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Your Environment. Your Health.

Columbia University

Superfund Research Program

Training Core

Project Leader: Ana Navas-Acien
Co-Investigators: Joseph H. Graziano, Brian J. Mailloux (Barnard College)
Grant Number: P42ES010349
Funding Period: 2017-2021

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Project Summary (2017-2021)

The Columbia University Superfund Research Program (CU SRP) Center investigates the health effects and geochemistry of arsenic (As) together with methods to limit As exposure and prevent As related disease. A key component of this Center is training the future generation of environmental health scientists. The Training Core oversees this interdisciplinary training. The main objective of the Training Core is to add a layer of interdisciplinary training to the regular disciplinary training of graduate students and post-doctoral fellows to enhance their educational experience and prepare them for diverse careers in environmental health sciences. They achieve this goal through the following set of three aims:

  1. Educate the trainees in methods of interdisciplinary research, to interpret interdisciplinary work, and to contribute to interdisciplinary teams. Activities include complete cross-departmental rotations, taking courses (regular courses and short courses specifically developed by the CU SRP), attending the CU SRP seminar series and a newly proposed online journal club, and receiving training on best practices in research conduct.
  2. Encourage the trainees to take ownership of the CU SRP Center and its interdisciplinary nature. Activities include helping to organize and run the monthly seminar series, proposed journal club, and the bi-annual external advisory board meeting; creating posts and media content for the Center's website and social media; participating in outreach and engagement activities for the public with the Research Translation Core and Community Engagement Core; attending and presenting at the NIEHS SRP annual meeting; and providing feedback to improve the program.
  3. Prepare the students for interdisciplinary work and careers both in academia, government, industry, and other organizations. Activities include supporting trainees to attend the NIEHS SRP annual meeting, assisting the Research Translation Core and Community Engagement Core outreach and intervention activities, mentoring an undergraduate researcher, and receiving feedback on their performance and progress.

The trainees are predominantly Ph.D. students recruited among the best candidates to their graduate programs, as well as post-docs. The program has a strong commitment to recruit and successfully train minority students and enhance diversity. Working closely with the trainees, the researchers will ensure they are making progress on their interdisciplinary training and research. The topic of As crosses disciplinary boundaries and therefore provides an ideal backdrop for interdisciplinary research and training for a range of careers relevant to the environmental health sciences in academia, government, and non-governmental agencies.

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