November 3 – 4, 2004
In November 2004, the Superfund Basic Research Program (SBRP) hosted a two-day meeting to bring together scientists and policy experts from universities, federal and state agencies, and the private sector who are engaged in research that involves applications of molecular techniques to environmental health problems. The meeting served to stimulate interactions among SBRP-funded investigators conducting diverse types of research that share similar molecular technology approaches, and to highlight and re-enforce partnerships between the SBRP and the U.S. EPA.
Increasingly, SBRP-funded investigators are capitalizing on advances in molecular technology to address environmental health problems that may be related to hazardous waste site exposures. The range of molecular technology applications includes basic science investigations of toxicity mechanisms, identification of traits that confer susceptibility to toxicity in humans and animals, and methods to detect and remediate environmental contamination.
A major recurring theme of the meeting was the challenge faced as researchers shift from applying the new techniques to generate tremendous quantities of new types of data to working to understand the data and determine how best to apply them to improve human and environmental health. As the keynote speaker, Dr. Robert Waterston of the University of Washington stated: "It's one thing to generate and compare gene sequences; it's another thing to understand the implications of the data and the effects of genetic variation on phenotypes."
The 2004 SBRP Annual Meeting was attended by approximately 175 individuals including SBRP-funded researchers and students, SBIR grantees, grant applicants, invited academics, and representatives from EPA Region 10 and EPA Headquarters. The two day conference included plenary and specialized technical sessions, a poster session, and working sessions for the outreach and administrative groups.