Dr. Amy Zimmer-Faust

Dr. Amy Zimmer-Faust is a senior scientist in the Microbiology Department at SCCWRP with experience in the application and assessment of novel indicators for microbial source identification. Her dissertation research, conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles, focused on evaluating factors affecting the persistence and fate of microbial contaminants and indicators in coastal waters and sediments. Her post-doctoral research, conducted at the USEPA’s Western Ecology Division, focused on application of statistical modeling and microbial source tracking tools to improve understanding of microbial pollution dynamics in estuarine watersheds.

She received her Ph.D. in environmental science and engineering and her M.S. in applied ecology, both from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a B.S. in aquatic biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara.


Ph.D., environmental science and engineering, University of California, Los Angeles, 2015

M.S., environmental health sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, 2012

B.S., aquatic biology, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2009

Professional Experience

Postdoctoral Researcher/Environmental Health Scientist, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory (NHEERL), Western Ecology Division, USEPA, Newport, OR. 2016-2018

Doctoral Researcher, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, University of California at Los Angeles, CA. 2012-2015

Environmental Scientist, Resource District of the Santa Monica Mountains, CA. 2012-2014

Environmental Science Intern, Larry Walker Associates, Santa Monica, CA. 2011

Research Assistant, Maritime Environmental Research Center, Solomons, MD. 2010-2011

Graduate Trainee, UC Coastal Toxicology Course and Retreat, University of California, Davis, CA. 2009

Honors and Awards

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Division Performance Award (2017)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Incentive Honor Award (2017)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency On the Spot Service Award (2017)

NIH Grant to attend Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment Institute (QMRA), Michigan State (2016)

Dissertation Year Fellowship, UCLA (2015)

UC Mexus Dissertation Research Grant (2015)

NextProf Fall Engineering Workshop Grant, University of Michigan (2015)

Travel Grant, Institute of the Environment, UCLA (2013, 2014)

ESE Program Fee Grant, UCLA (2012, 2013)

UCLA Regents Stipend, UCLA (2011, 2012)

UCLA Regents Registration Fee Grant, UCLA (2011, 2012)

Environmental Health Sciences/ ARCO Fellowship, UCLA (2009, 2010, 2011)

Senior Honors Research Award, UCSB (2009)

Coastal Fund Undergraduate Research Grant, UCSB (2008)


Journal Articles

Zimmer-Faust, A.G., J.F. Griffith, J.A. Steele, L. Asato, T. Chiem, S. Choi, A. Diaz, J. Guzman, M. Padilla, J. Quach-Cu, V. Ruiz, B. Santos, M. Woo, S.B. Weisberg. 2022. Assessing cross-laboratory performance for quantifying coliphage using EPA Method 1642. Journal of Applied Microbiology 00:1-9.

Ahmed, W., S.L. Simpson, P.M. Bertsch, K. Bibby, A. Bivins, L.L. Blackall, S. Bofill-Mas, A. Bosch, J. Brandão, P.M. Choi, M. Ciesielski, E. Donner, N. D'Souza, A.H. Farnleitner, D. Gerrity, R. Gonzalez, J.F. Griffith, P. Gyawali, C.N. Haas, K.A. Hamilton, H.C. Hapuarachchi, V.J. Harwood, R. Haque, G. Jackson, S.J. Khan, W. Khan, M. Kitajima, A. Korajkic, G. La Rosa, B.A. Layton, E. Lipp, S.L. McLellan, B. McMinn, G. Medema, S. Metcalfe, W.G. Meijer, J.F. Mueller, H. Murphy, C.C. Naughton, R.T. Noble, S. Payyappat, S. Petterson, T. Pitkänen, V.B. Rajal, B. Reyneke, F.A. Roman Jr, J.B. Rose, M. Rusiñol, M.J. Sadowsky, L. Sala-Comorera, Y.X. Setoh, S.P. Sherchan, K. Sirikanchana, W. Smith, J.A. Steele, R. Sabburg, E.M. Symonds, P. Thai, K.V. Thomas, J. Tynan, S. Toze, J. Thompson, A.S. Whiteley, J.C. Wong, D. Sano, S. Wuertz, I. Xagoraraki, Q. Zhang, A.G. Zimmer-Faust, O.C. Shanks. 2022. Minimizing errors in RT-PCR detection and quantification of SARS-CoV-2 RNA for wastewater surveillance. Science of the Total Environment DOI:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.149877.

Rothman, J.A., T.B. Loveless, J. Kapcia III, E.D. Adams, J.A. Steele, A.G. Zimmer-Faust, K. Langlois, D. Wanless, M.L. Griffith, L. Mao, J. Chokry, J.F. Griffith, K.L. Whiteson. 2021. RNA Viromics of Southern California Wastewater and Detection of SARS-CoV-2 Single-Nucleotide Variants. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 87:e01448-21.

Zimmer-Faust, A.G., J.A. Steele, X. Xiong, C. Staley, M.L. Griffith, M.J. Sadowsky, M. Diaz, J.F. Griffith. 2021. A Combined Digital PCR and Next Generation DNA-Sequencing Based Approach for Tracking Nearshore Pollutant Dynamics Along the Southwest United States/Mexico Border. Frontiers in Marine Science DOI:10.3389/fmicb.2021.674214.

Zimmer-Faust, A.G., J.A. Steele, J.F. Griffith, K.C. Schiff. 2020. The challenges of microbial source tracking at urban beaches for Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment (QMRA). Marine Pollution Bulletin DOI:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2020.111546.

Li, X., M. Sivaganesan, C.A. Kelty, P. Clinton, J.R. Reichman, Y. Johnson, W. Matthews, S. Bailey, O.C. Shanks, A.G. Zimmer-Faust. 2019. Large-scale implementation of standardized quantitative real-time PCR fecal source identification procedures in the Tillamook Bay Watershed. PLoS ONE DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0216827.

Zimmer-Faust, A.G., C.A. Brown, A. Manderson. 2018. Statistical models of fecal coliform levels in Pacific Northwest estuaries for improved shellfish harvest area closure decision making. Marine Pollution Bulletin 137:360-369.

Zimmer-Faust, A.G., V. Thulsiraj, C. Marambio-Jones, Y. Cao, J.F. Griffith, P.A. Holden, J.A. Jay. 2017. Effect of freshwater sediment characteristics on the persistence of fecal indicator bacteria and genetic markers within a Southern California watershed. Water Research 119:1-11.

Riedel, T.E., A.G. Zimmer-Faust, V. Thulsiraj, T. Madi, K.T. Hanley, D.L. Ebentier, M. Byappanahalli, B. Layton, M.R. Raith, A.B. Boehm, J.F. Griffith, P.A. Holden, O.C. Shanks, S.B. Weisberg, J.A. Jay. 2014. Detection limits and cost comparisons of human-and gull-associated conventional and quantitative PCR assays in artificial and environmental waters. Journal of Environmental Management 136:112-120.

Hamilton, K.A., Chen, A., Johnson, E., Gitter, A., Kozak, A., Niquice, A., Zimmer-Faust, A.G., Weir, M. H., Mitchell, J., Gurian, P.L. 2018. Salmonella risks due to consumption of aquaculture-produced shrimp. Microbial Risk Analysis 9: 22-32.

Hafeznezami, S. Zimmer-Faust, A.G., Jun, D., Rugh, M.B., Haro, H.L., Park, A., Suh, J. W., Najm, T., Reynolds, M. D., Davis, J.A., Parhizkar, T., Jay, J.A. 2017. Remediation of Groundwater Contaminated with Arsenic Through Enhanced Natural Attenuation: Batch and Column Studies. Water Research 122: 545-556.

Thulsiraj, V., Zimmer-Faust, A.G., Jay, J.A. 2017. Use of viability-based methods for improved detection of recent fecal contamination in a coastal watershed near Tijuana, Mexico. Water, Air,& Soil Pollution 228(2): 63.

Hafeznezami, S., Zimmer-Faust, A.G., Davis, J., J.A. Jay. 2016. Adsorption and Desorption of Arsenate on Sandy Sediments from Contaminated and Uncontaminated Saturated Zones: Kinetic and Equilibrium Modeling. Environmental Pollution 215: 290-301.

Sanchez, H. M., Echeverria, C., Thulsiraj, V., Zimmer-Faust, A., Flores, A., Laitz, M., Healy, G., Mahendra, S., Paulson, S. E., Zhu, Y., Jay, J. A. 2016. Antibiotic Resistance in Airborne Bacteria near Conventional and Organic Beef Cattle Farms in California, USA. Water, Air, & Soil Pollution 227(8): 280.

Riedel, T.E., Thulsiraj, V., Zimmer-Faust, A.G., Dagit, R., Krug, J., Hanley, K.T., Adaamek, K., Ebentier, D. L., Torres, R., Cobian, U., Peterson, S., Jay, J.A. 2015. Long-term monitoring of molecular markers can distinguish different seasonal patterns of fecal indicating bacteria sources. Water Research 71: 227-243.

Zimmer-Faust, A.G., Thulsiraj, V., Ferguson, D., Jay, J. 2014. Performance and specificity of the Cov-IMS/ATP method for rapid detection and enumeration of enterococci in coastal environments. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 80(9): 2705-2714.

Zimmer-Faust, A.G., Tamburri, M., Ambrose, R. A. 2014. Evaluation of approaches to quantify total residual oxidants in ballast water management systems employing chlorine for disinfection. Water Science and Technology 70(10): 1585-1893.

Technical Reports

Zimmer-Faust, A.G., J.F. Griffith, J. Freshwater, J. Peng, S. Goong, S.B. Weisberg. 2022. Relationships between indicators and pathogens in shellfish and water in Newport Bay, CA. Technical Report 1193. Southern California Coastal Water Research Project. Costa Mesa, CA.

Zimmer-Faust, A.G., J.F. Griffith, S.B. Weisberg. 2021. Quantification of Sources of Fecal Pollution at Mule Creek. Technical Report 1186. Southern California Coastal Water Research Project. Costa Mesa, CA.

Steele, J.A., D. Ebentier, A.G. Zimmer-Faust, J.F. Griffith, K.C. Schiff. 2019. Los Coches Creek Microbial Source Tracking Study. Technical Report 1087. Southern California Coastal Water Research Project. Costa Mesa, CA.

Schiff, K.C., J.F. Griffith, J.A. Steele, A.G. Zimmer-Faust, J.A. Soller. 2019. Inner Cabrillo Beach Microbial Source Tracking and Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment (QMRA). Technical Report 1068. Southern California Coastal Water Research Project. Costa Mesa, CA.