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Rachel Noble

Mary and Watts Hill Jr. Distinguished Professor

Dr. Noble is an environmental molecular microbiologist, with expertise across freshwater, estuarine, and coastal systems. The primary research focus of the Noble lab is the application of molecular approaches, such as qPCR, digital droplet PCR and next generation sequencing, to develop an understanding of pathogen dynamics and Vibrio sp. ecology. Two specific areas of expertise are in the quantification of human viral pathogens, such as norovirus and adenovirus, and bacterial pathogens such as Salmonella sp. and Campylobacter spp., in stormwater, wastewater and aquaculture relevant environments, and the study of the pathogenicity of Vibrio sp. such as Vibrio vulnificus and Vibrio parahaemolyticus, currently two of the most important agents of seafood-borne disease globally.

Areas of Expertise/Research Interests:

  • Quantification of viral and bacterial pathogens in complex water matrices
  • Development of rapid, quantitative molecular approaches for public notification
  • Public health risk related to recreational use of waterbodies and seafood consumption
  • Fate and transport of pathogens in wastewater and in stormwater



  • Director, Institute for the Environment/Institute of Marine Sciences Morehead City Field Site, 2003-present



  • Town of Beaufort Stormwater Advisorty Committee
  • National Water Quality Monitoring Council
  • NSF Partnerships in Innovation: Rapid, quantitative, molecular diagnostics for virulent Vibrio pathogens in water and shellfish
  • NC Creativity Hubs: Dynamics of Extreme Events, People, and Places (DEEPP) Hub
  • Port of San Diego: Research to assess microbial contaminants in San Diego Bay in the context of aquaculture development

Areas of Expertise

Environment & Ecology

Contact Info

252.726.6841 ext 150 Lab Website


Ph.D. University of Southern California (1998)
B.S. Carnigie Mellon University (1991)

Lab Members

Mark Ciesielski - MS
Matthew Price - PhD
Mark Stoops - MS