Superfund Research Program
Project Leader: Bruce A. Stanton
Grant Number: P42ES007373
Funding Period: 2000-2020
The Training Core provided direct financial support for three Ph.D. students and three postdoctoral fellows this year.
- Courtney D. Kozul: 4th year Ph.D. student working with the Arsenic as an Endocrine Disruptor project, is completing her thesis under Dr. Hamilton’s direction and mentorship, in the laboratory of Dr. Bruce Stanton. She is defending her Ph.D. titled "Immunomodulatory Effects of Chronic Low Dose Arsenic Exposure" in December, 2009. Her work examines effects of arsenic on expression of genes related to innate immunity in mouse lung following low-dose drinking water exposure. She has attended the SRP national meetings the past three years, earning awards as top graduate poster presenter in 2007 and 2008, and giving an invited platform talk at the 2009 meeting. She has also attended the Society of Toxicology (SOT) meetings the past three years, earning numerous travel and presentation awards for her research presentations including the inaugural Vera Hudson and Elizabeth Weisburger Student Award from the SOT’s Women in Toxicology group in 2009. Courtney was selected to present her research at the NIEHS-sponsored 2008 International Central and European Conference on Health and the Environment in Romania, where she received an award for Outstanding Oral Presentation.
- Casey Greene, Ph.D. student working with the Integrative Biology Core successfully defended his Ph.D. in August, 2009. His dissertation focused on bioinformatics methods for detecting and modeling gene-environment interactions and was in collaboration with Dr. Jason Moore and Dr. Margaret Karagas of the Arsenic Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Exposure Assessment of Metals project. He published several first author papers and gave several presentations at conferences. In July, he won First Prize for the GPU Competition at the international Genetic and Evolutionary Computation (GECCO) conference in Montreal. This prize was a collaborative effort between Dr. Moore and Nick Sinnott-Armstrong, a local high school student that was also supported by our Superfund program over the summer. Casey is now a postdoctoral student in Bioinformatics at Princeton University.
- Colette Quinn: 5th year Ph.D. student (Chemistry). She has been conducting research with Dean Wilcox on (1) metal binding properties of metallothionein, and (2) properties of dimethylarsenite for its relevance to arsenic metabolism in cells and the interaction of various metal ions with the abundant cellular thiol glutathione. She attended the Superfund-sponsored Green Entrepreneurship meeting at Lake Tahoe in June 2008 and the annual Superfund meeting at Asilomar in December, 2008.
- Dawoon Jung, Ph.D., postdoctoral associate (Project 8). She is studying several proteins in the aquaporin family (AQP) involved in osmoregulation, and in cellular transport of arsenic. Her project is to (1) elucidate the role of aquaglyceroprorins in the arsenic uptake pathway in the euryhaline teleost Atlantic killifish, and (2) to examine whether environmentally relevant exposure to arsenic influences AQP’s ability to adapt to acute salinity changes, and whether arsenic affects the ability of cortisol to regulate AQP gene expression via endocrine disruption.
- Vivien Taylor, Ph.D., postdoctoral associate (Trace Element Analysis Core). She is working with Dr. Brian Jackson to develop analytical methods for studying mercury and arsenic species in biological and environmental samples. She also is investigating the chromatographic behavior of unstable trivalent arsenic-glutathione complexes, as part of a Superfund pilot project with Jack Boswell (Physiology) and Dean Wilcox (Chemistry). She collaborates closely with the Trophic Transfer of Mercury in Aquatic Food Webs project and published a method for the sequential determination of methyl mercury and heavy metals in low mass samples of aquatic organisms. She attended the annual SBRP meeting in NYC in December, and presented a poster on a new automated method for analyzing mercury species at ultra-trace levels.
- Darren Ward, Ph.D., postdoctoral associate working with the Trophic Transfer of Mercury in Aquatic Food Webs project is identifying ecological factors that mediate methylmercury accumulation in aquatic food webs. His current projects include (1) a modeling study that addresses interactions between organic carbon cycling and methylmercury production and accumulation in estuarine food webs, and (2) controlled experimental study manipulating food quality to quantify relationships between growth rate and growth efficiency of individual fish and methylmercury accumulation. He is also working on a field-based project on trace metal accumulation in stream food webs, complementing the Trophic Transfer of Mercury in Aquatic Food Webs project current and past research
All these trainees and other students and postdocs supported by individual projects participate in core activities including: bi-monthly meetings, individual presentations of their research to all project personnel, participation in our annual trainee program retreat (March 2009 and scheduled for March 2010), and presentations at scientific meetings. Trainees also presented posters as part of a 90-minute session dedicated to having trainees interact with the External Advisory Committee as part of their recent visit (October 2009).