Brittany Cummings

Program: Robert E. Malouf Marine Studies Scholarship


Brittany Cummings is working to characterize ecosystem effects of the Type II diabetes medication, metformin, in the lower Columbia River. The scholarship is being used to complement an ongoing, Oregon Sea Grant-funded research project that is studying metformin as a contaminant of emerging concern in the Columbia River basin. Brittany plans to use her artistic skills to aid in public dissemination of the fate of pharmaceuticals in the environment.


Brittany completed her B.S. in Aquatic and Fishery Sciences from the University of Washington. She is currently working on her M.S. in Environmental Science and Engineering in the Institute of Environmental Health at Oregon Health and Science University.

Professional and Research Interests: 

Brittany is currently employing her diverse scientific background to characterize the distribution and degradation of the anti-diabetic drug, metformin, in the Columbia River basin. Prior to starting her masters research, she had worked in an array of academic and non-academic settings, including non-profit organizations, a consulting firm, a biotek company, and two major universities (University of Washington, UC Berkeley). It was also not unusual to find her accompanying her jobs with freelance scientific illustrations. In the spring of 2016, Brittany began pursuing her current research on metformin as a contaminant of emerging concern in the lower Columbia River. The principle behind Brittany’s masters research revolves around a novel concept of preventative health for both the environment and its inhabitants – be healthy so that your environment is healthy! This exciting research opportunity has weaved together Brittany’s unique skillset as a researcher, biotechnologist, and visual artist to effectively investigate and communicate her observations as both an ecologist and public health promoter.