northeastern university seal

Loretta A. Fernandez

Assistant Professor,  Civil and Environmental Engineering
Jointly Appointed,  Marine and Environmental Sciences



  • 473 Snell Engineering
  • 617.373.5461

Research Focus

Environmental organic chemistry; passive sampling methods for organic contaminants in water and sediments; transport, transformation, and biological exchange of organic contaminants in the environment


  • PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2010
  • SM, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2005
  • BS, Northeastern University, 2002
  • BA, Tufts University, 1993

Honors & Awards

  • Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP) Project of the Year, Co-Performer (2011)
  • National Research Council, Research Associateship (2010)
  • National Science Foundation, Graduate Research Fellowship (2003-2006)

Professional Affiliations

  • American Chemical Society
  • Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
  • Tau Beta Pi

Research Overview

Environmental organic chemistry; passive sampling methods for organic contaminants in water and sediments; transport, transformation, and biological exchange of organic contaminants in the environment

Selected Publications

  • S.N. Schmidt, A.P. Wang, P.T. Gidley, A.H. Wooley, G.R. Lotufo, R.M. Burgess, U. Ghosh, L.A. Fernandez, P. Mayer, Cross Validation of Two Partitioning-Based Sampling Approaches in Mesocosms Containing PCB Contaminated Field Sediment, Biota, and Activated Carbon Amendment, Environmental Science & Technology, 51(17), 2017, 9996-10004.
  • T.S. Bridges, A.J. Kennedy, G.R. Lotufo, J.G. Coleman, C.E. Ruiz, J.H. Lindsay, J.A. Steevens, A. Wooley, G. Matisoff, P. McCall, E. Kaltenberg, R.M. Burgess, and L.A. Fernandez, The Biology of Bioavailability: The Role of Functional Ecology in Exposure Processes, U.S. Army Research and Development Center, 17(2), 2017
  • L. Fernandez, P.M. Gschwend, Predicting Bioaccumulation of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Soft-Shelled Clams (Mya arenaria) Using Field Deployments of Polyethylene Passive Samplers, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 34(5), 2015, 993-1000


Jul 30, 2019

Larese-Casanova, Alshawabkeh, Fernandez Awarded DoD SERDP Grant

CEE Associate Professor Philip Larese-Casanova (PI), Assistant Professor Loretta Fernandez, and Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education Akram Alsahwabkeh were awarded a $760K grant from the DoD’s Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) for “Electrochemically-Induced in situ Degradation of Legacy Munitions and Insensitive High Explosives in Manufacturing Wastewater.”


May 02, 2019

A Paradigm of Interdisciplinary Engineering

Atalaya Milan Wilborn is graduating soon, but that is just the beginning of her academic career.


Jan 31, 2018

Madeline DuBois, E’20, Combines Engineering with Her Passion for the Environment

Madeline DuBois, E’20, is using her environmental engineering degree to work with Engineers Without Borders to bring water distribution systems to developing countries as well as work in the lab with CEE Associate Teaching Professor Annalisa Onnis-Hayden on creating a tidal wetland wastewater treatment system.


Oct 03, 2017

Professor Loretta Fernandez Receives Grant From The EPA

The pilot study by CEE/COS Assistant Professor Loretta Fernandez entitled “Laboratory and field pilot study on using polyethylene passive samplers to monitor potential PCB transport across the engineered cap at the Grasse River Superfund site” has received a $405K grant in collaboration with the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center.from the Environmental Protection Agency.


Jul 24, 2017

Patterson, Fernandez, & Helmuth Awarded $300K NSF Grant

COS/CEE Professor Mark Patterson, CEE/COS Assistant Professor Loretta Fernandez, and CEE affiliated Professor Brian Helmuth were awarded a $300K NSF grant for "Tide gate modulation of wetland function: decision support through engineering best practices".

Honorary Societies

Oct 27, 2014

CEE Chi Epsilon Students Participate in 19th Annual CANstruction Competition

Northeastern’s Chi Epsilon students participated in the annual CANstruction competition, a competition where students build large structures made entirely of canned goods. 

Jun 30, 2014

A simpler way to test for water pollution

Some of the toxins found in our air and water­ways were put there inten­tion­ally: DDT, for instance, was intro­duced to pro­tect against malaria and other insect-​​borne dis­eases. Others find their way into the envi­ron­ment unintentionally.

View All Related News