Gerardo (Jerry) Lopez

Assistant Professor and STEM Extension Specialist
(520) 621- 4399
ACBS, Room 211

School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences
The University of Arizona
1117 E. Lowell St. Room 211
Tucson, AZ 85721

B.S. - Botany and Zoology -  Western New Mexico University

M.A.T. - Master of Arts in Teaching - Western New Mexico University

Ph.D.     Soil, Water and Environmental Science emphasis in Environmental Microbiology - The University of Arizona


As an Assistant Extension Specialist 4-H STEM Youth Development Dr. Lopez is working with several people in developing YOUniversity summer camps in various STEM focus areas. These summer camps would focus on animal science, engineering, food safety, chemistry, and several others that would aim at providing lab experiences for middle school and high school youth throughout the state. In addition to making these summer camps available to current 4-H clubs throughout the 15 counties in Arizona the group plans to expand the 4-H club concept into 4-H after school clubs throughout the state. They have partnered with the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) in offering the 4-H after school STEM clubs that culminate in the YOUniversity summer camps.

Research Interests

Dr. Lopez’s current research focuses on food safety, water quality and transmission of pathogens in indoor environments. The detection of viruses and bacteria in environmental water samples (lakes and rivers used for recreation, agriculture irrigation systems, potable distribution systems) and fresh produce such as leafy greens is critical to reducing the risk to humans from contact with fresh produce and contaminated water. Through the utilization of quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) molecular methods they detect pathogenic microorganisms such as viruses (Norovirus) and bacteria (Salmonella) in order to determine how contaminated various types of environmental waters are. They plan to expand detection methods by using droplet digital (ddPCR) a cutting edge detection platform for detection of pathogens in very small quantities. In addition, understanding the presence and transmission of microbial pathogens in long-term care facilities, outpatient clinics, hospitals, and other indoor environments such as offices and schools is essential in developing better hygenic strategies in reducing the risk of exposure to these dangerous viruses and bacteria. In this area of research, cultural methods are used in conjunction with molecular detection methods specific for each microorganism in order to compare viable but nonculturable organisms.

Laboratory Members

Daniela de Jesus Cabrera – University of Arizona Graduate Student, Masters in Applied Biosciences

David (Andy) Diaz - Volunteer, B.S. Molecular and Cellular Biology

Evelyn Teresa Martinez- University of Arizona Undergraduate Student, Animal Science

Selected Publications

Charles P. Gerba, Gerardo U. Lopez, Luisa A. Ikner*. 2015. Distribution of Bacteria in Dental Offices and the Impact of Hydrogen Peroxide Disinfecting Wipes. Journal of Dental Hygiene. Accepted pending final proofs.

Charles P. Gerba, Laura Y. Sifuentes, Gerardo U. Lopez*, Sherif Abd-Elmaksoud, Jesse Calabrese, Benjamin Tanner. 2015. Wide Spectrum Activity of Silver-Impregnated Fabric. American Journal of Infection Control.

Charles P. Gerba, Adam L. Wuollet, Peter K. Raisanen, Gerardo U. Lopez*. 2015. Bacterial Contamination of Computer Touch Screens. American Journal of Infection Control.

Gerardo U. Lopez*, Masaaki Kitajima, Samendra P. Sherchan, Jonathan D. Sexton, Laura Y. Sifuentes, Charles P. Gerba, Kelly A. Reynolds. 2015. Impact of Disinfectant Wipes on the Risk of Campylobacter jejuni Infection Raw Chicken Preparation in Domestic Kitchens. Journal of Applied Microbiology. DOI:10.1111/jam.12834. Published ahead of print May 2015.

Gerardo U. Lopez, Masaaki Kitajima, Aaron Havas, Kelly A. Reynolds*. 2014. Evaluation of a Disinfectant Wipe Intervention on Fomite-to-Finger Microbial Transfer. Applied Environmental Microbiology, 2014, 80:10 3113-3118. DOI:10.1128/AEM.04235-13. Published ahead of print 7 March 2014

Gerardo U. Lopez*, Charles P. Gerba, Akrum H. Tamimi, Masaaki Kitajima, Sheri L. Maxwell, Jone B. Rose. 2013. Transfer Efficiency of Bacteria and Viruses From Porous and Nonporous Fomites to Fingers Under Different Relative Humidity Conditions. Applied Environmental Microbiology, 2013, 79:18 5728-5734. DOI: 10.1128/AEM.01030-13. Published ahead of print 12 July 2013.