Kendra Brown

Kendra Brown, Ph.D.

Senior Scientist
Environmental & Earth Sciences
  • CV (English)
  • Contact Card

Dr. Kendra Brown has 8 years of experience assessing the impact of air, water and soil quality on human health and ecosystem function. With expertise in microbiology, she provides consulting and litigation support to clients regarding regulatory compliance under the Clean Water Act and CERCLA. She also advises clients in assessing natural resources damages, interpreting health-based guidance, and designing programs for environmental stewardship. Dr. Brown assesses the human health and ecological consequences of bacterial and nutrient releases via sewage, industrial wastewater, stormwater and agricultural waste. In particular, she uses genetic methods for microbial source tracking to differentiate fecal indicators from human versus non-human sources. She also evaluates harmful algal and cyanobacteria blooms in fresh and saltwater, including the design of monitoring programs and development of regulatory thresholds and approaches.

Dr. Brown also applies her microbiology expertise in areas such as product development, including medical implants, microfluidic devices, and wearable products. She implements studies to monitor microbial growth on surfaces and fabrics. In both environmental and clinical contexts, she understands the strengths and limitations of a variety of microbial assays, including culture, quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), and high-throughput sequencing assays.

In addition, Dr. Brown has experience applying principles of environmental physics and chemistry to analyze contaminant fate and transport. She investigates the movement of bacteria, dissolved compounds, and non-aqueous phase liquids through unsaturated and saturated soil. She also develops and evaluates models that predict the transport of contaminants in groundwater, surface water, and river sediment.


  • 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


Brown K. (2020), Strategies for Preventing and Managing Harmful Cyanobacterial Blooms (HCBs): Genetic Methods for Identification. Interstate Technology Regulatory Council.

Brown, K., K. Murray, S. Paulsen (2019), Blooming Algae and Legal Disputes. American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, December 19, 2019.

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.


Use of Genetic Methods to Monitor Toxic Cyanobacteria Blooms. 10.5 U.S. Symposium on Harmful Algae, May 27, 2021, Virtual Conference.

Risk-based threshold for a mixture of human- and gull-associated microbial source tracking markers in recreational water: implications for regulatory programs. California Stormwater Quality Association 15th Annual Conference, October 7, 2019, Monterey, California.

Risk assessment to determine concentration threshold of gull-associated fecal marker in recreational water. North Atlantic Chapter, Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, April 8, 2019, Boston, Massachusetts.

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.

Project Experience

Evaluated the efficacy of ionization systems in removing viruses from indoor air

Researched current regulatory guidance on harmful algal blooms and evaluated the scientific basis for different threshold levels proposed by WHO, U.S. EPA, and state environmental agencies

Developed strategy regarding a Superfund (CERCLA) Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study process at a site on a tidally-influenced river with contaminated sediment

Provided mediation and litigation support for a municipal wastewater utility regarding bacterial discharges under its NPDES permit

Synthesized historical information and data regarding the ecological impacts of agriculture and urban development in a river watershed within a Natural Resources Damages Assessment (NRDA) framework

Tested a variety of textiles under consideration for wearable technology for their ability to inhibit growth of bacteria

Tested a variety of textile cleaning methods for their ability to remove or inactivate viruses

Provided design analysis and troubleshooting for a microfluidic device to test vaccines for contamination

Provided litigation support for a mining company regarding acid mine drainage at a Superfund (CERCLA) site

Researched existing and pending regulations related to fertilizer and antibiotic resistance

Created a subsurface infiltration model to predict the depth of oil accidentally released from an inland pipeline

Created a river model to estimate the fate and transport of indicator bacteria from a sewage pulse


News & Events


  • 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