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Our group

We strive to create an inclusive and interdisciplinary training environment. 

Photo credit: Joe Angeles/

Washington University

Photo credit: Joe Angeles/

Washington University

Photo credit: Joe Angeles/Washington University


Photo credit: Joe Angeles/Washington University

Fangqiong Ling, Ph.D.

Principal investigator

Fangqiong Ling is a tenure-track assistant professor at the Department of Energy, Environmental and Chemical Engineering (EECE) in the McKelvey School of Engineering. She holds a courtesy appointment at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Fangqiong is interested in the microbes inhabiting urban systems through the lenses of ecology and systems biology. She serves as an Associate Editor of Water Research and an editorial board member of ISME Communications. Her biography can be found on the EECE faculty website.

Press: Popular Science and The Record


Our group is proud to be part of the Ph.D. programs of EECE, the Division of Computational and Data Science, as well as the Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences. 


David Mantilla-Caldron, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral associate

David Mantilla-Calderon is a postdoctoral associate at WashU. He received his Ph.D. in Bioscience from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia. David's research interest lies in understanding how environmental pollutants could alter microbial communities. 


Prior to his postdoctoral research at Washington University, David investigated the link between mutagenic stress and horizontal gene transfer rates in environmental bacteria.  David's publications can be found on his Gooogle scholar page

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Photo credit: Brook Haley/

Washington University

Kara Andres, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral fellow

Kara Andres is an aquatic molecular ecologist interested in aquatic biodiversity, the spread of invasive species, and the ecological consequences of human impacts in freshwater systems. As a Biodiversity Postdoctoral Fellow with the Living Earth Collaborative at Washington University in St. Louis, she will investigate the microbiome of native and invasive freshwater fishes to better understand the role of the microbiome in invasion success. This work will be completed in collaboration with Dr. Jason Knouft at Saint Louis University. 


Kara received her Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Cornell University in Dr. David Lodge’s lab, where she investigated the use of environmental DNA (eDNA) approaches to study aquatic biodiversity and the population genetics of fishes. You can follow Kara’s research on her website:


Lin Zhang

Ph.D. candidate

Lin Zhang is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Energy, Environmental and Chemical Engineering. Prior to her Ph.D. study, she earned her Master of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees, both in Environmental Chemistry, from Nanjing University.


Lin is interested in the phylogenetic and functional diversity of drinking water microbiomes, as well as the forces that shape their variations.


Kaseba Chibwe

Ph.D. student

Kaseba is a Ph.D. student in the EECE department at WashU. She received her B.A. in Chemistry from Pepperdine University and her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis. Her overarching research interests are health-related fields such as public health and pharmaceuticals as well as international work. Currently, she is analyzing the microbial community of a hospital. Kaseba is an NSF GRFP fellow. 


Kirsten Housen

Undergrad student

Kirsten Housen is an undergraduate researcher and will receive her B.S. in Environmental Engineering from WashU and B.A. in Physics from Pomona College in the spring of 2023. She is focused on how engineering can be used to improve human and environmental health. Kirsten is especially interested in improving communities through sustainable water supply and infrastructure, and the opportunities available to implement 100% reuse of water, wastewater, and other resources. 


In the Ling Lab, Kirsten is currently conducting a meta-analysis on the monitoring of COVID-19 in wastewater.

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