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National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

 

Annual Meeting of the Superfund Research Program

November 10-12, 2010

The Nines
525 SW Morrison
Portland, Oregon

Meeting Summary

The annual meeting of the Superfund Research Program (SRP), held in Portland, Oregon, brought together researchers, trainees, and administrators from SRP Research Centers, Research Translation Centers, and Community Engagement Cores from the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Participants shared their latest research on environmental health problems and toxic waste remediation. The breadth of SRP-funded research was fully apparent, with topics ranging from tribal-university collaboration to epigenetics, nanotechnology, and remediation. The variety of experts who came together to share cutting-edge science and problem-solving included toxicologists, chemists, engineers, risk assessors, administrators, and public health officers.

The meeting showcased the drive for solution-oriented research that is at the heart of the SRP strategic plan. Researchers are blurring the edges of their disciplines by engaging with experts in other disciplines to develop new ideas and perspectives for tackling the most difficult environmental health problems that exist today. Bill Suk, Director of SRP, said the emerging trans-disciplinary nature of the research program is a strength that is reflected in the diversity of published papers and in the way that SRP researchers are pushing the limits of their disciplines to develop new ideas for problem-solving. Earl Blumenauer, a U.S. Congressman from Oregon, noted that work done by SRP researchers “is gold” for helping develop thoughtful and effective ways to improve our environment and public health in a cost-effective manner.

Environmental health problems associated with arsenic, polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), bisphenol A (BPA), uranium, persistent organic chemicals, and more are being tackled from the lab bench and the test tube to the community and the Superfund site. Researchers discussed chemicals and chemical mixtures in air, water, soil, and foods. Presentations and posters focused on cleaning up sites, understanding mechanisms of toxicity after exposure, minimizing exposure, and designing sustainable and affordable systems to deal with these problems.

The SRP meeting also featured informal discussions and brain-storming sessions about building more effective partnerships and collaborations between SRP, EPA, ATSDR, communities, and state governmental agencies. They discussed ways to optimize the sharing of information and resources so that more could be accomplished in this climate of limited financial resources. EPA and ATSDR representatives welcomed ideas for collaboration with SRP researchers, and discussion participants enthusiastically took home many pages of notes from discussions to transcribe and later share online. Clearly seeds for new ideas, approaches, partnerships, and collaborations were planted for developing new solutions to complex environmental health problems.

This year’s recipient of the Karen Wetterhahn Memorial Award is Courtney Kozul-Horvath, Ph.D. of Dartmouth University. The SRP established this annual award to recognize an outstanding graduate student or post-doctoral researcher that best demonstrates the qualities of scientific excellence exhibited by Dr. Wetterhahn. The SRP acknowledged Dr. Horvath for her contributions to research on effects of low dose arsenic exposure on the immune system.

This year SRP recognized 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in two categories (Biomedical and Non-Biomedical) for student posters presented at the meeting.

Sponsored by

  • National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences - Superfund Research Program
  • Oregon State University

Additional Information