Kimani Kimbrough: Environmental Chemist/Data Scientist

Kimani Kimbrough

Kimani Kimbrough holds a minnow trap that will be used to deploy caged mussels in Muskegon Lake, Michigan.

Kimani Kimbrough: A Day in the Life Donut chart showing the typical work duties of Kimani Kimbrough, Environmental Chemist/Data Scientist. Data management Pink chart segment spanning 60% of the whole: the percentage of time Kimani Kimbrough spends on data management. Writing Green chart segment spanning 25% of the whole: the percentage of time Kimani Kimbrough spends on writing. Reading and discussing acience Blue chart segment spanning 10% of the whole: the percentage of time Kimani Kimbrough spends on Reading and discussing science. fieldwork Yellow chart segment spanning 5% of the whole: the percentage of time Kimani Kimbrough spends on fieldwork. Daily Duties

Donut chart showing how Kimani Kimbrough, Environmental Chemist/Data Scientist, spends his time.

As an environmental chemist and data scientist, Kimani measures contaminants in the environment, mines chemical and spatial data, then uses statistics and machine learning to describe the data.


Kimani studied chemistry and marine science at Hampton University because he received a scholarship, and he found that he liked the problem-solving aspect of working with equations. At NOAA, Kimani is part of the Great Lakes Mussel Watch, a group of scientists that collect mussels and document what they find inside, such as pharmaceuticals, oil, and other chemicals. They also evaluate the stressors that organisms may be facing using DNA and metabolomic measurements.

Because they are filter feeders, mussels make good indicators of the potential contaminants within an aquatic ecosystem. Kimani’s work in the Great Lakes region helps Mussel Watch inform the public about what is in the water and, through machine learning, to describe and predict pollution within Great Lakes ecosystems. What’s exciting about Kimani’s work, he says, is learning new things and staying on the cutting edge of his field.

  • Name: Kimani Kimbrough
  • Location: Based in Silver Spring, Maryland, with three weeks to two months of fieldwork a year in the Great Lakes
  • Education: B.S. Marine Environmental Science, Hampton University; Ph.D. Marine Science, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, The College of William and Mary

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Last updated:
03/12/20

Author: NOAA

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