Superfund Research Program
Project Leader: Bruce A. Stanton
Grant Number: P42ES007373
Funding Period: 2000-2020
During the past year the Training Core supported three graduate students Colette Quinn; Courtney Kozul and Casey Greene, and one postdoctoral fellow, Darren Ward.
Colette Quinn is a fourth year Ph.D. student (Chemistry) who has been conducting her research with Dean Wilcox. In addition to continued studies of the metal binding properties of metallothionein, this year Colette has also studied the 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 and the annual Superfund meeting at Asilomar in December, 2008, where she gave an invited talk on her research on metallothionein and led a workshop on entrepreneurship.
Courtney Kozul is a third year Ph.D. student (Program in Experimental and Molecular Medicine) who is conducting research on the effects of arsenic on risk of lung disease with Dr. Joshua Hamilton. Courtney made a unique discovery this year that very low dose arsenic (10 or 100 ppb in drinking water, 5 weeks, mice) has profound effects on innate immune response in lungs, and has hypothesized that this may contribute to the increased risk of cancer and non-cancer lung disease that has been observed in exposed human populations. Courtney has published three papers this year, two as co-author and one as first author. She has a fourth paper as first author which has been accepted pending minor revisions, and will be submitting two additional papers as first author in early 2009. She attended five meetings this year -- Society of Toxicology 2008 (at which she won honorable mention for her platform talk and co-authored two other posters), Nutmeg 2008 (at which she won the Wetterhahn Award for best poster the second year in a row), an NIEHS co-sponsored conference in Romania (at which she was an invited speaker and won best presentation, and also organized and chaired a workshop), the New England Society of Toxicology 2008 meeting, and the 2008 Superfund Basic Research Program meeting (at which she also won best student poster for the second year in a row).
Casey Greene is a fourth year Ph.D. student (Genetics) who has been conducting his research with Dr. Jason Moore in collaboration with Dr. Margaret Karagas. He is developing the bioinformatics analysis methods that are needed to understand the interaction between genetic factors and toxic metals that are predictive of human diseases such as bladder cancer. He presented his research at two meetings this year, giving a poster presentation at the 2008 national meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics and the 2008 SBRP meeting in Asilomar. He also published two scientific papers and has two book chapters in press for 2009.
Darren Ward, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral associate working with Drs. Celia Chen, Carol Folt, and Mark Borsuk. He is investigating the drivers of mercury accumulation in aquatic food webs, both in the field and by developing a model that links estuarine food webs and geochemical processes of mercury methylation. He recently submitted a paper on mercury accumulation stream ecosystems that describes a novel approach to characterizing landscape-scale variation in mercury accumulation potential using fish stocking and introduces potential techniques for modifying fish stocking practices to minimize mercury accumulation. Dr. Ward gave a presentation on his mercury work at the meeting of the North American Benthological Society in May 2008.
In addition to these four individuals who were directly supported by the SBRP Training Core, there are other fellows and undergraduates supported by the individual projects who participate in all Core activities. Activities for the academic year for trainees include: participation in bi-monthly SBRP meetings including individual presentations of their research to all project personnel, participation in an upcoming program retreat to be held in March 2009, and presentations at scientific meetings (noted above).