Scientific Support Team

Sarah Oktay, Ph.D.

Sarah Oktay, in addition to serving as the Senior Scientific Advisor to Water Defense, is the Director for Institutional Advancement at the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab (“RMBL”). She earned her Ph.D. in Chemical Oceanography from Texas A&M University and has devoted her career to conducting scientific, educational, and outreach activities. She has twenty years of experience in environmental sampling and analysis for trace metals, radionuclides, organic matter, and various contaminants in natural systems including fresh water, air, sediments, groundwater, and saline and brackish matrices.

As the Water Defense Senior Scientific Advisor, Sarah provides scientific review and support of Water Defense laboratory data and communications. Her professional expertise on water-related issues provides us input and internal evaluation that ensures accuracy and transparency in our work. She continues to donate her time to Water Defense and is an integral part of our team. We are proud to work with Dr. Oktay and her involvement in our organization is one of our most valuable assets.

For more information about Dr. Sarah Oktay’s professional experience, please see Sarah Oktay Ph.D. – CV.

Douglas J. Fort, Ph.D.

In addition to providing consultation to Water Defense, Dr. Fort is the President and Laboratory Director of Fort Environmental Laboratories. In 1990 he earned his Ph.D. in Zoology from Oklahoma State University. Dr. Fort’s laboratory focuses on the impact of environmental stressor on animals, specifically focusing on amphibians, reptiles and fish. Dr. Fort develops alternative animal models to evaluate the toxicological effects of environmental contaminants, pesticides, personal care products, discovery-level pharmaceuticals, and other industrial chemicals. Dr. Fort has extensive experience with the validation and use of regulatory tests. He also has over 25 years’ experience working with federal laws and regulations such as the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (“FIFRA”), the Toxic Substances Control Act (“TSCA”), and Clean Water Act (“CWA”). Dr. Fort provides private clientele and governmental agencies with evaluation of potentially toxic substances and pertinent regulations.

Dr. Fort brings his expertise to bear by informing Water Defense of testing methodologies, identifying areas for potential improvement, and evaluating the statutory/regulatory implications of test results. Water Defense is fortunate to have Dr. Fort’s expertise and he continues to provide us with help and guidance that increases our growth and betters our infrastructure.

For more information about Doug Fort’s professional experience, please see Douglas Fort, Ph.D. – CV.

Judith Zelikoff, M.S., Ph.D.

Judith Zelikoff is a tenured professor at the New York University School of Medicine’s Department of Environmental Medicine. She received her Ph.D. in Experimental Pathology from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, currently known as Rutgers School of Medicine. She has 25 years of experience as a general toxicologist, with particular emphasis on the toxicity of inhaled environmental pollutants on immune competence, reproduction and fetal development, and pulmonary responses using laboratory models. She also serves as Director of the NYU National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Center Community Outreach and Engagement Core and has served as a member of several Federal Advisory Boards including the National Toxicology Program, U.S. EPA and Institute of Medicine.

Dr. Zelikoff provides Water Defense with invaluable scientific support as we analyze the toxicological properties and potential human health impacts associated with water and air-borne exposure to various forms of contamination. Additionally, Dr. Zelikoff continues to provide organizational guidance as we continually refine and update our working methodologies. For these reasons, Dr. Zelikoff’s contribution to our work is essential to achieving our goals.

For more information about Judith Zelikoff’s professional experience, please see Judith Zelikoff M.S., Ph.D. – CV.