Superfund Research Program

August 2023

The seven trainees that were awarded the 2023 K.C. Donnelly Externship Award
From left to right, top to bottom: Brown, Habtemichael, Nobel Hernández-Otero, Klaus, Lieberman-Cribbin, Martinez-Morata, and Thomas.

Seven NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) trainees won K.C. Donnelly Externship Award Supplements to conduct research outside of their host centers. The three-month-long externships provide current SRP-funded graduate students and postdoctoral researchers the opportunity to learn new methods and techniques, while working in other SRP-funded institutions and government labs.

More details about the award recipients:

  • Eric Brown, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill SRP Center, will travel to the Harvard University SRP Center to learn advanced statistical approaches for handling complex chemical mixtures.
  • Asta Habtemichael, of the University of Rhode Island SRP Center, will learn advanced molecular modeling techniques at the University of Pittsburgh to understand how differences in the structures of PFAS affect the chemicals' ability to accumulate in aquatic food webs.
  • Nobel Hernández-Otero, of the University of Puerto Rico and a trainee with the Northeastern University SRP Center, will travel to East Carolina University to study under the direction of the North Carolina State University SRP Center and learn about PFAS exposure and potential health effects.
  • Maria Victoria Klaus, of the University of Kentucky SRP Center, will determine which materials she designed to remove PFAS from water are safe and effective for also removing them from the body. Her externship will be at the Texas A&M University SRP Center.
  • Wil Lieberman-Cribbin, of the Columbia University SRP Center, will travel to the Yale University SRP Center to learn new exposure assessment techniques that combine proximity to hazardous sites with contaminants measured in water and urine.
  • Irene Martinez-Morata, of the Columbia University SRP Center, will apply advanced analytical approaches to pinpoint how zinc supplements may protect health among Native American communities exposed to high levels of arsenic and uranium. Her externship will be at the University of New Mexico SRP Center.
  • Sara Thomas, Ph.D., from the Connecticut Agricultural Experimental Station and an SRP trainee with Yale University, will travel to Princeton University to study the ability of microbes to safely degrade PFAS in plants used to decontaminate soil.

To learn more, see the NIEHS Environmental Factor newsletter.