Superfund Research Program
Biomarkers of Exposure to Hazardous Substances
Center Director: Bruce D. Hammock
Grant Number: P42ES004699
Funding Period: 1987-2023
The ability of researchers to analyze hazardous material in waste sites has improved dramatically, however they are very limited in their ability to trace the movement of hazardous materials from Superfund sites or to prioritize and mitigate the hazards involved. The ability to predict exposure or effect of these materials on humans and their environment is still more limited. This Program consists of seven integrated projects, two research support cores, a training core, a research translation core and an administrative core to address these problems. Using chromatographic, biosensor and cell based technologies, researchers will determine the fate and transport of hazardous materials in ground water, surface water, and air as they move from toxic waste sites. They are studying the fundamental mechanisms of toxic action of selected chemicals with the goals of predicting risk and developing biomarkers. These biomarkers are based on a fundamental understanding of the toxicological processes involved. This mechanistic knowledge will be extended in vivo with an emphasis on pulmonary, vascular and reproductive effects. They are exploring new technologies for thermal and bioremediation of toxic waste and address possible health risks associated with these technologies. Rapid immunochemical and cell based analysis supplement classical technologies for the evaluation of sites, validating models of transport, as well as determining human susceptibility, exposure and effect. Modern mass spectral technology is being evaluated for monitoring parent hazardous chemicals as well as biomarkers. They are expanding the use of transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics and integrated bioinformatics technologies to discover new mechanisms of action of hazardous materials and biomarkers for their action. The biomarkers developed in this program will serve as biological dosimeters in exposure studies. The technologies developed in the project are being tested at field sites and transferred to end users through a research translation core.