Gabriel Filippelli, Ph.D.

Chancellor's Professor

Director of the Center for Urban Health

Executive Director, Environmental Resilience Institute

SL 118E
(317) 274-3795
Research Areas:
Geochemistry | Paleoclimatology/Paleoceanography | Sedimentology


My research focuses on biogeochemical cycling in the environment and the connections between geochemistry and the geologic record of climate change. Student projects involve field study, followed by detailed geochemical analyses in the biogeochemistry laboratory. The laboratory is equipped with a plasma emission spectrometer for elemental analyses, as well as specialized spectrometers for analysis of carbon, mercury, and phosphorous.

I have worked extensively on the chemistry and geologic history of nutrient cycling in the ocean and on land. Current research projects involve determining the controls on nutrient cycling on land during glaciation, examining the timing and driving forces of biological productivity in the ocean, assessing the content and distribution of the potentially harmful element mercury in coal resources of Indiana and examining the links between lead distribution and children's blood lead levels in urban areas.


  • 1994 Ph.D. Earth Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz
  • 1986 B.S. Geology, University of California, Davis

Publications & Professional Activity

Zheng, G., Filippelli, G.M., and Salamova, A., 2020. Increased indoor exposure to commonly used disinfectants during the COVID-19 pandemic. Environmental Science and Technology Letters.

Filippelli, G.M, Freeman, J.K., Gibson, J., Jay, S., Moreno-Madriñán, M.J, Ogashawara, I., Rosenthal, F.S., Wang, Y., and Wells, E., 2020. Climate change impacts on human health at an actionable scale: A state-level assessment of Indiana, USA. Climatic Change.

Filippelli, G.M, Anenberg, S., Taylor, M., van Geen, A., and Khreis, H., 2020. New approaches to identifying and reducing the global burden of disease from pollution. GeoHealth.

Donaldson, T., Fore, G., Filippelli, G., and Hess, J., 2020. A systematic review of the literature on situated learning in the geosciences: Beyond the classroom. International Journal of Science Education, 42(5): 722-743.

Filippelli, G.M. and Finkelman, R., in press. Exploring the intersections of environmental health and urban medical geology. In: Practical Applications of Medical Geology, Springer Press.

Mazari, K., and Filippelli, G.M., 2019. Using deciduous trees as bioindicators of trace element deposition in a small urban watershed, Indianapolis (IN, USA). Journal of Environmental Quality.

Beidinger, H., Ahern, L., Ngai, M., Sisk, M. and Filippelli, G.M., 2018. A lack of consistent lead screening of children for elevated blood lead levels results in undue risk to vulnerable children. Journal of Public Health Policy.

Filippelli, G.M., Adamic, J., Nichols, D., Shukle, J., and Frix, E., 2018. Mapping the urban lead exposome: A detailed analysis of soil metal concentrations at the household scale using citizen science. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(7), 1531. doi: 10.3390/ijerph15071531 

Filippelli, G.M., 2018. Exploring the paradox of increased global health and degraded global environment—How much borrowed time is humanity living on? GeoHealth, 2. doi: 10.1029/2018GH000155​

Filippelli, G.M., 2018. Balancing the global distribution of phosphorus with a view toward sustainability and equity. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 32. doi: 10.1029/2018GB005923​

Filippelli, G.M. and Taylor, M. P., 2018. Addressing pollution-related global environmental health burdens. GeoHealth, 2,2 –5. doi: 10.1002/2017GH000119. Awarded Top 20 Downloaded publication 2017-2018 in GeoHealth by Wiley

Cortina, A., Filippelli, G.M., Ochoa, D., Sierro, F.J., Flores, J.A., and J.O. Grimalt, 2018. Climate-driven changes in sedimentation rate impact phosphorus burial along continental margins of the Mediterranean. Paleogeography, Paleoclimatology, Paleoecology. doi: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2018.03.010

Obeng-Gyasi, E., Armijos, R.X., Weigel, M., Filippelli, G.M., and Sayegh, A., 2018. Cardiovascular-related outcomes in US adults exposed to lead. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15, 759; doi:10.3390/ijerph15040759​

Obeng-Gyasi, E., Armijos, R.X., Weigel, M., Filippelli, G.M., and Sayegh, A., 2018. Hepatobiliary-related outcomes in US adults exposed to lead. Environments, 5, 46; doi:10.3390/environments5040046​

Filippelli, G.M. and Cowie, G.L., 2017. Carbon and phosphorus cycling in Arabian Sea sediments across the oxygen minimum zone. Journal of Oceanography and Marine Research, 5:171 doi: 10.4172/2572-3103.100017

Laidlaw, M.A.S., Filippelli, G.M., Mielke, H., Gulson, B., and Ball, A., 2017. Lead exposure at firing ranges—A review. Environmental Health, 16:34, doi 10.1186/s12940-017-0246-0​

Laidlaw, M.A.S., Filippelli, G.M., Brown, S., Paz-Ferreiro, J., Reichman, S., Netherway, P., Truskewycz, A., Ball, A., and Mielke, H., 2017. Case studies and evidence-based approaches to addressing urban soil lead contamination. Applied Geochemistry,

Leech, T.G.J., Adams, E., Weathers, T., Staten, L., and Filippelli, G.M., 2016. Inequitable chronic lead exposure: A dual legacy of social and environmental injustice. Family & Community Health, 39: 151-159. doi: 10.1097/FCH.0000000000000106

Laidlaw, M.A.S., Filippelli, G.M., Sadler, R.C., Gonzales, C.R., Ball, A.S., and Mielke, H.W., 2016. Children’s blood lead seasonality in Flint, Michigan (USA), and soil-sourced lead hazard risks. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 13: doi:10.3390.

Leech, T.G.J., Adams, E., Weathers, T., Staten, L., and Filippelli, G.M., in press. Inequitable chronic lead exposure: A dual legacy of social and environmental injustice. Family & Community Health.

Chambers, L.G., Chin, Y-P, Filippelli, G.M., Gardner, C., Herndon, E.M., Long, D.T., Lyons, W.B., Macpherson, G.L., McElmurry, S.P., McLean, C.E., Moore, J., Moyer, R.P., Neumann, K., Nezat, C.A., Soderberg, K., Teutsch, N., and Widom, E., 2016. Developing the scientific framework for urban geochemistry. Applied Geochemistry, 67: 1-20. doi: 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2016.01.005

Filippelli, G.M., Risch, M., Laidlaw, M.A.S, Nichols, D.E., and Crewe, J., 2015. Geochemical legacies and the future health of cities: A tale of two neurotoxins in urban soils. Elementa, 3: 000059.  doi: 10.12952/journal.elementa.000059.

Teitler, L., Florindo, F. Warnke, D.A., Filippelli, G.M., Kupp, G., and Taylor, B., 2015. Antarctic Ice Sheet response to a long warm interval across Marine Isotope Stage 31: A cross-latitudinal study of iceberg-rafted debris. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 409: 109-119, doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2014.10.037

Filippelli, G.M., 2014. A salty start to modern ocean circulation. Science, 344: 1228-1229.

Zahran, S., Mielke, H.W., McElmurry, S., Filippelli, G., Laidlaw, M.A.S., and Taylor, M., 2013. Determining the relative importance of soil sample locations to predict risk of child lead exposure. Environment International, 60: 7-14, doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2013.07.004

Zahran, S., Laidlaw, M.A.S., McElmurry, S., Filippelli, G., and Taylor, M., 2013. Linking source and effect: Re-suspended soil lead, air lead, and children’s blood lead levels in Detroit, Michigan. Environmental Science & Technology, 47: 2839-2845.

Cortina, A., Sierro, F., Filippelli, G.M., Flores, J.A, and Berne, S., 2013. Changes in planktic and benthic foraminifer assemblages in the Gulf of Lions, off South France: Response to climate and sea level change from MIS 6 to MIS 11. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 14: 1258-1276, doi: 10.1002/ggge.20096.

Filippelli, G.M., Morrison, D., and Cicchella, D., 2012. Urban geochemistry and human health. Elements, 8: 439-444.

Hernandez, I.A., Sierro, F., Cacho, I., Flores, J.A., and Filippelli, G.M., 2012. Paleoceanographic changes in the North Atlantic during the Mid-Pleistocene Transition (MIS 31-19) as inferred from planktonic foraminifera and calcium carbonate records. Boreas, doi: 0.1111/j.1502-3885.2012.00283.x

Morrison, D., Lin, Q., Wiehe, S., Liu, G., Rosenman, M., Fuller, T., Wang, J., and Filippelli, G.M., 2012. Spatial relationships between lead sources and children’s blood lead levels in the urban center of Indianapolis (USA). Environmental Geochemistry and Health, 35(2): 171-183, doi:10.1007/s10653-012-9474-y.

Flores, J.A., Filippelli, G.M., Sierro, F., and Latimer, J. 2012. The “White Ocean” Hypothesis: A late Pleistocene Southern Ocean governed by Coccolithophores and driven by phosphorus. Frontiers in Aquatic Microbiology, 3: doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2012.00233.

Laidlaw, M.A.S., Zahran, S., Mielke, H.W., Taylor, M.P., and Filippelli, G.M., 2012. Re-suspension of lead contaminated urban soil as a dominant source of atmospheric lead in Birmingham, Chicago, Detroit, and Pittsburgh, USA. Atmospheric Environment, 49: 302-310.

Jacinthe, P.A., Filippelli, G.M., Tedesco, L.P., and Raftis, R., 2012. Carbon storage and greenhouse gas emission from a fluvial reservoir in an agricultural landscape. Catena, 94: 53-63, doi:10.1016/j.catena.2011.03.012

Hernández-Almeida, I., Bjørklund, K.R., Sierro, F.J., Filippelli, G.M., Cacho, I., and Flores, J.A., 2013. A high resolution opal and radiolarian record from the subpolar North Atlantic during the Mid-Pleistocene Transition (1069-779 KA): Paleoceanographic implications. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeocology, doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2011.05.049

Filippelli, G.M., 2011. Phosphate rock formation and marine phosphorus geochemistry: The deep time perspective. Chemosphere, doi:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2011.02.019.

Hatcher, C.L., and Filippelli, G.M., 2011. Mercury cycling in an urbanized watershed: The influence of wind distribution and regional subwatershed geometry in central Indiana, USA. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution. doi:10.1008/s11270-010-0703-7.

Filippelli, G.M., 2010. Phosphorus and the gust of fresh air. Nature, 467: 1052-1053.

Filippelli, G.M. and Laidlaw, M.A.S., 2010. The Elephant in the Playground: Confronting lead-contaminated soils as an important source of lead burdens to urban populations. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 53: 31-45.

Nelson, J.A., Licht, K., Yansa, C., and Filippelli, G.M., 2010. Climate-related cyclic deposition of carbonate and organic matter in Holocene lacustrine sediment, Lower Michigan, USA. Journal of Paleolimnology, 44: 1-13; doi:10.1007/s10933-009-9381-0.

Pandit, C., Filippelli, G.M., and Li, L., 2010. An estimation of heavy metal concentration in soils using reflectance spectroscopy and partial least squares regression. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 31: 4111-4123, doi:10.1080/01431160903229200.

Curry, B.B. and Filippelli, G.M., 2010. Episodes of low dissolved oxygen indicated by ostracodes and sediment geochemistry at Crystal Lake, Illinois, USA. Limnology & Oceanography, 55(6): 2403-2423, doi:10.4319/lo.2010.55.6.2403.

Filippelli, G.M. and Flores, J.A., 2009. From the warm Pliocene to the cold Pleistocene: A tale of two oceans. Geology, 37: 959-960, doi:10.1130/focus102009.1

Filippelli, G.M., Souch, C.S., Horn, S., and Newkirk, D, 2009. The pre-Colombian footprint on terrestrial nutrient cycling in Costa Rica: Insights from phosphorus in a lake sediment record. Journal of Paleolimnology. doi:10.1007/s10933-009-9372-1.

Filippelli, G.M. and Laidlaw, M.A.S., 2009. Response to Comment by Bogden and Kemp “Soil lead, blood lead, and vitamin D.” Applied Geochemistry, 24: 1041.

Sen, A.K., Filippelli, G.M., and Flores, J.A., 2009. An application of wavelet analysis to paleoproductivity records from the Southern Ocean. Computers and Geoscience, 35(7): 1445-1450.

Filippelli, G.M., 2008. The global phosphorus cycle: Past, present and Future. Elements, 4(2): 89-95. Highlighted as an Editor’s Choice in Science, May, 2008.

Laidlaw, M.A. and Filippelli, G.M., 2008. Resuspension of urban soils as a persistent source of lead poisoning in children: A review and new directions. Applied Geochemistry, 23: 2021-2039.

McPeek, T., Brown, K., Wang, X., and Filippelli, G.M., 2008. Rates of carbon ingrowth and nutrient release from young Icelandic basalts. Joküll, 57: 37-44.

Schuster, D., Filippelli, G.M., and Thomas, C., 2008. Secondary student’s subject matter representation of climate change. Journal of Geoscience Education, 56: 307-315.

Filippelli, G.M., Latimer, J.C., Murray, R.W., and Flores, J.A., 2007. Productivity records from the Southern Ocean and the equatorial Pacific Ocean: Testing the Glacial Shelf-Nutrient Hypothesis. Deep Sea Research II, 54/21-22: 2443-2452. Highlighted as an Editor’s Choice in Science, October, 2007.

Barker, P.F., Filippelli, G.M., Florindo, F., Martin, E.E., and Scher, H.D., 2007. Onset and role of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. Deep Sea Research II, 54/21-22: 2388-2398.

Latimer, J.C. and Filippelli, G.M., 2007. Sedimentary iron records from the Cape Basin. Deep Sea Research II, 54/21-22: 2422-2431.

Warnke, D., Filippelli, G.M., and Flores, J. A., 2007. Paleoceanography and paleoclimatology of the Southern Ocean: A synthesis of three decades of scientific ocean drilling. Deep Sea Research II, 54/21-22: 2291-2292.

Glenn, C. and Filippelli, G.M., 2007. Authigenic mineral formation in the marine environment: Pathways, processes and products. Deep Sea Research II, 54 (11-13): 1-6.

Filippelli, G.M., Souch, C., Menounos, B., Slater-Atwater, S., Jull, T.A.J., and Slaymaker, O., 2006. Alpine lake records reveal the impact of climate and rapid climate change on the biogeochemical cycling of soil nutrients. Quaternary Research, 66: 158-166 (doi:10.1016/j.yqres.2006.03.009).

Latimer, J.C., Filippelli, G.M., Hendy, I., Gleason, J.D., and Blum, J.D., 2006. Glacial-interglacial terrigenous provenance in the southeastern Atlantic Ocean: The importance of deep water sources and surface currents. Geology, 34: 545–548 (doi:10.1130/G22252.1).

Latimer, J.C., Filippelli, G.M., Hendy, I, and Newkirk, D.R., 2006. Opal-associated phosphorus: Implications for the marine P cycle. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, 70: 3843-3854.

Mastalerz, M. and Drobniak, A., G. Filippelli, G.M, 2006. Mercury content and petrographic composition in Pennsylvanian coal beds of Indiana, USA. International Journal of Coal Geology, 68: 2-13.

Laidlaw, M., Mielke, H.W., Gonzales, C.R., Filippelli, G.M., and Johnson, D., 2006. Response to Comment by Brown and Jacobs “Sources of blood lead in children.” Environmental Health Perspectives, 114 (1): A19.

Filippelli, G.M and Souch, C., 2006. Rapid climate change and climate surprises: A look back and ahead. Oceanography, 19: 40-45.

Filippelli, G.M., Laidlaw, M., Raftis, R., and Latimer, J.C., 2005. Urban lead poisoning and medical geology: An unfinished story. GSA Today, 15: 4-11 (doi: 10.1130/1052-5173(2005)015<4:ULPAMG>2.0.CO;2). Highlighted in Science News, 2005; named top Science article of 2005 by GSA Today in 2009.

Laidlaw, M., Mielke, H.W., Filippelli, G.M., Johnson, D., and Gonzales, C.R., 2005. Seasonality and children’s blood lead levels: Developing a predictive model using climatic variables and blood lead data from three US cities. Environmental Health Perspectives, 113 (6): 793-800 (doi:10.1289/ehp.7759)

Flores, J.A., Sierro, F.J., Filippelli, G.M., Bárcena, M.A., Pérez-Folgado, M., Vázquez, A. and Utrilla, R., 2005. Surface water dynamics and phytoplankton communities during deposition of cyclic late Messinian sapropel sequences in the western Mediterranean. Marine Micropaleontology, 56: 50-79.

Huerta-Diaz, M.A., Tovar-Sánchez, A., Filippelli, G.M., Latimer, J.C., and Sañudo-Wilhelmy, S.A., 2005. A novel method for the determination of phosphorus associated with sedimentary iron oxyhydroxides. Applied Geochemistry, 20: 2108-2115.

Filippelli, G.M., Sierro, F.J., Flores, J.A., Vázquez, A., Utrilla, R., Pérez-Folgado, M., and Latimer, J., 2003. A sediment-nutrient-oxygen feedback responsible for productivity variations in late Miocene sapropel sequences of the western Mediterranean. Paleogeography, Paleoclimatology, and Paleoecology, 190: 335-348.


  • 2020 Chancellor’s Professor, IUPUI (highest distinguished rank on the campus)
  • 2020 John W. Ryan Award for Distinguished Contributions to International Programs and Studies, Indiana University.
  • 2019 Prose Award for Excellence in Physical Science and Math (top publication for the year), Association of American Publishers, for GeoHealth, Gabriel Filippelli Editor-in-Chief
  • 2019 School of Science Innovative Educator Award. IUPUI
  • 2017 Charles R. Bantz Chancellor’s Community Fellow
  • 2016 Prestigious External Award Recognition, IUPUI
  • 2016 Willeke Distinguished Lecture, Miami University, Ohio
  • 2015 Fellow, International Association of GeoChemistry
  • 2015 Certificate of Appreciation, U.S. Department of State
  • 2014 Prestigious External Award Recognition, IUPUI
  • 2013-14 Jefferson Science Fellow, U.S. Department of State, serving as Senior Science Advisor in the Bureau of Ocean, International Environment &Science
  • 2013 Chancellor’s Faculty Award for Excellence in Civic Engagement
  • 2009-2011 Chair, Science Planning Committee, Integrated Ocean Drilling Program
  • 2006-2009 Science Planning Committee, Integrated Ocean Drilling Program
  • 2007-2009 Vice-Chair, Science Planning Committee, Integrated Ocean Drilling Program
  • 2007 Research Award, School of Science, IUPUI
  • 2006-2007 Chair, Geology and Health Division, Geological Society of America