Superfund Research Program
Project Leader: Edward D. Levin
Grant Number: P42ES010356
Funding Period: 2000-2022
Project Summary (2011-2017)
The Training Core provides educational support for all the projects and cores of the Duke University Superfund Research Center (SRC). The focus of the next phase of the Duke SRC is to determine the biological "costs" of early life toxicant exposures, the biologic mechanisms for developmental impairments and remediation strategies to reduce impacts on humans and ecosystems. This serves as a unifying theme for activities undertaken by the Training Core. Core components include continuation of their successful weekly seminar series and semi-annual focused topic symposia and workshops, as well as a new initiative to train undergraduate students in research methods of environmental toxicology, chemistry and policy research. The researchers use Training Core funding to recruit and support promising undergraduate students to work in each of the projects and cores, providing direct mentored research experience. Duke University has a unique feature: the College of Arts and Sciences, Medical School, Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, and Pratt School of Engineering are not only on the same campus, but are immediately adjacent to each other. This facilitates the integration of diverse approaches to solving environmental problems. The weekly seminar series feature local as well as national speakers on the full range of environmental health topics relevant to the SRC. These seminars provide students, postdoctoral fellows, technicians, and faculty with the latest research findings, especially as they relate to biological costs of early life exposures. They host workshops on state-of-the-art scientific techniques, as well as on scientific communication skills to help them effectively convey the research to scientific colleagues and the broader society. Once per semester, the Core hosts a daylong interdisciplinary symposium on a focused area of environmental pollution to learn, in depth, the ways in which specific pollution problems can be effectively addressed in a collaborative effort. Once a month they have informal chalk talks in which all of the projects in turn discuss their latest results and plans for future studies. By attending the seminars, workshops, and symposia, investigators and research staff brings a deepened understanding of the diverse aspects of the SRC to the chalk talk sessions. Finally, the Core provides travel and registration funding for undergraduate and graduate students and post-doctoral research associates in the SRC to attend relevant scientific conferences and workshops. This gives trainees needed experience in presenting research results, while also promoting the visibility of the Center on the national and international scale.