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Sabrina Mueller-Spitz Ph.D.




My primary research interests are concentrated on the connection between microbial communities and environmental health focusing how these interactions can impact human health. Our anthropogenic footprint (e.g. industrial activities, pharmaceutical usage, introduction of invasive species, etc.) is changing soil and aquatic environments in ways that can impact human health. Bacterial and fungal communities are the first organisms to detect and adapt to anthropogenic activities, making them essential in detecting environmental degradation. The goal of my research program is determine how anthropogenic forces shape bacterial communities in terms of diversity and functional activity in different environments (e.g. soils, water, sediments, etc.), as these communities continue to carry out ecosystem processes and maintain diversity in the presence of anthropogenic disturbances. This research extends to the characterization of human pathogens (i.e. Clostridium perfringens) in the environment, basic physiological characterization of freshwater bacteria, and examination of microbial activities that associated with organic and inorganic contaminants (e.g. personal care products, flame retardants, nanoparticles).



Ph.D. University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH; 2006- Biology/Microbiology

M.S. University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI; 2001- Soil Science

B.S. University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI; 1999- Soil Science



Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Great Lakes WATER Institute, Milwaukee, WI, February 2006-July 2009

NIEHS Superfund Basic Research Program Trainee, University of Cincinnati, Department of Biological Sciences, Cincinnati, OH, September 2001- January 2006

Graduate Teaching Assistant, University of Cincinnati, Department of Biological Sciences, Cincinnati, OH, September 2004- December 2005

Graduate Research Assistant, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Soil Science, Madison, WI, January 2000-August 2001.



Biology 113 Environmental Health Orientation

Biology 233 Microbial Survey

Biology 303 Introduction to Epidemiology

Biology 338 Environmental Toxicology

Biology 450 Microbial Physiology



Mueller-Spitz, S.R., L.B. Stewart, J. V.l Klump, and S.L. McLellan. 2010.Freshwater suspended sediments and sewage are reservoirs for enterotoxin positive Clostridium perfringens. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 76(16):5556-5562.

Mueller-Spitz, S.R., Stewart, L.B., and McLellan, S.L. 2009. Reliability of mCP method for identification of Clostridium perfringens from faecal polluted aquatic environments. Journal of Applied Microbiology. 180 (6): 1994-2002.


S.L. McLellan, S.M. Huse, S.R. Mueller-Spitz, E.N. Andreishcheva, and M.L. Sogin. 2009. Diversity and population structure of sewage derived microorganisms in wastewater treatment plant influent. Environmental Microbiology. 12(2): 378-392.

Mueller-Spitz, S.R., G.W. Goetz, and McLellan, S.L. 2009. Temporal and spatial variability in nearshore bacterioplankton communities of Lake Michigan. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 67(2): 511-522.


Vonderheide, A.P., Mueller-Spitz, S.R., Meija, J., Mueller, K., Welsh, G.L., Kinkle, B., Shann, J, and Caruso, J.A. 2006. Rapid breakdown of brominated flame retardants by soil microorganisms. Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry 21(11):1232-1239.


Mueller, K.E., Mueller-Spitz, S.R., Henry, H.F., Vonderheide, A.P., Soman, R.S., Kinkle, B.K., and J.R. Shann. 2006. Fate of penta-brominated diphenyl ethers in soil: abiotic sorption, plant uptake, and interspecific plant competition. Environmental Science & Technology 40(21):6662-6667.

Mueller-Spitz, S.R., Vonderheide, A.P., Shann, J.R., Caruso, JA. and Kinkle, B.K. 2006. Use of SEC-ICP-MS with a collision cell for determining the interactions of chromium with DNA extracted from metal-contaminated soils. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry 386(1):142-151.

Mueller, S.R. and W.R. Kussow. 2005. Biostimulant influences on turfgrass microbial communities and creeping bentgrass putting green quality.HortScience 40(6):1904-1910.