Laurel Royer
Laurel A. Royer, Ph.D.
Managing Scientist
Environmental & Earth Sciences
  • Atlanta

Dr. Royer specializes in the biodegradation and fate of perfluorinated alkyl chemicals (PFCs), hormones, pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs), and abiotic and biotic transformation of PCBs in contaminated soil. She has expertise in the area of organic chemistry, primarily in analyzing environmental fate and behavior, with additional background in environmental chemistry, analytical chemistry, and soil microbiology. During her doctoral work, she designed and implemented experimental procedures to test the amenability of fluorotelomer-based monomers to biodegradation in aerobic soils. Her analytical expertise includes fungal culturing techniques, gas chromatography with detection by electron capture, flame ionization, and mass spectroscopy (GC-ECD/FID/MS), liquid chromatography - mass spectrometry (LC/MS), and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) analyses.

Before joining Exponent, Dr. Royer attended Purdue University, serving as a research assistant in the Department of Agronomy—Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences. In addition to her graduate work, she taught courses in soil physics for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as a soil fertility course. Dr. Royer also has expertise in communicating complex scientific concepts to non-scientific audiences in remote, rural, and urban communities.

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Agronomy, Purdue University, 2011
  • M.Sc., Medicinal Chemistry, Purdue University, 2006
  • B.Sc., Chemistry, University of the Virgin Islands, 2002

Publications

Royer LA, Lee LS, Russel MA, Nies L, Turco RF. Microbial transformation of 8:2 fluorotelomer acrylate and methacrylate in aerobic soils. Chemosphere 2014; 129:54–61.

Shields WJ, Ahn S, Pietari J, Robrock K, Royer L. Atmospheric fate and behavior of POPs. Chapter 6. In: Environmental Forensics for Persistent Organic Pollutants. O’Sullivan W, Sandau C (eds), Chennai: Elsevier, pp. 199–290, 2014.

Dasu K, Royer LA, Liu J, Lee LS. Hydrolysis of fluorotelomer compounds leading to fluorotelomer alcohol production during solvent extraction of soils. Chemosphere 2010; 81(7):911–917.

Royer LA, Nyberg L. Scientific salmon monitoring project. Purdue University, 2010 and 2011.

Presentations

Royer LA, Lee LS. Biodegradation potential of fluorotelomer acrylate and methacrylate in aerobic soil. Platform presentation at SETAC North America 31st Annual Meeting, Portland, OR, November 7–11, 2010.

Royer LA, Dasu K, Liu J, Lee LS. Ester hydrolysis of fluorotelomer stearate and acrylate in soil. Presentation at the EmCon Meeting, Fort Collins, CO, August 4–7, 2009.

Professional Affiliations

The American Chemical Society—ACS

Society for Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology—SETAC

National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers—NOBCChE

Project Experience

Perfluorinated Alkyl Substances (PFAS), Including Perfluooctane Sulfonate (PFOS), Perfluooctanoic Acid (PFOA), and Related Work

Conducted and evaluated studies of PFAS in rivers, including evaluations of surface water and sediments and assessments of PFAS levels in fish, as well as potential related bioaccumulation in the food chain. Studies have included the design and implementation of sampling and analysis plans. Related contracting and oversight of laboratories with established capabilities for PFAS analysis has built a knowledge base of North American laboratories with this specialized analytical expertise.

In a litigation matter, investigated a site affected by aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF), which contains PFAS. Assessed transport and fate of PFAS and its resulting distribution across the site in environmental media (soil and water). Evaluated water treatment options and their efficacy, to incorporate appropriate measures into an overall environmental management program.

Reviewed global body of laws and regulations regarding PFAS, to assimilate a comprehensive background body of knowledge, including the UNEP/Stockholm Convention, the European regulatory climate (e.g., Sweden, Norway, Germany, UK), and state regulations in the U.S. In specific U.S. states, studied the regulations, fish advisories, impairment listings, and other regulatory publications. Served on project teams that created comprehensive reports on the topics.

Actively monitoring developments in PFAS studies to stay abreast of the state of the science. Areas of inquiry include environmental transport and fate (biodegradation, WWTP processes, water, groundwater, and soil), and to a less prominent extent thus far, human health (including epidemiology, toxicology, data from NHANES surveys, and other endeavors). Knowledge base includes PFAS biotransformation in environmental systems, PFAS precursors, and fluorotelomer compounds (e.g., 8:2 FTOH). Also established comprehensive expertise on PFAS chemistry and uses, including synthesis and manufacture (e.g., electrochemical fluorination, fluorotelomerization), chemistry of AFFF, and compositions of formulations that historically entered the global market, as well as those currently in use.

Evaluated the biodegradation of fluorotelomer-based monomers in soil to determine transformation to fluorotelomer alcohol (FTOH), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and other fluorotelomer and perfluorinated carboxylic acid (FTCA and PFCA) metabolites using GC/MS and LC/MS analysis.

Aquatic Toxicity Studies

Coordinated a team that developed a verification and validation program to ensure accurate documentation of aquatic toxicity test methods, and reporting of test results and study performance as they apply to exposure/toxicity assessments of oil and oil components to many marine species. Work included development of a standard operating procedure (SOP) manual; implementation of a reporting system to notify commercial and academic testing labs of emerging issues; development of a knowledge base concerning EPA, ASTM, and ISO aquatic toxicity guidance documents for the conduct of standard toxicity tests; and preparing internal verification/validation reports on behalf of a client.

Other Work

Reviewed analytical results, historical documents, and other site-specific data to support environmental forensics evaluation of former MGP sites.

In an insurance claim litigation matter, led a team that reviewed historical documents, and contaminant concentrations in soils and water, to develop a case that would support reimbursement remediation and responsibility for other costs, as defined by the insurance policy period.

In support of a project to determine applicability of CERCLA Petroleum Exclusion at the site, compiled and reviewed data for samples taken from a closed oil refinery.

Compiled and reviewed data relevant to understanding the distribution of dispersants used during a major oil spill.

Assisted with a study design focused on the determination of dispersant markers in water, based on the application of oil spill dispersants.

Reviewed relevant literature on photodegradation of PAHs in water to support sample analysis results from data related to an oil spill.

Reviewed literature related to sedimentation rates to support Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) in the Gulf of Mexico.

Evaluated the biodegradation of fluorotelomer-based monomers in soil to determine transformation to fluorotelomer alcohol (FTOH), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and other fluorotelomer and perfluorinated carboxylic acid (FTCA and PFCA) metabolites using GC/MS and LC/MS analysis.

Assessed the dechlorination potential of zero-valent iron complexes in PCB-contaminated soil.

Designed and performed the synthesis of peptides and other organic products for application as peptidomimetic compounds.

Performed NMR and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) confirmation of synthesis products.

Served as co-education and outreach coordinator for collaborative environmental monitoring program with Native Alaskan Villages.

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Agronomy, Purdue University, 2011
  • M.Sc., Medicinal Chemistry, Purdue University, 2006
  • B.Sc., Chemistry, University of the Virgin Islands, 2002