Katherine Ellen von Stackelberg
Research Scientists

Katherine Ellen von Stackelberg

Senior Research Scientist

Environmental Health



Dr. von Stackelberg has long worked at the intersection of science and policy, originally in assessing public health and ecological risks of exposure to environmental contaminants, which expanded to the role of natural systems, expressed as ecosystem services, in supporting well-being, and the subsequent valuation of those ecosystem services to support policy analyses around planetary health. She is a Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Environmental health and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Team Leader for the Biogeochemistry of Global Contaminants Group (Sunderland Lab) at Harvard University, and Director of Research Translation for the Harvard Superfund Research Program (MEMCARE). Her ScD dissertation was based on a contingent valuation survey to monetize the benefit associated with risk reductions to ecological receptors exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls in the environment. She has several risk assessment projects to interpret and map in vitro data to key events in adverse outcome pathways to evaluate specific regulatory health outcomes associated with exposure to per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS), heavy organics, mixtures of metals, and emerging contaminants associated with tire wear particles. Dr. von Stackelberg served as the technical lead in the development of a spatially-explicit, probabilistic bioaccumulation model to quantify contaminant uptake in aquatic organisms, and has developed several risk-based decision analytic frameworks to integrate and evaluate tradeoffs across management alternatives associated with reducing exposures to environmental contaminants. She is currently working with an international team to develop an ecosystem integrity index (EII; in review at a Frontiers journal) expressed as carbon-weighted hectares, that combines earth observation, machine learning, and confirmatory ground-level data and links to a monetized (or tokenized) valuation of biodiversity attributes. Dr. von Stackelberg teaches a course on “socio-ecological systems to support a regenerative future” that focuses on systems analysis, economic drivers of environmental degradation, and transformational systems approaches to support nature-positive decisions by individuals, companies, and governments. Dr. von Stackelberg served on US EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors, and a National Academies panel on coral reef resilience. She serves as frequent peer reviewer to the European Commission Horizon funding program, and was a peer reviewer to the US EPA on several ecosystem service assessment documents.

AB, 06/1988, cum laude General Studies
Harvard College, Cambridge, MA

ScM, 06/1998, Environmental Health and Health Policy and Management
Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA

ScD, 06/2006, Environmental Science and Risk Management
Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA