Academic Credentials
  • Ph.D., Oceanography (Geochemistry), University of California, San Diego, 2005
  • B.S., Environmental Engineering Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 1999
Professional Honors
  • Recipient of the Environmental Protection Agency STAR graduate fellowship
Professional Affiliations
  • American Chemical Society
  • American Society of Microbiology

Dr. Karen J. Murray is an environmental chemist and microbiologist who investigates the fate and transport of contaminants such as petroleum, mercury, and other metals in environmental systems. Her work involves a variety of environmental contexts, including litigation support, site assessment, and regulatory compliance.

Dr. Murray has advised clients on technical matters related to major oil spills and natural resource damage assessment (NRDA) cases. She specializes in the use of environmental forensics to determine the source of environmental contamination and the evaluation of interactions between microorganisms and chemicals that may alter the potential toxicity or mobility of contaminants. Dr. Murray is experienced in the application of oil spill fate and transport models and helps clients understand how models can be used defensibly to supplement available environmental data in complex cases.

Dr. Murray applies cutting-edge analytical techniques, such as non-traditional stable isotope analysis and molecular biological analyses to answer questions related to biodegradation, NRDA, and environmental forensics applications. Her background in analytical chemistry allows her to evaluate and interpret large environmental data sets for a variety of chemicals of interest to her clients. In particular, she has provided technical consulting on cases of mercury contamination, focusing on the complex chemical and biological reactions that control the methylation and, therefore, toxicity of this metal.

She has also worked extensively on petroleum hydrocarbon fingerprinting to identify the source and extent of contamination from oil spills, leaking tanks and other accidental releases. She has participated in the design and implementation of field and laboratory studies to determine the behavior of organic and inorganic chemicals in complex environmental media and provides support in related litigation matters.