2013 Benjamin L, Atwill ER, Jay-Russell M, Cooley M, Carychao D, Gorski L, Mandrell RE Occurrence of generic Escherichia coli, E. coli O157 and Salmonella spp. in water and sediment from leafy green produce farms and streams on the Central California coast. Int J Food Microbiol,

Most Recent 5 Book Chapters

2013 Chen S, Li X, Li J, Atwill ER: Rapid detection of Brucella spp. using loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP), Kolpashchikov DM., Gerasimova YV, (ed), Nucleic Acid Detection: Methods and Protocols: Methods in Molecular Biology. 99-108.

2012 Gannon V, Grace D, Atwill ER: Chapter 4: Zoonotic waterborne pathogens in livestock and their excreta - interventions, Dufour A, Bartram J, Bos R, Gannon V, (ed), Animal Waste, Water Quality and Human Health, 2012 World Health Organization (WHO), London, UK. 115-56.

2012 Atwill ER, Li X, Grace D, Gannon V: Chapter 3: Zoonotic waterborne pathogen loads in livestock, Dufour A, Bartram J, Bos R, Gannon V, (ed), Animal Waste, Water Quality and Human Health, 2012 World Health Organization (WHO), London, UK. 73-114.