Our Research

At Shaw Institute, our scientists are always active with ongoing studies. With new investigations and strong partners, we’re excited to share a summary of our current research projects.

Bacteria Monitoring

The Shaw Institute has sampled and reported on water quality in the Gulf of Maine and Blue Hill Bay for 20 years. We collect information on harmful bacterial or algal presence to inform the public and the state, ensuring the waters are safe for all, while also studying their relationship to climate change.

Plastics & Microplastics

What impacts the planet, also affects human health. The Shaw Institute researches microplastic pollution in the environment and within the human body in collaboration with groups such as NYU Langone Health, Colby College, and Harvard Medical School. This work seeks to better understand implications for public health and safety.

PFAS Contamination

The Shaw Institute partners with residents and organizations, both locally and nationally, to study levels of PFAS within our water and our environment. Dr. Rolsky, our Senior Research Scientist, was appointed to Governor Mills’ PFAS Fund Science Advisory Committee, where he serves as a resource for the state’s efforts to assist farmers, schools, and residents of Maine.

Marine Wildlife

Designated as a stranding response volunteer organization for Allied Whale, the Institute responds to ocean animals in distress or needing rescue. Necropsies are performed in the event of death and tissue samples added to the Institute’s tissue bank for ongoing research on contaminants in marine species.


Research Staff

Charles Rolsky, Ph.D.
Executive Director & Senior Research Scientist

Michelle Berger, MA, GCPH
Associate Scientist