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Michela Catena


Michela works on ITT’s sanitation team to answer biological and technical questions surrounding the design and use of the Tiger Toilet, a vermifiltration composting toilet. Before ITT, she lived in Kerala on a Fulbright scholarship studying microbial contamination in Kochi’s backwaters. Her goal was to determine the dominant source of bacterial pollution and understand the local perception of water quality and its connection to public health.

Previously, Michela worked at the Lawrence Berkeley Lab in California on a variety of projects, including purifying proteins from cyano bacteria, analyzing soil microbe metagenomics, and increasing sugar concentration in plant cell walls for biofuel development. She also volunteered with school students by guiding them through hands-on activities at the lab.

Michela graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences, and a minor in Natural Resources from Cornell University. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, and live music.