Combating antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a public health priority that requires a united, global approach across sectors, industries, and continents. CDC’s AMR experts collaborate with investigators around the world to identify and implement new ways to prevent antimicrobial-resistant infections from occurring and to limit the spread of resistance. Through this innovative work, experts are making measurable progress globally in addressing the spread of AMR within health care, the community, and the environment.

Session Overview: Have you ever thought about the germs living in water around us? Antimicrobial-resistant germs and their genes can contaminate streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans from discharge that flows from hospitals, farms, or sewage systems. Even properly functioning wastewater treatment systems may not fully remove resistant germs and their genes. The magnitude of this risk to human health is still not fully understood. Join us to hear from global experts working to track antimicrobial resistance in water and understand its impact on public health, while taking action to address this potential threat.


Dawn Sievert
Dawn Sievert, Ph.D.
Senior Science Advisor, Antibiotic Resistance Coordination and Strategy Unit, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Dawn Sievert, Ph.D., leads the strategic scientific direction, coordination, and investments of CDC’s cross-cutting scientific antimicrobial resistance activities globally. Dawn also provides the scientific leadership for CDC’s Antibiotic Resistance Laboratory Network and the CDC and FDA Antibiotic Resistance Isolate Bank. She is also Lead of the CDC Collaborating Center within the World Health Organization’s Antimicrobial Resistance Network.


Amy Kirby
Amy Kirby, Ph.D.
Environmental Microbiologist, Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch, Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases
Program Lead, National Wastewater Surveillance System
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Amy Kirby, Ph.D., is an Environmental Microbiologist in the Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch and the Program Lead for the National Wastewater Surveillance System (NWSS) at CDC. She has a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (BSA, major: Microbiology) from the University of Georgia, a Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Buffalo, SUNY, and a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from Emory University. Amy is interested in measuring infectious bacteria and fungi, antibiotic resistance genes, and other health indicators in natural and man-made water systems. This data can be used to estimate health risks from environmental exposures and the health of the surrounding communities. Since February 2020, she has been working on the COVID-19 response, where she leads the development and implementation of NWSS.
Rodney Donlan
Rodney M. Donlan, Ph.D.
Research Microbiologist, Clinical and Environmental Microbiology Branch, Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Rodney Donlan, Ph.D., joined CDC in 1998 as a research microbiologist to create the Biofilm Laboratory in the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion. The Biofilm Laboratory investigates the role of microbial biofilms—collection of microorganisms that can grow on many types of surfaces—in healthcare-associated infections and evaluates new methods for their detection and control. His first encounter with microbial biofilms occurred in 1981 while working as a microbiologist to investigate bacterial growth in drinking water distribution system pipes. Since that time, his research has been wide-ranging, from investigating the interaction of infectious bacteria with biofilms in water systems to exploring new methods to mitigate biofilm formation on medical devices. He is board certified in microbiology by the American Society for Clinical Pathology, a Registered Microbiologist, a life member of the American Water Works Association, and has been a member of the American Society for Microbiology since 1976.

Thomas Wittum
Thomas Wittum, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair, Veterinary Preventive Medicine
The Ohio State University

Thomas Wittum, Ph.D., is Professor of Epidemiology and Chair of Veterinary Preventive Medicine at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. He also has a faculty appointment in the OSU College of Public Health where he is one of the leaders of the Veterinary Public Health specialization within the Master of Public Health program. Thomas has a strong interest in antimicrobial resistance and in developing effective antibiotic stewardship programs that can be applied in veterinary medicine. He maintains an extensive research program investigating the emergence and dissemination of antibiotic-resistant threats across One Health. He is also the co-director of the antimicrobial resistance thematic program within the OSU Infectious Diseases Institute which has been recognized as an International Reference Center for AMR by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Thomas has been recognized by The Ohio State University with the title of University Distinguished Scholar.

Carl Fredrick Flach
Carl-Fredrick Flach, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
University of Gothenburg

 Associate Professor Carl-Fredrik Flach, University of Gothenburg, holds a Ph.D. in Medical Microbiology. Carl-Fredrik’s research centers around the role of sewage in emergence, selection, transmission, and surveillance of antibiotic resistance. He is/has been the principal investigator of several grants related to these issues. He currently leads projects focusing on using sewage analyses for the purpose of survey antibiotic-resistant bacteria in human populations and the transmission of resistance plasmids in sewage environments. He is also the leader of the surveillance theme within the Centre for Antibiotic Resistance Research (CARe) at the University of Gothenburg ( and a director of studies for the Swedish Doctoral Programme in Infections and Antibiotics (NDPIA, Carl-Fredrik has been active in communicating research results to stakeholders in the water and health sectors during the last years and frequently interacts with actors from these sectors, both nationally and internationally.