Superfund Research Program
Puerto Rico Testsite for Exploring Contamination Threats (PROTECT)
Center Director: Akram N. Alshawabkeh
Grant Number: P42ES017198
Funding Period: 2010-2025
News Items List
SRP Welcomes New and Returning Multiproject Centers
SRP News Page - April 2020
The SRP welcomes 11 new and returning multiproject Centers. SRP Centers consist of several projects and cores, designed to address research questions that contribute to the Center's overall research focus. These NIEHS-funded grants are the mainstay of the program, where transdisciplinary teams of scientists and engineers working in different fields tackle complex but targeted problems in environmental health.
Linking Environmental Chemicals and Preterm Birth in Puerto Rico
SRP News Page - April 2020
Two new studies from Northeastern University's SRP Center, Puerto Rico Testsite for Exploring Contamination Threats (PROTECT), found links between poor birth outcomes and exposure to environmental chemicals, including metals and flame retardants. Led by John Meeker, Sc.D., and funded by NIEHS, both studies leverage the Center's PROTECT birth cohort to explore the environmental factors that contribute to preterm birth in Puerto Rico, which has one of the highest preterm birth rates in the world.
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.
Collaboration Between NIEHS and SRP Center Finds Phthalates May Contribute to Preterm Births
SRP News Page - November 2019
Puerto Rico does not just have one of the highest preterm birth rates in the United States, it has one of the highest preterm birth rates in the world. Researchers from Northeastern University's Puerto Rico Testsite for Exploring Contamination Threats (PROTECT) Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center, a multi-institution collaboration, may be a step closer to understanding why.
Second National PFAS Conference Held in Boston
SRP News Page - July 2019
The 2019 Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS): Second National Conference, held June 10 - 12 at Northeastern University in Boston, brought researchers from diverse disciplines together to discuss cutting-edge PFAS research and strategies to protect human health.
Socioeconomic Status Contributes to Arsenic-related Diabetes Risk
SRP News Page - April 2019
A new Superfund Research Program (SRP) study showed that arsenic-exposed Chileans with lower socioeconomic status (SES) were more likely to develop diabetes than those with higher SES. According to the authors, these results suggest that low SES individuals may be more vulnerable to some of the harmful effects of arsenic exposure, such as type 2 diabetes.
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.
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.
One Year Later, SRP Researchers Investigate the Health Impacts of Hurricane Maria
SRP News Page - October 2018
After Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm in September 2017, Northeastern University Superfund Research Program (SRP) researchers immediately responded, reaching out to participants involved in an ongoing study on exposure impacts in pregnant women and providing essential supplies. Now, more than one year later, they continue to investigate the effects of Maria, including the potential long-term health impacts from exposure to contaminated water and air.
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.
SRP Center Researchers from Northeastern University Featured in Nature News
SRP News Page - December 2017
Two Superfund Research Program (SRP) researchers from Northeastern University were featured recently in a Nature News article. It highlighted the work of the Center s Puerto Rico Testsite for Exploring Contamination Threats (PROTECT) study in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island on September 20.
Risk e-Learning Web Seminar Series on Analytical Tools and Methods a Big Success
SRP News Page - July 2017
In a spring 2017 three-part Risk e-Learning Web seminar series titled 'Analytical Tools and Methods,' the Superfund Research Program (SRP) highlighted groundbreaking chemical detection, measurement, and fate and transport modeling techniques developed by grantees. In total, this series attracted 1,209 live participants, 6,543 online archive views, 1,419 audio podcast downloads, and 14,596 video podcast downloads.
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 Porous Extraction Paddle: A Non-Targeted Sampling Device to Detect Contaminants in Urine
Research Brief - December 2016
A new tool and accompanying method provides an easy way to extract substances from urine, even where resources are limited. The non-targeted technique, developed by researchers at the Northeastern University Superfund Research Program, can reveal large numbers of exposures to substances foreign to the body, called xenobiotics, from a sample of urine.
Six promising Superfund trainees receive K.C. Donnelly awards
Environmental Factor - September 2016
Six promising NIEHS-funded Superfund Research Program (SRP) trainees were awarded K.C. Donnelly Externship Award Supplements to fund their research at other institutions. The annual award, now in its sixth year, honors the memory of longtime SRP grantee and environmental health researcher Kirby (K.C.) Donnelly, Ph.D.
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.
PROTECT Hosts EPA Region 1 Administrator
SRP News Page - May 2016
On May 9, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 1 Administrator Curt Spalding visited Northeastern University and presented a talk as part of the Northeastern Superfund Research Program's Puerto Rico Testsite for Exploring Contamination Threats (PROTECT) "Collaboration for Innovation" webinar series.
Northeastern SRP Center Releases New Reproductive Health Bulletin for Health Care Professionals
SRP News Page - April 2016
The Northeastern University Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center, Puerto Rico Testsite for Exploring Contamination Threats (PROTECT), and the Northeastern Center for Research on Early Childhood Exposure and Development in Puerto Rico collaborated to produce a Reproductive Health and the Environment Bulletin, which presents up-to-date research about environmental exposures and preterm birth.
PROTECT Mobilizes to Minimize Risk of Zika Virus
SRP News Page - March 2016
With the arrival of Zika virus in Puerto Rico, the Northeastern Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center, Puerto Rico Testsite for Exploring Contamination Threats (PROTECT), is reaching out to study participants, healthcare professionals, and local communities to provide education and support to help minimize the risk of exposure to pregnant women.
Innovative research and collaboration at SRP Annual Meeting
Environmental Factor - December 2015
The NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) annual meeting brought together SRP researchers, trainees, administrators, and partners to share findings and discuss research translation, community engagement, and training.
Development of a Sustainable Remediation System to Remove TCE from Groundwater
Research Brief - November 2015
An electrochemical system can effectively remove trichloroethylene (TCE) from groundwater at high flow rates, as demonstrated by researchers at the Northeastern University Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center.
Phil Brown receives environmental sociology award for outstanding work
Environmental Factor - September 2015
Phil Brown, Ph.D., an NIEHS grantee and member of the NIEHS Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council, is the 2015 recipient of the American Sociological Association Environment and Technology Section Practice and Outreach Award.
Northeastern SRP Center Holds Successful Social Science-Environmental Health Conference
SRP News Page - June 2015
Co-sponsored by the Northeastern University Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center, the 2015 Social Science-Environmental Health Interdisciplinary Collaborations Conference brought together people from academia, government, and community-based organizations who work at the intersection of social science and environmental health.
Northeastern SRP Center Trainee Engages Stakeholders
SRP News Page - May 2015
Northeastern University Superfund Research Program (Northeastern SRP) Center trainee Kelly Ferguson, Ph.D., is going beyond her research by bringing her work to stakeholders and learning about environmental decision making.
Linking Phthalate Exposure and Oxidative Stress in Pregnancy
Research Brief - December 2014
In a recent study from the University of Michigan School of Public Health, NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP), scientists reported that in pregnant women, exposure to phthalates, found in plastics and personal care products, was associated with increased levels of oxidative stress, which damages the body’s proteins, lipids, and DNA.
Preterm birth linked with maternal phthalate exposure during pregnancy
Environmental Factor - January 2014
Researchers led by NIEHS Superfund Research Program grantee John Meeker, Sc.D., from the University of Michigan (UM), report that women with the highest levels of phthalate exposure during pregnancy had up to five times the odds of preterm birth, compared to women with the lowest exposure.