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Your Environment. Your Health.

February 2017

Superfund Research Program Science Digest
Balancing Scientific Excellence with Research Relevance

Hot Off the Press

The SRP actively highlights basic and applied research and activities from the program that span multiple disciplines.

Research Briefs

Since 1997, SRP has created and distributed electronic Research Briefs highlighting significant research advances. Reaching more than 10,000 subscribers worldwide, the monthly Research Briefs summarize a current research accomplishment, provide context for the finding, and discuss the significance of the work. To subscribe to the monthly Research Brief, visit the NIH Subscriber's Corner.

Using Surfactants to Enhance Bioremediation of PAHs in Soil
A second-stage treatment using low levels of surfactants, which are commonly used as dispersing agents, may be a promising method to maximize removal of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) at hazardous waste sites, according to findings from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Superfund Research Program (UNC SRP) Center. Researchers identified specific surfactants that enhanced the removal of PAHs from previously treated soil by making the chemicals more accessible for degradation by bacteria.

The Genetics Behind the Killifish's Adaptation to Pollution
Killifish living in four polluted East Coast estuaries have adapted quickly to survive high levels of toxic industrial pollutants. In a new study, researchers explored the complex genetics involved in the Atlantic killifish's resilience, bringing us one step closer to understanding how they rapidly evolved to tolerate normally lethal levels of environmental contaminants.

The Porous Extraction Paddle: A Non-Targeted Sampling Device to Detect Contaminants in Urine
A new tool and accompanying method provides an easy way to extract substances from urine, even where resources are limited. The non-targeted technique, developed by researchers at the Northeastern University Superfund Research Program, can reveal large numbers of exposures to substances foreign to the body, called xenobiotics, from a sample of urine.

NIEHS Environmental Factor Articles

Adaptations to Polluted Environments Come at a Cost
Some fish have adapted to survive high levels of pollution, but these adaptations may lead to other effects in the fish population, according to Nishad Jayasundara, Ph.D., winner of the 2015 Karen Wetterhahn Award, in a lecture at NIEHS on Nov. 28, 2016. Jayasundara, a postdoctoral fellow at Duke University, provided an overview of his research to learn about the mechanisms of toxicity by focusing on organisms that have evolved adaptations to resist the harmful effects of pollutants.

Fry Leads Community Talk on Metals Exposure and Health
Rebecca Fry, Ph.D., from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), presented the first Tarheel Tox Talk, a new public outreach program from the UNC Curriculum in Toxicology. The informal, community presentation at a Chapel Hill restaurant October 4 focused on metal contamination, especially that caused by inorganic arsenic, in drinking water. Fry, who directs the UNC Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center, discussed sources, potential health effects of exposure, and the need to protect vulnerable populations.

FDA Ban on Antibacterials in Soaps Informed by SRP Research
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a rule September 2 banning 19 antibacterial chemicals as ingredients in over-the-counter (OTC) antibacterial hand and body washes. Development of the final rule was informed by research that included several studies from scientists supported by the Superfund Research Program.

Appalachian Forum Emphasizes Community
For the latest in her series of community forums, Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., director of NIEHS and the National Toxicology Program, visited southeastern Kentucky for the Appalachian Health and Well-Being Forum. Before the July 25 event at the Letcher County Cooperative Extension Office in Whitesburg, Birnbaum visited community groups, health organizations, and a clinic in the region.

Six Promising Superfund Trainees Receive K.C. Donnelly Awards
Six promising NIEHS-funded Superfund Research Program (SRP) trainees were awarded K.C. Donnelly Externship Award Supplements to fund their research at other institutions. The annual award, now in its sixth year, honors the memory of longtime SRP grantee and environmental health researcher Kirby (K.C.) Donnelly, Ph.D.

Risk e-Learning Webinars

These live, Web-based, interactive seminars provide in-the-field professionals with easy access to cutting-edge research findings.

Last fall, the SRP wrapped up the Interplay Between Environmental Exposures and Infectious Agents series, which highlighted researchers from around the country who are exploring the relationship between environmental exposures, infectious agents, and immune response. For more information about the series and to access archives of each session, visit the SRP Risk e-Learning website.