Associate Professor

Bindu Panikkar is an Associate Professor at the Environmental Program, Rubenstein School for Environment and Natural Resources at University of Vermont. She works at the intersection of Environmental Health, Environmental Justice, and Science, Technology & Society Studies. Her work examines environmental controversies surrounding emerging contaminants, land use development, and technology politics and its social, legal, ethical, and environmental justice implications.

She has been working on environmental health and environmental justice issues since 2005 starting with her doctoral research exploring occupational health issues among immigrant workers in construction, cleaning, and day laborer industries in Somerville, Massachusetts. Her current work examines a range of environmental justice issues in Vermont including environmental health disparities in the state, migrant occupational health issues, food, energy, and transportation justice, and land use policies that reinforce whiteness of Vermont.

She is also working on a monograph examining environmental justice controversies surrounding new extractive resource expansions of Pebble Mine in the Bristol Bay and the Donlin Mine in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta and the visions of alternate materials and post-carbon futures proposed by activists, native communities, artists, theorists, media, and cultural producers in Alaska. This project examines why particular imaginaries take hold while others do not and how certain epistemologies and ontologies are enhanced or undermined. It argues that the mine permitting processes are not only highly visible battles over land and resources but are active spaces for debating and addressing inequities, just sustainable material and relational practices, and indigenous sovereignty.

Her prior work examined community health outcomes from PFAS exposure in Merrimack, New Hampshire; transboundary conflicts surrounding water in the Kabul River Basin; impacts on navigation, food security, and health from sea ice change in the communities of Kugluktuk and Cambridge Bay in Nunavut, Canada; reflexive research ethics in fetal tissue xenotransplantation research; the ethics of uranium mining research; and the teratogenic effects of depleted uranium.

Bindu is also a fellow at the Gund Institute of the Environment and the Associate Director of Institute of Environmental Diplomacy and Security. She also serves on the board of Community Action Works, Vermont Natural Resources Council, and the BIPOC Advisory committee of RENEW Vermont.


Selected Publications

  • Raub K, Stepnuck K, and Panikkar B. Exploring the Food-Energy-Water-Nexus Approach to Enhance Coastal Community Resilience Planning. Global Sustainability (In Review)
  • Panikkar B, Barrett KM, Luna A, and Sharrow M. Farm worker occupational exposures and environmental and health concerns. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (In Review)
  • Panikkar B and Lemmond B. Being on land and sea in troubled times: Climate change and food sovereignty in Nunavut. Land. 2020. 9, 508; doi:10.3390/land9120508
  • Tollefson J and Panikkar B. Contested extractivism: Impact assessment, public engagement, and environmental knowledge production in Alaska’s Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. Journal of Political Ecology. 2020. 27:1166-1188.
  • Panikkar B. Litigation is our last resort: legal pluralism for indigenous sovereignty, environmental justice, and rights of nature. Nature & Culture. 2020, 15(2):173-198.
  • Panikkar B, Lemmond B, Allen L, DiPirro C, and Kasper S. Making the Invisible visible: Community led health surveys and PFAS in drinking water in Merrimack, New Hampshire Environmental Health 2019, 18:79.
  • Panikkar B, Zia A, Sgorbati S, Cohen M, Abid M, Fayyaz M, Hashimi N, Alu A, Ahmad M, Aman Z, Halasah S, Rice D, Del Rossi G, Ryan B, Hameed K, Hussain M, and Salimee N. "Transboundary water governance in the Kabul River Basin: Implementing environmental and public diplomacy between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Complexity, Governance & Networks. 2019. 5(1):101-120.
  • Panikkar B and Tollefson J. Land as material, habitat and knowledge: Constructions of resource materialities in Bristol Bay. Social Studies of Science. 2018. 48(5) 715–739.
  • Panikkar B, Lemmond, B, Else B, and Murray M. Ice over troubled waters: Navigating the Northwest Passage using Inuit knowledge and scientific information. Climate Research. 2017. 75:81-94.
  • Gould R, Phukan I, Mendoza M, Ardoin N, and Panikkar B. Seizing opportunities to diversity conservation. Conservation Letters. 2017.
  • Panikkar B. Gute DM, Brugge D, Woodin M and Hyatt R. “They see us as machines:” The narrative of recent immigrant women in the low skilled informal labor sector. PLoS One. 2015. Nov 24:10(11).
  • Panikkar B and Sandler R. Nuclear energy, justice and power: The case of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station license renewal. In Taebi B and Roesner S. (Ed) The Ethics of Nuclear Energy: Risk, Justice, and Democracy in the Post-Fukushima Era. Cambridge University Press. 2015. Pp141-156. (Book chapter)
  • Panikkar B. Woodin M,  Brugge D, Hyatt R, Community Partners of the Somerville Community Immigrant Worker Project and Gute DM. Characterizing the low wage immigrant workforce: A comparative analysis of the health disparities among selected occupations in Somerville, Massachusetts. American Journal of Industrial Medicine. 2013. 57(3): 516-526.
  • Panikkar B. Woodin M,  Brugge D, Desmarais AM, Hyatt R, Community Partners of the Somerville Community Immigrant Worker Project and Gute DM. Occupational health outcomes among self-identified immigrant workers living and working in Somerville, Massachusetts. Journal of Immigrant and Minority. 2013. 15(5): 882-889.
  • Panikkar B. Smith N. and Brown P. Reflexive research ethics in fetal tissue xenotransplantation research. Accountability in Research. 2012.19:344–369.
  • Panikkar B, Yazzie E, Brugge D.  Ethics of uranium mining research and the Navajo people.  In, Quigley D, Lowman A, Wing S, eds.  Tortured Science: Health Studies, Ethics and Nuclear Weapons in the United States.  October, 2011, Baywood Publishing: NY. (Book Chapter)
  • Panikkar B. Woodin M,  Brugge D, Desmarais AM, Hyatt R, Goldman et al. Ethnicity, years in the US, and English proficiency and occupational health and safety experiences among self-identified immigrant workers living or working in Somerville, Massachusetts. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Special Issue on Migrant Health.  2012, 9(12), 4452-4469.
  • Panikkar B. Understanding immigrant work and health. In Lou, Sana, Sajatovic (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Immigrant Health. Springer Verlag, NY. 2012.
  • Panikkar B, Brugge D.  The Ethical issues in uranium mining research in the Navajo Nation.  Accountability in Research 2007, 14:121-153.
  • Brugge D, Panikkar B, Snell J, Welker-Hood K.  Lessons from developing methods to study the relationship of energy and water savings to housing conditions and resident health.  Local Environment: International Journal of Justice and Sustainability 2006, 11:701-717.
  • Hindin, R. Brugge, D and Panikkar, B. Epidemiological perspectives on the teratogenicity of depleted uranium, Environmental Health: A Global Access Science Source 2005, 4:17.
Bindu Panikkar

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Instructional programs: Sustainability, Ecology and Policy
Research: Environmental health, community based research, environmental policy, natural resources, Arctic environment and health, environmental health social movements, environmental justice


  • Ph.D in Environmental Health, Tufts University, 2011
  • M.S in Environmental Health, Tufts University, 2002
  • M.A in Environmental Policy and Planning, Tufts University, 2002
  • B.A in Literature, University of Kerala, 1992


  • 802 656-5877
Office Location:

201 Johnson House, 617 Main St.