Core D CEC---Nutrition and Superfund Chemical Toxicity

Grants and Contracts Details


The University of Kentucky Superfund Research Center (UK-SRC) proposes to address a pervasive central research problem: the persistence of halogenated organics at Superfund sites and elsewhere. More than 30 years after passage of the initial Superfund legislation, risk managers continue to confront high concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), trichlorethylene (TCE) and new questions about contaminants, such as per- and polyfluoralkyl substances (PFAS). These contaminants are ubiquitous in the environment, and pose unique environmental health challenges in the Commonwealth in Kentucky. Kentucky contains hundreds of contaminated sites, of which 20 are listed on the National Priority List (NPL) that are contaminated with chlorinated organics, especially PCBs and chlorinated solvents. Fish consumption advisories for PCBs exist for several miles of streams in Kentucky, as well as the entire hundreds of miles of the Ohio River that forms Kentucky’s northern boundary (which is contaminated by various industrial sources located along the river and its tributaries). Aside from environmental contamination, Kentucky is also home to long-standing health disparities, especially within the central Appalachian region. UK-SRC uses an intervention and prevention paradigm by promoting healthy lifestyles (i.e., healthful nutrition and increased physical activity) to modulate the vulnerability to risks associated with environmental pollutants; and, couples this health-based research with environmental science/engineering research that uses novel sensing, remediation and fate and transport science to reduce and prevent future exposure risks. UK-SRC works with various community partners to develop creative solutions to address health disparities in Kentucky. It has strong connections and relationships throughout the state with communities to generate positive public health impact and engage with communities about research findings. UK-SRC includes two (2) biomedical research (BMR) projects and two (2) environmental science and engineering (ESE) projects. The BMR projects investigate how chemical and non-chemical factors can influence disease risks. BMR Project 1 examines gut and liver metabolic processes associated with PCB-mediated and PFAS-mediated cardiometabolic disease risks using animal models and human serum samples. The metabolomics studies will provide opportunities to consider a population-based research questions relevant to vulnerable populations, such as those in Eastern Kentucky. BMR Project 2 examines PCB and PFAS toxicity during a narrow window of susceptibility (e.g. in-utero) to investigate the benefit of maternal physical activity on offspring. Proposed studies provide critical information about mechanisms contributing to offspring disease and dysfunction associated with in utero exposure to other halogenated organics by incorporating a unique human model system, which also has implications for stakeholders in Kentucky. The ESE projects aims to identify strategies that can reduce and/or prevent exposures to PCBs, PFAS and chlorinated ethenes, such as TCE. ESE Project 3 develops novel material science-based technologies to remove contaminants from various environmental media. ESE Project 4 uses fate and transport science to identify and reduce exposure risks associated with chlorinated ethenes and PFAS that are complicated by the issue of aging piping infrastructure for drinking water and sewer systems. In addition to research projects, UK-SRC includes five cores. ADMIC will communicate UK-SRC progress to NIEHS and will handle all administrative activities associated with UK-SRC. DMAC will support the management and integration of data assets to accelerate the overall impact of UKSRC. BEAC provides advanced chemical analysis from biological and chemical components from experiments conducted within the research projects. CEC will engage with communities throughout Kentucky (especially Eastern Kentucky) focusing on a prevention/intervention paradigm to promote environmental health. RETCC will coordinate a range of activities to ensure our trainees gain experiences that will prepare them as multidisciplinary 21st century scholars.
Effective start/end date4/1/971/31/21


  • National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences


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