Christopher P. Higgins

Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Christopher Higgins


Coolbaugh Hall

Labs and Research Centers


  • PhD, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, 2007
  • MS, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, 2002
  • AB, Chemistry, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 1998

Research Interests

Dr. Higgins’ research focuses on the fate, transport, and bioaccumulation of emerging contaminants in aquatic and terrestrial systems. Current research projects are examining:

  • the potential for bioaccumulation of organic contaminants (including pharmaceuticals, personal care products, and perfluorochemicals) into foodcrops from reclaimed water;
  • the bioaccumulation of organic contaminants from biosolids-amended soils;
  • the fate of perfluorochemicals in groundwater systems, particularly in the presence of co-contaminants;
  • the development of analytical methods for the detection and quantification of inorganic nanoparticles in environmental and biological media; and
  • the fate of organic contaminants in wastewater treatment plants.

Awards and Honors

Selected Publications

  • Maizel, A.C., Shea,S., Nickerson, A., Schaefer,C.E., and C.P. Higgins. 2021. Release of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances from Aqueous Film-Forming Foam Impacted Soils. ES&T. 55(21): 14617–14627. DOI:10.1021/acs.est.1c02871 
  • Stults, S., Illangasekare, T., and C.P. Higgins. 2021. The Mass Transfer Index (MTI): A Semi-Empirical Approach for Quantifying Transport of Solutes in Variably Saturated Porous Media. J. Cont. Hydrol. 242: 103842. DOI: 
  • McDonough, C., Choyke, S., Barton, K., Mass, S., Starling, A., Adgate, J. and C.P. Higgins. 2021. Unsaturated PFOS and other PFASs in human serum and drinking water from an AFFF-impacted community. ES&T. 55: 8139-8148. DOI: 
  • Charbonnet, J., Rodowa, A., Joseph, N., Guelfo, J., Field, J.A., Jones, G., Higgins, C.P., Helbling, D., and E. Houtz. 2021. Environmental Source Tracking of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances within a Forensic Context: Current and Future Techniques. ES&T. DOI: 
  • Brown, J., Conder, J., Arblaster, J., and C.P. Higgins. 2020. Assessing human health risks from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)-impacted vegetable consumption: a tiered modeling approach. ES&T. 54(23): 15202-15214. DOI: doi/10.1021/acs.est.0c03411 
  • Barton, K., Starling, A., Higgins, C.P., McDonough, C., Calafat, A., and J. Adgate. 2020. Sociodemographic and behavioral determinants of serum concentrations of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in a community highly exposed to aqueous film-forming foam contaminants in drinking water. Int. J. Hyg. Env. Health, 223: 256-266. DOI: doi/10.1016/j.ijheh.2019.07.012 
  • Sedlacko, E., Jahn, C., Heuberger, A., Sindt, N., Miller, H., Borch, T., Blaine, A., Cath, T., and C.P. Higgins.* 2019. In Press. Potential for beneficial reuse of oil-and-gas-derived produced water in agriculture: physiological and morphological responses in spring wheat (Triticum aestivum).Environmental Toxicology and ChemistryDOI: 10.1002/etc.4449
  • Guyader, M.E., Warren, L.D., Green, E., Butt, C., Ivosev, G., Kiesling, R.L, Schoenfuss, H.L. and C.P. Higgins.* 2019. Prioritizing Potential Endocrine Active High Resolution Mass Spectrometry (HRMS) Features in Minnesota Lakewater. Science of the Total EnvironmentDOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.02.448 670: 814-825.

  • Ulrich, B.A., Vignola, M., Edgehouse, K., Werner, D., and C.P. Higgins.* 2017. Organic carbon amendments for enhanced biological attenuation of trace organic contaminants in biochar-amended stormwater biofilters. Environmental Science and Technology, 51 (16): 9184-9191 DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.7b0116

For full list of publications, visit Dr. Higgins Google Scholars page.