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Your Environment. Your Health.

Progress Reports: Duke University: Training Core

Superfund Research Program

Training Core

Project Leader: Joel N. Meyer
Grant Number: P42ES010356
Funding Period: 2000-2022

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Progress Reports

Year:   2019  2018  2017  2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004 

Specific Aims

  1. Conduct a seminar series in environmental toxicology, chemistry and policy with invited outside experts and local speakers, as well as a day-long Superfund Center Symposia to report progress of the Center and to learn about cutting-edge research from outside speakers.
  2. Organize workshops on new research techniques for faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and students, as well as fund trainees to attend research workshops and short courses elsewhere.
  3. Work with the Research Translation Core to deliver new research insights to scientific colleagues and the broader community.
  4. Organize workshops on article and grant writing, public speaking and research ethics to improve both scientific and public communication.
  5. Provide research training opportunities and provide seminars and classes for promising undergraduate students as a way for establishing a career in environmental health research.
  6. Coordinate the training coursework in environmental toxicology, chemistry, policy, and related subjects for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

The aims of the Training Core are unchanged

Studies and Results

The Training Core continued to conduct a weekly seminar series for the Center, in collaboration with Duke's Integrated Toxicology and Environmental Health Program. The schedule included talks by Duke faculty, postdocs and students as well as Center alumnae and outstanding scientists from other universities and government labs. They presented current research on endocrine disrupters, brominated flame retardants, pesticides, mitochondrial toxicity, nanotoxicants, ecotoxicology, epigenetics and research translation. We have continued to have focused-topic day long symposia. The Spring 2012 symposium topic was Causes and Consequences Connecting Environmental and Human Health. This past fall, Duke SRC co-hosted the Superfund Annual Meeting in Raleigh, NC and many of our Center members were on hand moderating, presenting posters, participating, and giving talks. This spring (2013) we will have another daylong symposium on How Epigenomic Effects Mediate Persisting Actions of Developmental Toxicants. These public events continue to be popular within the research community - the Training Core's weekly seminars regularly attract 40-50 students, post-docs, staff and faculty each week, and our symposia welcome 80-100 from Duke and neighboring research institutions.

Seminars - Spring 2012

  • January 13- David Armstrong, Ph.D., National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences: Endocrine disruption of synaptic plasticity in the postnatal mouse hippocampus
  • January 20- Gregory J Cole, Ph.D., North Carolina Central University: Mechanisms of ethanol-induced CNS abnormalities in zebrafish: evidence for disrupted extracellular matrix function
  • January 27- Maxwell Leung, Duke University, Doctoral Candidate: Later-life effects of mitochondrial DNA damage during development in the whole organism model Caenorhabditis elegans
  • February 3- Kevin Crofton, Ph.D., US-Environmental Protection Agency: The role of thyroid hormones in neurodevelopment: using mode-of-action pathways to focus research strategies
  • February 10- Marion Ehrich, Ph.D., Virginia Tech University: Fullerenes for ameliorating organophosphorus threats
  • February 17- Richard L. Auten, M.D., Duke University: Air pollution exposure in pregnancy effects on respiratory function in offspring: innate immunity as the gateway
  • February 24- Kia Walcott, Duke University ITEHP Doctoral Candidate: An in vivo, tissue-specific RNAi screen for ion channels contributing to nociception in Drosophila
  • March 2- Kent Pinkerton, Ph.D., University of California-Davis: Nanomaterials from children's health to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • March 16- Rosalind Coleman, M.D., University of North Carolina: Acyl-CoAs and lipid partitioning
  • March 23- Fernando Galvez, Ph.D., Louisiana State University: The physiological and genomic effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on resident killifish
  • March 30- Kyle Erwin, Duke University, Doctoral Candidate: Insights into PCB126-mediated developmental cardiotoxicity in zebrafish
  • April 6- Amanda Bass, Duke University, Doctoral Candidate: The Role of mitochondrial dynamics and autophagy in removal of persistent mitochondrial DNA damage
  • April 13- Pam Noyes, Duke University, Doctoral Candidate: Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether (PBDE) Flame Retardants in Fathead Minnows: Metabolism and Disrupted Thyroid Regulation at Early and Adult Life Stages
  • April 20- Spring Symposium and Poster Session 8:30 AM - 3:00 PM Searle Center: Causes and Consequences Connecting Human and Environmental Health

Seminars - Fall 2012

  • September 7- Tso-Pang Yao, Ph.D., Duke University: Connecting mitochondrial toxin to neurodegeneration
  • September 14- Christie M Sayes, PhD. Research Triangle Institute International: Contemporary issues in nanotoxicology: Continuing to relate material properties to biological responses
  • September 21- Charlotte Clark, Ph.D. Duke University: Research Translation: What is in a Name?
  • September 28- Andrew Arrant, Duke University: Immaturity of the serotonergic system mediates lack of drug-induced behavioral inhibition in adolescents
  • October 5- Cavin Ward-Caviness, Duke University: Gene-Environment Interactions in Chronic Cardiovascular Diseases
  • October 12- Amy Ringwood, Ph.D., University of North Carolina-Charlotte: Bivalve Biomarkers - Models for Pollutant and Nanoparticle Bioreactivity
  • October 19- Kristie Willet, Ph.D., University of Mississippi: Reproductive, Developmental and Epigenetic Effects of Benzo(a)pyrene in Fundulus heteroclitus and Danio rerio
  • November 2- Ashley Parks, Duke University, Doctoral Candidate: Bioavailability and effects of single-walled carbon nanotubes in a benthic estuarine system
  • November 9- Jennifer L. Wheeler, Ph.D., Duke University: Novel cellular targets of AhR underlie alterations in neutrophilic inflammation and iNOS expression during influenza virus infection
  • November 16- Lynn Singer, Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University: MDMA and cocaine: challenges of understanding prenatal exposure effects
  • November 30- Nancy Denslow, Ph.D., University of Florida: Molecular approaches to understanding persistent organochlorine pesticides at Lake Apopka, Florida

Summer 2012 Training Program:
In the summer of 2012 the Training Core held its inaugural Summer Research Program involving the labs and cores of our center. It was very successful for the nine undergraduate (7) and Master's (2) students involved. The students came to us from a variety of universities: North Carolina Central University (1), Northwestern University (1), Duke University (5), Mount Olive College (1), Dalhousie University (1). The students learned about and participated in research in neurotoxicology, developmental toxicology in fish, mitochondrial mechanisms of toxicity, environmental chemistry, endocrine disruption, and research translation. Eve Marion and Gretchen Kroeger coordinated informal weekly seminar lunches where trainees heard from the Center's scientists on a variety of topics including focused discussions related to the Center's research and also participated in informal Q & A session to allow students to learn more about pathways toward becoming a scientist. All students were asked to write blog entries about their research experiences and the summer culminated in student presentations on their own summer research experience:

  • June 4 – Dr. Ed Levin – Introduction
  • June 11 – Dr. Kurt Rhoads – Project 4
  • June 18 – Dr. Bryan Clark – Project 3, Tour of NBTA facilities
  • June 25 – Dan Brown – Project 3 & discussion about graduate student life
  • July 2 – Joel Meyer – Career Pathways discussion
  • July 9 – Gretchen Kroeger – What is Research Translation?
  • July 16 – Heather Stapleton – Project 2
  • July 23 – Lab tours, Q & A with Project 4 and ACC Staff & students
  • July 30 – Lab tours, Q & A with Project 1, 2, 3 Staff & students
  • August 6 – Student presentations
  • August 13 – Student presentations

Significance

Training is an integral core of the Duke University Superfund Research Center to ensure that Center faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate & undergraduate students, as well as research staff are up-to-date on developments in the fields of environmental toxicology, environmental chemistry and public policy. The Training Core provides a forum for the discussion of ideas and discoveries with experts from around the nation and also assists in the dissemination of our research findings to the lay community. In conjunction with the Administrative Core and the Research Translation Core, the Training Core organizes the seminar series, symposia and workshops necessary to achieve these educational goals.

Our Center's Training Core is firmly rooted in a vertical integration model that provides guidance and mentorship to all promising environmental health scientists from undergraduate students to graduate students through the faculty level. In this model, students or scientists who are less experienced in environmental health sciences, whether they be undergraduate students, early graduate students, or faculty are paired with a more senior mentor, typically for the duration of a specific project. As the junior scientist or student gains experience, they in turn serve as mentors to others. This vertical integration model represents an innovative mechanism for ensuring the continued vibrancy of environmental health sciences research on campus.

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