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Your Environment. Your Health.

Texas A&M University

Superfund Research Program

Exposure Science Core

Project Leader: Erin S. Baker (North Carolina State University)
Co-Investigator: Terry L. Wade
Grant Number: P42ES027704
Funding Period: 2017-2022
View this project in the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT)

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Project Summary (2017-2022)

The objective of the Texas A&M University Superfund Research Program (TAMU SRP) Center is to explore and develop descriptive models and tools that can predict the possible hazardous outcomes of chemical exposure during environmental emergencies and to produce powerful solutions which can mitigate the negative effects on human health. The ultimate goal of the Center is to contribute to decision-making capabilities for planning and control in emergency environmental contamination events. Exposure science is evolving rapidly in parallel with novel methods for hazard identification with a focus on solving the challenges of rapid detection of potentially harmful chemicals at low but biologically relevant concentrations.

The overall goal of the Exposure Science Core is to address the needs of the TAMU SRP Center for novel analytical approaches in both exposure science and hazard identification under conditions of an environmental emergency contamination event. The Core addresses this objective and enables exposure characterization of complex environmental exposures and mixtures by coordinating exposure science activities across the Center and:

  • Developing novel sample processing and analysis methods
  • Translating these advances into practice for environmental health protection
  • Providing essential analytical support to the projects in the Center and beyond

The Exposure Science Core coordinates exposure assessments across the Center by working very closely with the Dynamic Exposure Pathways Under Conditions of Environmental Emergencies project to characterize the real-world mixtures that will be used in other projects and cores. It also ensures consistency and relevance of these estimates for use in toxicity testing, decision making, and effectiveness of hazard reduction and communication. A suite of sensitive quantitative targeted analyses are used to identify and quantify target contaminants of human health concern in the Galveston Bay/Houston Ship Channel.

Building on these conventional analyses, global non-targeted analysis of samples using a RapidFire Solid Phase Extraction-Ion Mobility-Mass Spectrometry (SPE-IMS-MS) is characterizing previously unknown chemical exposures and environmentally relevant mixtures for toxicity testing. A novel computational chemical structure and identification pipeline developed by the team is used to make new libraries and make provisional chemical identifications. These transformative scientific aims advance the goals of all four projects and the overall Center goal of developing rapid, effective tools for disaster response related to human exposures.

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