Heather M. Stapleton

Heather M. Stapleton

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

Chair, EEH Program

Dr. Stapleton's research focuses on understanding the fate and transformation of organic contaminants in aquatic systems and in indoor environments. Her main focus has been on the bioaccumulation and biotransformation of brominated flame retardants, and specifically polybrominated diphenyl ethers,(PBDEs). Her current research projects explore the routes of human exposure to flame retardant chemicals and examine the way these compounds are photodegraded and metabolized using mass spectrometry to identify breakdown products/metabolites. She uses both in vivo techniques iwth fish, and in vitro techniques with cell cultures to examine metabolism of this varied class of chemicals. Also of interest to Dr. Stapleton is the study of the fate of PBDEs in the environment which may lead to bioaccumulation in aquatic systems and examining their bioavailability under different environmental conditions.

In The News


Tuttle, AH, Salazar, G, Cooper, EM, Stapleton, HM, and Zylka, MJ. "Choice of vehicle affects pyraclostrobin toxicity in mice.(Accepted)" Chemosphere 218 (March 2019): 501-506.

Gibson, EA, Stapleton, HM, Calero, L, Holmes, D, Burke, K, Martinez, R, Cortes, B, Nematollahi, A, Evans, D, and Herbstman, JB. "Flame retardant exposure assessment: findings from a behavioral intervention study." Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology 29, no. 1 (January 2019): 33-48.

Gibson, EA, Stapleton, HM, Calero, L, Holmes, D, Burke, K, Martinez, R, Cortes, B, Nematollahi, A, Evans, D, Anderson, KA, and Herbstman, JB. "Differential exposure to organophosphate flame retardants in mother-child pairs." Chemosphere 219 (December 4, 2018): 567-573.

Kassotis, CD, Nagel, SC, and Stapleton, HM. "Unconventional oil and gas chemicals and wastewater-impacted water samples promote adipogenesis via PPARγ-dependent and independent mechanisms in 3T3-L1 cells." The Science of the Total Environment 640-641 (November 2018): 1601-1610.

Messerlian, C, Williams, PL, Mínguez-Alarcón, L, Carignan, CC, Ford, JB, Butt, CM, Meeker, JD, Stapleton, HM, Souter, I, Hauser, R, and EARTH Study Team, . "Organophosphate flame-retardant metabolite concentrations and pregnancy loss among women conceiving with assisted reproductive technology." Fertility and Sterility 110, no. 6 (November 2018): 1137-1144.e1.

Recent Grants


ENVIRON 593: Independent Studies and Projects (ENVIRON 593: Independent Studies and Projects)
ENVIRON 898: Program Area Seminar (ENVIRON 898: Program Area Seminar)
ENVIRON 394: Research Independent Study (ENVIRON 394: Research Independent Study)
ENVIRON 780: Environmental Exposure Analysis (ENVIRON 780: Environmental Exposure Analysis)
ENVIRON 360: Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology (ENVIRON 360: Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology)

Research@Nicholas: Environmental Contaminants

Contact Information

Box 90328
Durham, NC 27708-0328
9 Circuit Drive, Box 90328, LSRC Room A207
Durham, NC 27710


Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park (2003)
M.S., University of Maryland, College Park (2000)
B.S., Long Island University Southhampton College (1997)

Additional Resources