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


Phillips, Allison L., and Heather M. Stapleton. “Inhibition of Human Liver Carboxylesterase (hCE1) by Organophosphate Ester Flame Retardants and Plasticizers: Implications for Pharmacotherapy..” In Toxicological Sciences : An Official Journal of the Society of Toxicology, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1093/toxsci/kfz149.
Dembsey, Nicholas A., Frederick M. Brokaw, Heather M. Stapleton, Robin E. Dodson, Joy Onasch, Elisa Jazan, and Courtney C. Carignan. “Intervention to reduce gymnast exposure to flame retardants from pit foam: A case study..” Environment International 127 (June 2019): 868–75. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2019.01.084.
Kassotis, Christopher D., Erin M. Kollitz, Kate Hoffman, Julie Ann Sosa, and Heather M. Stapleton. “Thyroid receptor antagonism as a contributory mechanism for adipogenesis induced by environmental mixtures in 3T3-L1 cells..” The Science of the Total Environment 666 (May 2019): 431–44. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.02.273.
Boer, Jacob de, and Heather M. Stapleton. “Toward fire safety without chemical risk..” Science (New York, N.Y.) 364, no. 6437 (April 18, 2019): 231–32. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aax2054.
Doherty, Brett T., Kate Hoffman, Alexander P. Keil, Stephanie M. Engel, Heather M. Stapleton, Barbara D. Goldman, Andrew F. Olshan, and Julie L. Daniels. “Prenatal exposure to organophosphate esters and behavioral development in young children in the Pregnancy, Infection, and Nutrition Study..” Neurotoxicology 73 (April 3, 2019): 150–60. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuro.2019.03.007.

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