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Margaret M. MacDonell

Department Head


Margaret MacDonell has over 25 years experience in integrated health risk analysis for federal programs including at Department of Energy (DOE) cold war legacy waste sites. She has led Argonne’s collaborative efforts with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop national screening approaches for cumulative risk assessments to protect and promote human health and welfare; assess dioxin toxicity and health-based exposure advisories for chemicals, radionuclides and biological agents released to air or drinking water; and enhance science and technology applications for mobile citizen sensing of the environment.

She also helped develop the national occupational research agenda with the Mixed Exposures Research Group led by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, has supported international initiatives designed to reduce mercury risks to artisanal miners, and assessed chemical and radiological risks for contaminated facilities in former Soviet states. In addition, she has worked on conducting integrated environmental analyses for planned National Science Foundation and DOE underground research facilities.

Margaret is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University (environmental impact assessment and risk analysis courses) and has served on EPA peer review panels (including for the World Trade Center risk assessment) and conducted health risk training for the Navy and DOE.  She serves on three National Academies/National Research Council committees addressing environmental health risks.


  • Biology, B.S. with honors, University of Notre Dame, 1979
  • Civil/Environmental Health Engineering, M.S., University of Notre Dame, 1981
  • Civil/Environmental Health Engineering, Ph.D., Northwestern University, 1986

Awards, Honors and Memberships

  • 2004- Fellow, Society for Risk Analysis; Councilor (since 2010);
  • Conference and Workshops Committee Co-Chair (since 2006); and Past President of Regional Chapter
  • 2004-2007 Senior Fellow, University of Chicago
  • 2004-2011, National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, Scientific Committee 94 (Environmental Radiation and Radioactive Waste Issues)
  • 2006, 1991 Argonne Pacesetter Award
  • 2009-  National Research Council, Committee on Acute Exposure Guideline Levels
  • 2012-  Editorial Board, Environment Systems and Decisions
  • 2012-  National Research Council, Committee on Toxicology
  • 2012-  National Research Council, Committee to Review the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Process