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Worth Calfee, Ph.D.

Research Microbiologist
EPA's Center for Environmental Solutions and Emergency Response

Current Research

My research focuses on development and evaluation of sampling, decontamination, and waste management techniques that support EPA’s homeland security-related mission space. Following a biological contamination incident, its necessary to; determine the extent and magnitude of contamination, mitigate exposure risk, decontaminate affected areas, and manage (transport, treat, sample, dispose) wastes generated during the response. My research characterizes the factors that impact each of these response activities and utilizes that information to develop new or enhance existing sampling, decontamination, and waste management techniques and strategies. 

Why This Science Matters

My science improves our Nation’s ability to respond to and recover from a biological incident.  Remediation following a biological incident is challenging.  Every response activity has an impact on other aspects of the response. My research helps optimize response operations by enhancing methods for decontamination, sampling, and waste management, while keeping in mind that everything is connected. My ultimate objective is to develop effective, efficient, and feasible capabilities for incident response operations.  


2007 Ph.D. in Coastal Ecology – Coastal Resources Management (focus on Estuarine and Coastal Microbial Ecology), East Carolina University
1999 B.S. in Biology (focus on Molecular Biology), East Carolina University


2018 EPA Office of Research and Development (ORD) Bronze Award – For Collaboration with the UK Government and transfer of critical knowledge across the US Government to increase preparedness response to chemical warfare agent release Note: There was no year on the profile. 
2017 EPA Office of Land and Emergency Management(OLEM) – Excellence in OLEM Partnerships, for “In recognition of outstanding collaborative efforts in the planning and execution of the Underground Transportation Restoration Operational Technology Demonstration” 
2017 EPA ORD Bronze Medal - Managing Highly Pathogenic Wastewater Team 
2016 EPA Gold Medal - Ebola Response Team
2016 ORD Honor Award - National Homeland Security Resource Center Extraordinary Technical Assistance in the Office of Emergency Management in Response to DoD’s Anthrax Sample Incident
2015 EPA STAA Level III – Development and Application of Test Methods to Evaluate Biological-Terror-Agent Surface Sampling
2014 Exceptional/Outstanding ORD Technical Assistance to the Regions or Program Offices – Methyl Bromide (MeBr) Operational Field Fumigation Study Team

EPA Publications

Worth Calfee's research publications in the EPA Science Inventory
Science Matters Newsletter: Meet EPA Microbiologist Worth Calfee, Ph.D.

Related Resources

Homeland Security Research Program
Center for Environmental Solutions and Emergency Response (CESER)
Contact CESER