The K.C. Donnelly Externship Award Supplement from NIEHS gives SRP Trainees valuable training opportunities. We are thrilled to have two winners this year.

From NIEHS

Leah Chibwe

Leah Chibwe

Leah Chibwe is a graduate student at the Oregon State University (OSU) Superfund Research Program under the guidance of Staci Simonich, Ph.D.  She will complete a three month externship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) with Michael Aitken, Ph.D.  Chibwe will identify potentially genotoxic compounds in bioremediated soil, originally contaminated with Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs). She plans to extract and fractionate PAHs from pre- and post-remediated soil samples and then conduct the novel DT40 bioassay to characterize genotoxicity associated with the fractions. Additionally, she will use Comprehensive 2-Dimensional Gas Chromatography coupled to Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry (GCxGC/ToF-MS) to investigate whether parent PAHs are converted to oxygenated PAH byproducts, which are more water soluble, bioavailable, and potentially more toxic.

“This externship will give me the opportunity to learn about the operation of the UNC lab-scale bioreactor and the DT40 bioassay technique at UNC to evaluate the human health impacts of PAHs at Superfund sites,” said Chibwe. “I will also expand my knowledge and experience beyond the scope of analytical chemistry, allowing me to learn a transferable skill set that will benefit both myself and the Simonich lab at OSU.”

Erin Madeen

Erin Madeen

Erin Madeen is a graduate student in the Oregon State University (OSU) Superfund Research Program under the mentorship of David Williams, Ph.D.  She will complete a three week externship at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, Ca. under the guidance of Ted Ognibene, Ph.D. Madeen will be conducting analysis of high molecular weight polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in blood and urine from human volunteers following micro-dosing with environmentally relevant amounts of  labeled PAHs. She will learn to use moving wire technology, an HPLC system that can separate individual metabolites coupled to accelerator mass spectrometry, for metabolite quantitation. The externship will provide support for a collaborative goal of the OSU Center to determine the ultra-low dose pharmacokinetics of PAHs and metabolites in human volunteers.

“Moving wire is a new technology and our project is the first metabolite study on this system. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is in a unique position to provide valuable training that I can bring back to my laboratory at OSU. We will rely heavily on the moving wire platform for future projects,” said Madeen. “My ultimate goal is to produce data that helps generate accurate human risk assessment decisions for better health and quality of life.”

PRESS RELEASE: OSU to test new tools to assess health risk from Superfund sites – OSU has received an NIEHS Multiproject Center Grant (P42) award for another five years of funding. We are all excited to share the big news!

From NIEHS SRP:

The OSU SRP has been funded since 2009, and focuses on improving technologies and identifying emerging health risks related to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). OSU SRP aims to test new technologies for measuring the toxicity of environmental chemicals to determine their health risk and see if cleaning up hazardous waste sites generates even worse chemicals. PAHs, found at Superfund sites and urban settings, are formed in the burning of carbon-based energy sources, such as diesel, gasoline, coal, petroleum, and in cooking or tobacco smoke.

“The research could help local, state, and federal agencies, like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, better understand the risk posed by PAHs,” said Dave Williams, Ph.D., director of the OSU SRP.

 

 

The Community Engagement Core (CEC) engaged 27 Tribal members in three 90-minute focus group sessions to elicit feedback about tribal indicators of health, environmental health concerns, and the importance of smoked food as a cultural tradition. The findings were published in Environmental Justice.

Schure M, Kile ML, Harding AK, Harper B, Harris S, Uesugi S, Goins T. Perceptions of environment and health among community members of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.  Environmental Justice. June 2013, 6(3): 115-120. doi:10.1089/env.2013.0022.

The CEC was also featured  in the NIEHS publication, Celebrating 25 Years of the Superfund Research Program for research on PAH exposures during traditional smoking of salmon with the CTUIR research. You can also view the Please view the 2011 report for more information.

 

Stuart Harris and Anna Harding in a tipi smoking salmon
Mr. Stuart Harris and Dr. Anna Harding sit in the tipi that is measuring the air quality when smoking salmon.

OSU Graduate School hosted the first annual University-wide “Scholars’ Insight” event, a graduate student competition to communicate impact. OSU Graduate students had the opportunity to present a three minute “impact” of their scholarly works, to a non-specialist audience at OSU and the Corvallis community.

OSU SRP Trainee Andy Larkin was the second place winner in the April 2013 Scholar’s Insight competition. Andy is a graduate student in both toxicology and statistics.  His major professors are Dr. David Williams and Dr. William Baird with Project 1Andy shared what he has learned about communicating science to the public in a blog post of the Linus Pauling Institute.

Below is the video of his three-minute presentation at the competition. Congratulations to Andy!

As part of our focus on PAHs, we sampled the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in air and water in the Gulf of Mexico related to the oil spill. The level of PAHs in crude oil varies between 0.2 and 7%, depending on location. Although this seems like a small percent, PAHs are a significant toxicological health concern.

Sampling was accomplished by the research staff of Project 4 using passive sampling devices (PSDs).

The Community Engagement Core (CEC) collaborated with the EHSC COEC to create PAH-related environmental health education that applies to the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill research of Project 4.

See the Gulf of Mexico Spill Main Page for videos, resources, and more details about the research using passive sampling devices.
OSU Deepwater Horizon Spill Research
Initial research crew in 2010 after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.
Pictured left to right: Kevin Hobbie, Dr. Kim Anderson,
Sarah Allan, Lane Tidwell