Environmental Toxicologist, Secretary’s Office


Dr. Frannie Nilsen is the lead Environmental Toxicologist with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.

Dr. Nilsen earned a Bachelor of Science Degree and Master of Science degree, as well as a certificate in Environmental Policy, all from Hawaii Pacific University. She earned her PhD in Marine Biomedicine and Environmental Toxicology from the Medical University of South Carolina while working at the National Institute of Standard and Technology, and closely with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and Integrated Missions Support Systems at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

Currently, in her role at NC DEQ, she is involved with a variety of projects related to PFAS contamination and exposure including military, industrial, and drinking water facilities. She is the technical liaison to the NC Secretaries’ Science Advisory Board and is responsible for coordinating the PFAS review activities to support reference dose development for PFAS specific to industrial facilities in NC that are not being reviewed by the EPA.

Dr. Nilsen is the lead investigator on a large-scale fish collection study in the Cape Fear River that will support the derivation of regulatory values to be used in concert with the work of the Science Advisory Board. She was recently appointed by the Governor of NC to the NC Advisory Committee on Cancer Coordination and Control to serve as an expert on PFAS toxicity. She previously worked at the US EPA as a Toxicologist and Post-Doctoral Fellow combining environmental exposures and genetic predisposition to determine children’s health outcomes.

Contact: (919) 368-0205

[email protected]