MacDonald Gibson named to NC Science Advisory Board to study emerging chemicals

December 6, 2017

Dr. Jackie MacDonald Gibson

Dr. Jackie MacDonald Gibson

Jacqueline MacDonald Gibson, PhD, associate professor of environmental sciences and engineering at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, has been named to the North Carolina Science Advisory Board.

The secretaries of the state’s environmental and public health agencies expanded the size of the board from eight to 16 members to better advise state leaders about the impact of chemicals on environment and health. Experts in toxicology, public health, ecology, engineering and related fields will study ways to better protect North Carolina’s people and environment from new and emerging chemicals of concern, including GenX and hexavalent chromium.

MacDonald Gibson joins fellow Gillings School faculty member, Jamie Bartram, PhD, Don and Jennifer Holzworth Distinguished Professor of environmental sciences and engineering and founding director of The Water Institute at UNC, who serves as board chair.

“We selected top talent from a robust pool of more than 50 candidates from across North Carolina,” said Michael Regan, MPA, secretary of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). “The panel we’ve assembled will provide vital long-term scientific guidance on how to best protect public health and the environment from emerging chemical compounds.”

Members of the Science Advisory Board will use their expertise to assist DEQ and the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) by recommending reviews and evaluations of contaminants released to the environment, acting as consultants on DEQ’s determinations to regulate releases of contaminants, and assisting the agencies in identifying contaminants of emerging concern and helping determine whether the contaminants should be studied further.

Experts on the panel also will help evaluate the human health impacts of exposure to hazardous contaminants and give input to DHHS as the agency establishes health goals for emerging contaminants.

“We share a goal to protect the safety and health of all North Carolinians,” said Mandy Cohen, MD, DHHS secretary. “We look forward to working closely with the panel and our partners at the DEQ.”

The full board aims to meet six times each year. Its first meeting was held on Oct. 23.

Board members will conduct business in an open forum to allow for public input as they consider the latest research and offer much-needed peer review of available scientific data.

Also appointed to the board was Thomas Starr, PhD, expert in quantitative assessment of health and environmental risks from exposure to toxic substances and adjunct associate professor of environmental sciences and engineering at the Gillings School, and thirteen other experts selected from N.C. State University, Duke University, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Charlotte Water, New Hanover Department of Public Health and the state health director’s office.

This article was adapted from an Oct. 19 N.C. DEQ press release.


Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: David Pesci, director of communications, (919) 962-2600 or