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Colleen McDermott DVM, Ph.D.

Professor Emerita




Teaching Experience:

  • Bio 341/541 Immunology
  • Bio 341/541 Schedule
  • Bio 374/574 Cell/Immunology Lab
  • Bio 312/512 Medical Bacteriology
  • Bio 250 Medical Mycology
  • Bio 112 Healthcare Orientation


Research Interests:

Microbial contamination of beach water. My laboratory works in conjunction with Drs. Greg Kleinheinz and Sabrina Mueller-Spitz at UW-Oshkosh, and with Dr. Mike Sadowsky (University of Minnesota) and Dr. Richard Whitman (US Geological Survey) to better understand the sources of microbial contamination of recreational waters. Specifically, we monitor beach water in Lake Michigan (Door, Kewaunee, and Manitowoc counties, WI), Lake Superior (Ashland, Bayfield, Douglas, and Iron counties, WI) and in inland lakes (Winnebago, Vilas, and Oneida counties, WI) for E. coli (a bacterial indicator of fecal contamination). We then try to determine the source of the fecal contamination by a variety of techniques (DNA fingerprinting, antibiotic sensitivity testing, spatial and temporal sampling, etc.). Most recently we have been measuring E. coli concentrations in beach sand, and in Cladophora mats (green algae located along shore lines), potential reservoirs forE. coli. My lab is particularly interested in detection of pathogens (E. coli O157, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Clostridium spp.) in water, sand, and algae, to ascertain if E. coli is truly a good indicator of fecal contamination and can be used to determine risk to human health.



  • Trabeau, M., R. Bruhn-Keup, C.M. McDermott, M. Keomany, A. Millsaps, A. Emery, and B. DeStasio Jr. 2004.  Midsummer decline of a Daphnia population attributed in part to cyanobacterial capsule production.  J. Plankton Res. 26:949-961.
  • Sampson, R.W., S. Swiatnicki, C.M. McDermott, and G.T. Kleinheinz.  2005.  E. coli at Lake Superior recreational beaches.  J. Great Lakes Res.  31:116-121.
  • Sampson, R.W., S.A. Swiatnicki, C.M. McDermott, and G.T. Kleinheinz.  2006.  The effects of rainfall on E. coli and total coliform levels at 15 Lake Superior recreational beaches.  Water Res. Management 20(1): 151-159.
  • Sampson, R., S. Swiatnicki, V.L. Osinga, J.L. Supita, C.M. McDermott, and G.T. Kleinheinz.  2006.  Effect of temperature and sand on E. coli survival in a lake water microcosm.  J Water Health 4:389-393.
  • Kleinheinz, G.T., C.M. McDermott and V. Chomeau.  2006.  Evaluation of avian waste and bird counts as predictors of Escherischia coli contamination at Door County, WI beaches.  J. Great Lakes Res. 32:117-123.
  • Kleinheinz, G.T., C.M. McDermott, M.-C. Leewis, and E. Englebert.  2006.  Influence of sampling depth on E. coli concentrations in beach monitoring.  Water Research. 40:3831-3837.
  • Siegrist, T.J., P.D. Anderson, W.H. Huen, C.M. McDermott, G.T. Kleinheinz, and T.R. Sandrin.  2007. Discrimination and Characterization of Environmental Strains of Escherichia coli by Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS). J  Microbiol Methods 68(3): 554-562.
  • Kleinheinz, G.T., C.M. McDermott, and T.S. Sandrin.  2007.  Microbial contamination of recreational waters and the microbial source-tracking toolbox.  SIM News 56 (1):6-18.
  • Englebert, E., C.M. McDermott, G.T. Kleinheinz.  2008.  Impact of the alga, Cladophora, on the survival of E. coli, Salmonella, and Shigella, in laboratory microcosms.  J. Great Lakes Res. 34:377-382.
  • Englebert, E.T., C.M. McDermott, G.T. Kleinheinz.  2008.  Effects of the nuisance algae, Cladophora, on Escherichia coli at recreational beaches in Wisconsin.  Sci Total Environ. 404(1): 10-17.
  • Zehms, T., C.M. McDermott, and G.T. Kleinheinz.  2008. Microbial concentrations in sand and their effect on beach water in Door County, WI.  J Great Lakes Res. 34:524-534.
  • Jeter, S.N., C.M. McDermott, P.A. Bower, J.Kinzelman, M.J. Bootsma, G.W. Goetz, and S.L. McLellan.  2009.  Bacteroidales diversity in ring-billed gulls (Laurus delawarensis) residing at Lake Michigan beaches.  J. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 75(6):1525-1533.
  • Kleinheinz, G.T., A. Coenan, T. Zehms, J. Preedit, M-C. Leewis, and C. McDermott.  2009.  Effects of aquatic macrophytes on the survival of Escherichia coli in a laboratory microcosm.  Lake Reservoir Management 25:149-154.
  • Nevers, M.B., D.A. Shively, G.T. Kleinheinz, C.M. McDermott, W. Schuster, V. Chomeau, and R.L. Whitman. 2009. Geographic relatedness and predictability of E. coli along a peninsular beach complex of Lake Michigan.  J. Environ. Quality. 38:1-8.
  • Kleinheinz, G.T., C.M. McDermott, S. Hughes, and A. Brown. 2009. Effects of rainfall on E. coli concentrations at Door County, Wisconsin beaches. Internat. J. Microbiol. 2009, ID 876050, 9 pg, doi:1155/2009/876050.
  • Vanden Heuvel,. A, C. McDermott, R. Pillsbury, T. Sandrin, J. Kinzelman, J. Ferguson, M. Sadowsky,  M. Byappanahalli, R. Whitman, and G. T. Kleinheinz. 2010. The green alga, Cladophora,     promotes Escherichia coli growth and contamination of recreational waters in Lake Michigan. J. Environ. Qual. 39:333-344.
  • Griffiths, K.G., Mayhew, G.G., Zink, R.L., Erickson, S.M., Fuchs, J.F., McDermott, C.M., Christensen, B.M., and Michalski, M.L. 2010.  Use of microarray hydribization to identify Brugia genes involved in mosquito infectivity.  Parasitol. Res. In Press.
  • Badgley. B.D., Ferguson, J., Kleinheinz, G.T., McDermott, C.M., Sandrin, T.R., Kinzelman, J., Junion E. A., Byappanahalli, M.N., Whitman, R.L., and Sadowsky, M.J. 2010. Multi-scale temporal and spatial variation in genotypic composition of Cladophora-borne E. coli populations in Lake Michigan. Water Res. Submitted.