Head shot of Deborah Swackhamer
Professor Emerita
Areas of Expertise
air pollution policy; chemical risk management including calculating chemical exposure to human; fish and wildlife; great lakes environmental planning and management policy including the study of estrogens in water and other toxic contaminants; risk assessment for human health and ecological system; water policy

Dr. Deborah L. Swackhamer is a Professor Emerita of Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, and Co-Director of the University’s Water Resources Center. She also is a Professor of Environmental Health Sciences in the School of Public Health.

She earned a BA in chemistry from Grinnell College, Iowa; and an MS in water chemistry and a PhD in limnology and oceanography, both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After two years post-doctoral research in chemistry and public and environmental affairs at Indiana University, she joined the Minnesota faculty in 1987. She studies the processes affecting the behavior of, and exposures to, toxic chemicals in the environment and works on policies to address these potential risks.

In 2012, Swackhamer completed a four-year term as chair of the Science Advisory Board of the US Environmental Protection Agency, and currently is a member of the Science Advisory Board of the International Joint Commission of the US and Canada. She currently serves on the National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences committee addressing Sustainability Linkages in the Federal Government. She is also a Governor appointee on the Minnesota Clean Water Council. She was President of the National Institutes of Water Resources in 2011-2012.

Swackhamer is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for the journal Environmental Science & Technology. She is a fellow in the Royal Society of Chemistry in the UK. Swackhamer received the 2007 Harvey G. Rogers Award from the Minnesota Public Health Association. In 2009 she received the prestigious Founders Award from the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry for lifetime achievement in environmental sciences. She was the 2010 recipient of the University of Minnesota’s Ada Comstock Award.