MacArthur Fellows Program

Ellen Kovner Silbergeld

Biologist and Environmental Health Scientist | Class of 1993

Biologist and Environmental Health Scientist
Washington, District of Columbia
48 at time of award
Published July 1, 1993

About Ellen's Work

Ellen Silbergeld is a biological scientist with expertise in current public policy issues.

She was at the center of the effort to remove lead from gasoline in the 1970s, and worked to prevent the quick substitute of manganese for lead.  Silbergeld remains a national leader in articulating to the U. S. Congress and other legislative bodies the concerns of environmental organizations on protecting the environment, ecological systems, and human health.  Her research continues to focus on the identification of preventable causes of human disease related to environmental exposures, such as the use of antibiotics used in industrial agriculture and mercury used in small-scale gold mining.


Silbergeld is a professor in the Departments of Environmental Health Sciences and Environmental Health Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she holds joint appointments in the Departments of Epidemiology and Health Policy and Management and in the Center for Water and Health.  She served previously as a professor of epidemiology and toxicology at the University of Maryland Medical School and as a senior toxicologist with the Environmental Defense Fund.

Silbergeld received an A.B. (1967) from Vassar College and a Ph.D. (1972) from the Johns Hopkins University, where she was a postdoctoral fellow in environmental medicine and the neurosciences (1972-75).

Last updated January 1, 2005

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