Skip to main content

Khara Grieger

Department of Applied Ecology

Assistant Professor, Environmental Health and Risk Assessment

NC State Extension

3124 Plant Sciences Building


Dr. Khara Grieger is currently an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in Environmental Health & Risk Assessment. Her research focuses on best practices for risk assessment, risk management, and stakeholder engagement related to the governing of emerging risks and new technologies. For example, she is currently the Project Director for a USDA/NIFA-funded grant that investigates the societal implications of nanomaterials used in food and agricultural sectors. She is also the PI of a grant that aims to grow the field of risk science in the Research Triangle Park area of NC, through funding provided by the Society for Risk Analysis. Further, she is a Co-PI in a NC State-funded GRIP4PSI grant that develops new technologies for use in the sweetpotato industry in North Carolina (Williams = PI) in which she leads the stakeholder engagement efforts, and Co-PI on a NSF-funded grant that focuses on governance of climate management technologies (Borsuk = PI). She is also involved in the NSF-funded Research Triangle Nanotechnology Network (RTNN) housed at NC State University (Jones = PI), a member of the Center for Human Health and Environment (Smart = PI), and Executive Committee Member in the Genetic Engineering and Society (GES) Center at NC State. In addition to research, Dr. Grieger also serves as an external advisory board member for a large European project focused on risk governance (RiskGONE), is the US Co-Chair for a US-EU Risk Management & Control Community of Research (COR) focused on nanomaterial risks, and an External Advisory Board member for the Town of Cary, NC.

Prior to joining Applied Ecology, she served as a Senior Research Scholar in the GES Center from March 2019 through June 2020.  She also was a Senior Environmental Research Scientist at RTI International in the Health and Environmental Risk Analysis program (2012-2019), a Duke University Scholar (2017-2018), and Adjunct Professor at Meredith College (2014).

Grants & Projects

  • Grieger, K.D. (PI). Interdisciplinary Approaches to Evaluate Societal Implications and Foster Sustainability of Genetic Engineering and Nanotechnology in Food and Agriculture. USDA/NIFA. Funded, $649,515. January 2022-January 2026
  • Grieger, K.D. (Co-PI). Biotechnology Risk Assessment Grant Program Conference grant. USDA/NIFA. Funded, $25,000 (PI = Barnhill-Dilling). September 2020-September 2022.
  • Grieger, K.D. (Co-PI). Cultivating A Resilient Workforce By Integrating A Culturally Competent Community of Scholarship & Data Science in Food & Agricultural Research. USDA/NIFA. Funded, $238,500 (PI = Jones, D.). 2021-2023.
  • Grieger, K.D. (PI). Social Implication and Best Practices for Responsible Innovation of Nanotechnology in Food and Agriculture. USDA/NIFA. Funded, $499,856. July 2019-January 2022.
  • Grieger, K.D. (PI). Society for Risk Analysis Strategic Plant Initiative. SRA. Funded, $20,000. September 2019 – February 2022 Grieger, K.D. (Co-PI).
  • Improving Crop Productivity and Value Through Heterogeneous Data Integration, Analytics, and Decision Support Platforms. Game-Changing Research Incentive Program. NC State University. Funded, $550,000 (Williams = PI). February 2020 – June 2023.
  • Grieger, K.D. (team member). Implications of Solar Radiation Management for Strategic Behavior and Climate Governance. NSF. Funded, $565,872 (PI=Borsuk). April 2020-March 2023.
  • Grieger, K.D. (team member). Research Triangle Nanotechnology Network. NSF. Funded $5.5M (Jones = PI). 2014-2020.
  • Grieger, K.D. (Co-PI). Game-Changing Research Incentive Program. NC State University – RTI International. Funded, $650,000 (Jones = PI). 2016-2019


  • 2021, Goodnight Early Career Innovator Award, NC State
  • 2018, Research Triangle Nanotechnology Network (RTNN) Collaborative Award
  • 2018, HOT paper selection for Environmental Science: Nano
  • 2017, American Society of Civil Engineers State-of-the-Art Civil Engineering Award
  • 2013-2017, Highly Published Author Award, RTI International
  • 2014, 2017, Highly Cited Author Award, RTI International
  • 2014, Professional Development Award, RTI International
  • 2013, Early Career Award, RTI International
  • 2011, Best Young Scientist Prize, Integ-Risk and Society for Risk Analysis

Selected Publications

Merck, A.W., Grieger, K., Cuchiara, M., Kuzma, J. 2022. What Role Does Regulation Play in Responsible Innovation of Nanotechnology in Food and Agriculture? Insights and Framings from U.S. Stakeholders. Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society,

Grieger, K., Cummings, C.L. 2022. Informing Environmental Health and Risk Priorities through Local Outreach and Extension. Environment Systems and Decisions

Zhi, Y., Lu., H., Grieger, K., Munoz, G., Wei, L., Wang, X., He, Q., Qian, S. 2022. Bioaccumulation and translocation of 6:2 fluorotelomer sulfonate, GenX, and perfluoroalkyl acids by urban spontaneous plants. ACS ES&T Engineering

Gao, J., Huang, Y., Zhi, Y., Yao, J., Wang, F., Yang, W., Han, L., Lin, D., He, Q., Bing,W., Grieger, K. 2022. Assessing the impacts of urbanization on stream ecosystem functioning: litter decomposition and nutrient uptake in forest and hyper-eutrophic stream. Ecological Indicators, 138: 108859:

Grieger, K., Merck, A., Kuzma, K. 2022. Formulating best practices for responsible innovation of nano-agrifoods through stakeholder insights and reflection. Journal of Responsible Technology, 10:

Baun, A., Hansen, S.F. Grieger, K. 2022. Chapter 15: Environmental risk assessment of emerging contaminants – The case of nanomaterials. In: Advances in Toxicology and Risk Assessment of Nanomaterials and Emerging Contaminants. Springer Nature, edited by Liang-Hong Guo and Monika Mortimer, Singapore, Springer, 2022, pp. 349-371.

Grieger, K., Zarate, S., Barnhill-Dilling, S.K., Hunt, S., Jones, D., Kuzma, J. 2022. Fostering Responsible Innovation through Stakeholder Engagement: Case Study of North Carolina Sweetpotato Stakeholders. Sustainability, 14, 2274:

Ruzante, J. M., Shumaker, E. T., Holt, S., Mayer, S., Kokotovich, A., Cuchiara, M., Binder, A. R., Kuzma, J., and Grieger, K. 2022. Eliciting Stakeholder Perceptions Using a Novel Online Engagement Platform: A Case Study on Nano-Agrifoods. RTI Press Publication No. OP- 0071-2201. Research Triangle Park, NC: RTI Press. https:// doi .org/ 10 .3768/ rtipress .2022.op .0071 .2201

Kokotovich, A., Kuzma, J., Cummings, C., Grieger, K. 2021. Responsible innovation definitions, practices, and motivations from nanotechnology researchers in food and agriculture. NanoEthics

Grieger, K., Merck, A., Cuchiara, M., Binder, A., Kokotovich, A., Cummings, C., Kuzma, J. 2021. Responsible Innovation of Nano-Agrifoods: Insights and Views from U.S. Stakeholders. NanoImpact, 24, 100365:

Grieger, K., Isigonis, P., Franken, R., Wigger, H., Bossa, N., Janer, G., Rycroft, T., Kennedy, A., Hansen, S.F. 2021. Chapter 5: Risk Screening Tools for Engineering Nanomaterials. IN: Ethics in Nanotechnology: Social Sciences and Philosophical Aspects, edited by Marcel Van de Voorde and Gunjan Jeswani, Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter, 2021, pp. 89-108.

Zhi, Y., Call, D., Grieger, K., Duckworth, O., Jones, J.L., Knappe, D. 2021. Influence of Natural Organic Matter and pH on Phosphate Removal by and Lanthanum Release from Lanthanum-Modified Bentonite. Water Research;

Cummings, C.L., Kuzma, J., Kokotovich, A., Glas, D., Grieger, K. 2021. Barriers to responsible innovation of nanotechnology applications in food and agriculture: A study of US experts and developers. NanoImpact;

Kuiken, T., Barrangou, R., GriegerK. 2021. (Broken) Promises of Sustainable Food and Ag through New Biotechnologies: The CRISPR Case. The CRISPR Journal, 4(1): 25-31. Available:

Doydora, S., Gatiboni, L., Grieger, K., Hesterberg, D., Jones, J., McLamore, E., Peters, R., Sozzani, R., Van den Broeck, L., Duckworth O. 2021. Accessing Legacy Phosphorus in Soil. Soil Systems, 4(74): doi:10.3390/soilsystems4040074.

Kuzma, J., Grieger, K. 2020. Community-led governance for gene-edited crops. Science, 370(6519):916-918.

Zhi, Y., Zhang, C., Hjorth, R., Baun, A., Duckworth, O., Call, D., Knappe, D., Jones, J., GriegerK. Emerging Lanthanum (III)-containing Materials for Phosphate Removal from Water: A Review towards Future Developments. Environment International, 145: 106115.

Huang, Y., Li, W., Gao, J., Wang, F., Yang, W., Han, L., Lin, D., Min, B., Zhi, Y., Grieger, K., Yao, J. Effect of microplastics on ecosystem function: Microbial nitrogen removal mediated by benthic macroinvertebrates. Science of the Total Environment

Saia, S., Nelson, N., Huseth, A., Grieger, K, Reich, B., Transitioning Machine Learning from Theory to Practice in Natural Resource Management. Ecological Modeling, 435: 109257.

Kuzma, J., Grieger, K.D., Cummings, C.L., Brown, Z. S. 2020. Pandemics Call for Systems Approaches to Research and Funding. Issues in Science and Technology, May 4, 2020. Available:

Grieger, K., Jones, J.L., Hansen, S.F., Hendren, C.O., Jensen, K.A., Kuzma, J., Baun, A. 2019. What are the Key Best Practices from Nanomaterial Risk Analysis That May Be Relevant for Other Emerging Technologies? Nature Nanotechnology, 14, 998–1001, doi:10.1038/s41565-019-0572-1.

Porcari, A., Borsella, E., Benighaus, C., Grieger, K., Isigonis, P., Chakravarty, S., Kines, P., Jensen, K.A. 2019. From Risk Perception to Risk Governance in Nanotechnology: A Multi-Stakeholder Study. Journal of Nanoparticle Research, 21(11), 1-19.

Grieger, K., Felgenhauer, T., Renn, O., Wiener, J., Borsuk. 2019. Emerging Risk Governance for Stratospheric Aerosol Injection as a Climate Management Technology. Environmental System and Decisions, 39(4), 371-382.

Isigonis, P., Hristozov, D., Benighaus, C., Giubilato, E., Grieger, K., Pizzol, L., Semenzin, E., Linkov, I., Zabeo, A., Marcomini, A. 2019. Risk Governance of Nanomaterials: Review of Criteria and Tools for Risk Communication, Evaluation, and Mitigation. Nanomaterials, 9(696), doi:10.3390/nano9050696

Mortensen, N.P., Johnson, L., Grieger, K., Fennell, T.R. 2019. Biological Interactions between Nanomaterials and Placental Development and Function Following Oral Exposure. Reproductive Toxicology

Grieger, K., Bossa, N., Levis, J., von Borries, K., Strader, P., Cuchicara, M., Hendren, C.O., Hansen, S.F., Jones, J. 2018. Application and Testing of Risk Screening Tools for Nanomaterial Risk Analysis. Environmental Science: Nano, 5:1844-1858.

Hjorth, R., Holden, P.A., Hansen, S.F., Colman, B.P., Grieger, K., Hendren, C.O. 2017. The Role of Alternative Testing Strategies in Environmental Risk Assessment of Engineered Nanomaterials. Environmental Science: Nano, 4:292-301


View on Google Scholar


View Curriculum Vitae


Ph.D. Environmental Engineering Technical University of Denmark

M.Sc. Environmental Engineering Technical University of Denmark

M.S. Plant Biology and Ecology Michigan State University

B.Sc. Zoology Michigan State University


Date: 10/01/21 - 9/30/26
Amount: $15,147,874.00
Funding Agencies: National Science Foundation (NSF)

The Science and Technologies for Phosphorus Sustainability (STEPS) Center is a convergence research hub for addressing the fundamental challenges associated with phosphorus sustainability. The vision of STEPS is to develop new scientific and technological solutions to regulating, recovering and reusing phosphorus that can readily be adopted by society through fundamental research conducted by a broad, highly interdisciplinary team. Key outcomes include new atomic-level knowledge of phosphorus interactions with engineered and natural materials, new understanding of phosphorus mobility at industrial, farm, and landscape scales, and prioritization of best management practices and strategies drawn from diverse stakeholder perspectives. Ultimately, STEPS will provide new scientific understanding, enabling new technologies, and transformative improvements in phosphorus sustainability.

Date: 01/15/22 - 1/14/26
Amount: $649,515.00
Funding Agencies: USDA - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

This proposal puts forth a timely and multi-faceted approach to assess the societal implications of genetic engineering (GE) and nanotechnology used in food and agriculture (agrifoods) and identify strategies to ensure the sustainable futures of agrifood technologies according to diverse stakeholder perspectives. There are three primary objectives: 1) Assess societal implications and improve decision-making of GE- and nano-agrifood products through benefit-risk evaluations; 2) Identify strategies to ensure sustainable development and use of GE and nano-agrifoods through multi-stakeholder engagement and exchange; 3) Develop interdisciplinary education and training opportunities to better evaluate societal implications of new and novel agrifood technologies. Key project outcomes will help policy-makers and other decision-makers i) make informed decisions on GE- and nano-agrifoods, particularly in contexts of benefits and risks, ii) understand societal implications of GE- and nano-agrifoods based on stakeholder perceptions and attitudes, and iii) identify best practices for evaluating societal implications of new and novel agrifood technologies according to diverse perspectives.

Date: 01/15/21 - 1/14/26
Amount: $238,500.00
Funding Agencies: USDA - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

A Pipeline of a Resilient Workforce that integrates Advanced Analytics to the Agriculture, Food and Energy Supply Chain

Date: 02/17/20 - 12/31/24
Amount: $556,250.00
Funding Agencies: Game-Changing Research Incentive Program for Plant Sciences (GRIP4PSI)

Inconsistent quality and aesthetics in agricultural crops can result in increased consumer and producer food waste, reduced industry resiliency and decreased farmers?????????????????? and growers?????????????????? profit, poor consumer satisfaction, and inefficiencies across the supply chain. Although there are opportunities to characterize and quantify sources of phenotypic variability across the agricultural supply chain - from cultural practices of growers and producers to storage and handling by distributors - the data available to allow for assessment of horticultural quality drivers are disparate and disconnected. The absence of data integration platforms that link heterogeneous datasets across the supply chain precludes the development of strategies and solutions to constrain variability in produce quality. This project??????????????????s central hypothesis is that multi-dimensional produce data can be securely integrated and used to optimize management practices in the field while simultaneously adding value across the entire food supply chain. We propose to develop multi-modal sensing platform along with a trust-based, data management, integration, and analytics framework for systematic organization and dynamic abstraction of heterogeneous data across the supply chain of agricultural crops. The projects short term goals are to (1) engage growers to refine research and extension priorities; (2) develop a first-of-its-kind modular imaging system that responds to grower needs by analyzing existing and novel multi-dimensional data; (3) establish the cyberinfrastructure, including analytics and blockchain, to make meaningful inference of the acquired data as related to management practices while ensuring data security; (4) deploy the sensing system at NCSU??????????????????s Horticultural Crops Research Station in Clinton, NC and on a large-scale system at a major commercial farm and distribution facility, and (5) extend findings to producers and regulators through NC Cooperative Extension. The proposed sensing and cyberinfrastructure platforms will be crop-agnostic and our findings will be transferable to other horticultural crops produced in NC and beyond.

Date: 04/01/20 - 3/31/24
Amount: $68,748.00
Funding Agencies: National Science Foundation (NSF)

In the project ????????????????Implications of Solar Radiation Management for Collective Climate Action,??????????????? NC State will be responsible for the following: ??????????????? Assist in the formulate a general theory of behaviour for actors confronting a collective-risk social dilemma with the option of deploying a risky solution. In this work, NC State will review proposed approaches put forward by Duke University and provide comment and recommendations. NC State will also review any work products from Aim 1, provide suggestions and recommendations, and disseminate the resulting outcomes through NC State research networks, including NC State's interdisciplinary science, technology and society initiatives. ??????????????? Assist in the design of experimental games to test theoretical model predictions and assist in the formulation of a resulting behavioural model. In this work, NC State will review proposed approaches by Duke University and provide recommendations on the technical content of the experiment to ensure the desire outcomes will be achieved. NC State will also review any work products from Aim 2, provide suggestions and recommendations, and disseminate the resulting outcomes through NC State research networks ??????????????? Lead the team??????????????????s efforts to translate and disseminate of our theoretical, simulation, and experimental tools and results to other domains of science and technology policy. For example, we anticipate that results and approaches will not only be applicable to the use of SRM but will also be highly relevant to the management of other ????????????????quick fix??????????????? emerging technologies, such as gene drives to eradicate insect-borne diseases or engineered nanomaterials deployed for environmental remediation. ??????????????? Assist Duke University in preparation and finalization of project outcomes, resulting manuscripts, policy-brief(s), and dissemination efforts.

View all grants