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University of California-Davis

Superfund Research Program

Biomarkers of Exposure to Hazardous Substances

Center Director: Bruce D. Hammock
Grant Number: P42ES004699
Funding Period: 1987-2023

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Summary (2000-2005)

The University of California-Davis Superfund Basic Research Program began in 1988. The program consists of nine projects (6 biomedical, 3 non-biomedical), three research support cores (analytical chemistry, statistical analysis and DNA microarray), and administrative and training cores. The goals of the program include determining the fate and transport of hazardous materials in ground water, surface water and air as they move from toxic waste sites. Concurrently, the researchers are developing sensitive systems for evaluating exposures and effects in populations. Biological markers based on immunochemical and other detection systems are being developed in two of the research projects. Rapid immunochemical analysis supplements classical technologies for the evaluation of hazardous waste sites, monitoring of transport of hazardous substances from these sites, and determination of human susceptibility, exposure and effect. In two epidemiologically based studies, researchers are developing and applying methods to identify biomarkers of exposure with adverse health outcomes, particularly in the areas of neurological and reproductive health. Another project focuses on fish systems in the environment. The biomarkers developed in this program serve as biological dosimeters in epidemiological and ecological studies to assess the impact of hazardous waste exposure on human and ecological health. The non-biomedical projects are investigating the processes that affect fate and transport of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as TCE, DCE, toluene, p-nitrophenol and naphthalene in soil and geological sediments. Researchers are developing deterministic and stochastic models of transport in the vadose zone. Additionally, investigators are studying the fate of chromium and dioxins undergoing thermal remediation, and developing microsensors for detection of environmental toxicants.

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