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 3: Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and University of Rhode Island

Sponsored by: NIEHS Superfund Research Program

Archived: Monday, September 10, 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 Columbia University,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and University of Rhode Island will describe their research projects, accomplishments, and next steps.

The Columbia University SRP Center conducts research that aims to understand and reduce arsenic exposure and toxicity in humans exposed to arsenic in the U.S. and Bangladesh. The projects focus on exposure to arsenic, including from private well water, potential health effects of exposure, and ways to optimize and implement remediation methods to remove arsenic from groundwater.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology SRP Center brings engineering and scientific innovation to bear on issues related to hazardous substances that are relevant to people in Maine and Massachusetts. Their research focuses on two pervasive contaminants, N-nitrosamines and polycyclic
aromatic hydrocarbons, and centers around development and application of novel technologies to detect and map contaminants, and to reveal their biological effects.

The University of Rhode Island Sources, Transport, Exposure and Effects of PFASs (STEEP) SRP Center is addressing the emerging and expanding problem of poly- and perfluorinated alkyl substances (PFASs) contamination. STEEP aims to better understand the pathways of PFAS contamination in groundwater, and the effects and exposure pathways to vulnerable human populations and rodent models during early development. They are also supporting the development and deployment of passive sampling techniques for PFAS and their precursors in water and air.

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A photograph of Ana Navas Acien, M.D., Ph.D.Ana Navas Acien, M.D., Ph.D., Columbia University ( or 212-342-4712)
Ana Navas-Acien, M.D., Ph.D., is a physician-epidemiologist with a specialty in preventive medicine and public health (Hospital La Paz, Madrid '01) and a Ph.D. in epidemiology (Johns Hopkins University '05). She is the director of the Columbia University SRP Center, which focuses on understanding and reducing arsenic exposure and toxicity in humans exposed to arsenic. Her research includes investigating long-term health effects of widespread environmental exposures (arsenic and other metals, tobacco smoke, e-cigarettes, air pollution), their interactions with genetic and epigenetic variants, and effective interventions for reducing involuntary environmental exposures. For more than 10 years she has been working on environment-related research in population-based cohort studies such as the Strong Heart Study, a study of cardiovascular disease and its risk factors in American Indian communities, and the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), a study of cardiovascular, metabolic and lung disease in urban settings across the U.S. Both in the U.S. and internationally, she conducts research to evaluate exposure to tobacco smoke including emerging public health challenges such as waterpipe smoking and e-cigarettes. Her research goals are to contribute to the reduction of environmental health disparities in underserved and disproportionately exposed populations.

A photograph of Alexander van Geen, Ph.D.Alexander van Geen, Ph.D., Columbia University ( or 845-365-8644)
Alexander van Geen, Ph.D., is a Doherty Senior Research Scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University. He leads a project at the Columbia University SRP Center focused on the resilience of low-arsenic aquifers and their role in reducing human exposure. His research interests include: geochemical cycling of trace elements in natural and perturbed environments, particularly redox-sensitive processes affecting metals and metalloids; applications to mine tailings, coastal sediment, estuaries, and groundwater, as well reconstructions of past climate change in nearshore environments; more recent interest in the bridging of disciplines, including the health and social sciences, to address multi-faceted environmental problems. Some of Dr. van Geen's projects include: reconstruction of climate change along the west of coast of the Americas, geochemistry of cadmium and iron in coastal upwelling systems, and mitigation of groundwater arsenic problem in Bangladesh.

A photograph of Benjamin Bostick, Ph.D.Benjamin Bostick, Ph.D., Columbia University ( or 845-365-8659)
Benjamin Bostick, Ph.D., is an associate research professor at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University. He leads a project at the Columbia SRP Center focused on enhancing remediation of U.S. arsenic-contaminated sites. His fields of interest include soils, aqueous geochemistry, sediment redox cycling, biogeochemistry, mineralogy, and applications of spectroscopy in earth sciences. Bostick earned his Ph.D. from Stanford University.

A photograph of Bevin Engelward, Sc.D.Bevin Engelward, Sc.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology ( or 617-258-0260)
Bevin Engelward, Sc.D., is a professor of biological engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She also leads the MIT SRP Center, which brings engineering and scientific innovation to bear on critical problems relevant to stakeholders in Maine and Massachusetts. Engelward began her scientific career at Yale University working in the laboratory of Thomas Steitz. She did her doctoral studies in the laboratory of Leona Samson at the Harvard School of Public Health. In 1997, she joined the faculty at MIT and was one of the founding faculty in the creation of the Department of Biological Engineering. Engelward's work is public health-oriented and includes studies of the causes of DNA sequence rearrangements as well as the creation of novel technologies for detecting rare sequence changes in vivo and to measure genomic damage in vitro. The major objective of her work is to reveal the underlying mechanisms that drive genomic instability as a basis for contributing to improved global public health.

A photograph of Tim Swager, Ph.D.Tim Swager, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology ( or 617-253-4423)
Tim Swager, Ph.D., is the John D. MacArthur professor in the department of Chemistry at MIT. He co-leads an MIT SRP Center project focused on the development of sensors for carcinogenic alkylating agents and predicting their spatiotemporal dynamics in water near Superfund Sites. His research is broadly focused on synthetic, supramolecular, analytical, and materials chemistry. His research team is interested in a spectrum of topics with an emphasis on the synthesis and construction of functional assemblies. He received his Ph.D. in chemistry at the California Institute of Technology.

A photograph of Rainer Lohmann, Ph.D.Rainer Lohmann, Ph.D., University of Rhode Island ( or 401-874-6612)
Rainer Lohmann, Ph.D., is a professor of oceanography at the University of Rhode Island. He directs the University of Rhode Island SRP Center focused on the sources, transport, exposure, and effects of poly- and perfluorinated alkyl substances. Lohmann studied biochemistry at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (Germany), obtained a degree in Chemical Engineering at the Ecole Européenne des hautes études des industries chimiques de Strasbourg (France). He got his Ph.D. in Environmental Science from Lancaster University (UK) in 1999 under Kevin C. Jones. Before joining URI in 2004, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at MIT, the Max-Planck-Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg (Germany) and the Research Center for Ocean Margins at the University of Bremen (Germany). Since 2004, he works at URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography, where he became Associate Professor in 2009 and Professor of Oceanography in 2013. Lohmann became an Alexander-von-Humboldt Fellow in 2011, and was recipient of the Roy F. Weston Environmental Chemistry Award by the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry in 2006. He serves as Editor for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry and CLEAN — Air, Soil, Water.

A photograph of Philippe Grandjean, M.D., D.M.Sc.Philippe Grandjean, M.D., D.M.Sc., Harvard School of Public Health ( or 617-432-3441)
Philippe Grandjean, M.D., D.M.Sc., is Professor of Environmental Medicine at the University of Southern Denmark and Adjunct Professor of Environmental Health at Harvard School of Public Health. He is a founding Editor-in-Chief of the open-access journal Environmental Health. He serves as member of the European Environment Agency's scientific committee and the World Health Organization's European Advisory Committee on Health Research. His research on children's health and environmental pollutants has been supported mainly by the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences and has led to 300 journal publications. Grandjean's book "Only one chance - and How to Protect the Brains of the Next Generation" was well received and has now been translated into French and Danish. In 2004, he received the 'Mercury madness award' from eight US environmental NGOs, in 2012 the Science Communication Award from the University of Southern Denmark, in 2015 the Bernardino Ramazzini Award, and earlier this year the John Goldsmith Award.


A photograph of Brittany TrottierBrittany Trottier, Superfund Research Program, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences ( or 984-287-3331)
Brittany Trottier received her Master's in Public Health from George Washington University and her BA in Chemistry from Adrian College. She is currently a Health Specialist with the Superfund Research Program (SRP) at the NIEHS. For the SRP, she is the lead for the CareerTrac system, oversees the community engagement cores, is co-lead for the NIEHS-WHO Coordinating Center (WHOCC) e-waste focus area, and supports the lead for the children's environmental health focus area for the NIEHS WHOCC.

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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