Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology

Research in Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology at Duke focuses on the fate and effects of natural and anthropogenic stressors, particularly chemicals, in the environment.

Ongoing research topics include:

  • environmental implications of nanotechnology;
  • mechanisms underlying chemical fate and transport;
  • modeling of atmospheric transport and chemistry;
  • molecular mechanisms of toxicity and adaptation;
  • toxicogenomics;
  • impacts on populations, communities and ecosystems; and
  • environmental risk assessment.

Opportunities for Graduate/Undergraduate Study

The department is not currently offering a graduate curriculum in environmental chemistry and toxicology, however, there are research opportunities with the faculty members below. The department's research efforts are highly interdisciplinary and collaborative. Undergraduate students have the opportunity to pursue a civil engineering/biomedical engineering dual major, with a focus on environmental and biomedical toxicology.

Primary Faculty

Michael Howard Bergin

Michael Howard Bergin

Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research Interests: Aerosols are generated by a variety of natural and anthropogenic sources. I am interested in the processes that emit, transform and deposit particulate matter. A current focus of my research is how particles in the atmosphere directly modify the surface radiation balance of the Earth. This is of...

Mark Edward Borsuk

Mark Edward Borsuk

Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (Fall 2016)

Research Interests: Decision theory; integrated systems modeling and management; Bayesian statistics, uncertainty analysis; risk assessment; valuation methods; imprecise probabilities; sustainability science

P. Lee Ferguson

P. Lee Ferguson

Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research Interests: Environmental analytical chemistry and applications of high resolution mass spectrometry to trace organic contaminant analysis, environmental fate and effects of carbon nanomaterials in the aquatic environment, proteomics in environmental toxicology, and mechanisms of environmental endocrine...

Claudia K. Gunsch

Claudia K. Gunsch

Theodore Kennedy Associate Professor

Research Interests: Identifying genetic adaptation mechanisms resulting from anthropogenic contaminant exposure; developing biosensors capable of pathogen and contaminant detection in water and air; studying the impact of emerging contaminants on aquatic microbial ecology; and the development of novel techniques for...

Heileen Hsu-Kim

Heileen Hsu-Kim

Mary Milus Yoh and Harold L. Yoh, Jr. Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research Interests: Aquatic chemistry and geochemistry, trace element environmental chemistry, nanogeoscience, mercury biogeochemistry, water-particle surface processes.

J. Jeffrey Peirce

J. Jeffrey Peirce

Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research Interests: Environmental engineering, cyberinfrastructure networks, sensors, geotropospheric interactions, engineering systems optimization. Professor Jeffrey Peirce has been a member of the environmental engineering faculty in the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University for 28 years. He received his...

Mark Wiesner

Mark Wiesner

James B. Duke Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research Interests: Membrane processes, nanostructured materials, transport and fate of nanomaterials in the environment, colloidal and interfacial processes, and environmental systems analysis

Secondary Faculty

Richard T. Di Giulio

Richard T. Di Giulio

Professor of Environmental Toxicology

David E. Hinton

David E. Hinton

Nicholas Professor of Environmental Quality in the Nicholas School of the Environment

Dana E. Hunt

Dana E. Hunt

Assistant Professor of Microbial Ecology

Joel Meyer

Joel Meyer

Associate Professor of Environmental Genomics in the Division of Environmental Sciences and Policy

Heather M. Stapleton

Heather M. Stapleton

Dan and Bunny Gabel Associate Professor of Environmental Ethics and Sustainable Environmental Management

Avner Vengosh

Avner Vengosh

Professor of Earth and Ocean Sciences

Adjunct Faculty

Melanie Auffan

Melanie Auffan

Adjunct Assistant Professor

Jean-Yves Bottero

Jean-Yves Bottero

Adjunct Professor

Research Interests: Physical chemistry of organic, inorganic, and heterogeneous contaminants; physicochemical properties of surfaces; mechanisms of coagulation and flocculation; water and wastewater treatment

Jerome C. Rose

Jerome C. Rose

Adjunct Associate Professor

Research Interests: Relation between nanostructure of materials and their reactivity and toxicity. Characterization of the structure of ultra-small (colloids and molecular clusters), and/or amorphous and highly divided materials down to the molecular scale.

Daniel Vallero

Daniel Vallero

Adjunct Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research Interests: Measurement and modeling research in environmental systems, including high throughput risk screening, tracer studies, development of pollution collection devices, and biosystem engineering. Life cycle analysis and sustainable design.