Environmental Science

Cross-border flow of untreated sewage and pollution through the Tijuana River Estuary (TRE) have been a public health hazard and source of contention between the United States and Mexico for decades. Pollution problems have been exacerbated by rapid population growth, straining Tijuana’s aging and undersized sewage infrastructure resulting in frequent untreated sewage spills into the Estuary, particularly during wet weather. The focus of our research in the Tijuana River Estuary is to investigate the effects of both pathogens and chemical pollutants on human and ecosystem health, providing stakeholders with the knowledge to prioritize, assess and manage these risks. Boz has assembled a highly experienced and qualified team which includes SDSU Graduate School of Public Health, Wood Lab and Statera, Inc.

The project utilizes water and sediment quality assessment, microbiology, environmental toxicology, analytical chemistry, and DNA sequencing.  Our goal is to assist in ongoing efforts to develop both real-time and long-term broad testing/monitoring programs resulting in effective mitigation strategies to minimize the human and ecological risk associated with the Tijuana River Estuary.

*For more information about this project contact goran@bozinstitute.org


Flannery McLamb

Zuying Feng

Goran Bozinovic


Damian Shea, Ph.D., Statera Environmental Inc.

Chris Stransky, M.S., WSP USA

Richard Gersberg, Ph.D., San Diego State University

Environmental Pollution and Sediment Metagenomes

Metagenomics is the DNA sequence identification of all organisms from the environment, including Boz Institute targets – the Tijuana River Estuary, wastewater, and local residential communities. With estimates of trillions of microorganisms inhabiting the earth, and less than 0.001% cultured or DNA sequence identified, the possibilities are endless. Using next-generation sequencing, our metagenomics team tests the utility of microorganisms as bioremediation tools against environmental pollutants, and studies antimicrobial resistance mechanisms and natural product discoveries for therapeutics. Can you transform global health and well-being through metagenomics?

Our scientists are pre-college and college students worried about and committed to improving environmental health in their communities. This microorganism diversity, or lack of, can suggest the presence of chemical/biological hazards in our communities. We strive to bring awareness, at the scientific and political levels by creating an open-source, interactive genome/chemical mapping tool powered by our citizen scientists.

*For more about this project, contact ken@bozinstitute.org


Ken Hirata

Salem Yohannes