U.S. EPA Contaminated Site Cleanup Information (CLU-IN)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. EPA Technology Innovation and Field Services Division

Superfund Research Program Progress in Research Webinar Part 4: Emerging Exposures

Sponsored by: NIEHS Superfund Research Program

Archived: Thursday, November 19, 2020
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The NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) Progress in Research webinar series highlights promising research from SRP Centers awarded grants in 2020. In this session, awardees from North Carolina State University, University of Iowa, and Louisiana State University will describe their research projects, accomplishments, and next steps.

The North Carolina State University SRP Center, "Center for Environmental and Health Effects of PFAS," focuses on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) which are ubiquitous in the environment and have been associated with health effects such as cancer and thyroid, liver, and immune system toxicity. Despite this, these compounds have not been well-studied. Center scientists are investigating human exposure levels to PFAS in impacted areas, PFAS toxicity and the underlying mechanisms behind reduced thyroid and immune function, the potential for PFAS bioaccumulation, and effective remediation approaches for PFAS contamination.

The University of Iowa SRP (ISRP) Center, "Airborne PCBs: Sources, Exposures, Toxicities, Remediation," explores polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and the health impacts stemming from inhalation of these toxic chemicals. Center scientists focus on neurodevelopmental and metabolic effects, particularly in adolescents, and the relationship to novel PCB exposure pathways in buildings such as schools. They aim to identify the mechanisms behind PCB interference with lipid metabolism, define the specific environments that contribute to inhalation exposure and its importance compared to dietary exposure, and develop cost-effective strategies to remove or reduce emissions.

The Louisiana State University SRP Center, "Environmentally Persistent Free Radicals (EPFRs)," studies an emerging class of contaminants which are produced during thermal treatment of hazardous wastes and have been shown to induce cardiac and pulmonary dysfunction in exposed populations. They are investigating mechanisms of EPFR-induced health impacts, determining how EPFRs form, stabilize, and decay, and demonstrating a link between EPFR exposure and poor respiratory health in children. The research goal is to understand how to attenuate EPFR formation, facilitate EPFR decay, and limit exposure to EPFRs.

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A photograph of Carolyn Mattingly, Ph.D.Carolyn Mattingly, Ph.D., North Carolina State University ( or 919-515-1509)
Carolyn Mattingly, Ph.D., is a professor and head in the Department of Biological Sciences at North Carolina State University (NC State). Her research program focuses on understanding the effects of environmental exposures on human health. She is principal investigator (PI) of the Comparative Toxicogenomics Database (, which is a publicly available resource that integrates information about chemicals, genes, phenotypes, diseases, and exposure data. She is also PI of the NC State Superfund Research Program Center for Environmental and Human Health Effects of PFAS and director of the Center's Administrative Core.

A photograph of David Reif, Ph.D.David Reif, Ph.D., North Carolina State University ( or 919-513-3812)
David Reif, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and resident member of the Bioinformatics Research Center at North Carolina State University (NC State). He is director of the Data Management and Analysis Core (DMAC) of the NC State Superfund Research Program Center for Environmental and Health Effects of PFAS. Reif is also director of the Bioinformatics Consulting and Service Core and Co-director of the Integrated Health Sciences Facility Core of the NC State Center for Human Health and the Environment. The overarching goal of his lab ( is to understand the complex interactions between human health and the environment through the integrated analysis of high-dimensional data from diverse sources.

A photograph of Jamie DeWitt, Ph.D., DABTJamie DeWitt, Ph.D., DABT, East Carolina University and North Carolina State University ( or 252-744-2474)
Jamie DeWitt, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology of the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at North Carolina State University, and the Research Translation Coordinator for the North Carolina State University Superfund Research Program Center for Environmental and Health Effects of PFAS. In addition to serving as the Research Translation Coordinator for the Center, she also leads a project focused on uncovering mechanisms associated with immune suppression induced by PFAS exposure.

A photograph of Keri Hornbuckle, Ph.D.Keri Hornbuckle, Ph.D., University of Iowa ( or 319-384-0789)
Keri Hornbuckle is the director of the Iowa Superfund Research Program Center (ISRP) and leads Project 4 and the ISRP Analytical Core. She is the Donald E. Bently Professor of Engineering, Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Professor of Occupational and Environmental Health, and serves on the faculty of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Human Toxicology, all at the University of Iowa. Hornbuckle is an Associate Editor of Environmental Science & Technology. Her research includes large-scale field studies, development of novel sampling and analytical methods, and computational modeling to examine the sources, transport, and fate of persistent organic pollutants in indoor and outdoor environments.

A photograph of Hans-Joachim Lehmler, Ph.D.Hans-Joachim Lehmler, Ph.D., Iowa Superfund Research Program Center, University of Iowa ( or 319-335-4981)
Hans-Joachim Lehmler is the associate director of the Iowa Superfund Research Program Center (ISRP). He leads the Airborne PCBs and their Metabolites: Risk Factors for Adverse Neurodevelopmental Outcomes in Adolescence project, investigating the neurotoxicity of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in adolescence. He also leads the ISRP Synthesis Core which provides quantities of PCBs and their metabolites available for a broad range of studies on the volatilization, transport, exposure, toxicity, and remediation of PCBs. Hans is also the director of the University of Iowa Environmental Health Sciences Research Center. He is a professor in Occupational and Environmental Health in the College of Public Health at the University of Iowa. His research employs novel animal models, including germ-free mice, transgenic animals, and population-based animal models, to characterize how the metabolism of chemical hazards affects toxic outcomes.

A photograph of Scott Spak, Ph.D.Scott Spak, Ph.D., University of Iowa ( or 319-335-0037)
Scott Spak is an Assistant Professor at the University of Iowa, holding joint appointments with Urban and Regional Planning, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and the Environmental Policy Program at the Public Policy Center. Spak?s research and teaching focus on understanding how urban human and environmental systems respond to changes in technology, policy, land use, and society. He teaches courses on environmental policy, megacities, and dynamic systems modeling. Scott uses coupled Earth and human systems models at urban and regional scales to provide actionable forecasts, evaluate sustainable development strategies and inform policies that address the interconnected nature of energy, economic, and environmental issues. He works with local, state, and national agencies to implement integrated environmental forecasting systems and embed them in policies and planning. Spak is the Iowa Superfund Research Program Research Translation Coordinator and assists with the closely related Community Engagement Core.

A photograph of Stephania A. Cormier, Ph.D.Stephania A. Cormier, Ph.D., Louisiana State University ( or 225-763-2691)
Stephania A. Cormier, Ph.D., serves as director of the Louisiana State University (LSU) Superfund Research Program Center. She is leader of the Administration Core and leads the biomedical research project entitled "Environmentally Persistent Free Radicals Alter Pulmonary Immunologic Homeostasis." Cormier holds the Wiener Endowed Chair and is professor of biological sciences (LSU), Respiratory Immunology and Toxicology (Pennington Biomedical Research Center), and honorary professor (Child Health Research Centre, University of Queensland, Australia). She is associate vice president of the Office of Research and Economic Development - STEM. Her research specialization is understanding how early exposure(s) impact respiratory health. Cormier is principal investigator of two other NIH grants. She received her Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans and completed her postdoctoral fellowships in pulmonary immunology at the Mayo Clinic. She joined LSU in the Fall of 2003.

A photograph of Jennifer Richmond-Bryant, Ph.D.Jennifer Richmond-Bryant, Ph.D., North Carolina State University ( or 919-515-6300)
Jennifer Richmond-Bryant, Ph.D., leads the exposure assessment project for the Louisiana State University Superfund Research Program Center and is co-leader of the Community Engagement Core. She is an associate professor of the practice in the North Carolina State University Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources. Her research specialization is human exposure to air pollution with particular emphases on the influence of exposure variability on interpretation of epidemiologic study results and air pollution in underserved communities. She joined North Carolina State University in 2019 and previously served as an exposure assessment subject matter expert for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency National Center for Environmental Assessment and as an Assistant Professor in the City University of New York Urban Public Health program. She received a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina, an M.S. from the University of Michigan, and a B.S. from Cornell University.

A photograph of Tammy R. Dugas, Ph.D.Tammy R. Dugas, Ph.D., Louisiana State University ( or 225-578-7581)
Tammy Dugas, Ph.D. is leader of the Research Experience and Training Coordination Core for the Louisiana State University (LSU) Superfund Research Program Center and leads the biomedical project investigating the role of exposure to environmentally persistent free radicals in promoting endothelial dysfunction. Dugas is professor and head of the Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine (LSU SVM). Her toxicological research focuses on the role of the environmental exposures in the induction or exacerbation of vascular diseases including atherosclerosis and pulmonary hypertension. She received her Ph.D. in chemistry from LSU and went on to complete two postdoctoral fellowships, one in biochemistry at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and one in toxicology at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Dugas spent 13 years as a faculty member at the LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport before re-locating to the LSU SVM in 2014.


A photograph of Michelle L. Heacock, Ph.D.Michelle L. Heacock, Ph.D., NIEHS Superfund Research Program (
Michelle Heacock, Ph.D., is currently serving as the acting branch chief of the Hazardous Substances Research Branch, and is a health science administrator where she oversees Superfund Research Program (SRP) grants that span basic molecular mechanisms of biological responses from exposures to hazardous substances, movement of hazardous substances through environmental media, detection technologies, and remediation approaches. Dr. Heacock received her doctorate from Texas A&M University for her work on the interplay between DNA repair proteins and telomeres. Her postdoctoral work was conducted at NIEHS where she studied the DNA repair pathway, base excision repair. She has been with the NIEHS since 2007.

A photograph of Jean BalentJean Balent, U.S. EPA Technology Innovation and Field Services Division ( or 202-566-0832)
Ms Balent is on the staff of the EPA's Technology Innovation and Field Services Division where she has worked to collect and disseminate hazardous waste remediation and characterization information since 2003. Ms Balent manages the Clean Up Information Network website and actively supports online communication and collaboration resources available to EPA. She formerly worked with the US Army Corps of Engineers Environmental Engineering Division in the Buffalo District. Ms Balent was also a member of the SUNY-Buffalo Groundwater Research Group where she constructed and tested large scale models of groundwater flow. Ms Balent has also conducted research relating to the Great Lakes, environmental remediation, and brownfields re-development. She holds a Bachelor's degree in environmental engineering from SUNY-Buffalo and a Master's degree in Information Technology from AIU.

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