Introducing Danladi Yunana, PhD Student

Danladi Yunana, PhD Student, undertaking laboratory analysisDanladi Yanuna grew up without any access to water in his home. Instead, he regularly walked for 30 minutes to fill containers from the community tap, taking them home for his family to use sparingly for drinking, bathing and domestic cleaning.

Despite having to miss many days of school due to the community tap being out of order, Danladi has been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to pursue a rewarding career. He always aspired to make a positive impact, so his experiences with water meant the decision on his career path came naturally.

“The experience of seeing first-hand how water affects daily lives and how it impacted those around me was what sparked my passion for a career in the water space,” says Danladi.

After completing his Bachelor of Civil and Water Resources Engineering at the University of Maiduguri, Nigeria, Danladi then travelled abroad to Imperial College London for his Master of Science in Environmental Engineering. The opportunity to apply for a UNSW PhD Scientia Scholarship materialised in 2018 and Danladi was immediately interested.

His PhD is an industrial collaboration between the UNSW School of Chemical Engineering and Water Corporation of Western Australia to address the risk of Legionella pathogen in aeration units commonly used to treat groundwater in regional Australia. The objectives are to detect the presence of Legionella in groundwater aerators and to assess and quantify its risk to human health.

“My interest in the topic was sparked by the recent global efforts to address the risk of Legionella in water treatment systems,” says Danladi.

Danladi says that there is no standard for managing Legionella in drinking water systems worldwide, leaving plenty of room for improved health outcomes.

“The understanding and new knowledge from my research will provide insight for enhanced operation and maintenance of aeration systems to help mitigate the public health risk posed to operators of water treatment plants and neighbouring communities by Legionella,” says Danladi.

“Equally, my work has the potential to contribute towards the development of a national guidelines for managing the Legionella pathogen.”

Over the past few years Danladi has made many visits to Western Australia to inspect aeration units in metropolitan and regional Perth. During these visits, he collects samples and water quality data to fill knowledge gaps and to develop statistical models.

Danladi says that his PhD journey has given him great appreciation for the resources at UNSW, particularly its world class infrastructure and facilities. Before his PhD he was aware of UNSW’s global reputation in water related research, and with Associate Professor Pierre Le-Clech and Professor Raina C. MacyLntre as his research supervisors, his UNSW experience has been rewarding and enlightening.

My work has the potential to contribute towards the development of a national guideline for managing the Legionella pathogen.

Danladi Yunana, PhD Student

In 2019, Danladi was elected as the Research Student Officer on the Postgraduate Council (PGC) representing the over 6,000 research students community, and he is currently the President of African Students Union—the umbrella society for UNSW students of African descent.

Following his PhD, Danladi plans to seek a career in international development where he has big goals ahead of him.

“I want to use my expertise to help achieve the goal of providing universal access to safe and clean drinking water.”

Read more on Danladi's work with other UNSW researchers.

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