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‘Toilet Talk’ is focus of next UGA Global Diseases Lecture

'Toilet Talk' is focus of next UGA Global Diseases Lecture

Athens, Ga. – Water, sanitation and health are enormous issues for 40 percent of the world’s people who do not have safe, environmentally sound ways to dispose of their own bodily wastes.

“This is the toilet talk,” said Christine Moe, director of Emory University’s Center for Global Safe Water, about the lecture she will give on Tuesday, April 13, at 5:30 p.m. in the UGA Chapel. She’ll talk about helping communities around the world realize that they need sanitation, then making innovative use of old and new technologies to meet that demand. 

The official title for her talk is “Glittering Bathrooms that Fit Your Pocket,” a phrase she first saw on a billboard in India. This is the fourth and final talk in this year’s “Global Diseases: Voices from the Vanguard” lecture series. For the past five years, the UGA series has featured heroes in the global battle against premature death and disease.

Moe is the first speaker to view global disease through the lens of environmental science, instead of taking a medical perspective. Her research focuses primarily on the environmental transmission of infectious agents, in particular foodborne and waterborne disease. Moe works on international water, sanitation and health issues and has conducted research in the Philippines, El Salvador, Bolivia and Kenya.

At Emory University, Moe is the Eugene J. Gangarosa Professor of Safe Water and Sanitation and the director of the Center for Global Safe Water. Her primary appointment is in the Hubert Department of Global Health at the Rollins School of Public Health. She holds joint appointments in the department of environmental and occupational health and the department of epidemiology. In addition, she serves as an adjunct professor at China’s Xi’an Jiaotong University College of Medicine.

She received her bachelor’s degree in biology from Swarthmore College and her master’s and Ph.D. from the department of environmental sciences and engineering at the University of North Carolina School of Public Health.

Her laboratory research program includes studies of viral persistence in the environment, methods to detect enteric viruses in water and wastewater, and studies of norovirus infectivity and inactivation. Her field research focuses on dry sanitation systems and drinking water distribution systems and associated health risks.

Moe has won a number of awards, including the Food Safety Leadership Award in Research Advancement from NSF International in 2008. In 2006, her research team received the Infrastructure Award and the Development Marketplace Award in the World Bank’s Development Marketplace Global Competition for their project on “Pro-poor Sanitation Demand Creation in Bolivia.”

Earlier in 2010, the lecture series featured Julie Jacobson from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Health Program; Bernard Nahlen, deputy coordinator of the President’s Malaria Initiative; and Emory University’s Stanley Foster, a public health practitioner.

Moe’s lecture will be followed by a reception in Demosthenian Hall, next door to the Chapel.

The “Global Diseases: Voices from the Vanguard” lecture series is a joint effort of Patricia Thomas, UGA’s Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, and Daniel G. Colley, director of UGA’s Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases. For additional information, visit