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 1: Duke University and University of Arizona

Sponsored by: NIEHS Superfund Research Program

Archived: Thursday, August 23, 2018
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This Superfund Research Program (SRP) Progress in Research webinar series highlights promising research from SRP Centers awarded grants in 2017. In this session, awardees from Duke University and University of Arizona will describe their research projects, accomplishments, and next steps.

The Duke University SRP Center focuses on early, low-dose exposures to toxicants and developmental impacts, which are usually evident only later in life. They conduct research to characterize these outcomes following exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, organophosphate pesticides and flame retardants, halogenated phenolic compounds, and some metals. They are also investigating mechanisms and approaches to remove these chemicals from the environment.

The University of Arizona SRP Center is addressing the risk and remediation of metal mining wastes in arid and semi-arid environments, focusing on Arizona mines as examples that can apply to other hard-rock mines around the world. Center scientists focus on finding innovative and cost-effective methods for remediating airborne and waterborne mine waste and on evaluating the effect of dusts that contain arsenic on lung development and health.

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A photograph of Richard Di Giulio, Ph.D.Richard Di Giulio, Ph.D., Duke University ( or 919-613-8024)
Richard Di Giulio, Ph.D., is the Sally Kleberg Professor of Environmental Toxicology in the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. He also directs the Duke University SRP Center and the Duke Integrated Toxicology and Environmental Health Program. His research is focused on molecular and organismal responses of aquatic animals to environmental stressors, particularly contaminants. His laboratory is concerned with both basic studies of mechanisms of contaminant metabolism, adaptation and toxicity, and with the development of sensitive, mechanistically-based indices of exposure and toxicity that can be used in biomonitoring of free-living organisms. Additionally, through collaborations, he seeks innovative approaches for elucidating linkages between human and ecological health. He received his Ph.D. at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, an M.S. at Louisiana State University, and a B.A. at the University of Texas at Austin.

A photograph of Joel Meyer, Ph.D.Joel Meyer, Ph.D., Duke University ( or 919-613-8109)
Joel Meyer, Ph.D., is the Truman and Nellie Semans/Alex Brown & Sons Associate Professor of Molecular Environmental Toxicology in the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. He studies the effects of toxic agents and stressors on human and wildlife health. He is particularly interested in understanding the mechanisms by which environmental agents cause DNA damage, the molecular processes that organisms employ to protect prevent and repair DNA damage, and genetic differences that may lead to increased or decreased sensitivity to DNA damage. Mitochondrial DNA damage and repair, as well as mitochondrial function in general, are a focus. He studies these effects in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, in cell culture, and collaboratively in other laboratory model organisms as well as in human populations in the USA and globally. Meyer obtained a Ph.D. in environmental toxicology at Duke University and received his undergraduate degree from Juniata College with a dual degree in environmental studies and peace and conflict studies.

A photograph of Claudia Gunsch, Ph.D.Claudia Gunsch, Ph.D., Civil and Environmental Engineering, Duke University ( or 919-660-5208)
Claudia Gunsch, Ph.D., is the Theodore S. Kennedy Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement at Duke University. She also holds secondary appointments in the Nicholas School of the Environment and the Department of Biomedical Engineering. She joined the Duke Faculty in 2004 after obtaining her PhD from the University of Texas at Austin, her MS from Clemson University and her BS from Purdue University. Currently, she serves as an Associate Director for the Duke Microbiome Center and as the Director of IBIEM (Integrative Bioinformatics for Investigating and Engineering Microbiomes), a joint graduate training program between Duke and North Carolina A&T State University. Her research bridges environmental engineering and molecular biotechnology. Current research foci include investigating the impacts of emerging contaminants on environmental microbiomes, developing technologies for improving bioremediation efficacy, studying microbial evolution following exposure to anthropogenic contaminants and developing innovative water treatment technologies. Her work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, US Environmental Protection Agency, National Institute for Environmental Health and Safety as well as state funding agencies and private industry. She has been recognized for her research, teaching and service activities with several awards including the 2009 National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award, 2013 Langford Lectureship Award, 2016 Capers and Marion McDonald Award for Excellence in Mentoring and Advising and the 2016 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize. Dr. Gunsch was named a Bass Fellow in 2016 and Fellow of the National Academy of Engineering for the United States Frontiers of Engineering in 2011 as well as the Indo-American Frontiers of Engineering in 2014. She currently serves as an Associate Editor for Biodegradation and the ASCE Journal of Environmental Engineering. She is also a member of the Editorial Board for npj Clean Water and Industrial Biotechnology. She has held several leadership roles within the Environmental & Water Resources Institute (EWRI) of ASCE as well as the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors. Most recently, she was elected as the Chair for the EWRI Environmental Council.

A photograph of Raina Maier, Ph.D.Raina Maier, Ph.D., University of Arizona ( or 520-621-7231)
Raina Maier, Ph.D., is an environmental microbiologist in the Department of Environmental Science at the University of Arizona. Her research program focuses on understanding how we can exploit microbes and their activities and products to benefit human health and the environment. She is known for her work on the relationships between microbial diversity and ecosystem function in arid and semi-arid environments with a focus on mine tailings and desert soils. Dr. Maier serves as the Director of the University of Arizona NIEHS Superfund Research Center which seeks to understand the health impacts and advance innovative solutions for remediation of mine waste sites. Related to mining, her group's innovative work on establishing vegetative caps on mine waste is changing the way we think about and evaluate the revegetation process.


A photograph of Heather F. Henry, Ph.D.Heather F. Henry, Ph.D., Program Administrator, NIEHS Superfund Research Program (
Heather Henry, Ph.D., is a health science administrator for the NIEHS where she oversees Superfund Research Program (SRP) grants that spans human health toxicology, risk assessment, detection technologies and remediation approaches. She provides guidance to potential applicants for SRP’s Multiproject Center Grants (P42s), Individual Research Grants (R01s), Small
Business / Technology Transfer Grants (R41-44; SBIR/STTR), and Conference Grants (R13). Heather studied plant-based environmental remediation
(phytoremediation) and ecological restoration as part of her doctoral work at the University of Cincinnati and as a Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Melbourne and University of Adelaide in Australia. She has been with NIEHS since 2006.

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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Technology Integration and Information Branch

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Technology Integration and Information Branch

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