Rachel Noble

Rachel Noble

Mary and Watts Hill Jr. Distinguished Professor of Marine Science

Noble Lab Website
(252) 726-6841 ext. 150
(252) 726-2426
3431 Arendell Street, Morehead City, NC 28557

Google Scholar Profile


Ph. D. Marine Biology University of Southern California,1998. Dissertation: Fates of Viruses in the Marine Environment.
B.S. Molecular Biology Carnegie Mellon University, 1991

Research Interests

Rachel Noble’s laboratory conducts research in the areas of public health, water quality, shellfish harvesting, and land-water infrastructure science. Dr. Noble’s conducts research in the areas of wastewater surveillance including pathogen quantification, predictive qualities of wastewater surveillance, and development of advanced molecular approaches. She also conducts research in the areas of wastewater and stormwater infrastructure impacts on coastal marine systems and water quality. She uses advanced molecular techniques such as qPCR, digital PCR, and sequence analysis to understand coastal water quality, public health impacts from flooding and resilience, and shellfish aquaculture. Dr. Noble works with diverse clients for research, including federal agencies such as NIH and NSF, but also metropolitan sanitation districts, municipalities, industry partners, ports, and aquaculture entities.

Research and Activities

  • COVID-19 Wastewater Surveillance
  • Molecular analysis of recreational waters, shellfish, stormwater, wastewater and drinking water to understand risk of microbial contaminants to public health
  • Shellfish aquaculture microbial contaminant mapping
  • Shellfish aquaculture based mortality studies
  • Understanding dynamics of Vibrio sp. in shellfish harvested for raw consumption
  • Work with municipalities and counties on development of pathogen surveillance programs
  • Development of new technology for wastewater surveillance
  • Understanding the relationships between the built environment, pathogens, and the community prevalence of disease.

Selected Publications

Assessing sensitivity and reproducibility of RT-ddPCR and RT-qPCR for the quantification of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater M Ciesielski, D Blackwood, T Clerkin, R Gonzalez, H Thompson, A Larson, … Journal of Virological Methods 297, 114230

SARS-CoV-2 wastewater surveillance for public health action JS McClary-Gutierrez, MC Mattioli, P Marcenac, AI Silverman, AB Boehm, … Emerging infectious diseases 27 (9)

Occurrence of male-specific and somatic coliphages and relationship with rainfall in privately-owned wells from peri‑urban and rural households MA Stallard, R Mulhern, E Greenwood, T Franklin, LS Engel, MB Fisher, … Water research X 12, 100102

The Environmental Microbiology Minimum Information (EMMI) Guidelines: qPCR and dPCR quality and reporting for environmental microbiology MA Borchardt, AB Boehm, M Salit, SK Spencer, KR Wigginton, RT Noble Environmental Science & Technology 55 (15), 10210-10223

Integrating Culture and Molecular Quantification of Microbial Contaminants into a Predictive Modeling Framework in a Low-Lying, Tidally-Influenced Coastal Watershed MT Price, AD Blackwood, RT Noble Science of The Total Environment, 148232

Differentiating between the possibility and probability of SARS-CoV-2 transmission associated with wastewater: empirical evidence is needed to substantiate risk W Ahmed, K Bibby, PM D’Aoust, R Delatolla, CP Gerba, CN Haas, … FEMS Microbes 2

Minimizing errors in RT-PCR detection and quantification of SARS-CoV-2 RNA for Wastewater Surveillance W Ahmed, S Simpson, P Bertsch, K Bibby, A Bivins, L Blackall, … Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute

Sars-Cov-2 Wastewater Surveillance for Public Health Action: Connecting Perspectives From Wastewater Researchers and Public Health Officials During a Global Pandemic J McClary-Gutierrez, M Mattioli, P Marcenac, A Silverman, A Boehm, … MDPI AG

Tracking the temporal variation of COVID-19 surges through wastewater-based epidemiology during the peak of the pandemic: a six-month long study in Charlotte, North Carolina VB Barua, MAI Juel, AD Blackwood, T Clerkin, M Ciesielski, AJ Sorinolu, …