Kelly G. Pennell, Ph.D.


Assistant Professor

  • Ph.D. in Civil Engineering, Purdue University, 2005
  • M.Sc. in Environmental Engineering, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, 2001
  • B.Sc. in Civil Engineering, Lawrence Technological University, 1997

Contact Information:

  • Send Email
  • Phone: 508-999-8478 
  • Fax: 508.999.8964
  • Office: Modular 1, Room 2  


Kelly G. Pennell received a BS in Civil Engineering from Lawrence Technological University in 1997. In 2001 she received her MS in Environmental Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.  Shortly thereafter, she enrolled in doctoral studies at Purdue University and graduated with a PhD in Civil (Environmental) Engineering in December 2005. After graduating, she served on the faculty at Brown University (2005-2010). During that time, she taught engineering courses, conducted research and served as the State Agency Liaison for the Superfund Research Program (funded by National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences). She has over five years professional experience working as an environmental consultant and has been a licensed professional engineer (PE) since 2001. 

Dr. Pennell’s research is aimed at better understanding the fate and transport of environmental contaminants.  She is particularly interested in connecting research, practice and policy, such that health risks can be better characterized and mitigated. She currently has active research projects in three areas: the fate and transport of subsurface vapors (originating from hazardous waste sites) that could potentially enter indoor air spaces (i.e. vapor intrusion); the fate and transport of nano-silver in the environment; and the effect of sequential water disinfectants. 

Research Funding:

  • 4/1/2005 - 03/31/2014, NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP)
    Program PI: Kim Boekelheide (Brown University):
    Total Program Funding (for 8 projects, 5 cores)
    2005-2009 ($11.5 mill direct costs),
    2009-2014 ($15 mill direct costs)
    Role: Co-PI and State Agency Liaison - Research Translation Core, Co-PI - Project 7, Low Concentration Exposures in Vapor Systems10/1/2009 – 09/30/2011
  • American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), NIH Administrative Supplement  
    Project:  Assessment of Vapor Intrusion Exposures and Risks
    Role: PI

    Total Amount: $138,500 (direct costs)
  • 09/01/2010 – 08/31/2013, EPA-G2010-STAR-N1
    Exposure Pathways, Dissolution Kinetics, and Fate of Nano-Silver in the Environment
    Project PI: Robert Hurt (Brown University)  with Co-PI Agnes Kane (Brown University)
    Total Amount: $300,000
    Role: Co-PI ($75,000, direct costs)
Selected Publications: 
  • Yao, Y., Pennell, K. G., Suuberg, E. M. “Comparison of the Johnson and Ettinger Model using a 3-D Computational Fluid Dynamics Vapor Intrusion Model.” In preparation.
  • Bozkurt, O., Pennell, K. G., Suuberg, E. M., “Effect of Vertical and Lateral Building-Source Separation on Vapor Intrusion in Non-Homogenous Soils and an Analysis of Simple Preferential Pathways.” In preparation.
  • Pennell, K. G., Suuberg, E. M.  “Chapter 4, Vapor Transport from Soil and Groundwater: Numerical Modeling Approach”, Vapor emission to outdoor air and enclosed spaces for human health risk assessment site characterization, monitoring and modeling. Nova Science Publishers. In press.
  • Bozkurt, O., Pennell, K. G., Suuberg, E. M.  “Simulation of the Vapor Intrusion Process for Nonhomogeneous Soils Using a Three-Dimensional Numerical Model.“  Ground Water Monitoring and Remediation.  29 (1): 92-104, 2009.
  • Pennell, K. G., Bozkurt, O., Suuberg, E. M.  “Development and Application of a 3-D Model For Evaluating Site-Specific Features on Vapor Intrusion Rates in Homogenous Geologies” Journal of Air and Waste Management Association. 59: 447-460. 2009.
  • Burgess, R. M., M. M. Perron, C. L. Friedman, E. M. Suuberg, K. G. Pennell, M. G. Cantwell, M. C. Pelletier, K. T. Ho, J. R. Serbst, and S. A. Ryba.  “Evaluation of the Effects of Coal Fly Ash Amendments on the Toxicity of a Contaminated Marine Sediment.”  Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. 28(1): 26-35, 2009.
  • Naunovic, Z., K. G. Pennell, and E. R.  Blatchley III. “The Development and Performance of an Irradiance Field Model for a Cylindrical Excimer Lamp.” Environmental Science and Technology.  42(5). 1605-1614. 2008.
  • Pennell, K. G., Z. Naunovic, and E. R. Blatchley III. “Sequential Inactivation of Bacillus subtilis Spores with UV Radiation and Iodine.” Journal of Environmental Engineering. 134 (7), 513-520. 2008.
  • Pennell, K. G., A. I. Aronson, and E. R. Blatchley III. “Phenotypic Persistence and External Shielding (PPES) UV Inactivation Kinetic Model.” Journal of Applied Microbiology.  104(4), 1192-1202. 2008.
Invited Presentations:
  • Pennell K. G.  “Environmental Chemical and Transport Processes: Implications for Indoor Air and Drinking Water.” Fourth US-China Chemical Engineering National Science Foundation Workshop, University of New Hampshire. May 2010. 
  • Pennell K. G.,” Vapor Intrusion Modeling: A tool for improving risk characterization efforts.” University of Kentucky, Research Translation Seminar Series, March 2010.
  • Pennell K. G.,” Vapor Intrusion and Implications for School Sitings.” NIEHS Superfund Research Program, Strategic Planning Meeting, Capitol Hill (Washington DC). January 2010.
  • Pennell, K.G., “Innovative Uses of ItunesU in a Core Engineering Course (EN0810, Fluid Mechanics).”  Brown University Academic Showcase.  January 2010.
  • Pennell, K. G., Bozkurt, O., Suuberg, E. M.  “Simulating Vapor Intrusion Using a 3-D Computational Fluid Dynamics Model.”  20th Anniversary Superfund Basic Research Program. Durham, NC.  December 2007.