Geoffrey Plumlee, Ph.D.

The Associate Director for Environmental Health leads USGS science at the intersection of health and environment; that is, how chemical and microbial hazards in the environment can play a role in toxicologic and infectious disease in humans and other organisms.


Career History and Highlights

Geoff brings to his position 33 years of research and science management experience with the USGS, as well as his ability to establish successful research collaborations with scientists from a broad range of earth, health, social, emergency response, and engineering science disciplines. Early in his career, Geoff’s research integrating economic geology and environmental geochemistry gained new insights into how mineral deposits form and how resource extraction can be accomplished while better protecting the environment. From 1996-2001, Geoff served as Center Director for two science centers, providing scientific and managerial leadership for approximately 200 scientists and support staff. After returning to research in 2001, he helped lead USGS science to understand human health implications of geologic materials such as asbestos, and materials produced by disasters such as the World Trade Center collapse, hurricanes, floods, wildfires, mine tailings spills, and volcanic eruptions. His work with USGS hazards experts helped anticipate environmental and health implications of future disasters.

Geoff is an adjunct clinical assistant professor at University of Colorado School of Public Health, Past Chair of the Geological Society of America’s Geology and Health Division, a contributing editor to Earth Magazine, a Fellow of the Geological Society of America, and an appointed Council Member of the American Geophysical Union. He is a lead or co author of over 130 scientific papers in technical journals or books from a wide range of disciplines such as environmental geochemistry, public health, natural hazards, economic geology, and geology.


Geoff holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Geology from the University of New Mexico, 1980, and a Doctorate in Geochemistry from Harvard University, 1989.