Advisory Panel Members

David M. Engelthaler: Director, Programs and Operations TGEN North



In addition to directing the day-to-day operations at TGen North, David Engelthaler oversees research on tools for detecting and analyzing infectious diseases such as influenza, valley fever, MRSA, cholera, plague, anthrax, and others. David also cofounded PathoGene LLC, where he helped transform mid- to late-stage diagnostic intellectual property into market-ready assays. He recently served as the Arizona State Epidemiologist and Arizona Biodefense Coordinator. His 18 years of experience in public health research includes 10 years with the Arizona Department of Health Services and 3 years with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He has published numerous papers on epidemiology, disease ecology, genetics, and microbiology. David has briefed the Arizona legislature and has testified before Congress. He continues to work closely with state, federal, and international health agencies. David received his undergraduate in biology at NAU and his master’s in microbiology from Colorado State University. He currently holds a research faculty position at NAU. In addition to the Arizona Biomedical Research Commission, Dave sits on the Coconino County Health Advisory Board and a number of nonprofit boards and committees.

Robert J. Hart: Scientist in Charge, U.S. Geological Survey

Bob began his U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) career in Lawrence, KS, where he managed a network of streamflow and water-quality-gages. He later became a project chief for several hydrology programs that included surface water and reservoir modeling, groundwater-flow modeling, and water-quality studies of hazardous-waste sites and the pilot USGS NAWQA program. In 1987, Bob transferred to the Northern Arizona Programs Office, Arizona Water Science Center (AZWSC) to assume the role of supervisory hydrologist. During his tenure in Flagstaff, he has managed and developed multi-disciplinary studies related to both surface and groundwater, collaborating with scientists and managers with various USGS Science Centers, federal and local agencies, tribal governments, and academia. His most recent work has been related to water and sediment quality on Lake Powell including the assessment of CECs and other contaminants associated with visitor use. Since 2008, Bob has served as the Scientist in Charge for the Flagstaff Science Campus where he encourages collaborative science programs with all USGS organizations on campus. As an Assistant Director for the Arizona Water Science, he directs science programs for the USGS AZWSC in northern Arizona and adjacent areas.

Jean E. McLain, Ph.D.: Associate Director, Water Resources Research Center, University of Arizona

Dr. Jean McLain is the Associate Director of the University of Arizona (UA) Water Resources Research Center (WRRC) and an Associate Research Scientist at the WRRC and in the UA Department of Soil, Water, and Environmental Science. Jean joined the WRRC in November 2011 after a 10-year research career with the USDA-Agricultural Research Service. With a strong focus on environmental microbiology, she has directed numerous projects focused on establishing the human health and environmental risks of using recycled municipal wastewater for crop irrigation and groundwater recharge. Her most recent work is focused on the potential for wastewater irrigation to induce antibiotic resistance in soil microbial communities. Jean has a Ph.D. in environmental microbiology from Duke University and received her master’s in forest science from Yale University and bachelor’s in forestry from the University of Vermont.

Rod Parnell, Ph.D.: Director, Academic Sustainability Programs, Northern Arizona University

Rod is coordinator of academic sustainability programs, professor of earth sciences and environmental sustainability, and chair of the Environmental Caucus at NAU. He has also been a faculty member at St. Lawrence University and the University of Virginia. His research focuses on applying biogeochemistry and geomorphology to the sustainable management of river systems in the Western U.S. and transforming environmental curricula to incorporate more sustainability. His work on the effects of acid rain, volcanic emissions, and sulfide mineral deposits on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems has generated over 140 journal articles and papers. He has received more than $9M in research funding from federal and nongovernmental organizations. As the founding director of the Colorado Plateau Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Unit, he worked to integrate federally funded environmental research across the Colorado Plateau and helped establish a national network of CESUs. He is currently a member of the Executive Committee of the National Council on Science and the Environment/Council of Environmental Deans and Directors.

Randy Phillips: Division Manager, Coconino County Health Services District

Randy Phillips manages the County’s Environmental Services Division, which consists of the Environmental Health, Environmental Quality, and Animal Manage Management programs. Randy graduated from the UA and St .Francis College and has worked in the Public Health field for a number of years. He has a strong interest in better understanding the potential impact of CECs on public health and our environment.

Catherine Propper, Ph.D.: Director for Research Capacity Development, Northern Arizona University

Dr. Catherine Propper is a professor of environmental endocrinology in the Department of Biological Sciences at NAU. She received her bachelor’s and Ph.D. in zoology from the University of California, Berkeley, and Oregon State University, respectively. From 1989–1990, she was supported by a National Institute of Mental Health NRSA postdoctoral fellowship at University of Colorado, Boulder. Dr. Propper began her career at NAU as an assistant professor in 1991. An associate editor for Frontiers in Toxicogenomics, she has served as secretary for the Division of Comparative Endocrinology in the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology. She has also served on proposal review panels for the NSF and EPA (including for its Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program’s Amphibian Metamorphosis Assay Protocol) and as an outside reviewer for the China-Canada Joint Health Research Initiative. Dr. Propper has published extensively. Her research interests include looking at how environmental information, including exposure to environmental contaminants, translate into endocrine responses that influence development, reproduction and behavior.

Amy Pruden, Ph.D., EI: Associate Professor, Via Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech

Dr. Amy Pruden currently directs strategic planning for the water infrastructure sustainability thrust of the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science (ICTAS). Her research focuses on tracking agricultural and wastewater treatment sources of antibiotic resistance genes in the watershed. She also works in developing water treatment technologies for limiting the spread of antibiotic resistance. Her broad research mission is to build a fundamental understanding of complex microbial communities in environmental systems to improve engineered approaches for meeting public health and water sustainability goals. Amy has a Ph.D. in Environmental Science from the University of Cincinnati and is an Engineering Intern.

Forrest Ritland, M.D.: Pathologist, Flagstaff Medical Center

Dr. Ritland has been a pathologist at Flagstaff Medical Center since 1987. A fellow of the College of American Pathologists, he is certified by the American Board of Pathology. Dr. Ritland was a resident in anatomical and clinical pathology at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. He earned his doctor of medicine from Loma Linda University.

Channah Rock, Ph.D.: Water Quality Extension Specialist, University of Arizona

Dr. Channah Rock is an assistant professor in the UA Department of Soil, Water, and Environmental Science; she also facilitates a Water Quality Extension Program throughout Arizona. Currently, Dr. Rock is working on evaluating recycled water quality and promoting water reuse as a safe, practical resource for the Southwest. She educates adults on water-quality-related issues across the state, focusing on creating awareness of applicable water conservation practices. She also engages stakeholders to facilitate awareness and drive water quality improvements in the surface waters of Arizona. Dr. Rock has experience in not only traditional microbiology but also in wastewater and biosolids. She has been extensively involved in the detection of pathogens and antibiotic resistant organisms in water using molecular technologies and has experience evaluating environmental water samples. She has conducted applied water-related research since 2002.

Robin Silver, M.D.: (Retired) Emergency Room Physician

Robin Silver is a retired emergency room physician and American Board of Emergency Medicine Diplomate. He is an environmental researcher, cofounder of the Center for Biological Diversity, and member of the Flagstaff Physicians’ Reclaimed Effluent Study Group.

Shane A. Snyder, Ph.D.: Co-Director, Arizona Laboratory for Emerging Contaminants (ALEC), University of Arizona

Dr. Shane Snyder is a professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering at the UA and holds joint appointments in the College of Agriculture and Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. He also co-directs ALEC and the Water and Energy Sustainable Technology (WEST) Center. For nearly 20 years, his research has focused on the identification, fate, and health relevance of emerging water pollutants. Dr. Snyder and his teams have published over 150 manuscripts and book chapters on emerging contaminant analysis, treatment, and toxicology, and he currently serves as an editor-in-chief for the international journal Chemosphere. He has been invited to brief Congress on three occasions on emerging issues in water quality. He has also served on several EPA expert panels and is currently a member of the agency’s Science Advisory Board drinking water committee. He was recently appointed to the World Health Organization’s Drinking Water Advisory Panel and was a member of the U.S. National Academy of Science’s National Research Council Committee on Water Reuse.

Tom Whitmer: Director of Natural Resources, City of Cottonwood

Tom Whitmer is a fourth-generation Arizonan and a graduate of Arizona State University, where he earned an undergraduate degree in chemistry and completed post-graduate studies in civil engineering with an emphasis in hydrology. He has worked in the water industry for more than 30 years for companies such as the Salt River Project, Santa Cruz Valley Water District, Imperial Irrigation District, International Environmental Solutions, Troy Biosciences, and the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR). During his 10+ years with ADWR, Tom managed statewide water resource planning outside of the Arizona’s Active Management Areas, a position that entailed developing policies and guidelines for all water resources. In his current position, he is responsible for ensuring the sustainability of water supplies for the City of Cottonwood while preserving baseflow in the Verde River.