Superfund Research Program
Research Translation Core
The University of Kentucky Superfund Research Center (UK-SRC) Research Translation Core (RTC) facilitates the communication of research outcomes into decision-making, public policy, new technologies, practice innovations, and, ultimately, improvements in public health by:
- Communicating within the SRP/NIEHS staff and broad audiences,
- Partnering with government agencies and other scientists,
- Promoting technology transfer, and
- Implementing best communication practices, including dialogic, multi-directional, and participatory strategies, to create and disseminate program-related information to targeted stakeholders (including impacted communities and the general public), while also ensuring that UK-SRC investigators are aware of stakeholder needs that could inform research directions.
The RTC promotes communication to, and among, NIEHS, federal and state agencies, SRP centers across the nation, private industry, and other key stakeholders. Productive communication and collaborations have been fostered between the UK-SRC and the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet (KYEEC) through a range of translational interactions, including technical meetings with KYEEC scientists and regulators, which have led to follow-up interactions with senior leadership and KYEEC secretaries and/or commissioners. In response to KYEEC’s needs, the RTC identifies relevant expertise either from within the UK-SRC or the broader SRP community to provide support. The Core facilitates topic-specific seminars which further enrich the relationship with the KYEEC. Presentations by UK faculty and trainees provide opportunities for critical feedback that can help inform the applicability of the research to real world problems, thereby opening up new opportunities for research translation and technology transfer.
RTC personnel work with researchers from the Biomimetic Magnetic Nanocomposites as a Platform Technology for the Capture and Sensing of PCBs and Chloro-Organic Degradation by Polymer Membrane Immobilized Iron-Based Particle Systems Projects to help secure contaminated media for project experiments and gain access to Superfund sites for testing and implementation of new technologies. For example, the UK-SRC continues to partner with ARCADIS to secure contaminated water samples and sites to test remediation technologies. In 2019, the RTC assisted in the development and delivery of a pilot test unit which was used to test contaminated groundwater samples from an industrial site in Louisville, Kentucky. Additional samples were secured from another legacy site near Russellville, Kentucky. The RTC is also working with ARCADIS to obtain additional site data for use in performing an economic analysis of the proposed technology. The RTC continues to collaborate with West Virginia University and University of Tennessee to address water quality and operational concerns associated with water distribution systems in eastern Kentucky.
In 2019, the RTC led a site reconnaissance at the National Electric Coil (NEC) Superfund Site in Dayhoit, Kentucky. The visit was in response to a request from the community for information about exposure risks associated with the site, particularly polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other contaminants. After the site visit, the team gathered more information about the five-year review at the Superfund site and completed a Superfund history narrative of the site. Currently, work is being done in the area to gain information from rural Appalachian community members about perspectives on environmental pollution and preferred methods for improved communication.
The RTC continues to work with Community Engagement Core (CEC) personnel as well as researchers from the Superfund Chemicals, Nutrition, and Endothelial Cell Dysfunction Project, the Postnatal Complications of Perinatal Polychlorinated Biphenyl Exposure Project, and the Polychlorinated Biphenyls, Nutrition, and Diabetes Project, to share nutrition-related research findings with several Appalachian communities. In addition to these activities, RTC personnel continue to engage SRP staff and other SRP Centers regularly through monthly reporting, joint projects, webinars, and participation in monthly RTC/CEC conference calls, as well as participation in the annual SRP meeting.