- Research Group -

Our research goal is to better understand how chemicals released by human activity interact with natural ecosystems and affect living systems. A main innovation of our group’s work is to quantitatively analyze the entire exposure pathway for aquatic pollutants to identify key processes that have a large influence on their accumulation in biota. Our research approach combines environmental measurements with statistical and mechanistic simulation models to project chemical levels over space and time. This integrated approach allows us to better understand how global change (both chemical releases and climate change) will affect human and ecological health risks associated with environmental toxicants.


- Below are a selection of figures from our recent papers -

Analytica Chimica Acta

Environmental Science & Technology Letters

Environmental Science & Technology

Environmental Science & Technology

Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry

Environmental Science & Technology Letters

Global Biogeochemical Cycles

Nature Communications


Featured Paper

B. Ruyle, H. Pickard, D. LeBlanc, A. Tokranov, C. Thackray, X.C. Hu, C.D. Vecitis, E.M. Sunderland. 2021. Isolating the AFFF signature in coastal watersheds using oxidizable PFAS precursors and unexplained organofluorine. Environmental Science & Technology. 55(6): 3686-3695.


We developed a new analytical workflow to better understand the concentrations of PFAS precursors present in coastal watersheds of Cape Cod, MA and distinguish the contributions from use of Aqueous Film Forming Foams (AFFF) from other sources. We found large quantities of unidentified organofluorine in Cape Cod coastal watersheds, which warrants further investigation.


Read the Harvard press release here

- Past Research Sponsors -


Sunderland Lab

Group Administrator: Brenda Mathieu

Address: 29 Oxford Street, Cambridge MA 02138

E-mail:  bmathieu [at]

Phone: +1 (617) 496-5745

Fax: +1 (617) 495-4551