Since its inception, an important element of the NIEHS Superfund Hazardous Substances Basic Research and Training Program (SRP) has been training the next generation of environmental health scientists.
The cornerstone of the SRP is the university-based, multi-project Center grant program. Through the Centers, teams of scientists from different disciplines work together to reduce potential exposure to hazardous chemicals, minimize environmental cleanup costs, and improve public health. This approach gives early-career scientists experience in problem-solving, solution-oriented research, and conducting research in a highly collaborative environment. Because SRP Center researchers conduct integrated projects representing biomedical, environmental, and engineering research, the experiences of SRP trainees are unique and wide-ranging. SRP trainees also are encouraged to explore how their research fits into the context of other projects within the Center, which promotes and enhances cross-training in various disciplines.
SRP trainees gain new technical skills and learn how to apply their research in truly innovative ways, preparing them for a wide variety of careers outside of traditional bench science. Alumni of the SRP training program have gone on to successful careers in academia, government, industry, and non-profit organizations. Looking to the future, the SRP is increasing training in the evolving areas of bioinformatics and data integration.
As we highlight research and activities from the SRP in the Science Digest, I want to emphasize the importance of these broader training experiences. In this issue, we feature SRP researchers investigating how prenatal exposures to potentially harmful chemicals can affect development and may lead to later-life consequences. The Science Digest also includes recent SRP activities, innovative research findings, and new technologies. For all of these highlights, trainees are an integral part of the research and its translation.
William A. Suk, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Superfund Research Program