Vikram Kapoor, assistant professor at the University of Texas at the San Antonio School of Civil & Environmental Engineering, and Construction Management, was recently named to the American Academy of Environmental Engineers & Scientists (AAEES) 40 Under 40 Recognition Program. .
The award represents Kapoor’s work to advance the fields of environmental science or environmental engineering, in particular his research on COVID-19 and how to track and predict infection rates by monitoring Wastewater.
AAEES is a specialist certification board and professional society for environmental engineers and scientists dedicated to improving the quality of environmental engineering and scientific practice.
Drawing on medical research that suggested the presence of COVID-19 markers in the feces of infected patients, Kapoor and his team collected sewage samples from treatment plants to check for evidence of infection.
“COVID-19 markers in sewage are a major surveillance indicator because they can predict rising infection rates before they start to spread,” Kapoor said. “Before symptoms are present, before infected people are tested, they may start shedding the virus in the stool. So if everyone infected is shedding the virus, there’s a chance we could pick up that signal days or even a week before they’re actually tested.
Kapoor’s research findings may offer alternative options for public health administrators. While widespread shutdowns were common, especially in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, tracking markers at individual wastewater treatment plants can allow for more targeted implementation of mitigation efforts.
Kapoor’s studies and resulting papers related to this research have garnered considerable attention, including interviews with National Public Radio and Texas Public Radio.
“Dr. Kapoor is an exemplary researcher and instructor who brings a wealth of specialist knowledge to UTSA,” said JoAnn Browning, Dean of the Margie and Bill Klesse College of Engineering and Integrated Design. importance that can have a significant impact on our daily lives.Its inclusion in the AAEES 40 Under 40 is well deserved.
Much of Kapoor’s research focuses on improving water quality. His work facilitated the design and implementation of an effective faecal source monitoring and assessment program for the Texas-based Edwards Aquifer. Kapoor’s research also advances the fundamental understanding of faecal source tracking and greatly expands the understanding of indicators for identifying sources of faecal contamination in rivers, lakes and other freshwater resources.
Kapoor has conducted extensive research on Texas Gulf Coast communities. He received Rapid Response Research (RAPID) grants from the National Science Foundation to study microbial contaminants in small towns along the Texas coast following Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Hanna.
His research has directly impacted several sectors of the water protection community – including recreational water monitoring, drinking water services, beach closures/advisories – providing them with better ways to identify faecal sources, assess human health risks and implement remediation strategies.
Through his research, Kapoor has earned a reputation as the author of critically important books for improving water quality and the availability of drinking water sources.
His research is also supported by federal, state and local agencies such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Texas General Land Office and the City of San Antonio.
AAEES created the 40 Under 40 award earlier this year to recognize talented individuals who, personally or as part of a team, have contributed to demonstrably advancing the fields of science or engineering over the course of of the last 12 months.
“We are very pleased to announce that Vikram Kapoor has been named the 40 Under 40 winner in our inaugural class,” said Ilyse Shapiro, Executive Director of AAEES. “He is a shining star in today’s engineering world.”