Wendy Heiger-Bernays

Wendy J. Heiger-Bernays, PhD

Clinical Professor, Environmental Health - Boston University School of Public Health



Wendy Heiger-Bernays is a clinical professor in the Department of Environmental Health at the BU School of Public Health where she applies her training in molecular toxicology to practical questions about the impact of industrial chemicals, consumer products and pharmaceuticals in water and waste streams on people’s health. Her career objective is to decrease health risks to impacted populations from exposures to environmental stressors.

Dr. Heiger-Bernays is PI of the Research Translation Core (RTC) for the NIEHS-supported BU Superfund Program. Her work focuses on technology and information transfer of the science to multiple audiences, including environmental regulatory and health agencies as well as with advocacy groups and community groups. Heiger-Bernays’ overall objective is to engage communities in their understanding and mitigation of environmental health risks.

She currently serves as a member of the Massachusetts DEP Waste Site Advisory Committee and the Science Advisory Board for the Toxics Use Reduction Institute and is Chair of her local board of health. In 2015-2016, she was a AAAS Science and Technology Fellow hosted in the Office of Science Coordination and Policy at the US EPA, working in the Endocrine Disrupting Screening Program. Dr. Heiger-Bernays serves as Vice President of the International Society for Children's Health and Environment.


  • University of Nebraska, PhD Field of Study: Biochemistry
  • University of Connecticut, BS Field of Study: Biology

Classes Taught

  • SPHEH750
  • SPHEH799
  • SPHEH866
  • SPHPH510
  • SPHPH845


  • Published on 1/29/2021

    De Silva AO, Armitage JM, Bruton TA, Dassuncao C, Heiger-Bernays W, Hu XC, Kärrman A, Kelly B, Ng C, Robuck A, Sun M, Webster TF, Sunderland EM. PFAS Exposure Pathways for Humans and Wildlife: A Synthesis of Current Knowledge and Key Gaps in Understanding. Environ Toxicol Chem. 2021 Mar; 40(3):631-657. PMID: 33201517.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 1/11/2021

    Peters JL, Perry MJ, McNeely E, Wright RO, Heiger-Bernays W, Weuve J. The association of cadmium and lead exposures with red cell distribution width. PLoS One. 2021; 16(1):e0245173. PMID: 33429420.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 10/1/2020

    Hoover AG, Heiger-Bernays W, Ojha S, Pennell KG. Balancing incomplete COVID-19 evidence and local priorities: risk communication and stakeholder engagement strategies for school re-opening. Rev Environ Health. 2021 Mar 26; 36(1):27-37. PMID: 33001857.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 10/1/2020

    Schlezinger JJ, Heiger-Bernays W, Webster TF. Predicting the Activation of the Androgen Receptor by Mixtures of Ligands Using Generalized Concentration Addition. Toxicol Sci. 2020 10 01; 177(2):466-475. PMID: 32726424.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 8/19/2020

    Schlezinger JJ, Puckett H, Oliver J, Nielsen G, Heiger-Bernays W, Webster TF. Perfluorooctanoic acid activates multiple nuclear receptor pathways and skews expression of genes regulating cholesterol homeostasis in liver of humanized PPARa mice fed an American diet. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2020 10 15; 405:115204. PMID: 32822737.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 11/18/2019

    Heiger-Bernays WJ, Tomsho KS, Basra K, Petropoulos ZE, Crawford K, Martinez A, Hornbuckle KC, Scammell MK. Human health risks due to airborne polychlorinated biphenyls are highest in New Bedford Harbor communities living closest to the harbor. Sci Total Environ. 2020 Mar 25; 710:135576. PMID: 31785914.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 11/11/2019

    Crawford KA, Clark BW, Heiger-Bernays WJ, Karchner SI, Hahn ME, Nacci DE, Schlezinger JJ. Tributyltin disrupts fin development in Fundulus heteroclitus from both PCB-sensitive and resistant populations: Investigations of potential interactions between AHR and PPAR?. Aquat Toxicol. 2020 Jan; 218:105334. PMID: 31743820.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 2/18/2019

    Crawford KA, Clark BW, Heiger-Bernays WJ, Karchner SI, Claus Henn BG, Griffith KN, Howes BL, Schlezinger DR, Hahn ME, Nacci DE, Schlezinger JJ. Altered lipid homeostasis in a PCB-resistant Atlantic killifish (Fundulus heteroclitus) population from New Bedford Harbor, MA, U.S.A. Aquat Toxicol. 2019 May; 210:30-43. PMID: 30822701.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 2/14/2019

    Boston CM, Banacos N, Heiger-Bernays W. Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances: A National Priority for Safe Drinking Water. Public Health Rep. 2019 Mar/Apr; 134(2):112-117. PMID: 30763146.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 8/8/2018

    Leibler JH, Basra K, Ireland T, McDonagh A, Ressijac C, Heiger-Bernays W, Vorhees D, Rosenbaum M. Lead exposure to children from consumption of backyard chicken eggs. Environ Res. 2018 11; 167:445-452. PMID: 30125763.

    Read At: PubMed

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