Heather Murphy

Adjunct Research Associate Professor
Epidemiology and Biostatistics


Dr. Murphy has over 15 years of experience in water/wastewater treatment, water quality, drinking water distribution, risk assessment and environmental health in both North America and abroad. Dr. Murphy obtained her PhD in environmental engineering from the University of Guelph, Canada, where she focused on appropriate household water treatment technologies in rural Cambodia. Following her PhD, she worked for the United Nations International Emergency Children’s Fund (UNICEF) as a water, sanitation and hygiene specialist in Mali and Madagascar. While in Mali, she coordinated a $25 million Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Schools program, covering 1000 schools, the largest program of its kind in the world. She returned to academia in 2013 and completed a research fellowship with the Public Health Agency of Canada where she focused on quantifying the burden of waterborne disease on the Canadian population. Prior to joining Temple, she was a research fellow at the University of Guelph where she conducted research on the challenges of water provision in Canadian First Nations communities. Dr. Murphy’s research interests involve understanding and addressing water and health challenges in both developed and developing countries. She leads the Water, Health and Applied Microbiology (WHAM) Lab. Her research focuses on four key areas related to microbial quality of water and public health:

  1. Surface water quality and recreation,
  2. The impact of septic systems on private wells,
  3. Microbial ecology of drinking water distribution systems, and
  4. Water and sanitation challenges in resource limited settings.

Since joining Temple in 2015, her research has been funded by the USGS, the NIH, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UNICEF, Grand Challenges Canada and the Philadelphia Water Department.


  • PhD, Environmental Engineering, University of Guelph
  • MASc, Civil Engineering, Dalhousie University
  • BEng, Biological Engineering, Dalhousie University

Curriculum Vitae

Labs: Water, Health and Applied Microbiology (WHAM) Laboratory