Leslie Hart

Associate Professor, Program Director (BA Public Health)

Address: Silcox 312
Office Hours: Wednesdays 9am-12pm
Phone: 843-953-5191
E-mail: hartlb@cofc.edu


Ph.D. Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC

  • Epidemiology
  • Dissertation: "The Use of Longitudinal and Cross-Sectional Photographic Data to Study Skin Disease in Wild Bottlenose Dolphins"

M.S. College of Charleston, Charleston, SC

  • Environmental Studies

B.S. College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA

  • Biology and Environmental Science

Research Interests

My overarching research theme focuses on environmental exposure to man-made chemicals and resultant health effects, with a particular emphasis on endocrine-disrupting chemicals and adverse reproductive impacts.

  • Determination of indicators and biomarkers of sublethal health effects resulting from chemical exposure
  • Development of reference intervals for clinical screening of health abnormalities
  • Development of mobile applications to detect and evaluate health outcomes

Current Research Projects

  • Investigation of phthalate exposure in wild bottlenose dolphins
  • Investigation of cosmetic and personal care product use among college students
  • Investigation of phthalate exposure in college students

Press and Media

1. BBC's Blue Planet II Series 

See Dr. Hart's research investigating the environmental impact of man-made chemicals on the health of both bottlenose dolphins and college-aged students highlighted on Episode 7 of BBC America's Planet Earth: Blue Planet II.

Bottle Dolphin

"Chemicals From Plastics, Comestics Found in Wild Dolphins", National Geographic (https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2018/09/news-dolphins-plastic-chemical-traces-found/ )

"Chemcials From Cosmetics, Plastic, and Paints Found in Wild Dolphins for the First Time", IFL Science
(https://www.iflscience.com/environment/chemicals-from-cosmetics-plastic-and-paints-found-in-wild-dolphins-for-the-first-time/ )

"Endocrine disrupting chemicals that cause reproductive issues in humans detected in dolphins' urine for the first time - and plastic waste may be to blame", Daily Mail (https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-6136503/Endocrine-disrupting-chemicals-detected-DOLPHINS-urine-time.html )

"Gulf Dolphins Contaminated with Chemicals from Plastics, Study Finds", Nola.com (https://www.nola.com/environment/index.ssf/2018/10/gulf_dolphins_contaminated_wit.html )

"Endocrine Disruptors Found in Bottlenose Dolphins", AGU Newsroom (https://news.agu.org/press-release/endocrine-disruptors-found-in-bottlenose-dolphins/ )

"Professor's Research Shows Dolphins Exposed to Chemicals", The College Today (https://today.cofc.edu/2018/09/06/professors-research-shows-dolphins-exposed-to-chemicals/ )


Courses Taught

HEAL 350: Epidemiology

HEAL 456: Biostatistics in Health Services

HEAL 470: Public Health Research Design and Analysis

Honors and Awards

2021 - Nominee, Distinguished Resarcher Award, College of Charleston

2019 – Nominee, William V. Moore Distinguished Teacher-Scholar Award, College of Charleston

2018 – Nominee, South Carolina Environmental Awareness Award, SC SeaGrant

2018 - ExCEL Award, Outstanding Faculty of the Year, School of Education, Health and Human Performance


  • Assessment Fellow, Center for Sustainable Development
  • Adjunct Faculty, Environmental Studies Graduate Program
  • Adjunct Faculty, Marine Biology Graduate Program
  • College of Charleston Women's Health Research Team
  • College of Charleston Center for Coastal Environmental and Human Health


* = student co-authors

(Submitted) Hart, L.B., *Dziobak, M., Wells, R.S., Ertel, B., and J. Weinstein.  An Evaluation of Microplastics in Gastric Samples from Free-Ranging Common Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus).

(Submitted) *Golder, J., *Lightsey, M., Sundstrom, B., *Dziobak, M., and L.B. Hart.  Factors Influencing CDC-Recommended Preventative Behaviors through the COVID-19 Pandemic in College Students. 

(2022) Hart, L.B., *Lightsey, M., Johnson, K., *Golder, J., *Vassy, M.B., and B. Sundstrom.  A comparison of personal care product use between undergraduate students attending military and non-military universities: possible implications for exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals.  Journal of Hazardous Materials Advances.  7, 100117.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hazadv.2022.100117

(2022) *Dziobak, M.K., Balmer, B., Wells, R.S., Pisarski, E.C., Wirth, E.F., and L.B. Hart.  Temporal and spatial evaluation of mono (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (MEHP) detection in common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) from Sarasota Bay, FL, USA.  Oceans.  3 (3), 231-249.  https://doi.org/10.3390/oceans3030017 

(2022) *Dziobak, M.K., Wells, R.S., Pisarski, E.C., Wirth, E.F., and L.B. Hart.  A correlational analysis of phthalate exposure and hormone levels in common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) from Sarasota Bay, FL (2010-2019). Animals. 12, 824. doi.org/10.339/ani12070824

(2022)  Gutovitz, S., Leggett, J. Hart, L., Leaman, S.M., James, H., and T. Stillinger.  The impact of teleneurologists on acute stroke care at an advanced primary stroke centre.  Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare. 28(2): 115-121.  doi: 10.1177/1357633X20921039.

(2022) Gutovitz, S., Phelps, K., Broussard, I., Shah, V., Hart, L., and P. Root.  A Take of Two D-dimers: Comparison of Two Assay Methods to Evaluate Deep Vein Thrombosis or Pulmonary Embolism.  Journal of Emergency Medicinehttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.jemermed.2022.04.006 

(2021) *Dziobak, M., Wells, R.S., Pisarski, E., and E. Wirth, and L.B. Hart.  Demographic assessment of mono(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate and monoethyl phthalate concentrations in common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) from Sarasota, FL, USA. GeoHealth. 5(5): e2020GH000348. https:doi.org/10.1029/2020GH000348. 

(2021) Gutovitz, S., Hart, L., Parisio-Poldiak, N., et al. Cumulative incidence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus colonization in resident physicians over time.  Cureus. 13(9): e17958.  doi: 10.7759/cureus.17958. 

(2021) Marian, A.D., Monczak, A., Balmer, B.C., Hart, L.B., Soueidan, J., and E.W. Montie. Long-term passive acoustics to assess spatial and temporal vocalization patterns of Atlantic common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the May River estuary, South Carolina. Marine Mammal Science. 37: 1060-1084. DOI: 10.1111/mms.12800.

(2021) Taylor, J.S., Hart, L., and Adams, J. Skin lesion prevalence of estuarine bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in North Carolina, with comparisons to other east coast study sites.  Marine Mammal Science. 37(1): 127-141. (Available online August 2020) https://doi.org/10.1111/mms.12731

(2021) Udani, K., Patel, D., Hart, L., and V. Nambudiri. 2021. Impact of Hyperthyroidism on In-hospital Outcomes of Patients with Heart Failure.  Journal of Community Hospital Internal Medicine Perspectives. 11(1): 158-162. https://doi.org/10.1080/20009666.2020.1840739

(2021) Wilson, C.L., Leaman, S.M., O’Brien, C., Savage, D., Hart, L., and D. Jehle. 2021.  Novice emergency physician ultrasonography of optic nerve sheath diameter compared to ophthalmologist fundoscopic evaluation for papilledema.  Journal of the American College of Emergency Physicians. 2(1): ee12355.  https://doi.org/10.1002/emp2.12355

(2020) Hart, L.B.  PARACOCCIDIODOMYCOSIS CETI (Paracoccidiodes brasililensis var. ceti). In Atlas of Skin Diseases of Small Cetaceans.  F.I. Townsend Jr., Lydia Staggs. Pages 38-40.

(2020) Hart, L.B., *Dziobak, M., Wells, R.S., Pisarski, E., and E. Wirth. Sentinels of synthetics: a comparison of phthalate exposure between common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and human reference populations.  PLoS One: 15(10): e0240506.  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0240506

(2020) Hart, L.B., *Walker, J., Beckingham, B., *Shelley, A., *Alten Flagg, M., *Wischusen, K., and B. Sundstrom.  A characterization of personal care product use among female college students in South Carolina, USA.  Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology. 30: 97-106.  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41370-019-0170-1

(2020) Gutovitz, S., Leggett, J., Hart, L., Madden Leaman, S., James, H., and T. Stillinger.  2020.  The impact of tele-neurologists on acute stroke care at an advanced primary stroke center.  Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare. (Available online May 2020) https://doi.org/10.1177/1357633X20921039

(2020) Masiewicz, S., Gutovitz, S., Hart, L., Madden Leaman, S., and D. Jehle. Presentation times of STEMIs and acute myocardial infarctions to the emergency department: Disappearance of the morning predominance.  The Journal of Emergency Medicine. 58 (5): 741-748. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jemermed.2020.01.002  

(2020) Sandifer, P., Knapp, L., Singer, B., Lichtveld, M., Manley, R., Abramson, D., Caffey, R., Cochran, D., Collier, T., Ebi, K., Engel, L., Farrington, J., Finucane, M., Hale, C., Halpern, D., Harville, E., Hart, L.et al. Framework for a Community Health Observing System for the Gulf of Mexico Region: Preparing for Future Disasters.  Frontiers in Public Health. 8: 588.  https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2020.578463

(2018) Hart, L.B., Beckingham, B., Wells, R.S., *Alten Flagg, M., *Wischusen, K., Moors, A., Kucklick, J., Pisarski, E., and E. Wirth. Urinary phthalate metabolites in common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) from Sarasota Bay, FL, USA.  GeoHealthhttps://doi.org/10.1029/2018GH000146

(2018) O’Hara, T.M. and L.B. Hart.  Environmental Toxicology.  In: CRC Handbook of Marine Mammal Medicine, 3rd Edition.  Eds. F.M.D. Gulland and L. Dierauf. Pages 297-317.

(2018) Vogler, J., Hart, L., Holmes, S., Sciaretta, J., and J.M. Davis.  Rapid source control laparotomy: is there a mortality benefit in septic shock? Surgical Infections. 19(2): 225-229. https://doi.org/10.1089/sur.2017.191

(2017) Hart, L.B., *Wischusen, K., and R.S. Wells.  Rapid assessment of bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) body condition: There’s an App for That.  Aquatic Mammals. 43(6): 635-643. https://doi.org/10.1578/AM.43.6.2017.635

(2017) De Guise, S., Levin, M., Gebhard, E., Jasperse, L., Hart, L.B., et al.  Changes in immune functions in bottlenose dolphins in the northern Gulf of Mexico associated with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  Endangered Species Research. 33: 291-303.

(2017) Fauquier, D.A., Litz, J., Sanchez, S., Colegrove, K., Schwacke, L.H., Hart, L., et al.  Evaluation of morbillivirus exposure in cetaceans from the northern Gulf of Mexico 2010-2014. Endangered Species Research. 33: 211-220.

(2017) Smith, C.R., Rowles, T.K., Hart, L.B., Townsend, F.I., Wells, R.S., et al.  Slow recovery of Barataria Bay dolphin health following Deepwater Horizon oil spill (2013-2014), with evidence of persistent lung disease and impaired stress response.  Endangered Species Research. 33: 127-142.

(2017) Vogler, J., Bagwell, L., Hart, L., Holmes, S., Sciaretta, J., and J.M. Davis.  Rapid source control laparotomy: is there a mortality benefit? Surgical Infections. 18(7): 787-792.  https://doi.org/10.1089/sur.2017.071

(2015) Hart, L.B., Wells, R.S., Kellar, N., Balmer, B.C., Hohn, A., Lamb, S.V., Rowles, T., Zolman, E.S., and L.H. Schwacke.  Adrenal hormones in common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus): influential factors and reference intervals.  PLoS ONE. 10(5): e0127432.

(2014) Bessesen, B.L., Oviedo, L., Hart, L.B., Herra-Miranda, D., Pacheco-Polanco, J.D., Baker, L., Saborio-R, G., Burmudez-Villapol, L., and A. Acevedo-Gutierrez.  Lacaziosis-like disease among bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus photographed in Gulfo Dulce, Costa Rica.  Diseases of Aquatic Organisms.  107: 173-180.

(2013) Hart, L.B., Wells, R.S., and L.H. Schwacke.  Reference ranges for body condition in wild bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus.  Aquatic Biology.  18: 63-68.

(2013) Schwacke, L.H., Smith, C.R., Townsend, F.I., Wells, R.S., Hart, L.B., et al..  Health of common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the Gulf of Mexico following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  Environmental Science and Technology.  48(1): 93-103.

(2012) Burdett Hart, L., Rotstein, D.S., Wells, R.S., Allen, J., Barleycorn, A., et al..  Skin Lesions on Common Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) from Three Sites in the Northwest Atlantic, USA.  PLoS One. 7(3): e33081. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0033081.

(2011) Burdett Hart, L., Rotstein, D.S., Wells, R.S., Bassos-Hull, K., and L.H. Schwacke.  Lacaziosis and Lacaziosis-like Prevalence among Wild, Common Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) from the West Coast of Florida, USA.  Diseases of Aquatic Organisms.  95: 49-56. 

(2010) Burdett Hart, L., Wells, R.S., Adams, J.D., Rotstein, D.S., and L.H. Schwacke.  Modeling and Quantifying Lacaziosis (Lacazia loboi) Progression on a Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) using Long-Term Photographic Records.  Diseases of Aquatic Organisms. 99: 105-112.

(2010) Burdett, L.G. and C.A. Osborne.  Enterolith with a Stingray Spine Nidus in an Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus).  Journal of Wildlife Diseases. Vol. 46(1): 311-315.

(2009) Rotstein, D.S., Burdett, L.G., McLellan, W., Schwacke, L., Rowles, T., Terio, K.A., Schultz, S., and A. Pabst.  Lobomycosis in Offshore Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), North Carolina.  Emerging Infectious Diseases.  15(4): 588- 590.

(2007) Burdett, L.G., Adams, J.D., and W.E. McFee. The use of geographic information systems as a forensic tool to investigate sources of marine mammal entanglement in fisheries.  Journal of Forensic Sciences.  52(4): 904-908.

(2004) Burdett, L. and W. McFee. Bycatch of bottlenose dolphins in South Carolina, USA, and an evaluation of the Atlantic blue crab fishery categorisation.  Journal of Cetacean Research and Management.  6(3): 231-240.