Kendra Brown
Kendra Brown, Ph.D.
Scientist
Environmental & Earth Sciences
Maynard

Dr. Brown has 5 years of experience in environmental microbiology and environmental modeling. Her work has focused on ground- and surface water contamination at recreational beaches. She has used genetic methods, especially quantitative PCR, to measure the concentrations of fecal indicators that are associated with particular animal hosts. She has developed computer models to predict the fate and transport of fecal indicators by flowing groundwater, as well as to assess the health risks of exposure to surface water containing fecal indicators from different sources. Dr. Brown’s work has focused on helping beach managers understand the sources of contamination, as well as the levels of contamination that signal swimmers are at increased risk of illness. Dr. Brown’s microbiology expertise in genetic methods has broad application, including to test indoor surfaces or foods for pathogens and various indicators.
In addition to her microbiology work, Dr. Brown has studied environmental physics and chemistry. She has primarily looked at the transport through porous media of multiple fluid phases, for example, water, oil, and air. She has used synchrotron-based microtomography to generate high-resolution, 3D images of the distribution of fluids in pore space in order to facilitate the development of models that will guide remediation efforts when oil contamination enters the unsaturated subsurface, where both water and air are present. In addition, she has worked with reactor models to compare reactive to non-reactive chemical transport, as well as to predict the partitioning of chemical species among different phases.

Dr. Brown was an instructor at Smith College, where she taught a project-based introductory environmental engineering class, Coastal Contaminants, to undergraduate students. She has also facilitated sessions to help teams of collaborating scientists articulate a shared scientific vision.

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Civil & Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, 2017
  • M.S., Environmental Engineering, Oregon State University, 2012
  • B.S., Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering, Oregon State University, 2009
  • Recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship

Publications

Brown, K.I., K.E. Graham, J.A. Soller, A.B. Boehm (2017), Estimating probability of illness due to swimming in recreational water with a mixture of human- and gull-associated microbial source tracking markers. Environmental Science: Processes and Impacts 19(12), 1528-1541. doi: 10.1039/C7EM00316A.

Brown, K.I., K.E. Graham, A.B. Boehm (2017), Risk-based threshold of gull-associated fecal marker concentrations for recreational water. Environmental Science & Technology Letters 4 (2): 44–48. doi: 10.1021/acs.estlett.6b00473.

Brown, K.I., A.B. Boehm (2016), Transport of fecal indicators from beach sand to the surf zone by recirculating seawater: laboratory experiments and numerical modeling . Environmental Science & Technology 50 (23): 12840-12847. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.6b02534.

Brown, K.I., A.B. Boehm (2015), Comparative decay of Catellicoccus marimmalium and enterococci in beach sand and seawater. Water Research 83: 377-384. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2015.06.055.
Brown, K., S. Schluter, A. Shappard, D. Wildenschild (2014). On the challenges of measuring interfacial characteristics of three-phase fluid flow with X-ray microtomography. Journal of Microscopy 253(3), 171-182. doi: 10.1111/jmi.12106.

Schluter, S., A. Sheppard, K. Brown, D. Wildenschild (2014). Image processing of multiphase images obtained via X-ray microtomography: a review. Water Resources Research 50(4), 3615-3639. doi: 10.1002/2014WR015256.

Presentations

Can gull contamination along the shoreline make swimmers sick? Environmental Science and Policy Seminar, February 2, 2017, Smith College.

Transport of and risk associated with a gull fecal DNA marker at recreational beaches. Civil and Environmental Engineering special seminar, September 21, 2016, Stanford University.

Assessing the Contribution of Birds to the Microbial Contamination of Recreational Water. Civil and Environmental Engineering departmental seminar, January 29, 2016, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Drinking Water Safety and Sustainability. Emerging Leaders in Science and Society Class of 2016 Orientation, January 16, 2016, Bainbridge Island, Washington.

Measuring interfacial areas for three immiscible fluid phases in a porous medium. American Geophysical Union 2011 Fall Meeting, San Francisco, California.

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Civil & Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, 2017
  • M.S., Environmental Engineering, Oregon State University, 2012
  • B.S., Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering, Oregon State University, 2009
  • Recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship