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Texas A&M University

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: 2017-2027
View this project in the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT)

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Summary (2017-2022)

Climate change and shifts in domestic economic activity markedly increase risks from catastrophic chemical contamination events resulting from weather-related or anthropogenic emergencies. The complexities of hazardous chemical exposures, potential adverse health impacts, and the need to rapidly and comprehensively evaluate the potential hazards of exposures to complex mixtures call for novel approaches in the Superfund Research Program (SRP).

The Texas A&M University (TAMU) SRP Center brings together a team of scientists from biomedical, geosciences, data science, and engineering disciplines to design comprehensive solutions for complex exposure- and hazard-related challenges. The overall theme of the Center is to characterize and manage both existing and environmental emergency-created hazardous waste sites through the development of tools that can be used by first responders, the impacted communities, and the government bodies involved in site management and cleanup. Their case study is a hurricane or flooding event that impacts Galveston Bay/Houston Ship Channel area and leads to exposure to contaminated sediments.

The Dynamic Exposure Pathways Under Conditions of Environmental Emergencies project studies fate and transport of complex environmental contaminants in sediments and incorporate this information into environmental models. The Mitigation of Chemical and Mixture Effects Through Broad-Acting Sorbents project develops novel low-cost broad-acting sorption materials suitable for mitigation of acute exposures to complex contaminant mixtures. The Inter-Tissue and -Individual Variability in Response to Mixtures and Single Cell, Multi-Parametric High Throughput Platform to Classify Endocrine Disruptor Potential of Mixtures projects take advantage of the discoveries in cell imaging and stem cell biology to establish predictive in vitro methods for quantitative evaluation of the complex mixture-perturbed adverse outcome pathways and intra- and inter-individual variability in toxicity. An Exposure Science Core is developing and applying novel sensitive analytical methods for targeted and un-targeted analysis of a broad array of contaminants in environmental and biological samples. A Data Science Core develops computational and statistical tools for analysis and integration of "big data" in environmental health. A Decision Science Core is developing an integrated toxicokinetic, human health, and economic models to support environmental health decisions.

The TAMU SRP 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. They train students and postdoctoral fellows in inter-disciplinary approaches across their scientific areas, decision making and emergency response. The research translation to local, state, national, and international stakeholders is conducted through technology transfer and comprehensive outreach for the solutions developed by the Center. Finally, the management of this program is conducted in close partnership with the administration at TAMU and Health Science Center, the NIEHS-funded Center for Translational Environmental Health Research, and overseen by the advisors representing academia, federal and state agencies, industry and a non-governmental organization.

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