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Your Environment. Your Health.

May 2017

Superfund Research Program Science Digest
Balancing Scientific Excellence with Research Relevance

Hot Off the Press

The SRP regularly highlights basic and applied research and activities from the program, spanning multiple disciplines.

Research Briefs

Since 1997, SRP has created and distributed electronic Research Briefs to highlight significant research advances. Reaching nearly 14,000 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.

Platform Allows Rapid Analysis of Antioxidant Genes in Zebrafish
A newly developed panel of zebrafish genes can be combined with a rapid testing platform to identify chemicals that induce oxidative stress, according to researchers at the University of Washington (UW) SRP Center. The method, optimized for use on larval zebrafish by UW SRP Center researchers, is cost-effective and can be performed more quickly and with less tissue than conventional methods.

Prenatal Arsenic Exposure Alters Newborn Metabolite Profiles
Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Superfund Research Program (UNC SRP) Center have identified metabolites in umbilical cord blood that are associated with exposure to arsenic in the womb. The findings also show that differences in a mother's metabolism of arsenic may influence the metabolite profile of her baby. Assessing changes in the newborn's metabolite profile by looking at the full range of metabolites, or metabolome, may provide insight into how prenatal arsenic exposure could affect important pathways responsible for maintaining normal cell processes in the body.

Cell-Based Models Reveal Differences in How PAH Mixtures Affect Neurodevelopment
Exposure to a mixture of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) may produce different neurodevelopmental effects from those of exposure to individual PAHs, and the developing brain may be sensitive to these contaminants over a wide window of development, according to a Duke University SRP Center study. Researchers identified direct effects of an environmentally relevant PAH mixture and a single PAH, benzo[a]pyrene (BaP), at two different points in neurodevelopment.

Environmental Factor Articles

New Tools Improve Exposure and Risk Assessments
Advances in chemistry, physics, cell biology, and computational modeling provide unique opportunities to improve human health risk assessments, according to Richard Corley, Ph.D. In an April 6 talk for the NIEHS Keystone Science Lecture series, he discussed cutting-edge technologies that make scientific predictions more relevant to humans and real-world conditions.

Innovative Technology Provides Safe Drinking Water in California
A new technology, developed with SRP funding, will provide safe drinking water to California communities at approximately half the cost of other options and with virtually no secondary waste. Small business grantee Microvi Biotechnologies celebrated installation of its advanced nitrate removal technology during a grand opening at Sunny Slope Water Company. The company delivers water to 30,000 households in southern California, and the new system will provide more than 200 million gallons of treated water to its customers.

Teacher Workshops Tackle Problem-Based Science
Fifty science teachers from across North Carolina took part in two NIEHS workshops in February. One of the workshops focused on chemicals in the environment and human health, including bioavailability of metals. Bioavailability expresses how much of a substance, such as arsenic, the body would absorb if exposed through skin, ingestion, or inhalation. Dana Brown Haine, from the University of North Carolina (UNC) SRP Center Research Translation Core, presented a clever exercise to understand variations in bioavailability. The UNC and University of Arizona SRP Centers developed the exercise to explain bioavailability to communities near contaminated sites.

Risk e-Learning Webinars

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

This spring, the SRP is hosting a series of webinars that will feature innovative analytical tools and methods developed and used by SRP grantees. The presenters are highlighting the benefits of these new tools and methods compared to conventional methods, including information about how the technology has helped to facilitate ongoing SRP research.

The first session, Field-Ready Biosensors to Assess Bioavailability and Toxicity was held on Monday, April 17. Researchers described their tools to assess bioavailability and toxicity for more effective human and/or environmental monitoring.

The second session, Techniques for Trace Analysis of Metals and Chemical Metabolites, will be held on Monday, May 22, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. EDT. During this session, speakers will highlight techniques that help measure trace levels of metals and chemical metabolites to better understand environmentally relevant chemical exposures.

The third session, Fate and Transport of Contaminants, will be held on Monday, June 12, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. EDT. During this session, speakers will highlight tools and methods to detect contaminants and measure their fate and transport in the environment. The speakers will highlight work related to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and chlorinated volatile organic contaminants.

The webinars are free and open to the public. Please visit the Risk e-Learning website for more information about each session, including a list of presenters, registration links, and links to archives.