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News Items: Northeastern University

Superfund Research Program

Puerto Rico Testsite for Exploring Contamination Threats (PROTECT)

Center Director: Akram N. Alshawabkeh
Grant Number: P42ES017198
Funding Period: 2010-2025
View this project in the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT)

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News Items List

  • Grantees Create Framework to Report Back Environmental Health Results
    Environmental Factor - February 2024
    NIEHS-funded researchers have created a new framework designed to help scientists report back study findings about potential exposures to participants. The 12-point framework, developed by Katrina Korfmacher, Ph.D., and Julia Brody, Ph.D., of the Northeastern University PROTECT Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center, aims to make report-back a routine part of research within the environmental health sciences.
  • Burning Banana Peels to Remove Contaminants from Water
    SRP News Page - October 2023
    NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP)-funded researchers explored a new, cost-effective method of water treatment using biochar - a conductive, absorbent material - made from banana peels. This approach could inform large-scale, low-cost treatments in water systems, according to the authors at the Northeastern University Puerto Rico Testsite for Exploring Contamination Threats (PROTECT) SRP Center.
  • Protecting the Health of Mothers and Babies
    SRP News Page - September 2023
    Led by Northeastern University and funded by the NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP), the Puerto Rico Test Site to Explore Contamination Threats (PROTECT) SRP Center brings together researchers from many institutions to explore the connection between environmental exposures and preterm birth in Puerto Rico.
  • Health Equity Advanced When Reporting Back to Diverse Populations
    Environmental Factor - April 2023
    SRP-funded researchers created Mi PROTECT (Spanish for My PROTECT ), a mobile application to communicate environmental exposure results to pregnant people residing in a highly polluted area in Puerto Rico. The application provides information in both English and Spanish to individuals participating in studies conducted by the Northeastern University Puerto Rican Testsite to Explore Contamination Threats (PROTECT) SRP Center.
  • Data Mining Study Sheds Light on Factors Contributing to Preterm Birth Disparities
    Paper of the Month - April 2022
    Researchers at the Northeastern University SRP Center used a data mining approach to identify a diverse set of chemicals that may contribute to disparities in preterm birth among different populations. According to the authors, results suggest that exposure to a diverse array of chemicals contributes to racial disparities in preterm birth and that multiple chemicals drive these effects.
  • Leveraging Machine Learning to Predict Toxicity
    Research Brief - March 2022
    NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) grantees developed a new computational approach to predict how hazardous substances may affect health based on key changes in cells. Led by April Z. Gu, Ph.D., of the Northeastern University Puerto Rico Testsite for Exploring Contamination Threats (PROTECT) SRP Center, researchers used machine learning and advanced algorithms to link biological changes from high throughput cell studies with health outcomes observed in animal studies.
  • SRP Researchers Inform PFAS Guidance
    SRP News Page - September 2021
    Involving the community is valuable when adjusting clinical and public health guidance, especially as it relates to the health effects of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and other chemicals of concern.
  • Trainees Get Creative During the Pandemic
    SRP News Page - July 2021
    When in-person events, classes, and research activities were put on hold due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP)-funded trainees got creative and identified unique opportunities to pursue safely during the pandemic. With support from their mentors, SRP trainees gained experience across multiple scientific fields, conducted research in a collaborative environment, and engaged with diverse stakeholders and community members.
  • Better risk communication can reduce harmful exposures, experts say
    Environmental Factor - July 2021
    NIEHS grantees, partners, and colleagues came together to discuss how they have engaged with local groups and communicated potential health risks to reduce exposures and improve health. Hosted by the NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) June 21-22, the online workshop drew more than 200 participants.
  • Widely used herbicide linked to preterm birth
    Paper of the Month - July 2021
    Exposure to glyphosate, the most heavily used herbicide in the world, was associated with preterm birth, according to a new NIEHS-funded study. It is the first study to assess the link between exposure to a glyphosate breakdown product called aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) and birth outcomes.
  • Electrochemical System Degrades PCE in Groundwater
    Research Brief - April 2020
    An electrochemical system can effectively break down tetrachloroethylene (PCE) in groundwater, according to a new study from the NIEHS-funded Northeastern University Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center. After testing different design parameters to determine the best conditions for degrading PCE, the researchers achieved 86 percent removal of the contaminant from groundwater sources.
  • Superfund Wetterhahn Award goes to Elana Elkin
    Environmental Factor - December 2019
    The NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) announced that Elana Elkin, Ph.D., is the 22nd recipient of the annual Karen Wetterhahn Memorial Award. Elkin is a trainee in the Northeastern University Puerto Rico Testsite for Exploring Contamination Threats (PROTECT) SRP Center. The announcement was made in Seattle on Nov. 19, during the SRP annual meeting.
  • Promising Membrane Technology Reduces Chlorobenzene in Groundwater
    Research Brief - February 2019
    A new Superfund Research Program collaboration has developed a promising groundwater cleanup technology that provides an efficient, low-maintenance method of removing chlorobenzene and other compounds from water. The method integrates electrochemical oxidation, which uses electricity to transform contaminants into non-toxic substances, and membranes containing palladium (Pd), a metal used as a catalyst in many industrial chemical synthesis applications and groundwater treatment.
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