Superfund Research Program
Research Translation: Extending the Reach of Exposure Science and Technology That Improves the Detection and Remediation of Hazardous Substances
Project Leader: Keith Pezzoli
Co-Investigator: Ilya Zaslavsky
Grant Number: P42ES010337
Funding Period: 2005-2023
Final Progress Reports
Year: 2016 2009
The Research Translation Core of UCSD’s SRP successfully secured an NIEHS ARRA Supplement grant. This work builds upon the RTC aims by enabling us to work more closely with the Tribal EPA of the 29 Palms Band of Mission Indians. Researchers are embarking on a 2-year Research Translation project to build the capacity of Tribes to utilize cutting-edge SRP technologies. In U.S. EPA’s Region 9 and along the U.S.-Mexico border, Tribal communities are among the most vulnerable to environmental hazards and exposure to toxicants (including many Superfund chemicals). This vulnerability arises, in part, due to unique exposures associated with diet and Tribal lifestyles (e.g., high consumption of fish and game, dependence on groundwater, etc.) as well as gaps in the necessary infrastructure to address the impacts of dumping and other polluting activities that disproportionately impact tribal communities. UCSD’s SRP RTC focuses a significant part of its efforts on communicating and sharing SRP–generated knowledge and tools with Tribal communities affected by hazardous waste sites and toxicants. Efforts in Indian country are informed and framed by Tribes themselves and National scale efforts by government agencies and advisory groups like the U.S. EPA’s Tribal Science Council (NTSC). The leading Tribal partner, Dr. Marshall Cheung (29 Palms Band of Mission Indians - Tribal EPA Director) is a prominent participant within the NTSC. The NTSC is committed to developing a better understanding of the priority science issues impacting Tribes from across the country and to addressing these issues as an integral part of EPA’s formal planning processes.
In the 2008, the RTC took important steps to build the capacity of Tribes to utilize SRP molecular bioassay technologies by successfully completing a material transfer agreement with and delivering TV101 cells from the SRP Tukey lab to a new state-of-the-art molecular facility at the 29 Palms Tribal EPA. This was an important step forward to enable the Tribal EPA to use P450 HRGS analyses based on the approved USA EPA Method 4425. Unfortunately, the 2008 economic downturn seriously impacted the 29 Palms Band of Mission Indians Tribal EPA. The 29 Palms Tribal EPA saw its resources and the size of its staff significantly reduced, bringing a joint effort almost to a halt. The newly secured NIEHS American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant is playing a critical role in sustaining the efforts to build the capacity of Tribes to utilize cutting-edge SRP biomolecular assays. This two-year NIEHS ARRA supplement creates a new Tribal Technician position that will help launch the Molecular Assay Facility at the 29 Palms Tribal EPA (29 Palms). When fully staffed and operational, the 29 Palms Tribal EPA Bioassay Laboratory can provide bioassay analytical services to Tribes using SRP technologies (potentially including those in the NIEHS Bioassay Network), as well as hands-on opportunities for applied translational research for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and SRP researchers. The UCSD SRP and 29 Palms Tribal EPA have submitted an abstract to the upcoming 2010 U.S. EPA National Tribal Science Council to present the progress of this work and reach out to other potential Tribal partners across the country. This collaborative effort enables us to better serve vulnerable Tribal communities by building capacity within Tribal institutions to screen for Superfund toxicants (e.g., dioxins) identified by the U.S. EPA National Tribal Science Council as a top priority in Indian country.