Superfund Research Program
- Dartmouth Researchers Report Finding Arsenic in Rice
- Superfund Research Cited in Consumer Reports
- University of Iowa SRP Honored at EMS Annual Meeting
- Superfund Researcher to be Featured in NARPM Webinar
- Winners of SRP Annual Meeting Poster Session Announced
- Columbia SRP Researchers Show that Arsenic Adsorption by Sediments Could Limit Contamination
- Hurt and Kane Published in Nature Nanotechnology
- UNC-SRP Researcher Delivers Keynote Address at TIES Conference
- SRP Trainees Win Honors at Phytotechnology Meeting
- SRP Research Findings Confirm PCB Pollution Suspicions
- SRP Researcher Highlights Benefits of Federally Funded Research
- Memorandum of Understanding Finalized between SRP and EPA
- SRP Research in Toxicological Sciences Shows that Nickel Nanoparticles May Contribute to Lung Cancer
- UNC SRP Publishes Discovery of Last Two DNA Bases in Science
- Northeastern University SRP Hosting Water Conversation
- SRP Awards First Annual KC Donnelly Externships
- Dartmouth SRP Welcomes New Community Engagement Coordinator
- SRP Program Director Hosts Balloon Battle
- University of Kentucky Program Director to Present SRP Distinguished Lecture
- Suk Honored by Combustion Emissions Group
- SRP Alum Visits NIEHS to Discuss US-China Collaborations
- SRP Staff Collaborate with Other Agencies to Tackle Human Health at Remediation Meeting
- 13th International Conference of the Pacific Basin Consortium for Environment and Health
- Murray receives Environmental Achievement Award
- University of Kentucky Trainee Published in PNAS
- SRP Staff Meets with EPA to Discuss Collaborations, Community Engagement
- Oregon State University Names Tanguay Distinguished Professor
- SRP Trainee Wins First Place in SOT Postdoctoral Poster Competition
- UC San Diego Publication Wins Cozzarelli Prize
- SRP Researchers Pinpoint "Rapid Evolutionary Change" in Atlantic Tomcod
- Dellinger Selected Amongst Top Papers
- SRP Individual Researchers Featured in Environmental Science and Technology
- UNC Researchers Awarded Best Paper in 2010
- Two SRP-Funded Publications Selected as NIEHS 2010 Papers of the Year
- Brown SRP Researcher Named Fellow of AAAS
Dartmouth Researchers Report Finding Arsenic in Rice
A study funded by the NIEHS Superfund Research Program published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) draws attention to the potential for consuming unhealthy amounts of arsenic via rice. In the study, the Dartmouth College researchers found significant differences in the urinary arsenic concentrations of pregnant women who had eaten rice in the previous two days in comparison those who had not.
The authors conclude that their findings highlight the need to monitor arsenic in the food supply, and note that China already has statutory limits on arsenic content in rice, but the U.S. and the E.U. do not. Rice concentrations also vary widely throughout the world and between different species and growing conditions. According to Margaret Karagas, Ph.D., one of the authors of the publication, "While this study reveals the potential for exposure to arsenic from rice, much additional research is needed before we can determine if there are actual health impacts from this source of exposure."
The publication is available via the PNAS website .
Superfund Research Cited in Consumer Reports
Superfund Research Program researchers from Dartmouth College, Harvard, and Columbia University are quoted in the January 2012 Consumer Reports, published online today. Consumer Reports investigators tested the levels of arsenic and lead in apple and grape juice and found that 10 percent of their samples had arsenic levels in excess of 10 parts per billion (ppb), the EPA’s standard for drinking water. One in four samples had lead levels in excess of 5 ppb, the EPA limit for bottled water. No federal standards for either chemical exist for juice.
The SRP is a long-time supporter of arsenic research, and has been funding research at Dartmouth on the health effects of arsenic since 1995. Research at Columbia University has been ongoing since 2000. Arsenic is a known human carcinogen, and exposure to low levels of these chemicals can lead to an increased risk of bladder and lung cancer.
University of Iowa SRP Honored at EMS Annual Meeting
A researcher and student were recently honored at the 42nd Environmental Mutagenesis Society (EMS) Annual Meeting, held October 15-19 in Montreal, Canada. Iowa SRP researcher Gabriele Ludewig, Ph.D., received the EMS Student Education Award in recognition of her mentorship activities and their impact on the careers of EMS members. This award is given to one mentor from around the world each year.
Perumal Kuppusamy Senthilkumar, a student supported by SRP and mentored by Ludewig, received the 2011 Alexander Hollaender Travel Award, the most prestigious award granted to a pre-doctoral student by the EMS.
NIEHS Program staff would like to extend their congratulations to Ludewig and Senthilkumar.
Superfund Researcher to be Featured in NARPM Webinar
Superfund Research Program R01 researcher Joel Burken, Ph.D. has been invited to present his research to US EPA remedial program managers in their webinar series “NARPM Presents.” In the webinar, scheduled for November 16, 2011 from 1:00-3:00 pm EST, Burken will present his work about using traditionally high pressure waterjets to inject remediation amendments into contaminated sediments. For more information, and to register for the event, visit the CLU-IN website
Winners of SRP Annual Meeting Poster Session Announced
The poster session at this year’s SRP Annual Meeting in Lexington Kentucky was outstanding. There were over 70 SRP trainees presenting their biomedical and non-biomedical research. After much deliberation the judges were able to narrow it down to a few finalists. There were three winners in both the biomedical and non-biomedical categories.
The Non-Biomedical poster session winners are:
1st place: Corin Hammond, University of Arizona SRP Center, for her poster: “Monitoring soil forming processes and contaminant transport during field-scale phytostabilization of arsenic containing Iron King Mine tailings, Dewey-Humboldt, Arizona”
2nd place: Dena Cologgi, Michigan State University, for her poster: “Novel Mechanism of Uranium Reduction via Microbial Nanowires”, and
3rd place: Richard Meggo, University of Iowa SRP Center, for his poster: “Rhizosphere Biotransformation Products of Selected PCB Congeners”.
The Biomedical poster session winners are:
1st place: Fabian Grimm, University of Iowa SRP Center, for his poster: “Sulfated Metabolites of Polychlorinated Biphenyls are High-Affinity Ligands for Human Transthyretin”
2nd place: Lauren Tetz University of Michigan --Northeastern University SRP Center, for her poster: “Mono-2-Ethylhexyl Phthalate Induced Oxidative Stress in Human Placental Cells” and
Congratulations to all the poster session winners!
Columbia SRP Researchers Show that Arsenic Adsorption by Sediments Could Limit Contamination
Arsenic contamination of shallow groundwater is a major public health concern both in the United States and abroad. In Bangladesh, there has been a shift in recent years to using deep groundwater, which is less contaminated, for drinking and personal use. In a study published in the October 9, 2011, online edition of Nature Geoscience, Columbia University Superfund Research Program investigators address a concern that using deep water wells will result in contamination from the shallower aquifers above. Through field studies and modeling, the researchers show that, as long as the wells are carefully managed, contamination will not occur and the water should be safe for many years to come.
To read more about the article, see Columbia University’s press release . The article is available online through Nature Geoscience.
Hurt and Kane Published in Nature Nanotechnology
In an article in the September 18, 2011 online edition of Nature Nanotechnology, Brown University Superfund Research Program (SRP) researchers Agnes Kane, Ph.D., and Robert Hurt, Ph.D., analyze the cellular uptake mechanisms of long fibers relevant to carbon nanotube health risks. They show that materials with a high aspect ratio, such as carbon nanotubes and asbestos fibers, cause toxicity in certain cells because their length prevents complete ingestion, which frustrates the cell. The abstract, with links to the full text of the article, can be found on the Nature Nanotechnology webpage .
TIES is an international conference with an emphasis on the application of bioinformatics in the field of toxicogenomics and environmental genomics.
UNC-SRP Researcher Delivers Keynote Address at TIES Conference
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (UNC) Superfund Research Program (SRP) researcher Rebecca Fry, Ph.D., gave one the keynote addresses at this year's Toxicogenomics Integrated with Environmental Sciences (TIES) meeting. The meeting was held on September 15-16 in Chapel Hill, NC. Keeping with the meeting's theme of "The Biology and Bioinformatics behind Environmental and Toxicologic Influences", Fry spoke about systems biology in environmental health.
TIES is an international conference with an emphasis on the application of bioinformatics in the field of toxicogenomics and environmental genomics.
SRP Trainees Win Honors at Phytotechnology Meeting
The Superfund Research Program is pleased to announce that two SRP-funded students recently received honors at the International Phytotechnology Society’s Eighth Conference, held September 13-16, 2011, in Portland, Oregon. Keum Young Lee, who is part of Dr. Stuart Strand’s lab at the University of Washington , won First Place Poster for "Enhancing Phytoremediation of Chlorpyrifos through the Use of Transgenics." Karis Nelson, who works with Drs. Jon Chorover and Raina Maier at the University of Arizona , won Third Place Poster for "Influence of Phytostabilization on C and N Cycling Activities in Metalliferous Mine Tailings." Phytotechnology is an integral part of SRP’s portfolio, and to have two trainees receive honors at such an august gathering speaks volumes about the quality of our grantees’ research.
In addition, Matt Limmer, who is part of Dr. Joel Burken’s lab at the Missouri University of Science and Technology , won Second Place Poster for "Long term Monitoring of Chlorinated Ethenes in Trees: Seasonal Variations" which is funded by NSF.
Congratulations, Keum, Karis, and Matt! Keep up the good work!
SRP Research Findings Confirm PCB Pollution Suspicions
University of Iowa SRP researchers have reported high levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the sediments along the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal (IHSC) in East Chicago, IN. This finding poses concerns for the researchers because the canal is due to be dredged in spring 2012 to maintain shipping lanes. It is unknown what effect the dredging will have on water and air quality, but the findings showed that the deeper into the canal one goes, the higher the concentration of PCBs. "We found that the deeper you go, the more toxic it is," said Andres Martinez, a UI post-doctoral researcher and lead author of the study. "Dredging the IHSC has the potential to expose these more toxic sediments."
SRP Researcher Highlights Benefits of Federally Funded Research
On August 29, 2011, James Swenberg, Ph.D., Director of the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill's Superfund Research Program, participated in "Multiple Benefits of Federally Funded Research" at the NIEHS campus in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Dr. Swenberg presented an overview of the heavy interaction between NIEHS and UNC, highlighting the university's environmental health research, as well as the robust training opportunities and community outreach facilitated by federal funding. In addition, he noted the very large financial benefits North Carolina receives from federal research support: the $112 million that UNC has received in NIEHS funding over the past 10 years has yielded anywhere from $190 to $280 million in economic impact.
Dr. Swenberg then participated in a panel discussion with NIEHS Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D.; U.S. Representative David Price; and researchers from other local institutions. Panel members acknowledged the fiscal challenges that dominate current policy discussions and indicated that scientists must be more proactive than ever in informing policy makers and the general public of the practical benefits of federally funded research.
Memorandum of Understanding Finalized between SRP and EPA
Program staff of the Superfund Research Program are pleased to announce that the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the SRP and the EPA Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation (OSRTI) has been finalized with signatures from NIEHS Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., and OSRTI Director James Woolford. This MOU will enhance collaboration and coordination between the two agency offices by smoothing the path for technical transfer of research products from the SRP to OSRTI.
The memorandum highlights several ways in which the programs will coordinate in the future. They intend to identify points of contact within each agency to serve as liaisons responsible for facilitating the exchange of information between the two organizations; quarterly meetings will be held to exchange information on emerging needs and research accomplishments; and hazardous waste site cleanup will be facilitated by matching relevant research with appropriate sites.
SRP Research in Toxicological Sciences Shows that Nickel Nanoparticles May Contribute to Lung Cancer
Brown University Superfund Research Program (SRP) scientists released a study in the August 2011 online edition of Toxicological Sciences indicating that some nanoparticles may carry the risk of cancer. The study, led by post-doctoral researcher Jodie Pietruska, shows that exposure to nickel nanoparticles causes human epithelial lung cells to activate a pathway known as HIF-1α, which could give tumor cells a head start in cancer growth.
In the study, Pietruska compared the effects of metallic nickel and nickel oxide, as well as larger microscale particles of metallic nickel, on human lung cells. One key finding was that the nanoparticles set off the HIF-1α pathway, while the larger particles did not. The second finding showed remarkable differences in the reactions of cells to metallic nickel and nickel oxide. Upon exposure to nickel oxide, the cells died very quickly, which left no opportunity for cancer cells to develop. The metallic nickel was less likely to kill the cells, but made it easier for tumor cells to take hold and proliferate.
To read the full article, visit the Toxicological Sciences website .
UNC SRP Publishes Discovery of Last Two DNA Bases in Science
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Superfund Research Program Director James Swenberg, Ph.D. published compelling findings in the July 21, 2011 online edition of Science magazine. In the article, Swenberg and his fellow researchers report on the discovery of two additional bases of DNA.
This discovery adds to the collection of four bases that make up DNA (adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine). Two more bases have been discovered in recent years, and Swenberg's discovery raises the list from six to eight.
The two bases, 5-formylcytosine and 5-carboxylcytosine, are versions of cytosine that have been modified by Tet proteins, which are thought to play a role in DNA demethylation. The discovery could have important implications in several areas of research, including cancer research. It could give researchers the chance to reactivate tumor suppressor genes that have been shut off due to DNA methylation.
Northeastern University SRP Hosting Water Conversation
The Northeastern University SRP Center, Puerto Rico Testsite for Exploring Contamination Threats (PRoTECT), is co-sponsoring a "Let's Talk About Water" event on Northeastern's campus this fall. The symposium will be held on Saturday, October 15, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Symposium attendees will view a screening of the film "A Civil Action," about attorney Jan Schlichtmann, who represented a group of families whose children died from exposure to trichloroetheylene (TCE), which was dumped into the drinking water by a local factory. A panel discussion will follow, featuring Schlichtmann and water pollution experts Bob Zimmerman, Joel Schwartz, and Phil Casanova.
Let's Talk About Water is a symposium series of film screenings and panel discussions about water issues. It is a national event team available for universities and communities to create a neutral space for spirited discussion of problems and solutions about water. The films and discussions cover topics such as access to water, pollution, conservation, drought, and the impacts of global warming.
To learn more about the Let's Talk About Water project, visit their website .
SRP Awards First Annual KC Donnelly Externships
Superfund Research Program (SRP) Staff are pleased to announce that Celys Irizarry, Alvine Mehinto, Ph.D., and Xianai Wu, Ph.D. are the recipients of the first annual K.C. Donnelly Externship Award. The honorary award was established to provide current SRP-funded graduate students and post-doctoral researchers with translational/transdisciplinary opportunities and experiences within other SRP-funded centers, government laboratories, or other agencies.
Each of the externship winners will be conducting research to supplement their current work at their home institution. Irizarry will conduct research at the Caribbean Environmental Protection Division of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and office of Drinking Water within the Puerto Rico Department of Health. Mehinto will use his research on largemouth bass "omics" data on a similar study at the University of California-Berkeley. Wu will use her research on PCBs to conduct a study on the effects of dietary intervention on PCB metabolism.
To read the full description of the recipients' research plans, visit the KC Donnelly Externship Award webpage.
Congratulations to this year's winners!
Dartmouth SRP Welcomes New Community Engagement Coordinator
Dartmouth College Superfund Research Program recently announced the arrival of their new Community Engagement Coordinator, Michael Paul. Paul has jumped into Dartmouth SRP's community engagement events without any hesitation, such as the Concord, NH Market Days. While there, he handed out fact sheets, informational brochures, water bottles, and Frisbees with the Dartmouth SRP website link. In addition, he also handed out arsenic home-testing kits, postcards with a link to their video, "In Small Doses", and he collected over 300 arsenic surveys.
SRP Program Director Hosts Balloon Battle2011-07-26
The UC-Davis Superfund Research Program received a special nod in the July 15 edition of the Central Valley Business Times for their summertime antics. Each July, Program Director Bruce Hammock, Ph.D., hosts the annual Bruce Hammock Water Balloon Battle, a 15 minute water balloon fight between scientists, professors, visiting scientists, postdoctoral researchers, graduate and undergraduate students.2011-07-26
Hammock launched the water balloon fight, affectionately known as "Bruce's Big Balloon Battle at Briggs," in 2003 as a way to build camaraderie and cool down from the summer heat. You can read the Central Valley Business Times article at their website .
University of Kentucky Program Director to Present SRP Distinguished Lecture
The research of University of Kentucky Program Director Bernhard Hennig, Ph.D., is being highlighted at the upcoming SRP Distinguished Lecturer Seminar. The seminar will be held in the Rodbell B Auditorium on the main campus of NIEHS July 14, 2011, from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. SRP would like to invite all grantees and guests to attend. For those who would like to see the presentation but cannot attend in person, NIEHS will be simulcasting the program online.
Suk Honored by Combustion Emissions Group
Superfund Research Program founder and director, Bill Suk, Ph.D., was honored by colleagues with the Adel Sarofim Award For Excellence in Combustion Research. Suk received the award at the 12th International Congress on Combustion By-Products and their Health Effects, held June 5-8 at Zhejiang University in Hanzhou, China. The award praised Suk for outstanding professional achievement in championing research on the origin, fate, and health effects of combustion emissions.
To read more about the award, visit the July 2011 edition of the Suk honored by combustion emissions group. His award also received mention in the NIH Record, the newsletter of the National Institutes of Health. Program staff offers Suk their congratulations on receiving this prestigious award.
SRP Alum Visits NIEHS to Discuss US-China Collaborations
Bin Zhao, Ph.D., an alum of the UC-Davis Superfund Research Program, visited NIEHS in June at the invitation of the staff of Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP). Zhao visited as a representative of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, and he is also the advisor for the Chinese Edition of EHP. He met with NIEHS researchers to discuss the possible collaboration between NIEHS and the Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences. While here, Dr. Zhao also presented his research about the development of Ah (Dioxin) receptor-based approaches for the study of toxicology and the health effects of dioxins and related chemicals.
Zhao spent time as a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Michael Denison, Ph.D., working on the mechanisms of action of dioxin and related chemicals. While at UC-Davis, he developed a novel recombinant cell bioassay for dioxins that has been used for environmental screening and molecular mechanisms studies.
SRP Staff Collaborate with Other Agencies to Tackle Human Health at Remediation Meeting
Superfund Research Program Administrator Heather Henry, Ph.D., organized a multi-agency session on human health for the Sustainable Remediation 2011 meeting, held June 1-3, 2011 at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. The meeting, entitled "State of the Practice - Green Chemistry, Human Health, and Environmental Response", was attended by health and remediation professionals from across the country.
The Director of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), Chris Portier, Ph.D., spoke to session attendees about the human health implications of reuse and redevelopment of former brownfields and industrial buildings. He identified a number of sites where ATSDR conducted investigations and found people had been exposed to various hazardous substances because the previous use of a site was not fully investigated or mitigated. Breakout discussion sessions followed his presentation. Attendees discussed new guidelines for school and daycare siting to prevent exposures when industrial sites are acquired for reuse. In addition, attendees expressed concern about the use of spray foam insulation and its potential impact on children's health. This insulation is commonly considered a "green" product because of its energy efficiency.
13th International Conference of the Pacific Basin Consortium for Environment and Health
The journal Reviews on Environmental Health has published a special issue on the SRP-sponsored 13th International Conference of the Pacific Basin Consortium for Environment and Health. The 2009 conference, "Environmental Exposures in the Era of Climate Change", was held at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in Perth, Western Australia. The conference was attended by over 120 participants representing more than 18 countries. Topics discussed included bioremediation; water conservation, recycling and remediation; hazardous waste management and health, indoor/outdoor air pollution, water pollution and health, and children's environmental health. Drs. Peter D. Sly, David O. Carpenter and Robert G. Arnold edited the special edition .
Murray receives Environmental Achievement Award
Brown University SRP researcher David Murray recently received Save the Bay's Environmental Achievement Award at the organization's annual meeting, held May 19, 2011. Murray was honored for his water-quality research of the Providence and Seekonk rivers and the expertise he has lent to Save the Bay over the past decade. Save the Bay is a Providence, Rhode Island-based independent, not-for-profit organization committed to protecting, restoring, and improving the ecological health of the Narragansett Bay region of Rhode Island.
University of Kentucky Trainee Published in PNAS
Scott Lewis, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Kentucky Superfund Research Program, is the lead author on a paper published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The paper, entitled "Reactive nanostructured membranes for water purification," demonstrates how Lewis and his fellow researchers were able to conduct environmentally important oxidative reactions for toxic organic degradation and decontamination using nanostructured materials. According to Lewis's advisor, Dibakar Bhattacharyya, Ph.D.,"[Scott] is one of the best graduate students that I have seen in many years. Getting an article published in a very high impact factor journal requires high quality research, and without NIEHS funding this work would not be possible."
To read the abstract and the full text of the article, visit the PNAS website .
SRP Staff Meets with EPA to Discuss Collaborations, Community Engagement
SRP Staff recently traveled to Washington, DC, to meet with EPA Office of Solid Waste Emergency Response Assistant Administrator Mathy Stanislaus and other EPA Superfund Science and Technology officials. Mr. Stanislaus expressed great interest in SRP scientific support and SRP support applicable to communities. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) between NIEHS and Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation is nearly complete and will be signed in the comings weeks. In the MOU, SRP program staff and EPA commit to fostering an environment that promotes the exchange of information and the mutual utilization of research outcomes and knowledge to better serve the nation's environment and human health.
In addition, there was significant discussion about the role of community involvement in SRP grants, and meeting attendees brainstormed ways to make the results of research more readily available to community stakeholders.
Both parties considered the meeting very successful and have made commitments to continue meeting in the future to ensure effective collaboration and information sharing between the two agencies.
Oregon State University Names Tanguay Distinguished Professor
Robert Tanguay from Oregon State University Superfund Research Program (OSU SRP) grant, is one of two scientists recently awarded Oregon State University's Distinguished Professor title, for their teaching and collaborative research in biomedical sciences and environmental health science. The award is the University's top research honor.
Dr. Tanguay leads the OSU SRP project " Mechanisms of PAH-Induced Developmental Toxicity ". He is a professor in the Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology at OSU.
For more information visit the OSU website .
SRP Trainee Wins First Place in SOT Postdoctoral Poster Competition
Superfund Research Program (SRP) trainee Dr. Alicia Timme-Laragy was awarded first place in the Society of Toxicology's Molecular Biology Specialty Section (MBSS) Postdoctoral poster competition at their Annual Meeting, held March 6-10 in Washington, DC. Dr. Timme-Laragy is a longtime SRP trainee—she conducted her Ph.D. research under SRP researcher Dr. Rich DiGiulio from Duke University and is currently a postdoctoral trainee at Woods Hole Oceanographic Intitution in Woods Hole, MA, where is conducting research with Dr. Mark Hahn and the Boston SRP.
Dr. Timme-Laragy will be giving a presentation at Duke in a few weeks to discuss her award-winning research. Her presentation, "nrf2b: A novel paralog of the antioxidant response element transcription factor nrf2 in zebrafish" will be given on April 8, 2011, from 12:00-1:30 pm in the Levine Science Research Center, room A247.
UC San Diego Publication Wins Cozzarelli Prize
A publication from Dr. Julian Schroeder's research group (UC San Diego SRP), "Arsenic tolerance in Arabidopsis is mediated by two ABCC-type phytochelatin transporters," has been awarded a Cozzarelli Prize from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) Editorial Board as an exceptional paper for 2010. The article is also featured in Research Brief 192 " Discovery of the Key to Metal Accumulation in Plants ", about hazardous substances found at U.S. Superfund sites.
PNAS established this annual award, which recognizes recently published PNAS papers of outstanding scientific excellence and originality. The award certificate will be presented during the PNAS Editorial Board Meeting on Sunday, May 1, 2011 held in National Harbor, MD outside of Washington, DC.
SRP Researchers Pinpoint "Rapid Evolutionary Change" in Atlantic Tomcod
For nearly 30 years, two General Electric facilities dumped over a million pounds of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) into the Hudson River, poisoning its inhabitants. In the February 17 edition of Science, Superfund Research Program researchers Isaac Wirgin (New York University School of Medicine) and Mark Hahn (Boston University) provide the first glimpses into how the Atlantic tomcod (Microgadus tomcod) has managed to thrive in such a harsh environment.
Wirgin and Hahn report that the fish "have experienced rapid evolutionary change in the 50 to 100 years since the release of these contaminants." They then pinpointed the fishes' mechanism of resistance: a structural change in two amino acids in a single receptor gene, AHR2. "This is really the first demonstration of a mechanism of resistance in any vertebrate population," said Wirgin.
However, this resistance may come with a steep price. Though the contaminants are not toxic to the fish, they do accumulate in their bodies. Tomcod are reported to have among the highest concentrations of PCBs, dioxins, and furans found in nature. This could be troublesome, causing health effects in any predators that eat the fish—including humans. In addition, this resistance may make the tomcod more susceptible to other stressors or impair their ability to grow and develop properly.
"This research could not have been attempted without the unique multidisciplinary focus of our funding vehicle, the Superfund Research Program," Wirgin said. To read the full article, visit the Science magazine webpage Further information is also available via the Science podcast , for which both Wirgin and Hahn were interviewed
Dellinger Selected Amongst Top Papers
Louisiana State University SRP Program Director Barry Dellinger's paper "Potential for Misidentification of Environmentally Persistent Free Radicals as Molecular Pollutants in Particulate Matter" has been selected for an Editor's Choice Award as one of Environmental Science & Technology's (ES&T) Best Papers of 2010, 2nd Runner-up in the category of Science. ES&T Editor and SRP grantee, Jerald Schnoor, along with the Associate Editors and the Editorial Advisory Board selected the Top Papers from the over 1500 ES&T peer-reviewed articles published in ES&T in 2010.
Dr. Dellinger's article was chosen from among 70 publications nominated by the editors as one of the very best published last year. These papers are expected to have a significant and long-lasting impact on the field.
SRP Individual Researchers Featured in Environmental Science and Technology
The research of Superfund Research Program grantees Drs. Upal Ghosh (University of Maryland-Baltimore County) and Richard Luthy (Stanford University) is the topic of a feature article in the latest edition of Environmental Science and Technology. In the article, "In-situ Sorbent Amendments: A New Direction in Contaminated Sediment Management," Ghosh et al report on the rationale and plans for deploying activated carbon as a super-sponge for organic contaminants.
To read the full article, visit the Environmental Science and Technology website.
UNC Researchers Awarded Best Paper in 2010
The Society of Toxicology's Board of Publications selected a University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Superfund Research Program publication to receive its Best Paper in Toxicological Sciences Award for 2010. This award is given annually to the authors of the best paper published in a 12-month period in an official Society of Toxicology publication.
The publication, "Distribution of DNA Adducts Caused by Inhaled Formaldehyde is Consistent with Induction of Nasal Carcinoma but not Leukemia", is available at the Toxicological Sciences website . Kun Lu was the lead author of the publication and the research was conducted in Dr. Jim Swenberg's lab.
Two SRP-Funded Publications Selected as NIEHS 2010 Papers of the Year
NIEHS recently announced its selections for 2010's Papers of the Year. Two Superfund Research Program (SRP)-funded publications were selected for this honor. In 2010, there were 2,900 papers published by NIEHS-supported researchers; 21 of these publications were chosen for Papers of the Year.
One of the papers selected for this honor was written by Eek Joong Park, et al. Michael Karin, University of California at San Diego SRP, directed the research. The article was published in Cell and is titled "Dietary and genetic obesity promote liver inflammation and tumorigenesis by enhancing IL-6 and TNF expression."
The other paper to receive this recognition was written by Maria Argos, et al. Columbia University SRP's Joe Graziano and Habibul Ahsan led the research team. Lancet published the article, which is titled: "Arsenic exposure from drinking water, and all-cause and chronic-disease mortalities in Bangladesh (HEALS): a prospective cohort study."
For the complete list of papers selected, see the January 2011 issue of the NIEHS Environmental Factor newsletter.
Brown SRP Researcher Named Fellow of AAAS
Dr. Agnes Kane, a researcher in the Brown University Superfund Research Program, has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Kane's election as an AAAS fellow was based on "research contributions to the mechanistic understanding of the impact of asbestos and other inhaled particulates on the evolution of disease and and for her leadership role in education and advising on national and international policies concerning environmental toxicology."
Kane and the other inductees will be officially welcomed at the AAAS Annual Meeting, which will be held on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011 in Washington, DC. To read more about Dr. Kane's achievements, visit the Brown University .