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Your Environment. Your Health.

November 2017

Superfund Research Program Science Digest
Balancing Scientific Excellence with Research Relevance

Science Leadership

SRP staff and grantees are committed to advancing SRP research by presenting innovative findings, tools, and technologies to stakeholders in academia, government, and local communities.

  • OSU SRP Center

    OSU SRP Center trainees prepare several hundred wristbands for a Houston deployment
    (Photo courtesy of the OSU SRP Center)

    Only days after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas on Aug. 25, researchers from SRP Centers at Texas A&M University (TAMU) and Oregon State University (OSU) began working to better understand the potential environmental hazards after the disaster. The TAMU team began collecting soil, mud, and water samples in the Manchester community, a neighborhood in Houston, to test for lead, arsenic, and other potentially dangerous chemicals that resulted from flooding. OSU SRP Center grantees and colleagues distributed silicone passive sampling wristbands to Houston residents to investigate potential exposure hazards. The wristbands, originally developed by OSU SRP Center project leader Kim Anderson, Ph.D, and her research team, can detect over 1,500 different chemicals.
  • SRP Health Scientist Administrator Heather Henry, Ph.D., co-chaired a symposium on the economic benefits of scientific research with University of Kentucky SRP Center grantee Kelly Pennell, Ph.D. The symposium was part of the fall 2017 American Chemical Society meeting in Washington, D.C., Aug. 20 - 24. They explored the global economic impact of interdisciplinary environmental health research using SRP as a case study. Presentations and posters highlighted innovative and low-cost SRP-funded technologies to detect potentially harmful chemicals and reduce the amount and toxicity of contaminants in the environment.
  • SRP Director Bill Suk is a member of the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health, which recently released a new report linking pollution to an estimated nine million deaths each year worldwide – equivalent to one in six of all deaths. The Commission on Pollution and Health is a two-year project that has involved more than 40 international health and environmental authors. Using data from the Global Burden of Disease study, it provides new estimates on the effect of pollution on health and its economic costs.
  • SRP Health Scientist Administrator Danielle Carlin, Ph.D., is leading SRP efforts to explore ways to understand the combined effects of environmental chemical and non-chemical stressors. She is hosting a Risk e-Learning seminar series focused on adverse outcome pathways (AOPs), which are structured ways to represent biological events leading to adverse health effects. The AOP framework provides a mechanism based structure for formalizing and visualizing the molecular intersection between chemical and nonchemical stressors. This webinar series is also in support of an upcoming workshop, Understanding the Combined Effects of Environmental Chemical and Non-Chemical Stressors: Atherosclerosis as a Model, which will take place at NIEHS in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, April 3 - 4, 2018. The workshop is being organized by Carlin with colleagues at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
  • SRP Health Scientist Administrator Michelle Heacock, Ph.D., organized a meeting at NIEHS that brought together experts to explore and discuss how assays of the status of telomeres can best be used, and what research is needed to advance our understanding of their use. Telomeres are caps on the ends of chromosomes that shorten each time a cell divides and decrease in length as people age. Discussions focused on approaches to measurement of telomeres, factors that need to be measured
    Celia Chen, Ph.D. and Charles Driscoll, Ph.D.

    Chen, left, and Charles Driscoll, Ph.D., from Syracuse University co-chaired the conference, which brought together scientists, engineers, policymakers, and nonprofit organizations.
    (Photo courtesy of Laurie Rardin)

    alongside of telomeres, gene and environment interactions, tissue-specific effects, and the potential for use of surrogate tissues.
  • Dartmouth College SRP Center Research Translation Core leader Celia Chen, Ph.D., co-chaired the 13th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant July 16 - 21 in Providence, Rhode Island. The meeting, co-sponsored by the Dartmouth SRP Center, brought together international experts to discuss scientific findings and potential measures to decrease human and wildlife exposure to mercury. With the theme of integrating mercury research and policy in a changing world, the conference focused on ways to control new and existing mercury sources and to monitor the effectiveness of those controls.
  • SRP Health Specialist Brittany Trottier is leading SRP efforts working with CareerTrac developers so that the database better aligns with the needs of the program without increasing the reporting burden on grantees. CareerTrac provides the ability collect, track, and report on information about SRP trainees. It also supports tracking of trainee accomplishments, such as fellowships, awards, employment, other education, product or policy developments, publications, and presentations.