University of Vermont

School of Engineering

USDA funds bacteria research by Jane E. Hill

Release Date: 09-06-2007

Author: Dawn Densmore

Jane E. Hill"Bacteria that can swim can end up in some unwelcome and indeed unpleasant places. Understanding how they get from one spot to another, and whether they are more dangerous when they arrive at their destination, will help to inform approaches to reduce the risk of water and food-borne illness," says Dr. Jane E. Hill who joins the UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS) in the School of Engineering (SoE) as assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering this Fall from Yale University.

Hill's research has received a $400,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to research the "Fate of Mobile Bacterial Pathogens in the Subsurface: Determining the extent and influence of motility and counter-current movement on cell transport." Dr. Hill is collaborating with Dr. Sharon Walker at the University of California, Riverside, on this three year project.

Her research, recently featured in the Boston Globe in "Ability to swim upstream may explain infections," examines the conditions under which the bacteria "orient like a weather vane" so they can face upstream and then travel counter to the bulk flow.

For more information, see the Hill Lab website or contact Jane Hill at