Superfund Research Program
Comprehensive Tools and Models for Addressing Exposure to Mixtures During Environmental Emergency-Related Contamination Events
Center Director: Ivan Rusyn
Grant Number: P42ES027704
Funding Period: 2022-2027
Climate change-associated disasters coupled with economic activity and the enhanced vulnerability of already disadvantaged communities markedly increase risks from catastrophic chemical contamination events resulting from weather-related or anthropogenic emergencies. The complexities of chemical exposures and their potential adverse health impacts, the need to rapidly and comprehensively evaluate the potential hazards of exposures to complex mixtures, and the necessity of protecting vulnerable populations and life stages call for novel approaches in the Superfund Research Program. This center consists of a team of well-established scientists from biomedical, geosciences, data science, and engineering disciplines who share a common goal: to develop, apply, and translate a comprehensive set of tools and models that will aid first responders, impacted communities, and government agencies in characterizing and mitigating the human health consequences of exposure to hazardous mixtures. These will be applicable to both existing contaminated waste sites and disaster-related contamination events.
The project Novel Analytical and Computational Strategies for Exposure Assessment of Complex Mixtures develops novel analytical and computational strategies for exposure assessment of complex mixtures. RAPiD: Responding to Air Pollution in Disasters develops novel tools to rapidly characterize pediatric respiratory health risks from exposure to hazardous volatile organic compounds after environmental disasters. The Feto-Maternal Interface Tissue Chip Models for Rapid Assessment of Preterm Birth Risks of Hazardous Substances project develops and uses feto-maternal interface tissue chip models for rapid assessment of preterm birth risks of hazardous substances. Inter-Tissue and -Individual Variability in Responses to Mixtures continues development of predictive in vitro methods for quantitative evaluation of the complex mixtures and intra- and inter-individual variability in toxicity. The Experimental and Computational Engineering of Novel Optimized Multicomponent Sorbents for Toxic Mixtures project is responsive to the Superfund remediation mandate by using experimental and computational engineering to develop optimized multi-component sorbents for toxic mixtures.
The Disaster Research Response (DR2) Core is a centralized resource for environmental sampling and assessment before, during, and after disasters. The Data Management and Analysis Core develops computational and statistical tools for analysis and integration of “big data” in environmental health. The Risk and Geospatial Science Core provides the center with data and services for characterizing human health risks and the geographic distribution of hazardous substances during disasters. The center engages with community organizations and public health practitioners in Texas to address health concerns of the populations that may be impacted by environmental emergency-related contamination events. The team continues training students and postdoctoral fellows in inter-disciplinary approaches across scientific areas, decision making and emergency response. The research translation to local, state, national, and international stakeholders involves both technology transfer and regular outreach. Finally, the management of this program includes close partnerships with the Texas A&M University administration and the NIEHS-funded Center for Translational Environmental Health Research, and is overseen by the advisors representing academia, federal and state agencies, industry, and a non-governmental organization.