Faculty and Staff


Nicholas Ashbolt, PhD, BAgSc (Hons)


Public Health, School of

About Me

I focus on next-generation municipal water services (drinking water, wastewater, stormwater) framed around resource recovery (i.e. water, energy, fertilizers) for improved ecohealth and living conditions; integrated with quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) to identify research gaps and management targets. Current topics include water system management (treatment performance, post-treatment control of opportunistic pathogens) from a public health perspective:

  1. Premise plumbing biofilms and environmental pathogens; identification of novel respiratory pathogens and their amoebal hosts by application of microarrays, metagenomic analysis and qPCR in collaboration with the U.S. EPA and Alberta Health.
  2. Antibiotic-resistance (resistome) gene flow within reclaimed water biofilms (qPCR and metagenomic) in hospitals.
  3. Application of QMRA to interpret the above and focus management options and regulatory reform (Health Canada).
  4. Integration of human health with ecosystem/LCA and economic analyses to identify more sustainable municipal water services; working with and to inform private and government housing developers.


PhD, University of Tasmania, 1985
BAgSc(Hons), University of Tasmania, 1979


Bronze Award for science at ORD, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2008, 2012 & 2013 
Graduate Award for professional outreach/impact, University of Tasmania, 2007

community acquired pneumonia 
in-premise plumbing microbiome
Legionella-like bacteria
quantitative microbial risk assessment
water-based pathogen removal


Research collaborations with other academic institutions:

  • McGill University, Canada
  • Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway
  • University of New South Wales, Australia
  • University of Technology, Australia

Collaborations with non-governmental organizations:

  • American Water Works Association, USA
  • Canadian Water Network, Canada
  • International Standards Association/ International Code Council/Canadian Standards Association, Canada, China & USA
  • International Water Association, UK
  • National Water Reuse Institute, USA
  • The Water Research Foundation, USA
  • World Health Organization, Switzerland

Collaborations with governmental organizations:

  • Alberta Environment and Parks, Canada
  • Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services, Canada
  • Alberta Municipal Affairs, Canada
  • City of Calgary, Canada
  • EPCOR, Canada
  • Health Canada, Canada
  • United States Environmental Protection Agency, USA