Laura's research is part of the WISER project, which examines the effectiveness of selected water treatment methods (including sand filtration and chlorination) in preventing schistosomiasis transmission. Schistosomiasis (also known as bilharzia) is a water-based parasitic disease that affects approximately 200 million people worldwide, primarily living in marginalised communities. If left untreated, schistosomiasis leads to anaemia, organ damage and increased risk of bladder cancer and HIV transmission. Effective medication is available, but this does not prevent reinfection which often occurs through daily activities such as doing laundry or bathing in infested freshwater bodies. Therefore, water and sanitation play a pivotal role in achieving elimination of schistosomiasis, .
This collaborative project between Imperial College, the Natural History Museum London, Addis Ababa University, and the National Institute of Medical Research in Tanzania will help inform how water treatment in endemic areas should be designed. Chlorination, filtration and ultraviolet disinfection experiments will be conducted in Ethiopia and Tanzania. Regular dissemination meetings will be held to share the knowledge acquired through this project.
Laura obtained a BEng in Bioresource Engineering from McGill University, Canada in 2013. She went on to graduate from Imperial College London with an MSc in Environmental Engineering and Business Management. After working for a London-based engineering consultancy, she joined the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Civil Engineering at Imperial College London in 2016. She is supervised by Prof Michael Templeton.
Laura is the recipient of the 2019 International Water Association's Huw Taylor Prize for exceptional scientific contribution to water and sanitation solutions in emergency and developing settings. She also received Imperial College's Tuh Fuh Lee Memorial Prize in 2019.