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Your Environment. Your Health.

Information about the Annual Meeting

Meeting Summary

SRP 25th anniversary poster

The 2012 Superfund Research Program (SRP) national scientific meeting celebrated the 25th anniversary of transdisciplinary SRP research and training to protect human health and the environment. Since 1987, the SRP has provided funding to researchers to conduct multidisciplinary studies to address the intractable issues plaguing the national Superfund program. The meeting was a showcase of the Program’s contributions and a forum to discuss future directions by identifying emerging technologies and their applications to understanding and mitigating the risks of hazardous waste sites.

Four scientific sessions organized research presentations into these themes: interdisciplinary collaborations, risk assessment and remediation, research to inform the community, and research on a global scale.

The first full day of the conference focused on the Program's success in establishing a culture of interdisciplinary collaboration that generates new thinking and results that are not achievable by single-discipline science. Topics also highlighted the significance of training interdisciplinary scientists and engineers to address the complex problems associated with hazardous substances. There was an emphasis on using research to inform the risk assessment and remediation decision-making processes.

The second day emphasized the importance of transdisciplinary research contributions to improving public health, including a special lecture by John Groopman, Ph.D., of Johns Hopkins University, who explained the global chronic disease landscape and the future of public health interventions. During this day, presentations were dedicated to hypothesis-driven research as it applies to impacted communities as well as global issues.

A special symposium was held on the third day of the conference to address the complexity of environmental exposures. Topics focused on identifying and integrating emerging approaches and advanced technologies in the understanding of exposure and response to multiple stressors that are applicable to both human and environmental health. During this forum, SRP grantees discussed approaches to understand this exposure-disease paradigm.

Sponsored by

  • National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences – Superfund Research Program
  • Duke University
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Annual Meeting Steering Committee

Wetterhahn Awardee

Nicki Baker
Baker presented findings from her dissertation project, "The role of PCBs in the development of diabetes."

The 2012 recipient of the Karen Wetterhahn Memorial Award, announced at the meeting, is Nicki Baker of the University of Kentucky. The SRP acknowledged Baker for her contributions to research on how environmental toxins impact obesity and type 2 diabetes. Baker found that when obese mice experienced weight loss, those exposed previously to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a class of hazardous chemicals, lost the benefit of glucose homeostasis, reducing the influence of weight loss in preventing type 2 diabetes.

For more details on the annual Karen Wetterhahn Award and for more information about Nicki Baker, see the Karen Wetterhahn Memorial Award  page.

Student Poster Winners

Non-Biomedical poster session winners
Non-Biomedical poster session winners (left to right): Timothy Jobe, Sahar Fathordoobadi, and Daniel Brown

Each year the program encourages students to participate in the SRP Annual Meeting poster session. As part of this, there is a friendly poster competition where three biomedical and three non-biomedical student are recognized for their clarity, knowledge, and the relevance of their research to the goals of the SRP. This year, 143 students competed in the poster competition.

Non-Biomedical poster session winners:

  • 1st place: Timothy Jobe, University of California, San Diego
    "Regulation of the High Affinity Sulfate Transporter, SULTR1;2, in Glutathione Biosynthesis Mutants Exposed to Cadmium and Arsenic"
  • 2nd place: Sahar Fathordoobadi, University of Arizona
    "Role of Biomineralization in Arsenic Sequestration under Landfill Conditions"
  • 3rd place: Daniel Brown, Duke University
    "Sublethal Embryonic Exposure to Complex PAH Mixtures Alters Later Life Behavior and Performance in Fundulus heteroclitus"
Biomedical poster session winners
Biomedical poster session winners (left to right): Erika Fritsch, Chase Williams, and Caitlin Howe

Biomedical poster session winners:

  • 1st place: Caitlin Howe, Columbia University
    "Associations between S-Adenosyl methionine, S-adenosylhomocysteine and Arsenic Methylation"
  • 2nd place: Chase Williams, University of Washington
    "Effects of Cadmium on Molecular Biomarkers In the Olfactory System of Coho Salmon"
  • 3rd place: Erika Fritsch, University of California, Davis
    "Non-Coplanar PCBs and Ca2+ Signaling In Teleost Species: Addressing Comparative Mechanisms of Toxicity and Developed Resistance in New Bedford Harbor"

SRP Research Translation and Outreach Meeting

Meeting Summary

Members of the Research Translation Cores (RTC) and Community Engagement Cores (CEC) from across the SRP Centers gathered to discuss issues relating to communicating complex science to the press. Sunshine Menezes from the University of Rhode Island Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting hosted the science communication session.

During the session, Brian Jackson, Ph.D., and Laurie Rardin of Dartmouth College presented a case study about how they handled press communications after Jackson’s study on arsenic and organic brown rice syrup was published in the journal “Environmental Health Perspectives.” Following Jackson and Rardin, Helen Chickering-Nicholls, from NBC News, presented ways to develop clear messages for the news media.

The RTC/CEC session also included two breakout discussions where meeting participants created targeted messages related to specific SRP research themes. Key messages were presented at the meeting and the discussions continue on the CEC/RTC Network teleconference calls.


  • Welcome and Overview
    Sunshine Menezes, Metcalf Institute
  • Dartmouth Toxic Metals Superfund Research Program: A Case Study
    Brian Jackson and Laurie Rardin, Dartmouth College
  • Talking to the Media: A Primer on Developing Clear Messages for the News Media
    Helen Chichering-Nicholls, NBC News
  • Breakout Session: Framing a National Message
    Helen Chichering-Nicholls, NBC News
    Tyler Dukes, Reporters’ Lab
    Susan Booker, Environmental Health Perspectives
    Sunshine Menezes, Metcalf Institute
  • Breakout Session: Framing a Local Message
    Helen Chichering-Nicholls, NBC News
    Tyler Dukes, Reporters’ Lab
    Susan Booker, Environmental Health Perspectives
    Sunshine Menezes, Metcalf Institute
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