Biogeochemistry of Global COntaminants

- 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 -

Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiolgy (JESEE)

Global Biogeochemical Cycles

Environmental Science & Technology Letters

Tokranov et al. 2019

Environmental Science & Technology Letters

Environmental Health Perspectives

Environmental Research

Environmental Science & Technology


Featured Paper

X.C. Hu, A.K. Tokranov, J. Liddie, X. Zhang, P. Grandjean, J.E. Hart, F. Laden, Q. Sun, L.W.Y. Yeung, E.M. Sunderland. 2019. Tap Water Contributions to Plasma Concentrations of Poly- and Perfluroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in a Nationwide Prospective Cohort of U.S. Women. Environmental Health Perspectives. 127(6), 067006.


We evaluated the contribution of drinking water PFAS to measured concentrations in serum for a cohort of US women in the Nurses Health Study.  Results were used to characterize the relative source contribution of drinking water (RSC) to overall PFAS exposures.  We compared drinking water concentrations in 1989/1990 to levels observed in the UCMR drinking water database between 2013-2015.  Results are suggestive of a temporal increase (a) but this cannot be confirmed until reporting limits in this federal database are lowered. Panel (b) shows 2013-2015 concentrations with the MDL replaced by zero.



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