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Elizabeth Scott

Elizabeth Scott
Associate Professor
Science Center, S257

Co-director of the Simmons Center for Hygiene and Health in Home and Community


M.I. Biol in Applied Biology
Manchester Metropolitan University, UK

M. Phil & Ph.D. (Microbiology)
London University, UK

Research Interests

Since undergraduate training as a microbiologist, I have been interested in the field of microbial environmental hygiene.

My introduction into this field came with an appointment to a large industry-based research project to evaluate the bacterial content of the domestic environment and to examine the effectiveness of disinfectants in the home. Following this project, I undertook further university-based research on the effectiveness of surface disinfectants under 'in-use' conditions. My Ph.D research focused on the survival and transfer of potential pathogens on inanimate surfaces and provided further insight into the chain of events which can result in errors of hygiene and the possible consequences of such errors.

It has become clear that while foodborne disease is one of the major preventable hygiene problems, there are many other related hygiene issues both in the home, in the community in general and in the food and hospitality industry. These include preventing the spread of specific hygiene-related infections such as dysentery and enteric viruses as well as the general care of the young, the elderly and immune-compromised individuals in the home, community homes, daycare, pre-schools, schools etc.

I have been involved in developing an approach to hygiene practice (Targeted hygiene) based upon a risk analysis of an environment and its occupants. The aim is to recognize the level of risk and to produce an appropriate and flexible hygiene policy, including the use of effective disinfection procedures where appropriate, applicable to all community-based settings. While the basic framework is in place there are still elements that need to be resolved in applied research. In recent years, there has been a massive increase in interest in consumer antimicrobial products and the risk framework provides a focus for assessing the potential hygiene contribution of various product categories.

Above all, perhaps the strongest driving force throughout my work has been the desire to offer information on matters of hygiene. Hygiene practice is not just a matter of common sense, there are many aspects that have to be learned and understood. My research has been of an applied nature and I have always tried to interpret the findings for the non-scientific audience who need to put the information into practice.

The research in my Simmons lab is also of an applied nature and allows undergraduate students to get involved in developing methodologies for applied research projects and also, to get published in peer review journals ( indicated by * in Selected publications and Recent posters )

In 2004, I was involved in the launch of the Simmons College Center for Hygiene and Health in Home and Community

Advisory Boards (current)


I have consulted with industry on consumer microbiological hygiene matters including concept development, development of 'in-use' testing and advising on research needs, preparation of educational material, supporting presentations to Government agencies and PR support for home hygiene. Clients have included major international companies such as Levers (UK), L&F, Reckitt & Colman (UK & USA) , Reckitt Benckiser, Procter & Gamble, 3M, Dial, Georgia Pacific, Manning Selvage and Lee, Fleishman-Hillard USA & Canada, Sudler & Hennessey, Milan, Italy.

Selected Publications

*Simmons students Elizabeth Scott, Susan Duty and Karen McCue.  2009.  A Critical Evaluation of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and other bacteria of medical interest on commonly touched household surfaces in relation to household demographics. American Journal of Infection Control.

Scott, Elizabeth. 2009. Foodborne Illness. In A Dietician's Pocket Guide to Nutrition. Editors Herbold and Edelstein. Published by Jones and Bartlett  

Public Health Agency of Canada with assistance of Elizabeth Scott. 2009. Cleaning Recommendations to Reduce the Risk of Gastrointestinal Illness Within the Home.

Elizabeth Scott & Nancie Herbold. Submitted 3/09.  An In-home Video Study and Questionnaire Survey of Food Preparation, Kitchen Sanitation, and Hand Washing Practices for  publication in the Journal of Environmental Health as a Feature article.

Elizabeth Scott. Op-ed on Norovirus. "Wash your hands; stave off flu virus" Eureka (CA) Sunday Reporter. February 3, 2008

Nancie Herbold and Elizabeth Scott. 2008. A pilot study describing infant formula preparation and feeding practices. International Journal of Environmental Health Research. 18, 6, 451-459.

Bloomfield, S, Exner, M, Farra, GM & Scott, EA. 2008. Prevention of the spread of infection- the need for a family —centeredapproach to hygiene education. Eurosurveillance, 13(22):pll=18889
Available online:

Elizabeth Scott, PhD, Susan Duty, PhD  and Maureen Callahan*, BS. 2008. A Pilot Study to Isolate Staphylococcus aureus and MRSA from Environmental surfaces in the Home. American Journal of Infection Control, 36, 6, 458-460.

Scott, Elizabeth. 2008.  Foodborne Illness.   In   A Nurse's Pocket Guide to Nutrition Problems in Patient Care. Herbold, N and Edelstein, S.  Published by Jones and Bartlett.

Elizabeth Scott, PhD and Karabeth Vanick*, BA. 2007.  A survey of hand hygiene practices on a college campus. American Journal of Infection Control, 35, 10, 694-696.

Scott, Elizabeth. 2003. Food safety and foodborne disease in the 21st century. Canadian Journal of Infection. 14, 5, 277-280

Duff, Steven B. & Scott, Elizabeth A. et al 2003. The Cost Effectiveness of a Targeted Disinfection Program in Household Kitchens to Prevent Foodborne illness in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Journal of Food Protection. 66, 11, 2103-2115.

Scott, Elizabeth. 2002. Bacterial Biocontamination in Residential Settings. Encyclopedia of Environmental Microbiology.  Published by John Wiley & Sons, New York.

Scott, Elizabeth.  2001.  Use of Antimicrobials in the Home: Benefits and Concerns. In: Disinfection, Sterilization, and Antisepsis. Principles and Practices in Healthcare Facilities. Edited by William A. Rutala. Published by APIC. Wahington D.C. p206-217.

Scott, Elizabeth, Gaber Donna J. & Cusack, Timothy J. 2001. Control of Infection from Animate and Inanimate Surfaces in the Home, Daycare Settings, and Long Term Residential Care Settings.  In Disinfection, Sterilization, and Preservation.  Editor S. S. Block.  Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore MD

Scott, Elizabeth. 2001. Developing a Rational Approach to Hygiene in the Domestic Setting. Journal of Infection, 43, 1

Sattar, SA., Springthorpe, S., Mani, S., Gallant, M., Nair, RC, Kain, J and Scott, E.  2001. Transfer of bacteria from fabrics to hands and other fabrics: development and application of a quantitative method using Staphylococcus aureus as a model. Journal of Applied Microbiology. 90, 962-970

Scott, Elizabeth. 2001. The Potential benefits of Infection Control Measures in the Home. American Journal of Infection Control supplement: Euroconference-Hygiene and Health. 29, 4, S247-S249

Scott, Elizabeth. 2000. Relationship between cross-contamination and the transmission of food borne pathogens in the home.  Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal.  19: S111-3

Scott, Elizabeth. 2000 Food Safety in the Home.  In SAFE HANDLING OF FOODS.  Editors J.N. Farber and E.C.D.Todd. Marcel Dekker, New York.

Recent posters presented at professional meetings

*Simmons students Mrinmoyee Das*,  Elizabeth Scott and Vladimir Douhovnikoff.  Microbial Ecology of inanimate surfaces and the effect of disturbance.  ENEBC, UMASS Lowell, 4/2009

Erica N. Boswell*, David Gullette, PhD and Elizabeth Scott, PhD. . A pilot study to evaluate efficiency of plastic Biosand filtration units in removing coliforms from drinking water:  A model for application to rural communities in the developing world. Muddy River Symposium 4/2009 and ENEBC, 4/2009  
Note: this poster has been accepted for presentation at the APHA annual meeting in Philadelphia in November 09.

Elizabeth Scott and Nancie Herbold,  2008. An In-Home Video Study of Consumer Food Preparation and Sanitation Practices.  American Public Health Association Annual Meeting. San Diiego, CA. 10/2008.

Elizabeth Scott and Karabeth Vanick* , 2007. A survey of hand hygiene practices on the Simmons campus using Zoomerang. Simmons College Faculty Showcase.

Diana Bruen* and Elizabeth Scott, PhD. Premature spoilage of pre-packaged spinach.  2007. Society for Applied Bacteriology Annual Meeting. Cardiff, Wales.

Asja Asceric* and Elizabeth Scott, PhD. Pre-packaged spinach: Is bagged better? 2007. Society for Applied Bacteriology Annual Meeting. Cardiff, Wales.

Susan Duty, Elizabeth Scott, Vivian Rabe*, Martha Guimond*, Kathleen Simpson*, Maureen Callahan*, Julia Clark*, JulieDelprato*, Kristen Bourque*. A pilot study to identify the distribution and determinants of indicator and pathogenic target bacteria in homes with healthcare workers, young children and pets. 2006. APHA Annual Meeting. Boston.

Nancie Herbold and Elizabeth Scott. A pilot study describing infant formula preparation and feeding practices of mothers. 2006. APHA Annual Meeting. Boston.

Oskwarek, Laura* and Scott, E. 2004. Developing a model for characterizing the cleaning properties of different mopping procedures under practical conditions. Eastern New England Biological Conference. Quincy College, April 24.