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University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

Superfund Research Program

Research Experience and Training Coordination Core (RETCC)

Project Leader: Ilona Jaspers
Co-Investigators: Julia E. Rager, Meghan E. Rebuli
Grant Number: P42ES031007
Funding Period: 2020-2025
View this project in the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT)

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Project Summary (2020-2025)

The Research Experience and Training Coordination Core (RETCC) supports UNC-SRP trainees with a unique training opportunity in public health. Trainees will acquire research skills and translational training surrounding the environmental problems associated with inorganic arsenic (iAs) contamination of groundwater in North Carolina and exposure-related metabolic disorder/diabetes. It provides one-of-a-kind training opportunities to understand the sources of iAs, the relation of iAs levels to geochemical factors in NC, the impact of iAs exposure on various metabolic dysfunction phenotypes, and the role of miRNAs, obesity, gene expression and the gut microbiome as factors that are tied to iAs-induced metabolic dysfunction. The goal of the Research Experience and Training Coordination Core (RETCC) is to promote cross-fertilization of knowledge across biomedical science, environmental science, and engineering disciplines through interdisciplinary training in research translation, community engagement, and data management and analysis. The Core will foster interdisciplinary education of and opportunities for teamwork among their trainees through the following aims: Aim 1. Enrich professional career development and growth of UNC-SRP trainees through professional skill development and cultivation of networking opportunities; Aim 2. Promote cohesive approaches that connect and integrate knowledge obtained from a set of core courses with enrichment opportunities in biomedical research, environmental sciences and engineering, and public health; Aim 3. Foster outreach opportunities for trainees to hone skills in community engagement and research translation; Aim 4. Coordinate opportunities for trainees to obtain skills in 21st century data analysis methods through partnership with the data management and analysis core (DMAC). The RETCC activities directly relate to training that is relevant to the UNC-SRP theme "Identifying novel methods to reduce iAs exposure and elucidating mechanisms underlying iAs-induced metabolic dysfunction with a vision for disease prevention." It does so by providing critical courses and training opportunities to understand the role of iAs exposure in the environment as a diabetogen in the context of both environmental sciences and biomedical sciences.

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