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University of Kentucky

Superfund Research Program

Superfund Inter-Disciplinary Training Core

Project Leader: Leonidas G. Bachas (University of Miami)
Grant Number: P42ES007380
Funding Period: 2000-2020

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Project Summary (2005-2008)

The environmental challenges posed by Superfund chemicals are highly significant and affect several aspects of human life. The goal of the University of Kentucky Superfund Program is to study the effects of nutrition as a modulator of toxicity of Superfund chemicals, and the detection of these chemicals and their remediation. Environmental problems, such as those present at Superfund sites, are complex and require an interdisciplinary approach to address them. Therefore, Dr. Deo is establishing a training program to educate the next generation of scientists and engineers in a way that not only promotes strong disciplinary training, but also encourages them to become interdisciplinary thinkers and effective communicators. The goals of the Training Core are to provide thorough training of students in their specific field, to instill basic knowledge about socioeconomic, law, scientific and ethical aspects, and to enhance the ability of students to communicate with other scientists and the general public. The latter is being accomplished in coordination with the Community Outreach and Research Translation Cores. The Training Core builds on successful collaborations among the Superfund faculty, who serve as research mentors of the trainees through one of the seven research projects of the SBRP program. In addition to interdisciplinary research, the trainees are expected to fulfill coursework requirements in their home departments, which are supplemented with a series of courses in Environmental Systems, a course on ethics, and a course in Nutritional Sciences. The Training Core funds three student traineeships during each calendar year. It also provides travel funds to student trainees and postdoctoral scholars to present their research at scientific conferences. Emphasis is placed on identifying and recruiting motivated individuals from underrepresented groups through brochures, web pages, and presentations at minority institutions. The effectiveness of the Training Core activities are measured through a regular evaluation process.

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