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About the Noble Lab


Dr. Noble’s research program is balanced between applied environmental microbiology research and the study of marine microbial food webs.

In applied settings, she conducts research to advance molecular methods for application to water resources (stormwater, wastewater, drinking water and recreational waters) with the specific aim of working with stakeholders to manage and reduce fecal contamination and the risk of adverse health outcomes to people.

Join the Noble Lab!


We currently have a post-doctoral research position open. Learn more.

Our Projects


News Spotlight


Doing COVID-19 Dirty Work
Employing wastewater epidemiology — proven useful in outbreaks of polio and opioid use — UNC microbiologist Rachel Noble is leading a state-wide collaboration tracking novel coronavirus outbreaks across North Carolina, gaining insight that testing individuals does not offer. Read more.


Research Areas


  • Developing and validating new tools for water quality and food safety testing, including recreational waters and shellfish
  • Revolutionizing the development of molecular quantification approaches for pathogenic Vibrios
  • Sequence analyses of Vibrio as a “player” in the microbial ecology of estuaries, roles of storms and resuspension
  • Development of new rapid molecular techniques for application to drinking water, aquaculture, and stormwater
  • Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment for coastal systems on both coasts
  • Development of new methods for drinking water, and produce wash, utilizing rapid molecular methods
  • Development of new diagnostic tools for Vibrio sp. quantification in shellfish, water and other foods
  • Incorporating microbial source tracking and viral pathogen measures for Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment approaches using digital droplet PCR
  • Assessment of the relationships between coliphage and viral pathogens such as norovirus and adenovirus in complex wastewater discharge settings
  • Bioinformatics to understand the virulence of Vibrio pathogens

If interested in these areas please contact Dr. Noble, as she is actively searching for qualified students interested in pursuing graduate education at UNC Chapel Hill.

Rachel T. Noble
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