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Rianna Murray

Assistant Research Professor and Graduate Director, Global, Environmental, and Occupational Health

Rianna Murray, PhD, is an Assistant Research Professor in the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health. She is the Program Manager of the Global STEWARDS program, an NSF-funded fellowship that prepares doctoral students to be interdisciplinary researchers at the Food-Energy-Water nexus. She is also a researcher with the CONSERVE Center of Excellence supported by USDA-NIFA, which investigates transformative on‐farm treatment solutions that enable the safe use of nontraditional irrigation water.


SPH | Room 2369

(301) 405-2164


Areas of Interest

Core Faculty

Environmental Health; Global Health; Environmental Justice; Water Quality; Food Safety

Dr. Rianna Murray is an Assistant Research Professor at the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health. She is the Program Manager of the UMD Global STEWARDS (STEM Training at the Nexus of Energy, Water Reuse and Food Systems) Program, which is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) National Research Traineeship (NRT) grant.

The mission of the Global STEWARDS program is to support and prepare graduate students in becoming future leaders focused on innovations at the nexus of food, energy and water (FEW) systems. The program provides opportunities and training for graduate students to become adept at working and communicating across FEW disciplines, enabling transformative discoveries that can only be realized through transdisciplinary approaches and systems-based thinking.

Dr. Murray also works with the CONSERVE Center of Excellence, which is led by Dr. Amy Sapkota and supported by a grant from USDA-NIFA. Project CONSERVE investigates transformative on‐farm treatment solutions that enable the safe use of nontraditional irrigation water (such as recycled wastewater) on food crops.

Dr. Murray’s research interests lie in the fields of environmental health, global health, environmental justice, food safety and water quality. Her dissertation investigated the influence of private drinking water wells and their proximity to animal agricultural operations on the incidence of foodborne illness in Maryland.

She currently teaches the Public Health Science (PHSC) undergraduate course MIEH 331: The Built Environment, Sustainability, and Public Health, and assists the facilitation of the Global STEWARDS graduate courses, MIEH 690, MIEH 691 and MIEH 699. She also recently led a group of Global STEWARDS fellows on a short-term study abroad trip to Israel in the winter 2020 semester.

Dr. Murray received both a PhD in Toxicology and Environmental Health Sciences and an MPH in Environmental Health Sciences from the University of Maryland School of Public Health. She also holds a Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in Chemistry and Biochemistry from the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago.

As a graduate student, Dr. Murray’s passion for global health took her to Sierra Leone with the student-led organization Public Health Without Borders in 2014 and 2016, where she worked with a rural community to conduct community needs assessments and health and hygiene workshops and investigated the impact of the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic on the community.

In 2017, Dr. Murray was awarded the Lee Thornton Fellowship from the UMD Graduate School, an award which provides support to a UMD doctoral candidate who is in the latter stages of writing a dissertation that serves the public good. She is also a recipient of numerous other awards during graduate school, including the School of Public Health Dean’s Scholar Award in 2016 and was inducted into the University of Maryland’s chapter of the Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health.

PhD, Toxicology and Environmental Health, 2019

University of Maryland School of Public Health

MPH, Environmental Health Sciences, 2013

University of Maryland School of Public Health

BSc., Biochemistry and Chemistry, 2006

University of the West Indies

Taught as Instructor of Record:

MIEH 331 - The Built Environment, Sustainability and Public Health (Spring 2021 and 2020)

UMD SPH Courses for which Dr. Murray was a Teaching Assistant:

MIEH300 Introduction to Environmental Health: A Public Health Perspective

PHSC401 Public Health History

MIEH600 Foundations of Environmental Health

MIEH605 Foundations of Global Health

MIEH606 Global Classroom: Addressing Current, Pressing Global and Environmental Public Health Challenges in Bangladesh

MIEH607 Global Classroom: Risk-Based Approach to Ensure Global Food Safety and Security

MIEH620 Global Health Communication

University of Maryland School of Public Health Dean's Fellowship, 2018

Lee Thornton Dissertation Fellowship from the University of Maryland Graduate School, 2017

University of Maryland School of Public Health Dean's Summer Research Fellowship, 2017

University of Maryland School of Public Health Dean's Scholar Award, 2016

Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health (MIAEH) Wait Family Endowed Graduate Scholarship, 2016

Inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society, University of Maryland College Park, 2015

Inducted into the Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health, University of Maryland College Park, 2014

University of Maryland Council on the Environment Green Research Fellowship, 2014

University of Maryland School of Public Health Dean's Fellowship, 2013

Murray RT, Marbach-Ad G, McKee K and Sapkota AR. Experiential Graduate Course Prepares Transdisciplinary Future Leaders to Innovate at the Food-Energy-Water Nexus. Sustainability 2021;13(3), 1438; doi:10.3390/su13031438

Solaiman S, Allard S, Callahan MT, Jiang C, Murray R, ....., Micallef SA. Longitudinal Assessment of the Dynamics of Escherichia coli, Total Coliforms, Enterococcus spp., and Aeromonas spp. in Alternative Irrigation Water Sources: a CONSERVE Study. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 2020; 86:(20)e00342-20;. doi: 10.1128/AEM.00342-20

Murray RT, Cruz-Cano R, Nasko D, Blythe D, Ryan P, Boyle M, Wilson S, Sapkota AR. Association between Private Drinking Water Wells and the Incidence of Campylobacteriosis in Maryland: An Ecological Analysis Using Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet) Data (2007-2016). Environmental Research. 2020; 188:109773. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2020.109773

Sharma M, Handy E, East C, Kim S, Jiang C, Callahan MT,....., Murray R, Sapkota AR. Prevalence of Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes in non-traditional irrigation waters in the Mid-Atlantic United States is affected by water type, season, and recovery method. PLOS ONE, 15(3): e0229365. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0229365

Panthi S, Sapkota AR, Raspanti G, Allard S, Bui A, Craddock HA, Murray R,....., Sapkota A. Pharmaceuticals, herbicides, and disinfectants in agricultural water sources. Environmental Research. 2019;174:1-8. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2019.04.011

Haymaker J, Sharma M, Parveen S, Hashem F, May EB, Handy, Murray R, ........, Sapkota AR. Prevalence of Shiga-toxigenic and Atypical Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli in Untreated Surface Water and Reclaimed Water in the Mid-Atlantic U.S. Environmental Research. 2019;172:630-636 doi:10.1016/j.envres.2019.02.019.

Murray RT, Rosenberg Goldstein RE, Maring EF, Pee DG, Aspinwall K, Wilson SM, Sapkota AR. Prevalence of Microbiological and Chemical Contaminants in Private Drinking Water Wells in Maryland, USA. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2018;15(8):1686. doi:10.3390/ijerph15081686

Quirós-Alcalá L, Wilson S, Witherspoon N, Murray R, Perodin J, Trousdale K, Raspanti G, Sapkota A. Volatile organic compounds and particulate matter in child care facilities in the District of Columbia: Results from a pilot study. Environmental Research. 2016;146:116-124. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2015.12.005.

Murray R, Wilson S, Dalemarre L, Chanse V, Phoenix J, Baranoff L. Should We Put Our Feet in the Water? Use of a Survey to Assess Recreational Exposures to Contaminants in the Anacostia River. Environmental Health Insights. 2015;9(Suppl 2):19-27. doi:10.4137/EHI.S19594.

Wilson S, Zhang H, Jiang C, Burwell K, Rehr R, Murray R, Dalemarre L, Naney C. Being overburdened and medically underserved: assessment of this double disparity for populations in the state of Maryland. Environmental Health. 2014;13(1):1-23. doi:10.1186/1476-069X-13-26.