OCWD Board of Directors

Cathy Green
First Vice President
Denis R. Bilodeau, P.E.
Second Vice President
Philip L. Anthony
Jordan Brandman
Shawn Dewane
Jan M. Flory, ESQ.
Dina L. Nguyen, ESQ.
Roman Reyna
Stephen R. Sheldon
Roger C. Yoh, P.E.
General Manager
Michael R. Markus
P.E., D.WRE.

Director of National
Science Foundation
Presents Seminar at OCWD
Dr. Rita Colwell, who previously served as the 11th Director of the National Science Foundation, visited OCWD recently to tour the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) and to present a seminar on the use of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) for water quality analysis. NGS can be used to profile the microbial community within a water sample via DNA extraction and analysis.

Her presentation "Next Generation Sequencing and Bioinformatics for Water Quality Management and Community Health" was followed by a discussion on the use of advanced algorithms to identify pathogens as related to water quality assessments for the GWRS and the Santa Ana River.

In addition to OCWD staff, professors from the University of California, Irvine and the University of Arizona; scientists from various utilities and the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project; consultants; and the director of research programs for WateReuse attended the presentation.

"The biggest challenge of NGS is understanding the massive amounts of complex data it creates, which results from all the sequenced DNA. Dr. Colwell's advanced software would allow us to organize and better interpret the metagenomics data," says OCWD Research and Development Director Megan Plumlee. "We're looking forward to collaborating with Dr. Colwell and her team to better understand the microbial diversity within the GWRS."

Dr. Colwell has 58 honorary degrees, is a recipient of the Stockholm Water Prize awarded by the King of Sweden, the National Medal of Science awarded by the President of the United States, and has a geological site in Antarctica that was named after her, among other notable achievements.