Technical Integrity / Collaboration / Exceptional Results

Heather Summers Receives Best Paper Award at SETAC Europe

Heather SummersIntegral senior scientist Heather Summers has received a best paper award from the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) for “A general risk-based adaptive management scheme incorporating the Bayesian Network Relative Risk Model with the South River, Virginia, as case study.” The paper was published in the journal Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management. Ms. Summers, along with her coauthors, were granted the prestigious award at the SETAC Europe annual meeting held May 13–17, 2018. Accepting the award was first author Wayne Landis of Western Washington University. The award is bestowed upon innovative or creative papers with transparent, reproducible, rigorous, and relevant science. The quality and clarity of the presentation are considered, as is the potential impact of the paper on its field.

The paper is the third in a series on ecological risk assessment of mercury-contaminated South River and upper Shenandoah River. Graduate students and faculty at the Institute of Environmental Toxicology at Western Washington University initiated the study in 2009 to demonstrate the application of Bayesian networks in risk assessment to assess multiple chemical and physical stressors as part of a regional-scale risk assessment. This paper focuses specifically on using those networks in a risk-based adaptive management process to evaluate the efficacy of remediation options for reducing risks at the South River and upper Shenandoah River.

View the abstract at

Ms. Summers specializes in probabilistic risk assessment, ecological toxicology, and dose-response modeling. She has experience developing risk-based management strategies for systems contaminated with bioaccumulative chemicals such as mercury, selenium, and polychlorinated biphenyls.  Her current interests include modeling trophic transfer of these constituents in aquatic and terrestrial food webs.  She also has extensive experience designing and implementing field programs that involve sampling and analysis of water, sediment, and biota in freshwater and marine systems.

For more information on this article or Integral’s risk assessment and statistical analysis capabilities, contact Ms. Summers at

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