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University of California-Berkeley

Superfund Research Program

Toxic Substances in the Environment

Center Director: Martyn T. Smith
Grant Number: P42ES004705
Funding Period: 1987-2027
View this project in the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT)

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Summary (2011-2017)

The overall theme of the Berkeley Superfund Research Program (SRP) is using state-of-the-art technology, including 'omics' and nanotechnology, to

  1. develop biological markers and apply them in human population studies, especially those involving susceptible populations such as children and pregnant women;
  2. to improve chemical detection; and,
  3. facilitate and lower the cost of waste site remediation.

The program builds on the strengths of UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in engineering, chemistry, and molecular epidemiology. The highly integrated program consists of six interrelated projects (three with a biomedical research focus and three with a non-biomedical research focus) and four cores. The UC Berkeley research team is focusing on environmental exposures currently encountered at hazardous waste sites and several contaminants of emerging human health concern. All SRP mandates are being addressed. Drs. Smith, Rappaport, Vulpe, Zhang, Skibola, Sedlak and Doyle are specifically aiming to develop advanced techniques for the detection, assessment, and evaluation of the effect of hazardous substances on human health and improve methods to assess the risks to human health presented by benzene, arsenic, trichloroethylene and other hazardous substances. Drs. Yang and Koshland are using nanotechnology to develop methods to detect hazardous substances in the environment in a simple, inexpensive fashion. Drs. Alvarez-Cohen, Sedlak, and Doyle are developing biological, chemical, and physical methods to remediate waste sites and reduce the amount and toxicity of hazardous substances. A Genomics and Analytical Chemistry core and a Quantitative Biology core assist project researchers in meeting their goals. A Research Translation core facilitates intensive discussions between investigators and government audiences, and generates new initiatives to increase understanding of the significance and applicability of research to public health protection. The overall goal is to enhance understanding of the relationship between exposure and disease; provide usable tools to improve human health risk assessments; and, develop a range of prevention and remediation strategies to improve and protect public health and the environment. The program is overseen and coordinated by an Administration core.

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