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Your Environment. Your Health.

Final Progress Reports: Northeastern University: Research Translation Core

Superfund Research Program

Research Translation Core

Project Leader: Phil Brown
Grant Number: P42ES017198
Funding Period: 2010-2020
View this project in the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT)

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Final Progress Reports

Year:   2013 

Studies and Results

The Research Translation Core worked closely with the Administrative Core and Training Core to continue to engage PROTECT with the related government agencies and industrial firms working in the area of environmental contamination and biomedical technologies. The RTC has also worked with the Administrative Core to launch a new and more comprehensive PROTECT website ( to communicate with the broader audience interested in PROTECT. On the new website is an updated menu, which is more individualized for audiences such as trainees, study participants, and the general public. There is now an automated news story on the home page that links with the content posted on the news page. Included on the website are technical summaries of each project, including a fact sheets (in English and Spanish) about the research, and information about important PROTECT news, including publications, trainee accomplishments, and upcoming and past events. This year a multimedia page has also been included that includes Center pictures and videos which can be viewed and downloaded. Listservs for key constituencies (executive committee, researchers, students, scientific advisory committee, and stakeholders) have also been established. The website and listservs are extremely important outreach tools to communicate Core events. This year RTC has been working with the Training Core to also disseminate information about the Center's events through the SRP and PEPH listservs.

In addition to the communications tools, the RTC has been actively supporting PROTECT-organized conferences in related specialty areas. In March, the RTC organized a session entitled "Prenatal and Postnatal Risks to Infant and Child Health" at the "4th Puerto Rican Public Health Conference and 6th International Conference of Universities Engaged in Health Promotion", San Juan, Puerto Rico, with ~1000 attendees from over 30 countries at the conference with 150-200 in the session. RTC staff co-organized the International Symposium in Electrokinetic Remediation (EREM2013), held in June in Boston for ~100 participants from around the world. PROTECT investigators and trainees presented at the following meetings/conferences: 2013 International Electrokinetic Remediation Symposium, Boston; 2013 SACNAS national conference, San Antonio; 2013 Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry annual meeting, Nashville; the SRP 2013 Annual Meeting, Baton Rouge; and the SRP training and outreach event, Boston. A key Research Translation Core function is outreach to key stakeholders; below is a list of some important Year 4 interactions:

NIEHS – PROTECT participates regularly in the SRP Research Translation activities, e.g. RT/CE monthly conference calls, to stay up to date on NIEHS-sponsored activities and opportunities for collaboration. Please see Administrative Core Report for details of additional interactions with NIEHS.

EPA: Led by Dr. Ingrid Padilla (Dynamic Transport and Exposure Pathways of Contaminants in Karst Groundwater Systems project leader), PROTECT has had extensive collaboration with the EPA's Caribbean Office. Dr. Padilla has met several times with key individuals, including Mr. Jose Font (Director) and Dr. Adalberto Bosque (Response and Remediation Chief). Dr. Font provided a letter of support for PROTECT and committed to support field investigation of contaminants transport and remediation in karst. Dr. Adalberto attended the 2013 PROTECT retreat and Puerto Rico. In 2011, the PROTECT RTC and Training Core worked with one of Dr. Padilla's graduate students, Celys Irizarry, to submit a proposal for a K.C. Donnelly Externship in the Caribbean Environmental Protection Division of EPA and the Puerto Rico Department of Health. The proposal was awarded and Ms. Irizarry collected water samples and assessed the water quality at 10 Superfund sites on the north coast of Puerto Rico, as well as collecting extensive EPA historical data to digitize the records. This work is in the process of being shared back with the EPA. Dr. Padilla has met with John Bourbon (Laboratory Branch Chief, Region 2 EPA Division of Environmental Science and Assessment) to present progress. Phthalate Exposure and Molecular Epidemiologic Markers of Preterm Birth among Women in Puerto Rico project leader Dr. John Meeker is in ongoing discussions on indoor phthalates in Puerto Rico with Mark Maddaloni (Regional Risk Assessor, Region 2, Office of the Regional Administrator, Strategic Programs Branch).

Andreas Sjodin (Chief, Combustion Products and Persistent Pollutants Biomonitoring Laboratory, and Acting Chief, Dioxin and Persistent Pollutants Laboratory) is collaborating with Dr. Giese on the Discovery of Xenobiotics Associated with Preterm Birth project and Dr. Meeker on the Phthalate Exposure and Molecular Epidemiologic Markers of Preterm Birth among Women in Puerto Rico project. Antonia Calafat (Chief, Personal Care Products Laboratory) is collaborating with Dr. John Meeker on the Phthalate Exposure and Molecular Epidemiologic Markers of Preterm Birth among Women in Puerto Rico project.

Finally, in Year 4, members of the RTC collaborated on two synergistic proposals at Northeastern University. The NIEHS T-32 Training Grant Proposal, titled "Transdisciplinary Training at the Intersection of Environmental Health and Social Science," involves many members of the PROTECT team, including Akram Alshawabkeh (PROTECT co-Director), and is a collaboration between social sciences & life sciences beginning to reveal how researchers can rethink disease models, remediation strategies, bench research, and social science to better identify and tackle pressing environmental health concerns.

The Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) NIH Grant, titled, "Center for Biomedical Research Analytics and Integrated Data (BRAID)," will develop tools that facilitate data sharing while respecting confidentiality constraints and enhance big data analysis, and link with the BD2K consortium and greater NIH community to improve program effectiveness and identify stakeholder needs. BRAID, which incorporates PROTECT as a testbed in the proposal, is led by David Kaeli (Data and Information Management PI) as the Center Director. Michael Silvetich, (RTC co-PI) is the Consortium lead, Akram Alshawabkeh (PROTECT co-Director) is the Testbed Validation co-lead, and Kristin Hicks (Training Core Executive Director) as the Training Lead.


A critical function of the PROTECT program is accurate and timely use of research findings and translation of these findings to appropriate audiences and applications. The Research Translation Core serves to dynamically connect the useful knowledge with informed action. The approach fits within the modern science and technology enterprise which promotes "use-inspired basic research".

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