University of Washington
Superfund Research Program
Effects-Related Biomarkers of Environmental Neurotoxic Exposure
The theme of the University of Washington (UW) SBRP is that biomarkers measured in accessible tissues are predictive of: a) toxicant exposures; b) early indicators of damage; and/or c) unusual susceptibility to toxic agents that commonly occur at Superfund sites. The UW program includes five research projects (three biomedical projects, an ecotoxicology project, and a bioremediation project). The Program focuses most intensively on biomarker applications for investigations of adverse effects to human health and the environment from neurotoxic chemicals, primarily metals and pesticides. Collectively, these projects develop and validate biomarkers for: elucidating underlying neurotoxicity mechanisms in humans and animal models; identifying early-stage neurologic disease processes in humans; characterizing dose-response relations for selected neurotoxicants with neurologic disease risk, severity, and progression, using parkinsonism as a model outcome; and, for implementing phytoremediation techniques. The research projects include studies of:
- models of susceptibility to organophosphate pesticides, with applications to pesticide-exposed farmworkers and to persons affected with Parkinson's disease;
- metals and parkinsonism among professional welders;
- proteomic markers of metal-induced parkinsonism;
- sub-lethal neurotoxic effects of metals and pesticides in free-living Coho salmon;
- phytoremediation methods for organic solvents and pesticides.
The Administrative Core oversees all budgetary and reporting aspects of the Program, and fosters multidisciplinary interactions among projects and cores. The Functional Genomics and Bioinformatics Core provides extensive molecular biology laboratory and data analysis support to all research projects. The Research Translation Core ensures timely and appropriate communication of our research findings to relevant stakeholders, including government agencies, community groups, and the private sector.