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EPA Names Directors to National Research Programs

Release Date: 01/11/2007
Contact Information: Melissa Anley-Mills, (202)564-5179, / Ann Brown, (919)541-7818 /

(Washington, D.C. – Jan. 11, 2007) To address high-priority research needs to protect public health and the environment, EPA’s Office of Research and Development announces the appointment of four new national program directors. This completes the extensive search process to identify leading environmental science and engineering experts for eight newly created national programs. The directors will coordinate and integrate the research in their program areas to ensure the science conducted is relevant and of high quality.

“We are confident these senior scientists will provide outstanding leadership as we move forward to provide the science needed by the Agency to address the complex environmental problems that we face,” said Dr. George Gray, assistant administrator for the Office of Research and Development (ORD). “Their expertise will be invaluable as we continue to implement a new approach to identifying research objectives through a multi-year planning process,” he said.

The four national program directors (NPDs) announced today will lead research programs in the areas of water quality, human health, drinking water and ecology. In 2005, ORD announced the appointment of four national program directors in pesticides and toxics, contaminated sites and resource conservation, global change and mercury, and air.

Charles Noss, Sc.D., national program director for water quality. Dr. Noss brings a strong and diverse scientific background to the water quality research program. He has extensive water quality expertise in wastewater collection and treatment systems, stormwater management, and environmental impacts. Prior to joining EPA, he served as deputy executive director and director for research at the Water Environmental Research Foundation. He has a doctorate in science in environmental health engineering from The Johns Hopkins University.

Hugh Tilson, Ph.D., national program director for human health. Dr. Tilson has served in many leadership roles in ORD to advance human health research, including as the acting NPD for human health research since the creation of the national programs in 2005. Previously he served as the assistant laboratory director for human health and the director of the neurotoxicology division in ORD’s National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory. He has a doctorate in psychopharmacology from the University of Minnesota.

Audrey Levine, Ph.D., national program director for drinking water. Dr. Levine is an environmental engineer with extensive research experience in water quality, water treatment and distribution systems, treatment technologies, and water reuse. Prior to joining the EPA, she was a faculty member of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of South Florida in Tampa. She is a Diplomat of Environmental Engineering (DEE) and a registered professional engineer (P.E.). She has more than 20 years of broad-based, technical experience within academic, government, industry, and consulting settings. She has a doctorate in civil engineering from the University of California at Davis, and a master’s degree in Public Health from Tulane University.

Rick Linthurst, Ph.D., national program director for ecology. Dr. Linthurst has served in a variety of science leadership roles in ORD between 1985 and 2000, conducting research and managing ecological programs, including tenure as associate director for ecology in the National Exposure Research Laboratory. More recently, he served as the EPA Office of Inspector General Senior Science Advisor. He has a doctorate in botany from North Carolina State University.

EPA relies on quality science as the basis for sound policy and decision-making. EPA’s laboratories and research centers, and EPA's research grantees, are building the scientific foundation needed to support the Agency’s mission to safeguard human health and the environment. More information on ORD’s research activities can be found at