Superfund Research Program

October 2019

NIEHS staff and grantees shared their expertise and discussed ways to address pressing environmental health issues at the Pacific Basin Consortium (PBC) conference, September 15 -19 in Kyoto, Japan.

Pacific Basin Consortium participants

Experts from the United States, Japan, the Pacific Basin, and beyond spoke on topics such as understanding the risks of air and water pollutants and managing and reducing exposure to hazardous waste.
(Photo courtesy of the PBC)

The conference was sponsored in part by the NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP). Organizers invited scientists, engineers, policy-makers, industry representatives, and government officials to present research and discuss solutions to problems of environmental contamination. The meeting centered around solutions to reduce early-life exposures to contaminants in the Pacific Basin region and around the world.

In a plenary session focused on pollution and health, SRP Director William Suk, Ph.D., emphasized the importance of scientific leadership initiatives to lay out priorities and expand the role of prevention and intervention activities. He also described public-private partnership opportunities in environmental health research that leverage resources and combine strengths.

SRP Health Scientist Administrator Michelle Heacock, Ph.D., presented and chaired a symposium focused on data sharing, integrating, and modeling for environmental health information and decision making. The symposium outlined information systems and analytical and statistical approaches that provide a foundation for data integration across studies and data types to inform risk assessment.

Researchers also discussed available data from birth cohorts in the Asia-Pacific region that link early-life exposures and health effects later in life, and how to reuse and integrate data from established cohorts to make new connections.

In a symposium on disaster response research, NIEHS staff scientist Richard Kwok, Ph.D., shared his experiences with the GuLF STUDY, which focuses on the potential health effects of clean-up workers, volunteers, and community members from the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Other speakers highlighted public health responses to disasters in Japan, Canada, Thailand, and Indonesia, providing unique local perspectives as well as lessons learned that may be applicable to many of the global participants.

The meeting provided an opportunity for trainees to discuss their research with experts from around the world during a dedicated student and faculty networking session and a poster session. SRP Health Specialist Brittany Trottier also co-chaired a student presentation session, where trainees presented their research, answered questions, and heard feedback from faculty.