Robert (Bob) Gensemer, Ph.D.

Vice President and Senior Ecotoxicologist

Practical application of science


  • Ph.D., Biological Sciences, University of Michigan
  • B.A., Botany, Ohio Wesleyan University

Professional Activities

  • Participant – Water Quality Committee for Oregon Association of Clean Water Agencies. October 2007 to present.
  • Participant – Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (ITRC), subteam member for drafting guidance on Total Petroleum Hydrocarbon Risks at Petroleum Contaminated Sites. April 2016 – December 2018.
  • Program Committee and Co-chair of Exhibits Subcommittee – North America Annual Meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC), Portland, OR, November 2010.
  • Editorial Board – Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management. January 2007 to December 2009.
  • Editor-in-Chief – SETAC Globe: a newsletter for the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. January 2004 to January 2007.
  • Chair – Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management Implementation Committee, Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. November 2002 to November 2004.
  • Chair – New Journal Task Force, Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. May 2001 to November 2002.
  • Editorial Board – Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. January 2001 to December 2003.
  • North American Editor – SETAC Globe: a newsletter for the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. January 2000 to December 2003.
  • Member – Publications Advisory Council for Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. January 2000 to January 2007.
  • Member – American Society for Testing and Materials, committee E47 (Biological Effects and Environmental Fate), plant toxicology subcommittee. Active participation in standard development and review. April 1995 to present.
  • Symposium Co-chair – 10th Symposium on Environmental Toxicology and Risk Assessment: Science, Policy, and Standardization: Implications for Environmental Decisions. American Society of Testing and Materials. April 2000.
  • Member, Board of Directors – North Atlantic Chapter of the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. June 1997 to January 1999. Vice President, June 1998 to January 1999.
  • Chair, Short-course Committee – North Atlantic Chapter of the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. 1998.
  • Member – Barnstable County Scientific Advisory Board, Barnstable, MA. Advised Barnstable County officials regarding scientific aspects of Massachusetts Military Reservation Superfund site cleanup and potential environmental effects. January 1995 to January 1999.
  • Grant Proposal Peer Review – National Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Canada.
  • Peer Review of Manuscripts Have reviewed manuscripts for a number of scientific publications, including:
    American Society for Testing and Materials publications, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, The Bulletin of The New Jersey Academy of Science, Conservation Biology, Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management, Journal of Environmental Quality, Journal of Great Lakes Research, Journal of Environmental and Experimental Botany, Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Science, Canadian Journal of Botany, Hydrobiologia, European Journal of Phycology, Water Air and Soil Pollution, Water Research, Limnology and Oceanography, and Environmental Science and Technology.
I strive to be a passionate advocate for the best available science in an honest and transparent way that builds trust with my clients and also with their regulatory agencies.

I provide Risk Assessment and Risk Management at sediment Superfund sites, and providing scientific and regulatory support related to Water Quality Standards compliance. I help our Oil & Gas clients by leveraging the latest scientific developments in risk assessment and water quality standards to support sensible and cost-effective compliance with environmental regulations.

On behalf of the American Petroleum Institute, I prepared a technical overview of the state-of-the-science regarding “biomarkers” of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) exposure and effects in aquatic ecosystems. The primary focus of the review was to present a technical understanding of, and suggested applications for, the most important and widely-used PAH biomarkers, and to evaluate whether or not biomarkers can be used reliably as indicators of ecological effects for remedial investigations. This was rewarding because it focused on explaining the most recent scientific developments in the context of how they are of practical use to the petroleum industry.

The thing I enjoy most about my job is getting to apply my love of science and use it to improve the health of natural and built environments.

Fun Fact

My wife and I recently bought a motorhome so we could explore and travel more than we used to, particularly after COVID-19. Its fun!