Superfund Research Program
The Long-term Impacts of Early Life Exposure to Superfund Chemicals in Humans and Wildlife
Center Director: David H. Sherr
Grant Number: P42ES007381
Funding Period: 1995-2021
News Items List
Promising new target for oral cancer treatment
Paper of the Month - July 2021
NIEHS-funded researchers identified how the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), an environmental chemical receptor, suppresses the body's immune response to oral cancer. They also discovered that removing AhR from cancer cells stops tumor growth. Results identify a new target for treatments that help the immune system fight cancer.
Data science paves the way with new tools, insights for SRP
Environmental Factor - April 2021
The NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) held its first External Use Case (EUC) Showcase Feb. 18-19. Over 140 participants joined the meeting to share experiences and recommendations about integrating datasets from SRP-sponsored research. EUCs, developed by collaborations of researchers from different SRP centers, demonstrate specific scenarios in which data management and sharing could provide new insight on research questions and to identify barriers to inform future data efforts.
New Model to Examine PFAS Sheds Light on Lipid Disruption Mechanisms
Research Brief - January 2021
Researchers from the Boston University (BU) Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center developed a novel study design that generated new insight on the effects of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) on cholesterol regulation in the liver. Led by Jennifer Schlezinger, Ph.D., the team also investigated the effects of PFOA on the human peroxisome proliferator activated receptor alpha (hPPARa), a transcription factor that regulates lipid homeostasis.
Fighting COVID-19 using data science
Environmental Factor - June 2020
NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) grantees and in-house scientists are lending their expertise in data integration and online tool development to explore how COVID-19 spreads and why some communities experience higher risk of infection. The projects described below represent just some of the diverse research underway at SRP centers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
SRP Centers Combat COVID-19
SRP News Page - June 2020
NIEHS SRP Centers across the country are contributing their expertise to respond to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. From increasing testing capacity and improving personal protective equipment to creating online tools and outreach materials, SRP researchers are fighting COVID-19 from the local to the global level.
Modeling Approaches Estimate Exposure and Simulate Impacts on Health
Research Brief - November 2019
Researchers from the Boston University (BU) Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center developed and applied novel statistical models to cost-effectively predict chemical exposures and their associated harm to human health in large populations. These statistically powerful approaches can address the challenges of measuring exposures for large populations and quantifying the health benefits of exposure reduction.
Chemicals alter fat cells, disrupt healthy metabolism
Environmental Factor - November 2019
Chemicals can work differently through the same biological receptor to generate different types of fat cells and disrupt healthy metabolic functions, according to Stephanie Kim, Ph.D., in an Oct. 21 lecture at NIEHS.
Grantees share history and research through video series
Environmental Factor - November 2019
A new video tour showcases the history, challenges, and resilience of the community surrounding the New Bedford, Massachusetts Superfund site and NIEHS-supported research to improve the health and well-being of local residents.
Giant ocean viruses make unique, important enzymes
Environmental Factor - July 2019
A new NIEHS-funded study found that giant viruses, which have genomes larger than 300 kilobase pairs and protein shell diameters greater than 200 nanometers, have genes that encode for unique enzymes called cytochrome P450. Giant viruses are found in deep seas and oceans worldwide. In animals, P450 enzymes metabolize drugs and fatty acids, make steroid hormones, and defend against pollutants.
New Method Quickly Screens Chemicals for Cancer Risk
Research Brief - June 2019
Boston University (BU) researchers, in collaboration with researchers at the National Toxicology Program (NTP) and the Broad Institute, have developed and evaluated a new approach to assess whether exposure to a chemical increases a person's long-term cancer risk. The fast, cost-effective method uses gene expression profiling, which measures the activity of a thousand or more genes to capture what is happening in a cell. Based on gene expression profiling data, the researchers were able to infer specific biological changes at the cellular level and predict potential carcinogenicity of chemicals, or the ability of chemicals to cause cancer.
New method quickly screens chemicals for cancer-causing potential
Environmental Factor - May 2019
Scientists developed a fast, accurate, and cost-effective way to assess whether a chemical is potentially carcinogenic. The work involved a collaboration between researchers at the National Toxicology Program (NTP), Boston University, and the Broad Institute. Funded in part by the NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP), the study was published April 9 in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives
SRP Researchers Reflect on Sharing Research Results at PEPH Network Meeting
SRP News Page - February 2019
Environmental health science professionals came together to discuss reporting back research results at the annual NIEHS Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH) meeting, held Dec 13-14. Among the participants, members of several Superfund Research Program (SRP)-funded Centers shared their experiences and tools focused on reporting research results back to study participants. According to an NIEHS story, the meeting reflected a critical need to ensure that individuals and communities that are part of a research study have access to their data and information on what it means for their health.
Superfund Wetterhahn Award goes to Stephanie Kim
Environmental Factor - December 2018
The NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) announced Stephanie Kim of Boston University (BU) as the 21st recipient of the annual Karen Wetterhahn Memorial Award. The announcement was made Nov. 29, during the SRP Annual Meeting in Sacramento, California.
PCE exposure linked to stillbirth risk, NIEHS grantee says
Environmental Factor - September 2018
Pregnant women who drank water contaminated with the solvent tetrachloroethylene (PCE) were up to twice as likely to have a stillbirth because of placental dysfunction, according to a NIEHS-funded study published July 3 in the journal Environmental Health. PCE is a solvent frequently used in dry cleaning solutions, adhesives, and other commercial products. The solvent is also called perchloroethylene, or perc.
SRP Grantees Discuss Kidney Disease at NIH Workshop
SRP News Page - July 2018
Clinicians, basic scientists, epidemiologists, and public health officials met June 25 - 26 to develop a coordinated research agenda for a growing epidemic of chronic kidney diseases. The workshop, held in Bethesda, Maryland, was jointly sponsored by NIEHS and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
Public Webinar Outlines Latest PFAS Exposure and Health Research
SRP News Page - May 2018
New information on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water and potential health effects was the focus of a May 1 Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE) webinar. The webinar was co-organized by the Boston University (BU) Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center.
Trainee Research Featured in the SRP Poster Winners Webinar
SRP News Page - April 2018
On March 27, 2018, the four winners from the Superfund Research Program (SRP) Annual Meeting's poster competition presented their outstanding research via webinar to an interdisciplinary audience of SRP staff and grantees.
Eight Northeast SRP Centers Convene at Regional Meeting
SRP News Page - April 2018
The Northeast Superfund Research Program (SRP) Meeting brought together eight SRP Centers to discuss collaborations and network. Held in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, on March 26 - 27, the meeting included scientific presentations and poster sessions.
TBT Alters Bone Marrow Microenvironment and Suppresses Important Immune Cells
Research Brief - August 2017
Researchers at the Boston University Superfund Research Program (BU SRP) Center reported that tributyltin (TBT) may promote aging-related problems in immune health. The team, led by Jennifer Schlezinger, Ph.D., found that TBT impacts bone marrow B cells directly by triggering cell death and indirectly by changing the microenvironment of bone marrow vital for supporting immune health.
Prenatal PCE Exposure and Maternal Alcohol Use Linked to Increased Risks of Teenage Drug Use
Research Brief - June 2017
Prenatal exposure to both alcohol and tetrachloroethylene, also known as perchloroethylene or PCE, may increase the risk of using multiple illicit drugs as a teenager, according to a study by Boston University Superfund Research Program (BU SRP) Center researchers. PCE is a solvent frequently used in dry cleaning solutions, adhesives, metal degreasers, and other commercial products.
SRP Highlighted at Data Science Symposium
SRP News Page - June 2017
Superfund Research Program (SRP) representatives provided the environmental health perspective on big data at an NIH data science symposium May 16 - 18 in Cincinnati. The symposium was hosted by the NIH Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) and Library of Integrated Network-Based Cellular Signatures (LINCS) Data Coordination and Integration Center.
Northeast SRP Researchers Gather to Discuss Research and Opportunities for Collaboration
SRP News Page - April 2017
On April 4 and 5, SRP researchers from institutions across the northeast gathered in Boston for the Northeast Superfund Research Program (SRP) Meeting. The event was hosted by the Northeastern University PROTECT SRP Center and co-sponsored by SRP Centers from Boston University, Brown University, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, and the University of Pennsylvania.
The Genetics Behind the Killifish's Adaptation to Pollution
Research Brief - January 2017
Killifish living in four polluted East Coast estuaries have adapted quickly to survive high levels of toxic industrial pollutants. In a new study, researchers explored the complex genetics involved in the Atlantic killifish's resilience, bringing us one step closer to understanding how they rapidly evolved to tolerate normally lethal levels of environmental contaminants. Exploring the evolutionary basis for these genetic changes may provide new information about the mechanisms of environmental chemical toxicity in both animals and humans.
Some Fish Quickly Adapt to Lethal Levels of Pollution
SRP News Page - December 2016
Evolution is working under pressure to rescue some coastal fish from a lethal, human-altered environment. Now, a new study has revealed the complex genetic basis for the Atlantic killifish's remarkable resilience.
Boston University SRP Grantees Present at LINCS Consortium Meeting
SRP News Page - October 2016
In September 2016, Boston University (BU) Superfund Research Program (SRP) grantees attended and presented at the Library of Network-Based Cellular Signatures (LINCS) Consortium meeting in Bethesda, Maryland. The BU SRP receives funding through a LINCS supplement and aims to bring more knowledge from NIEHS and grantees into LINCS to continue to build on the consortium's work.
Environmental Exposures and AhR in Oral Cancer Development and Progression
Research Brief - October 2016
The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) plays an important role in oral cancer, and environmental chemicals and bacteria that activate the AhR may worsen oral cancer development and progression, according to a recent study from the Boston University Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center.
NIEHS Anniversary Event Highlights SRP History and Research
SRP News Page - August 2016
NIEHS staff, grantees, and partners gathered in Boston July 18 - 20 to celebrate 50 years of NIEHS and three decades of the Superfund Research Program (SRP), directed by William Suk, Ph.D., and the Worker Training Program (WTP), directed by Joseph 'Chip' Hughes, Jr.
Using Field Data and Numerical Modeling to Assess Vapor Intrusion Risk
Research Brief - May 2016
A recent Superfund Research Program (SRP) study reveals that measurements of chemical concentrations in groundwater may not be a good indicator of whether the chemicals are seeping into buildings and contaminating indoor air. The findings provide insight into how an approach incorporating multiple lines of evidence, including soil gas measurements and a 3-D model, can be used to better evaluate exposure risks from vapor intrusion into homes and buildings.
Two SRP grantees selected as prestigious AAAS fellows
Environmental Factor - September 2015
This month, NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) researchers Wendy Heiger-Bernays, Ph.D., and Bradley Newsome, Ph.D., join an elite group of scientists and engineers as American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellows to help connect good science to government decision-making.
NIEHS Workshop Addresses Challenges for Determining Health Effects of Mixtures
SRP News Page - July 2015
An NIEHS workshop in July, Statistical Approaches for Assessing Health Effects of Environmental Chemical Mixtures in Epidemiology Studies, brought together experts in the fields of epidemiology, biostatistics, and toxicology to identify, develop, refine, and disseminate methods for quantifying the health effects of environmental chemical mixtures.
PCE in Drinking Water Linked to Cancer and Epilepsy
Research Brief - July 2015
Early-life exposure to tetrachloroethylene (PCE; perchloroethylene) in drinking water may increase the risk of epilepsy and certain types of cancer into adulthood, according to Boston University Superfund Research Program (BU SRP) Center researchers.
SRP Researchers Contribute to VA Clinical Guidance for Camp Lejeune Veterans
SRP News Page - June 2015
Acting largely on the basis of Superfund Research Program (SRP) studies from Boston University (BU), an Institute of Medicine committee has recommended that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) expand the range of conditions covered by legislation, providing health benefits to veterans and their families who were exposed to the contaminated drinking water.
SRP network helps parents understand vapor intrusion in schools
Environmental Factor - March 2015
NIEHS-funded experts on vapor intrusion joined a meeting Feb. 9 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to educate communities in two schools located over contaminated groundwater about potential health effects of chemical exposures.
Contaminated Water Linked to Pregnancy Complications, BU SRP Study Finds
SRP News Page - October 2014
Prenatal exposure to tetrachloroethylene (PCE) in drinking water may increase the risk of stillbirth and placental abruption, a complication in pregnancy, according to a new study led by Boston University Superfund Research Program (BU SRP) researcher Ann Aschengrau, Ph.D.
BU SRP Researchers Team Up with Other Scientists to Study Breast Cancer and the Environment
SRP News Page - October 2014
Five renowned researchers, led by Boston University Superfund Research Program (BU SRP) director David Sherr, Ph.D., are joining forces to better understand the man-made chemicals that contribute to breast cancer, according to the Boston Globe.
A new approach to deterine cancer risk of chemicals
Environmental Factor - September 2014
A new study by NIEHS-funded researchers at Boston University (BU) and the NIEHS National Toxicology Program (NTP) has shown that computational models of short-term exposure to a chemical can predict long-term cancer risk.
The Flame Retardant Firemaster 550, Fat Cells, and Bone Health
Research Brief - September 2014
Researchers from the Boston University (BU) and Duke University Superfund Research Program (SRP) Centers found that components of the flame-retardant mixture Firemaster® 550 (FM550) may stimulate growth of fat cells and reduce bone health.
Accidental oceanographer discusses aquatic models in exposure research
Environmental Factor - July 2014
John Stegeman, Ph.D., senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution presented an NIEHS Keystone Science Lecture Seminar Series talk to a full house May 29, discussing “Plankton to P450: Models and Mechanisms at the Convergence of Oceans and Human Health.”
Addressing Health Risks and Regulation of 1, 4-Dioxane in Massachusetts
SRP News Page - March 2014
Boston University (BU) Superfund Research Program (SRP) grantees Madeleine Scammell, Sc.D, and Wendy Heiger-Bernays, Ph.D. were featured as part of an update on the Eastham landfill at the Eastham Town Hall in Eastham, Mass., on Feb. 11.
Genetic variation may explain PCB-resistance in Atlantic killifish
Environmental Factor - March 2014
Changes in a receptor protein may explain how killifish developed a genetic resistance to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in New Bedford Harbor, Mass., according to a new study published in the journal BMC Evolutionary Biology.
Researchers find elevated flame retardant exposure among U.S. gymnasts
Environmental Factor - January 2014
Gymnasts may be ingesting or inhaling dust created by foam blocks that contain hormone-disrupting flame retardant chemicals, according to a new study from the Boston University (BU) School of Public Health, supported in part by NIEHS.