The Community Engagement Core is collaborating with Dr. Staci Simonich (Core D) and the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community to begin an ambient air sampling project. In January 2016,

Drs. Simonich, Rohlman and Harding, along with SRP trainees Dr. Cleo Davie-Martin and Amber Kramer met with Dr. Tony Basabe (Air Quality Analyst) at the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community to evaluate two sites that would hold high-volume air samplers. These samplers would collect particulate matter (PM2.5) and the particulate matter can also be assessed for the types of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). See our video here about PAHs. The community is concerned about air quality as a result of their proximity to two oil refineries. Our collaborators at Swinomish were familiar with the study performed with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (Lafontaine et al. 2015). One sampler will be placed at the Northwest Indian College site within the reservation, and a second one will be placed on the grounds of the Swinomish Indian Casino and Lodge. During their visit, co-investigator and Historical Preservation Officer, Larry Campbell gave them a cultural tour of the Swinomish reservation including a brief history of tribe, their land, their culture and their beliefs. The air quality monitors will be placed in April 2016 and sampling will continue over the course of this year.

IMG_20160121_141805916(From left to right) Dr. Basabe shows the site where a air sampler will be placed at the Northwest Indian College to Dr. Simonich (Core D) and her post-doc, Dr. Cleo Davie-Martin and Dr. Harding (Core E).

 

 

 

Lafontaine S, Schrlau J, Butler J, Jia Y, Harper B, Harris S, et al. 2015. Relative influence of trans-pacific and regional atmospheric transport of pahs in the pacific northwest, u.S. Environmental science & technology.

Dr. Staci Simonich, Project 5 Leader with the OSU Superfund Research Program
Dr. Staci Simonich, Project 5 Leader with the OSU Superfund Research Program

With the snowstorm burying the East Coast, the snow itself has come under scrutiny. Children (and adults!) love to eat the white stuff, with some even using it in recipes. Snow looks beautiful and clean, but how safe is it? Dr. Staci Simonich suggests you might not want to eat the snow. Surprisingly, snow can carry pesticides, attracting the chemicals from the air and soil. On the plus side, the can help remove air pollutants. For more information, Dr. Simonich’s research has been featured in the news, most notably on NPR. Links are listed below.

Sharon KruegerIt is with heavy heart that the OSU SRP says goodbye to long-time scientist and mentor, Sharon Krueger. Sharon passed away December 27, 2015 at her home in Corvallis, OR. Sharon was a Research Assistant Professor in the Linus Pauling Institute (OSU) and the Research Coordinator for the OSU Superfund Research Program. Sharon began working at OSU in 1993 as a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. David Williams. Her work focused on the flavin-containing monooxygenase (FMO) enzyme and how it influenced drug metabolism and toxicology. Sharon was an active researcher, working with a many OSU and SRP scientists and publishing 39 scientific articles, in addition to serving as co-investigator on nine funded research grants. Sharon was dedicated to her research, and was an essential mentor to many undergraduate and graduate students that worked with her. Outside of work, Sharon enjoyed cooking, traveling and photography.

The Corvallis Gazette-Times published a lovely memorial to Sharon: http://www.gazettetimes.com/news/local/obituaries/sharon-kay-krueger/article_84a08937-a028-5bfe-b254-237ea3eee9ed.html

The family requests that in lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the Acid Maltose Deficiency Association (http://www.amda-pompe.org).

Ivan Titaley
Ivan Titaley

By Ivan Titaley, Project 5 Trainee

Back in April, I was awarded the SRP Trainee Externship Award through OSU’s SRP Training Core to help support my training opportunity at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) as an Alternate Sponsored Fellow. The aim of this internship was to predict the formation of hydroxy- and oxygenated‑PAHs (OHPAHs and OPAHs, respectively) in the environment using a computational chemistry approach. OPAHs and OHPAHs can be formed from the degradation of PAHs. OPAHs in air samples have been found to be more mutagenic than the unsubstituted PAHs.

To achieve this objective, I used the NWChem software, which is a high performance computational chemistry software developed by PNNL scientists. Through a collaboration set-up by Dr. Dayle Smith (previously in Core C), I spent two months learning how to use NWChem under the supervision of Dr. Kurt Glaesemann.

The Environmental and Molecular Science Laboratory (EMSL) is a national user facility that houses multiple instruments and laboratories. My office was located inside this building at PNNL in Richland, WA.
The Environmental and Molecular Science Laboratory (EMSL) is a national user facility that houses multiple instruments and laboratories. My office was located inside this building at PNNL in Richland, WA.

Using this approach, my goal was to be able to predict which OHPAHs and OPAHs are likely to form in the environment based on their thermodynamic properties, specifically the reaction Gibbs free energy. There were three main areas related to Project 5’s focus where this predictive capability will be helpful. First, the results could assist in explaining why toxicity in remediated soils increased, even after PAHs’ concentrations went down (e.g. Chibwe et al., 2015). Secondly, prior data of OHPAHs found in human urine, (e.g. Motorykin et al., 2015) can be compared with computational results to see if I can formulate a prediction of which OHPAHs are likely to form in human urine. Finally, continuing on prior work that has predicted the formation of NPAHs in ambient air (e.g. Jariyasopit et al., 2013), I could then apply similar approach, but for OHPAHs and OPAHs.

The learning curve during my externship was quite steep. Although I was able to understand how to use NWChem, I also learned that a one-size-fits-all approach was not possible and I would need to tailor my modeling approach to successfully predict formation of OHPAHs and OPAHs. It was during this time that I found out how valuable it was for me to be able to spend time at PNNL. Being in a facility where there were experts in almost every imaginable field, I was able to talk to many experts about issues that I faced. These conversations led me to the field of chemometrics which helped me tailor the computational chemistry approach accordingly. One of the online programs that I found to be useful was XenoSite, which can predict CYP450 inhibition sites on a given compound. This program can potentially be useful when narrowing down potential OHPAHs that might form through bioactivation.

In addition, the myriad instruments and facilities that are available at PNNL have also assisted me greatly during my internship. For example, the NWChem software that I used was connected to the supercomputing facility, which helped speed up the calculation, resulting in faster computational time. Another perk of being in Richland, was that I managed to tour the Hanford B Reactor—coincidentally a couple of days before the anniversary of the atomic bomb being dropped in Japan.

All in all, the externship challenged me to get me out of my comfort zone, but also rewarded me with a new skill and unique

Constance, my "instrument" over the summer. Constance is one of several supercomputers available at PNNL.
Constance, my “instrument” over the summer. Constance is one of several supercomputers available at PNNL.

experience. In a way, the internship at PNNL served as a preview of what may come once I am finished with my Ph.D. More importantly, I found the networking opportunity and exposure to a possible career path while at PNNL to be invaluable. Currently, I am excited to combine the in silico approach that I learned at PNNL with the analytical chemistry approach at the Simonich lab into my research projects. The chemical analysis component will verify how accurate the prediction capabilities are. If this approach is proven to be reliable, I hope that this perspective can offer a different insight in predicting the formation of OHPAHs and OPAHs.

 

 

By Lisandra Santiago-Delgado, Project 5 Trainee

Lisandra Santiago-Delgado
Lisandra Santiago-Delgado

Earlier this summer I conducted research at the USEPA Robert S. Kerr Research Laboratory in Ada, Oklahoma under the guidance of Dr. Eva L. Davis. This experience was made possible through the KC Donnelly Externship Award Supplement that I received in late April.

Research Benefits

The main objective of my externship was to collaborate and learn from Dr. Davis, an expert in the field of thermal remediation of contaminated soils and groundwater. I focused on utilizing steam injections on a laboratory scale to thermally remediate creosote-contaminated Superfund soils.

Another goal of this externship was to understand the chemical processes that occur during and after remediation. I looked at measurements of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and their transformation to oxygenated PAHs (oxy- and hydroxy-PAHs) in soils, as well as their potential developmental toxicity and mutagenicity.

This partnership was a great fit, because it combined the expertise of Dr. Davis, involving thermal remediation of soil, with our expertise in soil analysis for PAHs and oxygenated PAHs, and toxicity assays in our SRP Project 3, directed by Dr. Robert L. Tanguay.

Career Impact

The experimental setup used for one-dimensional steam injections.  It consists of two ISCO syringe pumps (left), steam generator (upper middle), column with soil sample (middle), and the computer to collect temperature data in the right.
The experimental setup used for one-dimensional steam injections. It consists of two ISCO syringe pumps (left), steam generator (upper middle), column with soil sample (middle), and the computer to collect temperature data in the right.

I have always considered a career path with the federal government.   This experience allowed me to experience first-hand what it would be like. Preparing to work in a federal facility was probably, and surprisingly, one of the greatest initial challenges of the project. It included paperwork, security clearance procedures, and training, among many other things.

Having the opportunity to meet, collaborate, and have one-on-one conversations with Dr. Davis was a fulfilling experience, especially since she is a female scientist. I also met other scientists working in the same facility, but base their research here in the Willamette Valley. Other experiences included participating in their weekly seminars, where they present trending topics of importance to the environment and the USEPA, as well as their own research updates.

Outside of research, weather was a big challenge, especially since my externship began in the middle of tornado season. One afternoon I had to spend over a half hour in a closet while the sirens were blaring. My next visit will be before May, for sure!

Summary

The externship was definitely an incredible experience, and it provided me with better understanding of thermal remediation and new knowledge about soil and how chemicals behave underneath the surface. I encourage other SRP trainees to apply for the KC Donnelly Externship Award Supplement. You will not regret it, and the outcome will be very valuable for your current research and future work as well.

The EPA provided a welcoming atmosphere and the OSU beaver was a nice touch.
The EPA provided a welcoming atmosphere and the OSU beaver was a nice touch.