Superfund Research Program
In Memoriam: Professor Emeritus Jim Hunt
James Hunt, Ph.D., emeritus professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley), and former Research Translation Core co-leader for the UC Berkeley Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center, passed away on February 20 after a brief illness. Hunt served on the faculty at UC Berkeley for 33 years, where he was widely admired by students and faculty for both his professional contributions and his kindness.
An expert in groundwater transport of organic contaminants, Hunt initiated and led a research project at the UC Berkeley SRP Center to understand how perchlorate, a component of rocket fuel waste, moves through soil into groundwater. His work demonstrated how dense contaminants sink through an aquifer and diffuse into what is called a lower-permeability confining layer and ultimately into groundwater.
Fellow UC Berkeley SRP Center co-leader David Sedlak, Ph.D., spoke warmly of Hunt. "Jim was my faculty mentor and role model," he said. "He taught me the importance of being a critical thinker, especially when it seems like the accepted approach to solving a problem doesn't seem to be working. Leading by example, he also showed us the importance of selflessness and putting the interest of students first. We miss him."
Jim served the campus in numerous leadership roles, including service as a member of the Budget Committee and Divisional Council and as associate vice provost for Academic Planning and Facilities. He also directed the Berkeley Water Center and the Institute for Environmental Science and Engineering. He was appointed to the Lawrence E. Peirano Endowed Chair in 1999, which he held until his retirement in 2013.
Duke SRP Center Project Leader Featured in NSF Science Video
Duke University Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center project leader Mark Wiesner, Ph.D., members of his lab, and other Duke SRP Center collaborators were recently featured in a National Science Foundation (NSF) Science360 Video about nanomaterials.
The video highlights research in Wiesner's lab that uses controlled laboratory systems simulating the natural environment to better understand how nanomaterials move through and impact wetland ecosystems. The video also features work from Duke SRP Center project co-leader Heileen Hsu-Kim, Ph.D., and project leader Richard Di Giulio, Ph.D., to understand how nanoscale materials affect living things, including fish and wildlife.
Wiesner, director of the NSF-funded Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (CEINT) at Duke University, also co-authored the recently released Second Edition of Environmental Nanotechnology: Applications and Impacts of Nanomaterials with a team of leading experts from around the world. This comprehensive reference text provides an in-depth look at nanomaterial technologies, their use in engineering applications, and how some nanomaterials may impact the environment. The Second Edition provides up-to-date information on a rapidly developing field and references research conducted by Duke SRP Center investigators. Wiesner's research with the center focuses on how to use nanomaterials safely to clean up contaminated water without negatively affecting the environment.
Dartmouth SRP Project Leaders Featured in Science Magazine News Highlight
On February 17, Dartmouth College Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center project leader Margaret Karagas, Ph.D., spoke at a special session at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Attended by 60 people, including the press, the session was highlighted in a Science Magazine news feature.
Organized by fellow Dartmouth SRP Center project leader Mary Lou Guerinot, Ph.D., the session addressed how arsenic is taken up from soil and water by food crops and ends up on people's plates. It also included discussion of emerging health outcomes and challenges for translating new research on dietary arsenic exposure to public health policy, which historically has focused only on exposure to arsenic from contaminated drinking water.
Part of the session was based on the Dartmouth SRP Center's Collaborative on Food with Arsenic and associated Risk and Regulation (C-FARR), which includes researchers, policy stakeholders, and program leaders working together over a two-year period to gather and analyze data on human exposure to arsenic from food. One of the C-FARR initiatives is to inventory foods that contain arsenic and to share that information with members of the public so they can make better choices to reduce their intake of foods containing higher levels of arsenic.
After the session, at a special news briefing, Dartmouth SRP members launched Arsenic and You, the first website to provide comprehensive information on arsenic in food, water, and other sources. They developed the site collaboratively with the Columbia University, University of Arizona, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of California, Berkeley, and University of Kentucky SRP Centers. Arsenic and You is a valuable resource for families, caregivers, and vulnerable populations, and it can be easily accessed on mobile devices.