Academic Credentials
  • Ph.D., Environment, Duke University, 2013
  • B.A., Biochemistry, University of San Diego, 2008
Licenses & Certifications
  • Integrated Toxicology & Environmental Health Program Certificate (ITEHP)
Professional Honors
  • Student Travel Award, International Conference on the Environmental Effects of Nanoparticles and Nanomaterials, Banff, AB, CA (2012)
  • Student Platform Presentation Award, 3rd place, International Conference on the Environmental Effects of Nanoparticles and Nanomaterials, Clemson, SC (2010)
  • Student Travel Award, International Conference on the Environmental Effects of Nanoparticles and Nanomaterials, Clemson, SC (2010)
  • SETAC Student Travel Award, SETAC North America Meeting, New Orleans, LA (2009)
  • The Explorer’s Club Exploration Fund Grant ($3000): “Impact of oil-derived pollutants on marine ecosystems surrounding shipwrecks off the U.S. East Coast.” (2009)
  • Outstanding Research Award, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of San Diego, San Diego, CA (2008)
Professional Affiliations
  • Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC), member since 2008
  • Southern California Chapter of SETAC, member since 2016, Board member 2019-2021
  • American Chemical Society (ACS), member since 2011

Dr. Ashley Parks has a background in environmental chemistry and toxicology, including the environmental fate and effects of nanomaterials, sediment quality assessment, and contaminant bioavailability and bioaccumulation. She has planned and executed local and regional water quality monitoring programs and field sampling events involving both sediment and water collection for organic and inorganic contaminant analysis.   

Dr. Parks led an intercalibration study for more than ten toxicity testing laboratories and has experience conducting sediment and water column toxicity tests using standard methods, including Toxicity Identification Evaluation (TIE) methods. Dr. Parks is proficient in several analytical techniques and their sample preparation methods, including near infrared fluorescence spectroscopy (NIRF), graphite furnace atomic absorption spectroscopy (GFAA), inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES), ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy (UV-Vis), radioisotope analysis (liquid scintillation counting and catalytic combustion of organic samples), and density gradient ultracentrifugation.

Before joining Exponent, Dr. Parks was a Scientist at Southern California Coastal Water Research Project (SCCWRP) in Costa Mesa, CA, and a National Research Council Postdoctoral Research Associate at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) in Narragansett, RI.

Dr. Parks has collaborated with local, state, and federal agencies on projects including:

  • Investigating the toxicity, bioaccumulation, biodegradability, and trophic transfer potential of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT) in estuarine systems
  • Evaluating the concentration, form, and toxicity of copper leached from various types of pressure-treated lumber, including micronized and nano-copper azole (MCA), alkaline copper quaternary (ACQ), and chromated copper arsenate (CCA)
  • Assisting in the development of the California Human Health Sediment Quality Objective (HHSQO) Assessment Framework, which links potential human health risk to sediment quality
  • Planning and leading a bioaccumulation study in San Diego Bay to compare measured fish tissue PCB, DDT, chlordane, and dieldrin concentrations to estimated values from the HHSQO model
  • Using PCB, DDT, chlordane, and dieldrin sediment concentrations and water column and sediment passive sampler concentrations in the HHSQO model to estimate the bioaccumulation potential in local fish species
  • Planning and leading a copper site-specific objective study in Marina del Rey Harbor using the water effect ratio (WER) method applied to field-collected samples and a predicted WER using the copper biotic ligand model (BLM)
  • Building a 20-year historical database of water quality parameters measured in freshwater systems in Los Angeles and Ventura County, identifying data gaps in the parameters necessary to apply the freshwater copper BLM, and designing and implementing a field sampling program to fill those data gaps
  • Chairing the Toxicity sub-committee of the 2018 Southern California Bight Regional Monitoring Program (Bight '18)
  • Designing and building a laboratory-based exposure system with automated controls for pH, temperature, and dissolved oxygen, to better explore the biological impacts of ocean acidification, hypoxia, and warming conditions on benthic and aquatic marine organisms
  • Investigating the individual and combined impacts of sediment contamination and ocean acidification conditions on benthic organisms