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Your Environment. Your Health.

June 2019 Superfund Research Program Science Digest

Superfund Research Program Science Digest
Balancing Scientific Excellence with Research Relevance

Science Leadership

Superfund Research Program (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.

SRP grantees from all over the country gathered in Baltimore, Maryland, for the 2019 Society of Toxicology (SOT) Annual Meeting on March 10 - 14. More than 70 SRP project leaders and trainees from at least 15 SRP Centers presented oral and poster presentations.

  • Texas A&M SRP Center Director Ivan Rusyn, Ph.D., was honored during the SOT awards ceremony as the senior author of the Toxicological Sciences Paper of the Year.
  • Michigan State University SRP Center trainee Lance Blevins, Ph.D., was awarded the Best Postdoctoral Presentation from the SOT Immunotoxicology Specialty Section.
  • University of New Mexico SRP Center trainee Jennifer Ong and Texas A&M SRP Center trainee Zunwei Chen were both recognized among the top five abstracts in the SOT Mixtures Specialty Section.
  • Boston University project leader Jennifer Schlezinger, Ph.D., won best Mixtures Specialty Section abstract.
    e-Waste session participants
    Presenters and participants in the e-waste session included, from left, Trottier; Paromita Chakraborty, Ph.D., of SRM University, Chennai, India; Bob Sonawane, Ph.D., Toxicology and Risk Assessment Consulting Services (TRACS) LLC; NIEHS Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D.; Bruce Fowler, Ph.D., TRACS LLC; and Heacock.
  • In a session chaired by SRP Health Scientist Administrator Michelle Heacock, Ph.D., presenters highlighted the public health and risk assessment challenges associated with electronic waste, or e-waste, an emerging area in the field of toxicology. As part of the session, Brittany Trottier presented the challenges of studying e-waste in different geographical areas and reducing exposure to the hazardous substances associated with recycling.
  • SRP Health Scientist Administrator Danielle Carlin, Ph.D., presented during the workshop session titled "Applying Systems Biology Approaches to Understand the Joint Action of Chemical and Nonchemical Stressors." She discussed using atherosclerosis as a model disease to determine the interaction of chemical and non-chemical stressors.
  • In another session on per- and polyfluoroakyl substances (PFAS), University of Rhode Island (URI) SRP Center researcher Angela Slitt, Ph.D., presented her work to understand the influence of diet and PFAS exposure on liver outcomes. The session was chaired by National Toxicology Program toxicologist Sue Fenton, Ph.D.

SRP Health Specialist Brittany Trottier was part of the organizing committee for the Third International Workshop on Chronic Kidney Diseases of Uncertain/Non-traditional Etiology in Mesoamerica and Other Regions, held March 20 – 22 in San Jose, Costa Rica. The workshop brought together experts from a range of disciplines and geographic areas to discuss clinical aspects, burden of disease, causes of the disease, and societal response.

ACS awardee Schnoor

In addition to receiving the award, Schnoor was honored through a special symposium, where those inspired by his work were invited to give lectures. Schnoor, right, stands with some of the symposium attendees and presenters.
(Photo courtesy of the Iowa SRP Center)

Jerry Schnoor, Ph.D., a University of Iowa SRP Center project leader, received the American Chemical Society (ACS) Award for Creative Advances in Environmental Science and Technology during the ACS Spring 2019 National Meeting, held March 31 - April 4 in Orlando, Florida. Schnoor has pioneered the science and practice of phytoremediation, which uses plants and microbes to reduce toxicants in the environment.

Researchers led by Bevin Engelward, Ph.D., recently developed a new test that rapidly measures the effect of different chemicals on cell survival. Measuring cell survival is critical for screening potentially toxic chemicals and protecting human health. The technology was developed as part of an NIEHS small business grant, with partial funding from the MIT SRP Center.

Several SRP grantees as well as SRP Health Scientist Administrator Heather Henry, Ph.D., participated in the Battelle Fifth International Symposium on Bioremediation and Sustainable Environmental Technologies. The symposium provided a forum for sharing research results, practical experiences, and opportunities associated with advances in bioremediation and green and sustainable practices in remediation.

NC Fish Forum

During the fish forum, breakout groups discussed suggestions to improve the fish consumption advisory process.
(Photo courtesy of the Duke SRP Center)

Carlin participated in the 2019 NIH Regional Seminar on Program Funding and Grants Administration in Baltimore, Maryland. The biannual seminar offers opportunities for administrators, early stage investigators, and researchers to learn about the grants application and review process.

Two Texas A&M University SRP Center projects are translating their research to help communities facing impacts and health risks from climate-related disasters, such as wildfires and flooding. These projects are improving community assessments and resilience planning in areas facing these challenges.

The Duke University SRP Center convened stakeholders from across North Carolina to discuss fish consumption advisories and how to improve the process to best protect public health. NC Fish Forum attendees focused on known risks like mercury, as well as emerging contaminants such as per- and polyfluorinated compounds.