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Dr. Melissa Pierce is a Senior Data Science Engineer at DPI in applied R&D. As a member of the wastewater-based epidemiology science team, she leads data science related research and reporting deliverables for the Illinois Wastewater Surveillance System program. The program performs testing throughout Chicago and Illinois to understand the spread of viral pathogens (e.g., SARS-CoV-2, influenza, RSV) and their impact on public health. This includes briefing partners at the Chicago Department of Public Health, Illinois Department of Public Health, and the CDC.

Melissa holds a Ph.D. in oceanography from the University of Connecticut and spent 15 years working in academia and government as a research scientist in the fields of aquatic microbiology, seafood aquaculture, and human health. She also runs her own data science consulting business, helping start-ups and small businesses in a variety of fields from environmental science to decentralized finance. Melissa is an active volunteer and board member of Sarah’s Circle, an organization helping women experiencing homelessness in Chicago. In her free time, she loves traveling (36 countries & counting), scuba diving, collecting houseplants, and her cat Mowgli.

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