Christopher A. Gellasch, PhD

Christopher A. Gellasch, PhD

christopher gellasch

Name: Christopher A. Gellasch, PhD

Department of Primary Appointment: Preventive Medicine & Biostatistics
Position: USU Faculty
Title: Director, Environmental Science Graduate Program and Assistant Professor

Email: (link sends e-mail)
Office Phone: (301) 319-6952
Room: AFRRI, 3176J



Lieutenant Colonel Christopher A. Gellasch is an Army Environmental Science and Engineering Officer who has served in a variety of field and fixed facility assignments solving environmental and public health challenges.  Currently, he serves as the Director of the Environmental Science Graduate Program in the Occupational and Environmental Health Sciences Division of the Department of Preventive Medicine and Biostatistics.  His previous academic experience includes serving as an assistant professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at the U.S. Military Academy (West Point).  As the commander of the 71st Medical Detachment (Preventive Medicine) he deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. During that deployment he also traveled to Pakistan and supported the U.S. Task Force conducting earthquake relief operations. His most recent military assignment before coming to USUHS was as the Chief, Environmental Health Engineering Division at the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine – West located at Fort Lewis, WA.



  • Ph.D., Geology (Hydrogeology) with Environmental Engineering minor, University of Wisconsin – Madison
  • M.S., Geological Sciences, Indiana University
  • B.S., Geology, Eastern Michigan University


Areas of Expertise

  • Groundwater contamination
  • Chemical and microbiological drinking water contaminants
  • Environmental science
  • Environmental health
  • Military hydrogeology



LTC Gellasch is a geologist with a focus on groundwater (hydrogeology) and water quality. His research combines aspects of hydrogeology and environmental engineering to determine the most likely pathways for sewer-derived wastewater contaminants to migrate through the subsurface and impact either public supply wells or surface water bodies. In addition to traditional chemical wastewater indicators, he utilizes human enteric viruses as spatial and temporal tracers to delineate groundwater flow pathways. The effect of public supply well pumping on the surrounding aquifer is also used to determine vulnerability to wastewater contaminants entering a drinking water system.  Another of LTC Gellasch's research areas is the application of hydrogeology during military operations in order to evaluate the quantity and quality of water supplies used by deployed forces and local populations. 


He has also supervised graduate student research on a number of topics involving environmental contamination, to include the following MSPH thesis projects:

  • Captain Karim Elyamani, Modeling the Transfer of Airborne Benzene into Water Produced by “Water From Air” Technology, 2017 (expected)
  • Captain Jonathan Honey (Canada), Microbial Source Tracking using Real-Time PCR Analysis to Assess Human Fecal Contamination in Rock Creek, 2017 (expected)
  • Captain Gordon Pajuluoma (Canada), Factors that Influence Cyanide Degradation in Military Deployment Water Samples, 2017 (expected)
  • Major Katherine Kinder, Evaluating the Impact of Ambient Benzene Vapor Concentrations on Product Water from Condensation Water from Air Technology, 2016
  • Captain Nicole Cintron, Effects of Environmental and Anthropogenic Factors on Water Quality in the Rock Creek Watershed, 2016
  • Captain Daniel Harrison, Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticle Integrated Concrete:  An Assessment of Nanoparticle Release When Exposed to UV Radiation and Wet Weather Conditions,, 2016
  • Captain Tony Maurais (Canada), Cytotoxicity Assessment of 2,4-dinitroanisol via an Integrated Discrete Multiple Organ Co-Culture System, 2016
  • Major John Kendzie, Correlating Meteorological, Satellite, and Ground Sampling Data to Determine Sources of PM2.5 at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, 2015
  • Major Theodore Wilson, Evaluating the Effect of Holding Time and Storage Temperature on the Chemical Stability of Drinking Water Samples Collected from Military Forward Deployed Environments, 2013



  • Introduction to Environmental Health
  • Advanced Environmental Health
  • Air Pollution and Waste Management
  • Hydrology, Water Treatment, and Wastewater Treatment
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental and Occupational Health Journal Club


Selected Recent Publications

  • Gellasch, C.A. 2014. Hydrogeology of Afghanistan and its impact on military operations. In Military Geosciences in the 21st Century, ed. R.S. Harmon and E.V. MacDonald. Reviews in Engineering Geology XXII, Boulder, Colorado: Geological Society of America. DOI:10.1130/2014.4122(8)
  • Gellasch, C.A., H.F. Wang, K.R. Bradbury, J.M. Bahr, and L.L. Lande. 2014. Reverse Water-Level Fluctuations Associated with Fracture Connectivity. Groundwater v. 52 no. 1, p. 105-117 DOI: 10.1111/gwat.12040
  • Gellasch, C.A., K.R. Bradbury, D.J. Hart, and J.M. Bahr. 2013. Characterization of fracture connectivity in a siliciclastic bedrock aquifer near a public supply well (Wisconsin, USA). Hydrogeology Journal v. 21 no. 2, p. 383-399. DOI: 10.1007/s10040-012-0914-7
  • Gellasch, C.A. 2012, Hydrogeological support to United States military operations, 1917-2010. In: Rose, E. P. F. & Mather, J. D. (eds) Military Aspects of Hydrogeology. Geological Society of London Special Publication 362, p. 223-239, DOI: 10.1144/SP362.12.


Professional Activities

  • Registered Environmental Health Specialist, National Environmental Health Association
  • Licensed Professional Geologist, State of Indiana
  • Certified Professional Geologist, American Institute of Professional Geologists
  • Geological Society of America
    • Membership and Fellowship Committee, 2016-2019
    • Technical Program Chair for Hydrogeology Division, 2014-2015
    • Academic and Applied Geoscience Relations Committee, 2011-2014
    • Committee on Professional Development, 2006-2009
    • Geology in Government Mentor Program, 2007, 2008, and 2015
  • Peer reviewer for Journal of Hydrology, GSA Today, Hydrogeology Journal, Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, and Environmental Science and Technology