Dr. Todd Kuiken is a Senior Program Associate with the Science and Technology Innovation Program where he explores the scientific and technological frontier, stimulating discovery and bringing new tools to bear on public policy challenges that emerge as science advances.

He is the principal investigator on the Wilson Center’s Synthetic Biology Project, where he has numerous projects evaluating and designing new research and governance strategies to proactively address the biosafety, biosecurity and environmental risks associated with synthetic biology. Dr. Kuiken was recently appointed to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity Ad-Hoc Technical Expert Group.  He is also the human practices chairperson of the International Genetically Engineered Machines competition and a founding member of its biosafety/biosecurity committee.

In addition, he is collaborating with on a project to ensure safety within the rapidly expanding community of amateur biologists and the growing network of community laboratories. The initiative is analyzing and developing programs around the potential biosafety and biosecurity threats associated with such a diffuse community. Dr. Kuiken also manages the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, also at the Woodrow Wilson Center, where he focuses on public policy and the environmental health and safety aspects of nanotechnology.

Dr. Kuiken has provided expert testimony in front of the U.S. National Security Agency Advisory Board, the U.S. National Academies of Science, the United Nations Bioweapons Convention, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, has been featured on NPR’s Science Friday, and is a regular speaker on public policy issues related to nanotechnology and synthetic biology.

After completing his B.S. in Environmental Management and Technology at Rochester Institute of Technology he worked directly with renowned scientists on the biogeochemical cycling of mercury at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He earned an M.A. in Environmental and Resource Policy from The George Washington University concentrating on the scientific, economic and community development aspects of environmental issues. While there he worked at various environmental non-profits including the National Wildlife Federation where he worked within the Clean the Rain campaign that dealt with the environmental and public health threats associated with mercury pollution. Dr. Kuiken earned his Ph.D. from Tennessee Tech University where his research focused on the air/surface exchange of mercury associated with forest ecosystems. As part of his dissertation he synthesized these results with other studies associated with mercury cycling, public health threats and policy alternatives to bring attention to the threats and need for an improved public policy dealing with mercury pollution.

Major Publications

Kuiken, T. DIYbio:Low Risk, High Potential. The Scientist, March 2013.

Dana, G.V., Kuiken, T., Rejeski, D., Snow, A.A. Four steps to avoid a synthetic biology disaster. Nature, 483, No. 7387, 29, 2012.

Kuiken, T. Cleaning up contaminated waste sites: Is nanotechnology the answer? Nano Today, 5(1), 6-8, 2010.

Kuiken, T. Nanomedicine and ethics: is there anything new or unique? WIRES: Nanomedicine and Nanobiotechnology, Volume 2, 1-12, 2010.

Kuiken, T. International Viewpoint and News, Nano in the Arctic. Environmental Earth Sciences, in press.

Kuiken, T. International Viewpoint and News, The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies and Nanoremediation. Environmental Earth Sciences, 60(4), 903-907, 2010.

Stamenkovic, J., Weisberg, P., Pillai, R., Ericksen, J., Kuiken, T., Lindberg, S., Zhang, H., Rytuba, J., Gustin, M. Application of a rule-based model to estimate mercury exchange for three background biomes in the continental United States. Environmental Science & Technology, 43, 4989-4994, 2009

Karn, B., Kuiken, T., and Otto, M. Nanotechnology and in Situ Remediation: A Review of the Benefits and Potential Risks. Environmental Health Perspectives, 117(12), 2009.

Kuiken, T., Zhang, H., Gustin, M., Lindberg, S.  Mercury emission from terrestrial background surfaces in the eastern USA: I. Air/surface exchange of mercury within a southeastern deciduous forest (Tennessee) over one year. Applied Geochemistry, 23(3), 345-355, 2008.

Kuiken, T. Gustin, M., Zhang, H., Lindberg, S., Sedinger, B. Mercury emission from terrestrial background surfaces in the eastern USA: II. Air/surface exchange of mercury within forests from South Carolina to New England. Applied Geochemistry, 23(3), 356-368, 2008.

Zhang, H, Lindberg, S.E., Kuiken, T. Mysterious diel cycles of mercury emission from soils held in the dark at constant temperature. Atmospheric Environment, 42, 5424-5433, 2008.

Zhang, H, Dill, C, Kuiken, T, Ensor, M, Crocker, W. Change of Dissolved Gaseous Mercury (DGM) Concentrations in a Southern Reservoir Lake (Tennessee, USA) Following Seasonal Variation of Solar Radiation. Environmental Science & Technology, 40, 2114-2119, 2006.

Dill C, Kuiken T, Zhang H., Ensor M.   Diurnal Variation of Dissolved Gaseous Mercury (DGM) Levels in a Southern Reservoir Lake (Tennessee, USA) in relation to solar radiation. The Science of The Total Environment, 357, 176-193, 2006.

Southworth, G., Lindberg, S.E., Bogle, M.A., Zhang, H., Kuiken, T., Price, Reinhart, D., and Sfeir, H.  Airborne emissions of mercury from municipal solid waste II: Potential losses of airborne mercury prior to landfill. Journal of Air & Waste Management Association, 55:870-877, 2005.

Lindberg, S.E., Southworth, G.R., Bogle, M.A., Blasing, T.J., Zhang, H., Kuiken, T., Price, J., Reinhart, D., Sfeir, H., Owens, J., Roy, K.  Airborne emissions of mercury from municipal solid waste I: New measurements from six operating landfills in Florida. Journal of Air & Waste Management Association, 55:859-869, 2005.

Lindberg, S., Zhang, H., Vette, A., Gustin, M., Barnett, M., Kuiken, T.  Dynamic flux chamber measurement of gaseous mercury emission fluxes over soils: II. Effect of flushing flow rate and verification of a two-resistance exchange interface model.  Atmospheric Environment, 36, 847-859, 2002.