Plastic Pollution Working Group Members

Liz DeMattia

Liz DeMattia

Research Scientist/Director Community Science Initiative/Duke Marine Lab
Email 

I am an ecologist interested in the intersection of science and community. I am currently working on issues of plastic pollution education from a marine debris perspective and a stormwater/microplastic perspective. I have written curricula regarding marine debris (elementary) and community science and microplastics (high school) and collaborate with researchers at the EE lab of NCSU to study the role of intergenerational learning in changing perspectives on plastic pollution.

Kids’ Presentations Sway Local Leaders’ and Voters’ Attitudes on Ocean Plastics Pollution (article)

Q&A: MEM Students Discuss Why They Got Involved in STEM Education Outreach (article)

Duke Marine Lab Science Outreach With Boys & Girls Club (YouTube video)

Duke Marine Lab Community Science Program on Twitter: Twitterdumlcommunity

Meagan Dunphy-Daly

Meagan Dunphy-Daly

Lecturing Fellow, Duke University Scholars Program Director
Marine Science and Conservation, Nicholas School of the Environment
Email 

Dr. Dunphy-Daly’s research focuses on the role of policy and technology in reducing marine plastic pollution. She is interested in how regulations for other pollutants have led to improved technology and how we can apply these frameworks to the plastic pollution pandemic. Dr. Dunphy-Daly co-lead a Bass Connections team on the bioremediation of plastic pollution to conserve marine biodiversity, and she works to engage students in research aimed at ways to reduce the human impact on our marine environment.

Michelle Nowlin

Michelle Nowlin

Clinical Professor of Law; Co-Director, Environmental Law and Policy Clinic
Duke Law School

Michelle’s research is focused on understanding the sources and impacts of plastic debris on aquatic and marine environments and human health, and developing policies and regulatory mechanisms to address and reduce those impacts.  Much of her client-based work focuses on mechanisms for upstream communities that reduce waste at the source.

Andy Read NSOE

Andrew Read

Stephen A. Toth Professor of Marine Biology; Chair, Marine Science and Conservation Division; Director, Duke Marine Lab
Marine Science and Conservation Division
Email 

Dr. Read's research interests are in the conservation biology of long-lived marine vertebrates, particularly marine mammals, seabirds and sea turtles. Much of his current research documents the effects of human activities on populations of these species and attempts to find solutions to such conflicts. This work involves field work, experimentation and modeling. He is particularly interested in the development and application of new conservation tools. Dr. Read serves as a faculty contributor for the Bass Connections Team Bioremediation of Plastic Pollution to Conserve Marine Biodiversity.

Faculty photo of Professor Daniel Rittschof

Daniel Rittschof

Norman L. Christensen Distinguished Professor of Environmental Sciences
Marine Science & Conservation Division, Nicholas School of the Environment
Email 

Dr. Rittschof’s research is focused on the toxicology and physiological impacts on marine animals of molecules leaching from plastics, the flavors of plastics that cause plastics to be consumed, the impacts of consumption on animals eating plastic and the role of plastics as platforms for delivery of biologically active molecules to animals and for removal of biologically active molecules from animals. The lab’s goal is to inform policy and manufacturing processes.

Steve Roady

Steve Roady

Faculty Fellow
Professor of the Practice of Law, Duke School of Law
Email 

Professor Roady is a lawyer who has devoted more than four decades to protecting the environment in various courts and administrative agencies. His most recent work includes helping the Pew Charitable Trusts design a study to reduce the production and use of plastics world-wide. He assisted the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions with the preparation of a global survey for the United Nations that evaluated efforts to reduce plastic pollution of coral reefs. He is currently assisting with a student honors thesis that will examine ways to reduce plastic pollution in Hawaii.

Thomas Schultz

Thomas Schultz

Assistant Professor of the Practice of Marine Molecular Conservation; Director of Undergraduate Studies, MSC
Marine Science & Conservation Division
Email 
Jason Somarelli

Jason Somarelli

Assistant Professor in Medicine
School of Medicine
Email 

Dr. Somarelli’s team is trying tackle the plastic waste pandemic in the following ways: 1) developing new enzymes and microbial systems to biodegrade plastic, 2) using bioinformatics to identify enzymes with plastic degrading capability, 3) understanding the influence of plastic ingestion as a carrier of environmental toxins, and 4) engaging students in research aimed at improving societal understanding of humanity's negative impacts on the environment and human health.

John Virdin

John Virdin

Director, Ocean and Coastal Policy Program
Email 

Amy Pickle, J.D. and Dr. John Virdin are interested in studying how governments have or can design effective public policy responses to the problem, including:

  • Empirical analysis of public policy responses in different contexts
  • Global monitoring and tracking of public policy responses and evidence for their effects
  • Translating public policy responses into projected reductions in mismanaged plastic waste

Additionally, they are interested in the role that large corporations can play in governance of plastics use, including:

  • Empirical analysis of large corporate responses to the plastic pollution problem and evidence for effects
  • How large corporations are organizing to address the problem