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Brown University

Superfund Research Program

Reuse in RI: A State-Based Approach To Complex Exposures

Center Director: Kim Boekelheide
Grant Number: P42ES013660
Funding Period: 2005-2021
View this project in the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT)

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Summary (2009-2014)

The Brown University Superfund Research Program uses research and outreach to address three inter-related thematic challenges: 1) land reuse, 2) a state-based approach, and 3) complex exposures. Rhode Island is small, densely populated, and burdened by a long history of industrial activity. There are few barriers to academics, government leaders, and community members working together to address basic and translational research issues, management decisions, and communication complexities inherent to re-using hazardous waste sites.

The research clusters 5 Biomedical and 3 Engineering Projects into Interdisciplinary Focus Areas — Nanotechnology & Metals, Molecular Epidemiology & Reproduction, and Semi-Volatile Organics & Vapor Intrusion — that investigate toxicant-induced disease mechanisms and develop potential biomarkers associated with co-exposures, and identify, characterize, separate, and remediate complex mixtures. These Projects are supported by an Analytical Core - Chemistry and Biostatistics, a Molecular Pathology Core, and a Training Core. The Research Translation and Community Outreach Cores facilitate the flow of knowledge and information among the participating academics, government leaders, and community members in a true university-state-community partnership. The Administrative Core provides the infrastructure to promote communication, critical self-evaluation, and resource management.

This program provides Rhode Islanders with a responsive center of technical excellence that takes a research-oriented approach to resolving the complex scientific, engineering, and societal issues that arise when considering the reuse of hazardous waste sites, by focusing on the following specific objectives:

  • Provide Leadership - achieve excellence in basic and applied research, teaching, and service in environmental health and technology
  • Catalyze Research - increase understanding of health risks and solve technological challenges associated with remediation
  • Enhance Connectivity - build bridges across fields and create new interdisciplinary training and educational opportunities
  • Research Translation and Community Outreach - communicate health hazards, guide plans for reuse of contaminated sites, and increase the capacity of state agencies and community groups
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