Superfund Research Program
Brown SRP Staff Talk with Environment and Energy Leaders
Faculty and staff from the Brown University Superfund Research Program (SRP) presented their work to policymakers, regulators, and community groups at the Fifth Annual Rhode Island Energy and Environmental Leaders Day on Sept. 5. Brown SRP was invited by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), who convened the annual meeting.
“We are here to talk about how our research focuses on toxicity of environmental contaminants and the technical challenges associated with them,” said James Rice, Ph.D., an engineering postdoctoral researcher. He was joined by Eric Suuberg, Sc.D., professor of engineering and SRP co-director, and Marcella Thompson, Ph.D., liaison to state agencies for environmental health, to represent Brown SRP.
Rice said one example is that they study vapor intrusion of chlorinated solvents — the movement of man-made contaminants from the water table beneath a home or a business up into the air inside. “We look at the engineering aspects, but we also look at the toxic effects of exposure.”
Presenting at Sen. Whitehouse’s annual event is valuable for the program, Rice added, because it provides a chance to network with policymakers and community stakeholders who might not be following research advances that are reported on in the academic literature. The team can both talk about what SRP does and get feedback about what research would matter to the stakeholders.
For more on the event and Brown SRP, visit the Brown University news page .
SRP Research Shines at ISEE Annual Conference
NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) researchers were well represented at the International Society of Environmental Epidemiology Conference (ISEE) August 24-28 in Seattle, WA. SRP-funded staff, students, and project leaders presented work related to epidemiology and exposure science studies from all over the world.
NIEHS SRP Program Administrator Danielle Carlin, Ph.D., gave an informative talk about environmental epidemiology and complex mixtures. She discussed key cohorts and epidemiological findings from the SRP and how they contribute to mixtures research. She also highlighted SRP tools with potential to address challenges in epidemiology and future directions of the SRP to understand the health effects of complex chemical mixtures.
SRP researchers chaired sessions and presented on a wide range of research including the health effects of water contaminants, environmental factors and birth outcomes, and novel exposure assessment approaches. Several SRP trainees also gave oral presentations, including K.C. Donnelly Externship Award Supplement winners Shoreh Farzan, Ph.D., and Andres Cardenas.
Oregon State University SRP scientist Molly Kile, Sc.D., was the co-chair of the ISEE conference and worked tirelessly to keep everything running smoothly as participants moved from one session to another. Visit the ISEE website for more information about the conference.
Applying SRP Tools to Detect Environmental Contaminants in California
A Superfund Research Program (SRP) grantee presentation has shown how biochemical tests can be shared. University of California, Davis (UC Davis) SRP project leader Shirley Gee explained how the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) can apply UC Davis immunoassay technologies to detect environmental chemicals. The presentation was part of the DTSC Environmental Chemistry Lab Seminar Series in July.
An immunoassay is a rapid and cost effective biochemical test that uses antibodies to bind to a molecule of interest, and a variety of labels are used to detect this binding. Gee leads a project with Senior Investigator and UC Davis SRP Center Director Bruce Hammock, Ph.D., to develop immunoassay tools that can monitor exposure to environmental contaminants. Over the years, Hammock and colleagues have developed more than 40 immunoassays to detect pesticides, pesticide metabolites, environmental degradation products, and other environmental contaminants.
As a result of the presentation, partners at UC Davis SRP and DTSC are working to identify studies where they can utilize immunoassay technologies to improve environmental detection as part of DTSC’s work in California.
“We are keeping in mind the opportunities where our immunoassay technologies might be useful for the needs of DTSC to measure a specific contaminant,” said Candace Bever, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher in Hammock’s lab and the UC Davis SRP Research Translation Core leader. “We discussed with DTSC the advantages and disadvantages of immunoassays and how the immunoassays can be used for analytical screening purposes.”