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Exposure Research

Human Exposure & Atmospheric Sciences Staff

Joachim Dieter Pleil

Title: Research Physical Scientist

EPA Division: Human Exposure and Atmospheric Sciences Division

EPA Branch: Methods Development and Applications Branch

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Over the past 30-years, Dr. Pleil has worked with many aspects of environmental science, specifically in analytical methods and instrument development. Using laboratory results from field and applied studies with human subjects, Dr. Pleil has also developed stochastic and classical pharmacokinetic models for the uptake, metabolism and eventual disposition of various organic carcinogens (or suspected carcinogens) including vinyl chloride, benzene, chloroform, MTBE, trichloroethene, tetrachloroethene and diesel exhaust constituents. Currently, there are a number of his analytical methods based on cryogenic focusing (air/breath), liquid-liquid (and solid-liquid) extraction for blood, urine and dust in use for trace analysis at the Agency and other institutions. He has worked in collaboration with most branches of the military, as well as DoD, NASA, NATO, NIOSH, CDC, AFOSR, and DoE. He has provided Agency expertise to the U.S. Navy’s Undersea Medical Institute, trained Marine Corps personnel in Okinawa, and participated in the U.S. Air Force’s inter-services military Jet Fuel exposure study as the senior Government scientist. Since 2001, he has been involved with the World Trade Center (WTC) disaster and its environmental/health aftermath. In his current position, Dr. Pleil develops laboratory methods for measuring and identifying patterns of endogenous and chemical biomarkers, constructs mathematical, statistical, and systems biology approaches to interpret exposures to environmental stressors, and, as an adjunct Professor, teaches “Environmental Exposure Assessment” for graduate students in the School of Public Health of the University of North Carolina.


  • Ph.D., Environmental Science and Engineering, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2004
  • M.S., Physics, Southern Illinois University, 1979
  • B.S., Physics, Southern Illinois University, 1976
  • B.S., Mathematics, Southern Illinois University, 1976

Professional Experience:

  • Research Physical Scientist (GS-15), U.S. EPA, Research Triangle Park, NC, 1987-present
  • Adjunct Associate Professor and Graduate Faculty appointments, Environmental Science and Engineering Dept., School of Public Health, University of North Carolina, 2005-2012
  • Adjunct Professor, Environmental Science and Engineering Dept., School of Public Health, University of North Carolina, 2012-present
  • Senior Research Scientist; Northrop Services Inc., Research Triangle Park, NC, 1979-1987

Professional Societies and Affiliations:

  • Founding member of International Society of Breath Research (IABR)
  • Member of Society of Toxicology (SOT)
  • Member of International Navies Group: Submarine Air Monitoring and Air Purification (SAMAP)
  • Member of International Society of Exposure Science (ISES)
  • Member of NASA F-22 Life Support System Independent Analysis Team
  • Journal editorial board: Institute of Physics: Journal of Breath Research
  • Journal editorial board: Informa Healthcare: Biomarkers

Select Awards and Honors:

  • USEPA, ORD, Bronze Medal for Exhaled Breath Condensate Research, 2007
  • USEPA, ORD, Bronze Medal for World Trade Center exposure assessment, 2006
  • USEPA, ORD, Two NERL Special Achievement Awards, 2006
  • ORD Administrator’s award for support of World Trade Center Experts Panel, 2005 USEPA, eleven EPA Scientific and Technological Achievement Awards (STAA) for Research Publications, 1990, 1993, 1994, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008(2), 2010(2), and 2012
  • EPA Special Achievement Awards, 1989 and 1991
  • National EPA Award: Speciner Award: "Outstanding Contribution by a Professional Employee", 1989
  • U.S. Patent #5,447,556, 14 technical claims - “Sample Injection Apparatus and Method”; Sept.5, 1995
  • EPA Exclusive License agreement (1996) with Graseby-Nutech Corp. for “Valveless injection cryogenic GC-MS interface”; Awarded four EPA Co-operative Research and Development Agreements (CRADA) with industrial partners under the Federal Technologies Transfer Act (FTTA)

Select Presentations:

  • Pleil JD, 2013. “Quantitative Exposure Science: Linking environmental measurements to in vivo human biomonitoring data”, Program in Public Health (PPH 303), Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, February 12.
  • Pleil JD, Stiegel MA, Wolfgang MC, Council S, Sobus JR, and Kormos TM, 2013. “Exploring the human exposome: Linking in vivo human studies to in vitro toxicity testing”, invited lecture, Society of Toxicology: NC Spring Meeting, Research Triangle Park, NC, February 21.
  • Pleil JD, Stiegel MA, Wolfgang MC, Council S, Sobus JR, and Kormos TM, 2013. “Breath biomarkers from viable pulmonary aerosols: discovery of human micro-biome contributions”, symposium lecture, Society of Toxicology: 52nd Annual Meeting and ToxExpo, San Antonio, TX, March 13.
  • Madden MC, Stevens T, Case M, Sobus JR, Stiegel MA, Diaz-Sanchez D, Cascio W, Devlin RB, and Pleil JD, 2013. “Controlled exposures of human volunteers to diesel engine exhaust: Biomarkers of exposure and health outcomes”, International Society for Aerosols in Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, April 6-10.
  • Pleil JD, Stiegel MA, Kormos TM and Sobus JR, 2013. “Identifying potential confounders from the pulmonary microbiome in suites of nominally endogenous human metabolites in exhaled breath”, International Association for Breath Research: Breath Analysis Summit 2013, Saarbrucken, Germany, June 8-12.
  • Stiegel MA, Pleil JD, Kormos TM and Sobus JR, 2013. “Methods development for inflammatory markers in exhaled breath condensate samples and exhaled aerosols”, International Association for Breath Research: Breath Analysis Summit 2013, Saarbrucken, Germany, June 8-12.

Select Publications:

  • Pleil JD, Stiegel MA and Risby TH, 2013. “Clinical breath analysis: Discriminating between human endogenous compounds and exogenous (environmental) chemical confounders”, Journal of Breath Research 7:017107 (11pp).
  • Pleil JD, Williams M, and Sobus JR, 2012. “Chemical Safety for Sustainability (CSS): Biomonitoring in vivo data for distinguishing among adverse, adaptive, and random responses from in vitro toxicology”, Toxicology Letters 215(3):201-207.
  • Pleil JD, 2012. “Categorizing biomarkers of the human exposome and developing metrics for assessing environmental sustainability”, Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part B. Critical Reviews 15:264-280.
  • Pleil JD, Stiegel MA, Madden MC, and Sobus JR, 2011. “Heat Map Visualization of Complex Environmental and Biomarker Measurements”, Chemosphere 84:716-723.
  • Pleil JD, Sobus JR, Sheppard PR, Ridenour G, and Witten ML, 2011. “Strategies for evaluating the environment-public health interaction of long-term latency disease: the quandary of the inconclusive case-control study”, Chemico-Biological Interactions 196:89-95.
  • Pleil JD, Stiegel MA, Sobus JR, Tabucchi S, Ghio AJ, and Madden MC, 2010. “Cumulative exposure assessment for trace-level polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) using human blood and plasma analysis”, Journal of Chromatography B, 878:1753–1760.
  • Pleil JD, 2009. “Influence of systems biology response and environmental exposure level on between-subject variability in breath and blood biomarkers”, Biomarkers 14(8):560-571.

Published & Presented Research (1999-Present)

Contact Info:
Joachim D. Pleil
Human Exposure & Atmospheric Sciences Division
National Exposure Research Laboratory
US EPA Office of Research and Development
109 TW Alexander Drive
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709
Telephone: 919-541-4680
Email: pleil.joachim@epa.gov

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