Elsie Sunderland

Gordon McKay Professor of Environmental Chemistry,

Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

 

Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

 

T: 617-496-0858 | Email | 29 Oxford Street, Room 127 | Research Group Home

Degrees

 

BSc 1997 (McGill University, Canada)

PhD 2003 (Simon Fraser University, Canada)

 

Short Bio

 

Elsie Sunderland is the Gordon McKay Professor of Environmental Chemistry at Harvard University. She holds faculty appointments in the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. Professor Sunderland's research aims to better understand how chemicals released by human activity interact with natural ecosystems and affect living systems. A main innovation of her 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. Prior to joining the faculty at Harvard, she spent five years working to inform environmental policy decisions with best-available science at the headquarters for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) in various offices. Her work at the U.S. EPA included regulatory impact assessments for Hazardous Air Pollutants and developing guidance on best use of environmental models to inform regulatory decisions. Much of Professor Sunderland’s recent work has focused on characterizing diverse exposure sources for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), including drinking water and seafood, and developing chemometric indicators for source attribution. She has also worked to understand the global biogeochemical cycle of mercury for more than 20 years, and presently works with the U.S. EPA and State Department to help inform the U.S. position in the UN Minamata Convention, the global treaty on anthropogenic mercury releases. She has trained >30 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and has published >100 peer-reviewed papers. She is a member of the advisory board for several journals including Environmental Science & Technology and Environmental Science Processes and Impacts.

 

Honors and Awards

2005                 US EPA Gold Medal for Exceptional Service

2008                 US EPA Level I (Highest Level) Scientific and Technological Achievement Award

2010                  US EPA Level II Scientific and Technological Achievement Award

2012                  Smith Family Foundation Award for excellence in biomedical research

2017                  Harvard Star Family Award for promising scientific research

2019, 2020         Web of Science Highly Cited Researcher

 

Active Affiliations

Director of Undergraduate Studies, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Faculty Affiliate, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences

Faculty Associate, Harvard University Center for the Environment

Faculty Associate, Harvard Center for Risk Analysis

Minamata Convention Advisory Team, U.S. EPA and State Department

Editorial Advisory Board, Environmental Science & Technology (ES&T)

Editorial Advisory Board, Environmental Science Processes and Impacts (ESPI)

 

Publications

 

Full CV (Updated 07/2021)

 

 

 

Sunderland Lab

Group Administrator: Brenda Mathieu

Address: 29 Oxford Street, Cambridge MA 02138

E-mail:  bmathieu [at] seas.harvard.edu

Phone: +1 (617) 496-5745

Fax: +1 (617) 495-4551