P. Lee Ferguson

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

P. Lee  Ferguson Profile Photo
P. Lee Ferguson Profile Photo

Research Interests

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  • Environmental analytical chemistry and applications of high resolution mass spectrometry to trace organic contaminant analysis
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  • Environmental fate of per-and-polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) in the environment
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  • Polymer additives and microplastics in the aquatic environment
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  • Mechanisms of environmental endocrine disruption in aquatic organisms
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Bio

Dr. Ferguson is an Environmental Analytical Chemist who joined Duke in 2009 after six years as an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at the University of South Carolina.

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Research in the Ferguson laboratory is focused on development and application of analytical methods for measuring organic pollutants in the environment. Specifically, a major thrust of research in the lab involves the application of high resolution mass spectrometry to detect, identify, and quantify emerging contaminants in wastewater and drinking water.  His recent work has centered on the development of non-targeted analysis workflows and methods, assessment of polyfluorinated alkyl substances in water and wastewater, and leaching and bioaccessibility of polymer-associated chemicals from microplastic particles in the aquatic environment.  He has published over 100 peer-reviewed chapters and journal articles, serves on advisory councils for several organizations focused on emerging pollutants in the environment, and has testified before the U.S. Senate on environmental health concerns related to nanotechnology.  In North Carolina, he helped lead the formation of the NC PFAS Testing Network to assess statewide drinking water contamination from PFAS chemicals.

Education

  • Ph.D. State University of New York, Stony Brook, 2002

Positions

  • Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Associate Professor in the Division of Marine Science and Policy

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • Applied Research Fellowship. North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. 2022
  • Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow. National Academy of Sciences. 2011
  • Outstanding Performance Award. Fundamental Science Directorate, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. 2003
  • President's Award to Distinguished Doctoral Students. Stony Brook University. 2002
  • U.S. EPA STAR Graduate Fellowship. Environmental Protection Agency. 1998
  • Honorable Mention. National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship Competition. 1998
  • Belle W. Baruch Outstanding Undergrduate in Marine Science Award. University of South Carolina. 1997
  • Howard Hughes Undergraduate Research Fellow. University of South Carolina. 1996
  • Senior Scholars Scholarship. University of South Carolina. 1996
  • Undergraduate Research Fellow, South Carolina EPSCoR. National Science Foundation. 1995

Courses Taught

  • MARSCI 573A: Coastal and Marine Pollution
  • MARSCI 393A: Research Independent Study
  • ENVIRON 999: Duke Environmental Leadership: Master's Project
  • ENVIRON 997: Duke Environmental Leadership: Independent Studies and Projects
  • ENVIRON 899: Master's Project
  • ENVIRON 898: Program Area Seminar
  • ENVIRON 667: Chemical Transformation of Environmental Contaminants
  • ENVIRON 593: Independent Studies and Projects
  • ENVIRON 573A: Coastal and Marine Pollution
  • ENVIRON 566: Environmental Analytical Chemistry
  • ENVIRON 393A: Research Independent Study
  • ENVIRON 393: Research Independent Study
  • CEE 667: Chemical Transformation of Environmental Contaminants
  • CEE 565: Environmental Analytical Chemistry