photo of me

Sarah Haig

I am a Post Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Michigan, joining the groups of Lutgarde Raskin and John LiPuma in October 2014. I have just been awarded a Microbiology of the Built Environment fellowship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to link the drinking water microbiome to human health and a Dow Sustainability fellowship.

I completed my PhD: "Characterising the Functional Microbial Ecology of Slow Sand Filters Through Environmental Genomics" in September 2014 in the Infrastructure and Environment Research Group at the University of Glasgow, working under the supervision of Christopher Quince, Robert Davies, and Gavin Collins. I was funded by the Lord Kelvin Adam Smith scholarship scheme.

Overall, my research combines environmental microbiology, environmental chemistry, and public health to advance water quality with a focus on drinking water systems. Specifically, I am interested in the development of novel technologies to detect degraders of emerging contaminants. I am also interested in designing new surface plumbing material to reduce pathogen growth, understanding the factors which influence antibiotic resistance and virulence in premise plumbing and exploring the ability to augment and manage existing microbial and macrobial communities within engineered systems to optimize performance.

Contact Information

1351 Beal Avenue
219 EWRE
University of Michigan,
Ann Arbor, MI, 48109
E-mail: sjhaig@umich.edu
Twitter: @SarahJaneHaig

Current Research

From Source to Tap: Linking the Drinking Water Microbiome to Human Health

Several studies have shown that drinking water harbors opportunistic pathogens, however, there is limited information about which abiotic and biotic factors regulate their abundance in “real” (not simulated) drinking water systems and whether clinically relevant species and strains are present. The overall aims of the study are to:

1. Determine how the abundance of common respiratory-tract opportunistic bacterial pathogens change from the drinking water distribution system to the point of use in households.

2. Identify physical and chemical parameters associated with the abundance of respiratory-tract opportunists and clinically relevant antibiotic resistance genes

3. Determine if specific strains recovered from persons with Cystic Fibrosis are also present in their drinking water.

To address these questions, I have developed several novel methods:

(a) a high-throughput, economical PacBio assay for Mycobacteria species and strain level identification.

(b) a high resolution LC-MS(Exactive Plus Orbitrap) method to monitor the concentration of the disinfection by-product N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA).


Evaluating Microbial and Metal Levels in Water, Biofilms, and Corrosion Scales Before and After Service Line Replacement in Flint

In response to the water crisis in Flint, MI, a pilot project was initiated by the city to replace 30 lead service lines, which are the expected primary source of the lead in Flint’s drinking water. We sampled water from ten of those homes before service line replacement and 7 and 20 days after service line replacement. In addition to water samples, biofilms and corrosion scale mineralogy from samples obtained from replaced service lines were characterized to help determine conditions that favor the growth of opportunistic pathogens. The overall aim of this study was to monitor the effectiveness of the service line replacement program in terms of reducing levels of lead and to explore possible correlations between dissolved metal concentrations and levels of opportunistic bacterial pathogens.


Abundance of Opportunistic Bacterial Pathogens in a Potable Hot Water Pipe Loop System Before and After Implementation of Corrosion Control

The system under study is a domestic hot water pipe loop fed by municipal drinking water, which centrally heats and supplies water to University campus buildings. This system experiences widespread corrosion and scaling issues, resulting in frequent failures throughout the distribution system. The study aims to characterize the abundance of opportunistic bacterial pathogens such as Legionella and Mycobacterium before and after the introduction of a corrosion inhibitor.

PhD Research

The requirements for energy-efficient water treatment technologies are prompting renewed interest in "biological" water treatment processes such as slow sand filtration. These systems do not require chemicals or electricity to operate and can achieve a high level of treatment mainly attributed to naturally occurring microorganisms within the filter. Several microbiologically mediated purification mechanisms have been hypothesised or assumed to occur within biofilms that form in the filter but have never been comprehensively verified.

My research aimed to determine the functional microbial ecology of slow sand filters (SSFs) by carrying out both field sampling (at an industrial SSF site) and laboratory experimentation (creation of lab-scale SSFs). In order to answer this complex question I used a combination of traditional microbiological techniques alongside next-generation sequencing (454 and Illumina) and DNA-SIP.

Other Research Interests

Previously I have worked on the phylogeny, virulence and serum-susceptibility of Yersinia ruckeri to Atlantic Salmon and Rainbow Trout. This work involved the development of an MLST scheme in order to determine the relationships between previously described subgroups. Additionally the virulence of different strains of Y.ruckeri were compared alongside serum-susceptibility between Rainbow trout and Atlantic salmon. This work was carried out as part of an industrial placement at CEFAS.

I have also worked on understanding the adherence mechanisms of Mannheimia haemolytica to ovine and bovine bronchial epithelial cells and organ cultures. Furthermore, I have worked on the biofilm forming potential of Pseudomonas aeruginosa on engineered surfaces.

Journal Publications

  1. R.H. Lahr, H. Goetsch, SJ. Haig, N. Love, A. Noe-Hays, D. Aga, C. Bott, B. Foxman, J. Jimenez, T. Luo, R. Mullen, K. Nace, K. Ramadugu, K.R. Wigginton. Urine bacterial community convergence through fertilizer production: Storage, pasteurization, and struvite precipitation. Environmental Science & Technology. 50 (21),11619–11626. 2016
  2. L.J. Caverly, L.A. Carmody, SJ. Haig, N. Kotlarz, L.M. Kalikin, L. Raskin, J.J. LiPuma, Culture-Independent Identification of Nontuberculous Mycobacteria in Cystic Fibrosis Respiratory Specimens. PLoS One. 11(4), p.e0153876. 2016.
  3. SJ. Haig, C. Gauchotte-Lindsay, G. Collins and C. Quince. Bioaugmentation Mitigates the Impact of Estrogen on Coliform-Grazing Protozoa. Environmental Science & Technology. 50 (6), 3101-3110. 2016.
  4. C. Quince, N. Loman, U.Z. Ijaz, A. M. Eren, D. Saulnier, J. Russell, SJ. Haig,, et al., Extensive modulation of the fecal metagenome in children with Crohn’s disease during exclusive enteral nutrition. American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2015.
  5. SJ. Haig, C. Quince, R. Davies, C. Dorea and G. Collins. The Relationship Between Microbial Community Evenness and Function in Slow Sand Filters. mBio. 6 (5): e00729-15. 2015. (doi:10.1128/mBio.00729-15)
  6. M. Feder, V. Phoenix, SJ. Haig, C. Dorea and H. Haynes. Influence of biofilms on heavy metal immobilization in Sustainable urban Drainage Systems (SuDS). Environmental Technology. June: 8 1-12. 2015. (doi:10.1080/09593330.2015.1049214 )
  7. MJ. Khan, C. Quince, UJ, Ijaz, N. Loman, S.T. Calus, J. Quick, SJ. Haig, MG. Shaikh, C.A. Edwards, K. Gerasimidis. A detailed analysis of the gut microbial diversity and metabolic activity in children with obesity of different aetiology and lean controls. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 72 (OCE1), E75. 2015. (doi:10.1017/S0029665115000907)
  8. SJ. Haig, M. Schirmer, R. D'Amore, J. Gibbs, R. Davies, G. Collins and C. Quince. Stable-Isotope Probing and Metagenomics Reveal Protozoan Grazing as the Major Route for E.coli Removal in Slow Sand Filters. ISME J, 2014. (doi:10.1038/ismej.2014.175)
  9. SJ. Haig, C. Quince, R. Davies, C. Dorea, and G. Collins. Validating the Performance and Microbial Community of Laboratory-Scale Slow Sand Filters with respect to Full-Scale Industrial Filters. Water Research, 61:141-151, 2014. (doi:10.1016/j.watres.2014.05.008)
  10. SJ. Haig, C. Quince, G. Collins, R.L. Davies, and C. Gauchotte-Lindsay. Progress in Slow Sand and Alternative Biofiltration Processes. Volume 5, Chapter 17: Bioaugmentation Reduces Negative Effect of Estrogens on Coliform Removal in Slow Sand Filters. IWA publishing, 2014. ISBN: 9781780406374
  11. SJ. Haig, G. Collins, R. Davies, C. Dorea, and C. Quince. Biological aspects of slow sand filtration: past, present and future. Water Science & Technology: Water Supply, 11(4):468–472, 2011. (doi:10.2166/ws.2011.076)
  12. SJ. Haig. Adherence of Mannheimia haemolytica to ovine bronchial epithelial cells. Bioscience Horizons, 4(1):50, 2011. (doi: 10.1093/biohorizons/hzr007)
  13. D. Verner-Jeffreys, SJ. Haig, T. Welch, M. Pond, D. Stone, R. Davies, and R. Gardner. Characterisation of a serotype O1 Yersinia ruckeri isolate from the Isle of Man: further evidence that o antigen serotype is not a reliable indicator of virulence. European Association of Fish Pathologists, 31(3):86–91, 2011.
  14. SJ. Haig, R. Davies, T. Welch, R. Reese, and D. Verner-Jeffreys. Comparative susceptibility of Atlantic Salmon and Rainbow Trout to Yersinia ruckeri: relationship to O antigen serotype and resistance to serum killing. Veterinary Microbiology, 147(1-2):155–161, 2011. (doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2010.06.022)
  15. D. Verner-Jeffreys, T. Welch, T. Schwarz, M. Pond, M. Woodward, SJ. Haig, G. Rimmer, E. Roberts, V. Morrison, and C. Baker-Austin. High prevalence of multidrug-tolerant bacteria and associated antimicrobial resistance genes isolated from ornamental fish and their carriage water. PLoS One, 4(12):e8388, 2009. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008388)

Book Chapter

  1. SJ. Haig, C. Quince, G. Collins, R.L. Davies, and C. Gauchotte-Lindsay. Slow sand filtration: recent developments in water treatment technology. Volume 5, Chapter 17: Bioaugmentation Reduces Negative Effect of Estrogens on Coliform Removal in Slow Sand Filters. John Wiley and Sons, 2014.

Conference Publications

  1. N. Kotlarz, SJ. Haig, B. Steglitz, L. Sanford, JJ. LiPuma, L. Raskin. Evaluation Of Selection For Op- portunistic Bacterial Pathogens During Biofiltration In Full-Scale Drinking Water Treatment Plant. To be presented at the American Water Works Association (AWWA) International Symposium on Biological Treatment. January 2018. [Oral]
  2. SJ. Haig, N. Kotlarz, L.M. Kalikin, L. Caverly, J.J LiPuma, L. Raskin. Are Opportunistic Pathogens in Premise Plumbing the Source of Infection in Children with Cystic Fibrosis? To be presented at the Microbiology of the built environment Symposium, Washington DC. October 2017. [Poster]
  3. Y. Shen, AJ. Prussin, SJ. Haig, L. Marr, L. Raskin. Quantification of opportunistic bacterial pathogens in hot water and aerosols formed during showering. To be presented at the Microbiology of the built environment Symposium, Washington DC. October 2017. [Poster]
  4. SJ. Haig, N. Kotlarz, L.M. Kalikin, L. Caverly, J.J LiPuma, L. Raskin. Searching for a Strain-Level Match: Is Drinking Water a Source of Clinically Relevant Cystic Fibrosis Opportunistic Bacterial Pathogens? Presented at the AEESP Conference, Ann Arbor, Michigan. June 2017. [Oral]
  5. N. Kotlarz, D. Berry, SJ. Haig, J.J LiPuma, L. Raskin. Mycobacteria Upregulate Intracellular Parasitism Genes in Response to the Drinking Water Disinfectant Monochloramine. Presented at the AEESP Con- ference, Ann Arbor, Michigan. June 2017. [Oral]
  6. Y. Shen, AJ. Prussin, SJ. Haig, L. Marr, L. Raskin. Quantification of opportunistic bacterial pathogens in hot water and aerosols formed during showering. Presented at the AEESP Conference, Ann Arbor, Michigan. June 2017. [Oral]
  7. Y. Shen, M. Wax, D. Yeoman, Z. Hayes, J. Yonts, SJ. Haig, N. Rockey, G. Burke, K. Heidecorn, J. Abernethy, E.Schwartz, B. Ellis, M. Kaufman, L. Raskin and T. Olson. Quantification of opportunistic bacterial pathogens and metal levels before and after lead service line replacement in Flint, Michigan. Presented at the AEESP Conference, Ann Arbor, Michigan. June 2017. [Oral]
  8. N. Kotlarz, D. Berry, SJ. Haig, J.J LiPuma, L. Raskin. Mycobacteria Upregulate Intracellular Parasitism Genes in Response to the Drinking Water Disinfectant Monochloramine. Presented at the UNC Water Microbiology Conference, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, May 2017. [Poster]
  9. M. Wax, D. Yeoman, Z. Hayes, J. Yonts, SJ. Haig, N. Rockey, G. Burke, K. Heidecorn, J. Abernethy, E.Schwartz, B. Ellis, M. Kaufman, L. Raskin and T. Olson. Water quality characteristics before and after lead service line replacement in Flint, Michigan. Presented at the AWWA International Symposium on Inorganics, Detroit, Michigan, March 2017. [Poster]
  10. SJ. Haig, N. Kotlarz, N. Rockey, L.M. Kalikin, L. Caverly, J.J LiPuma, L. Raskin. Residence Time, Pipe Material and Chemical Parameters Impact the Occurrence of Opportunistic Pathogens and Antibiotic Resistance Genes in Drinking Water. Presented at the Borchardt Conference, Ann Arbor, Michigan. February 21-22 2017. [Poster]
  11. N. Kotlarz, N. Rockey, T.M. Olson, SJ. Haig, L. Sanford, J.J LiPuma, L. Raskin. Opportunistic Pathogenic Bacteria Survive Ozone Disinfection: Observations from a Full-Scale Drinking Water Treatment Plant. Presented at the Borchardt Conference, Ann Arbor, Michigan. February 21-22 2017. [Oral]
  12. G. Burke, D. Yeoman, Z. Hayes, SJ. Haig, Y. Shen, J. Yonts, M. Wax, N. Rockey, M. Kaufman, L. Raskin, and T. Olsen. Water quality characteristics before and after lead service line replacement in Flint, Michigan, To be presented at the Borchardt Conference, Ann Arbor, Michigan. February 21-22 2017. [Poster]
  13. J. Kyasnicka, D. Yeoman, Z. Hayes, SJ. Haig, Y. Shen,G. Burke, L. Raskin, and T. Olsen. Assessing the impact of hydro excavation on tap water lead concentrations in Flint, Michigan. To be presented at the Borchardt Conference, Ann Arbor, Michigan. February 21-22 2017. [Poster]
  14. SJ. Haig, N. Kotlarz, N. Rockey, L.M. Kalikin, L.J. Caverly, J.J. LiPuma, L. Raskin. From Source to Tap: Linking the Drinking Water Microbiome to The Respiratory Tract Microbiome. Presented at the Water Quality Technology Conference, Indianapolis, Indiana, November 2016. [Oral]
  15. N. Rockey, J. Yonts, SJ. Haig, K. Wigginton, L. Raskin. Abundance of Opportunistic Bacterial Pathogens in a Domestic Potable Hot Water Pipe Loop System. Presented at the Water Quality Tech- nology Conference, Indianapolis, Indiana, November 2016. [Oral]
  16. J. Yonts, J. Christopher, N. Rockey, SJ. Haig, N. Kotlarz, R. Corona, M.Willett, K. Wigginton, L. Raskin. Corrosion Cause Determination and Control Strategies within a Centralized Domestic Hot Water System. Presented at the Water Quality Technology Conference, Indianapolis, Indiana, Novem- ber 2016. [Poster]
  17. SJ. Haig, N. Kotlarz, N. Rockey, L.M. Kalikin, L.J. Caverly, J.J. LiPuma, L. Raskin. Stagnation Time, Pipe Material and Chemical Parameters Impact The Occurrence of Opportunistic Respiratory Pathogens in Drinking Water. Presented at the IWA Specialist Conference: Microbial Ecology in Water Engineering & Biofilms, Copenhagen, Denmark, September 2016. [Oral]
  18. SJ. Haig, J. Yonts, N. Rockey, G. Burke, D. Yeoman, Z. Hayes, B. Eggleston, B. Warner, C. Wil- helm, B. Ellis, K. Wigginton, M. Kaufman, T. Olson, and L. Raskin, Linking opportunistic bacterial pathogens and metal levels in drinking water samples and corroded service lines in Flint, Michi- gan, USA, Presented at the IWA Specialist Conference: Microbial Ecology in Water Engineering & Biofilms, Copenhagen, Denmark, September 2016.
  19. N. Kotlarz, N. Rockey, SJ. Haig, J.J. LiPuma, L. Raskin.Full-Scale Ozonation of Drinking Water Microbial Communities. Presented at the IWA Microbial Ecology in Water Engineering & Biofilms conference, Copenhagen, Denmark, September 2016. [Poster]
  20. SJ. Haig, N. Kotlarz, N. Rockey, L.M. Kalikin, L.J. Caverly, J.J. LiPuma, L. Raskin. Linking the prevalence of opportunistic respiratory pathogens to physical and chemical characteristics in drinking water systems. Presented at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation 4th Annual Microbiology of the Built Environment Conference, Colorado, June 2016. [Oral]
  21. SJ. Haig, N. Kotlarz, N. Rockey, J. Yonts, W. Wigginton, J.J. LiPuma, L. Raskin. From Source to Tap: Linking Drinking Water Microbiomes to Human Health. Presented at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation 4th Annual Microbiology of the Built Environment Conference, Colorado, June 2016. [Poster]
  22. SJ. Haig, N. Kotlarz, N. Rockey, L.M. Kalikin, L.J. Caverly, J.J. LiPuma, L. Raskin. Linking the prevalence of opportunistic respiratory pathogens to physical and chemical characteristics in drinking water systems. Presented at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation 4th Annual Microbiology of the Built Environment Conference, Colorado, June 2016. [Oral]
  23. N. Rockey, J. Yonts, SJ. Haig, K. Wigginton, L. Raskin. Opportunistic Pathogens in a Hot Water Pipe Loop System. Presented at the Water Microbiology Conference, Chapel Hill, NC, May 2016. [Poster]
  24. L.J. Caverly, SJ. Haig, N. Kotlarz, L. Raskin, J.J. LiPuma. Improving Nontuberculosis Mycobacterial DNA Extraction From CF Respiratory Samples. Presented at the North American Cystic Fibrosis conference, Phoenix, October 2015
  25. N. Kotlarz, SJ. Haig, J. LiPuma and L. Raskin. Nucleic Acid Extractions from Mycobacteria in Drinking Water Systems Presented at the AEESP Conference, Yale University, June 2015.
  26. N. Kotlarz, SJ. Haig, J. Yonts, J. LiPuma and L. Raskin. Environmental Mycobacteria in Chloraminated Drinking Water. Presented at the IWA Biofilm in Drinking Water Systems conference, Arosa, Switzerland. August 2015.
  27. N. Kotlarz, SJ. Haig, J. LiPuma and L. Raskin. Nucleic Acid Extractions from Mycobacteria in Drinking Water Systems Presented at the ASM Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana, May 2015.
  28. SJ. Haig N. Kotlarz, J.LiPuma, L. Raskin. From Source to Tap: Linking the Drinking Water Microbiome to Human Health. Presented at the Sloan Foundation Conference, Colorado, July 2015
  29. SJ. Haig, G. Collins, R. Davies, C. Quince and C. Gauchotte-Lindsay. Bioaugmentation reduces negative effect of estrogens on coliform removal in slow sand filters. Presented at The 5th International Slow and Alternative Biological Filtration Conference, Nagoya, Japan, June 2014.
  30. SJ. Haig, G. Collins, R. Davies, and C. Quince. Exploring Coliform Removal in Slow Sand Filters using DNA-SIP Coupled with Metagenomics. Presented at Microbial Ecology in Water Engineering (MEWE), Ann Arbor, USA, July 2013.
  31. SJ. Haig, G. Collins, C. Dorea, R. Davies, and C. Quince. Pathogen removal in slow sand filters as revealed by stable isotope probing coupled with next generation sequencing. Presented at International Society for Microbial Ecology (ISME), Copenhagen, Denmark, August 2012.
  32. SJ. Haig, C. Dorea, G. Collins, R. Davies, and C. Quince. Validating Laboratory Slow Sand Filtration Studies Through Water Quality and Molecular Analysis. Presented at Particle Separation, Berlin, Germany, June 2012.
  33. SJ. Haig, G. Collins, R. Davies, C. Dorea, and C. Quince. Biological aspects of slow sand filtration: past, present and future. Presented at UK National Young Water Professionals, Edinburgh, Scotland, April 2011.

Memberships