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. Her recent work focuses on the toxicology and health risks of PFAS chemicals and polychlorinated biphenyls.

Dr. Heiger-Bernays' 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 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
  • SPHEH805
  • SPHEH866
  • SPHPH510
  • SPHPH845


  • Published on 4/21/2022

    Carlson JM, Janulewicz PA, Kleinstreuer NC, Heiger-Bernays W. Impact of High-Throughput Model Parameterization and Data Uncertainty on Thyroid-Based Toxicological Estimates for Pesticide Chemicals. Environ Sci Technol. 2022 May 03; 56(9):5620-5631. PMID: 35446564.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 3/2/2022

    Hammel E, Webster TF, Gurney R, Heiger-Bernays W. Implications of PFAS definitions using fluorinated pharmaceuticals. iScience. 2022 Apr 15; 25(4):104020. PMID: 35313699.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 11/8/2021

    Friedman A, Bauer JA, Austin C, Downs TJ, Tripodis Y, Heiger-Bernays W, White RF, Arora M, Claus Henn B. Multiple metals in children's deciduous teeth: results from a community-initiated pilot study. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2022 May; 32(3):408-417. PMID: 34750512.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 11/4/2021

    Nielsen G, Heiger-Bernays WJ, Schlezinger JJ, Webster TF. Predicting the effects of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance mixtures on peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha activity in vitro. Toxicology. 2022 01 15; 465:153024. PMID: 34743024.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 7/10/2021

    Schlezinger JJ, Hyötyläinen T, Sinioja T, Boston C, Puckett H, Oliver J, Heiger-Bernays W, Webster TF. Perfluorooctanoic acid induces liver and serum dyslipidemia in humanized PPARa mice fed an American diet. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2021 09 01; 426:115644. PMID: 34252412.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 5/1/2021

    Cleary BM, Romano ME, Chen CY, Heiger-Bernays W, Crawford KA. Comparison of Recreational Fish Consumption Advisories Across the USA. Curr Environ Health Rep. 2021 06; 8(2):71-88. PMID: 33934293.

    Read At: PubMed
  • 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 03; 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

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