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University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

Superfund Research Program

Administrative Core

Project Leader: Rebecca C. Fry
Co-Investigators: Michael D. Aitken, Fernando Pardo-Manuel de Villena
Grant Number: P42ES031007
Funding Period: 2020-2025

Project Summary (2020-2025)

The Administrative Core is the driver for the planning and coordination of all activities within the University of North Carolina Superfund Research Program (UNC-SRP). It ensures that the research aligns with the center's overarching mission-to develop new solutions for iAs reduction and disease prevention through mechanistic and translational research. The role of the Administrative Core is to oversee and facilitate the conduct of work within the UNC-SRP to ensure responsiveness to the SRP mandates. In addition to fulfilling mandates of the SRP program, Rebecca Fry and her team implement research that is in line with the 2018-2023 NIEHS Strategic Plan. This Core oversees the nine other components of the UNC-SRP. The Molecular Drivers of Arsenic-Induced Diabetes, Arsenic-Obesity-Diabetes Interactions, and Gut Microbiome-Arsenic-Diabetes Interactions projects use highly translational techniques spanning in vitro and in vivo models, and human populations to understand mechanisms of iA-induced metabolic dysfunction/diabetes. The Geochemical Predictors of Arsenic Contamination and Novel Filtration Devices from for Arsenic Reduction projects advance the ability to predict iAs contamination in private drinking wells and innovative methods for enhanced removal to reduce iAs. Across Projects, the team uses a translational approach that spans in vitro models and cell culture, mouse models, and human samples. Four Cores include the Community Engagement Core, Data management and Analysis Core (DMAC), Research Experience and Training Coordination Core (RETCC), and Chemistry and Analytical Core (CAC). The UNC-SRP Director (Rebecca Fry), a Biomedical Researcher, who is supported in this role by Deputy Director Fernando Pardo-Manuel de Villena (Biomedical Researcher) and Assistant Director, Michael Aitken (Environmental Engineer). Fry, Pardo-Manuel de Villana, and Aitken have extensive experience with administration and oversight of large research efforts, established leadership in successful mentoring, and complementary scientific expertise relevant to the program. Their interdisciplinary expertise and experience contributes significantly to the goal of the Administrative Core is to foster an environment that stimulates innovative science and ensures that all UNCSRP Projects and Cores work toward the overarching theme, "Identifying novel methods to reduce iAs exposure and elucidating mechanisms underlying iAs-induced metabolic dysfunction with a vision for disease prevention." The goal of the Core is achieved through four aims. First, the administrative team integrates, coordinates, and monitors UNC-SRP interdisciplinary research activities focused on iAs reduction and metabolic disease/diabetes prevention. Second, the team convenes advisory groups to provide critical guidance on UNC-SRP activities. Third, the team develops effective research translation and communication strategies for UNC-SRP stakeholders related to iAs reduction and disease prevention. Finally, the team provides training and career development opportunities for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows that foster integration across the Biomedical and Environmental Science research areas. Combined, these aims ensure a thriving research program bolstered by substantive interaction with translation and community engagement partners, collectively focusing the UNC-SRP to achieve their mission.

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