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Your Environment. Your Health.

Harvard School of Public Health

Superfund Research Program

Administrative Core

Project Leader: Quan Lu
Co-Investigator: Julie B. Zimmerman (Yale University)
Grant Number: P42ES030990
Funding Period: 2020-2025

Project Summary (2020-2025)

As the hub of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Superfund Research Center (SRC), the Administrative Core advances the mission — to understand and mitigate the effects of exposures to metals and metal mixtures found at Superfund sites on late-life cognitive health — by providing executive oversight of all SRC activities, from scientific to fiscal to logistical to research translation. Based in the Department of Environmental Health, the core comprises a director, Quan Lu, Ph.D., a deputy director, Julie Zimmerman, Ph.D., of Yale University, a research translation coordinator, Katherine von Stackelberg, Sc.D., and a center administrator and is guided by an Executive Committee (comprising project and core Leaders) and an External Advisory Committee. The core provides leadership and coordination to ensure that all project and core activities align with the Superfund Research Program mandates and Superfund's mission "to solve target problem(s) related to health effects, risk, detection, and/or remediation of hazardous substances." The Administrative Core has four Specific Aims:

  1. Organize and coordinate intra-Center meetings and conferences, including regular seminars, monthly meetings with an Executive Committee, and yearly meetings with the External Advisory Committee (eight members, including subject matter experts and stakeholders).
  2. Organize seminars and meetings to serve as central integration for all members of the SRC community — professionals who bring diverse expertise in environmental epidemiology, genetics, molecular toxicology, environmental science and engineering, and computational and data science — to foster interactions that strengthen existing collaborations, generate new ideas for future crossdisciplinary collaborations, and provide interdisciplinary research and translation opportunities for trainees.
  3. Provide central administration, fiscal management, and quality management to ensure research integrity, as well as compliance with NIH requirements for data and resource sharing and human and animal institutional review board requirements.
  4. Facilitate research translation through:
    1. Effective communication within the SRC and with stakeholders, leveraging collaborations with regional SRCs (e.g., the Northeast Regional Superfund Trainee Conference and the Complex Mixtures Working Group);
    2. Partnerships with government agencies, including a visiting scientist program with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency;
    3. Technology transfer in conjunction with the Harvard Office of Technology Development and the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute;
    4. Information dissemination to broad audiences through various channels such as social media, newsletters, podcasts, and videos.

By providing an infrastructure that facilitates communication and integration across all Center components, the Administrative Core ensures effective integration of the SRC to better understand how early-life exposures to metals influence later-life cognition, potential remediation strategies in reducing risks, and the overall impact on public health.

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