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Your Environment. Your Health.

University of Pennsylvania

Superfund Research Program

Inter-disciplinary Training Core

Project Leader: Trevor M. Penning
Co-Investigator: Reto Giere
Grant Number: P42ES023720
Funding Period: 2014-2020
View this project in the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT)

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Project Summary (2014-2020)

The Penn Training Core is a unique interdisciplinary pre- and post-doctoral research training program within the Penn SRP Center that marries the disciplines of environmental science (ES) (School of Arts and Sciences, SAS) with environmental health sciences (EHS) (Perelman School of Medicine, PSOM). The mission of this training core is to provide cross-training in environmental science and environmental health sciences to ensure that all trainees master the necessary skills and have a sufficient knowledge base to understand the hazards of Superfund waste sites and use this knowledge to help remediate these sites and their ensuing health effects either in academia or government settings. Pre-doctoral trainees are recruited from the Masters of Environmental Studies (MES), Biology graduate programs (SAS), or the Certificate Program in Environmental Health Sciences (CPEHS) (Biomedical Graduate Studies, PSOM), and will undergo meaningful cross-training in their opposing discipline and work towards a Ph.D. degree. Cross-training is accomplished by taking relevant course work selected from the MES or CPEHS. Each student is required to complete field-work (non-biomedical component) and a laboratory rotation (biomedical component) before their candidacy examination for thesis dissertation. Optional elements may include translational science training experiences in risk assessment and communication (Community Engagement Core), in commercialization of disclosures of invention working through the Center of Technology Transfer (CTT)-Fellows Program (Research Translation Core), and in regulatory science through a unique EPA-Summer Fellows Program. Thesis dissertation is performed in a Project or Core laboratory of the Penn SRP. The program is flexible so that trainees already pursuing thesis work will be able to take portions of the training program. Post-doctoral trainees are individuals working in Penn SRP laboratories who after completing an individualized development plan can take any portion of the interdisciplinary training program including optional elements.

The mission of the Core is accomplished through the following aims:

  1. To recruit graduate students in SAS and BGS to the Penn-SRP Center through the MES, Biology Graduate Group and CPEHS.
  2. To provide an interdisciplinary training experience that crosses the boundaries of environmental science and environmental health sciences by providing relevant course work, field experience and laboratory rotations.
  3. Prepare students for candidacy examinations in thesis work to be conducted with a Penn-SRP Center Investigator.
  4. To monitor progress in dissertation laboratories through thesis committees and progress reports, leading to the award of a Ph.D. degree.
  5. To recruit postdoctoral fellows in SAS and Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs (BPP) to the Penn-SRP Center and provide a meaningful didactic and research experience in SRP related research.
  6. To provide ancillary activities to unite all trainees in a common experience using seminars, an annual SRP-retreat and attendance at the annual SRP meeting organized by NIEHS.
  7. To provide optional translational science training experiences in the Community Engagement Core, the Research Translation Core and fellows programs.
  8. To provide formative and summative evaluation of the training program.


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