The University of Pennsylvania Superfund Research and Training Program Center (Penn SRP Center) evolved as a direct consequence of concerns from the community living proximal to the BioRit Asbestos Superfund site in Ambler, PA. The community at Ambler has actively participated in the design of projects to be tackled by the Center. As a result, the Center will consist of two Environmental Science Projects and four Biomedical Science Research Projects, which will be underpinned by one Research Core and four Service Cores. These Projects and Cores will explore various aspects of asbestos fate, exposure, remediation, and adverse health effects. Environmental Science Projects 1 and 2 are entitled "Remediation of Asbestos Particles" and "Mobility and Fate of Asbestos Particles," respectively. Biomedical Science Projects 3-6 are entitled "Social Determinants of Risk And Attitudes about Asbestos in a Superfund Environmental Justice Community," "Animal Models of Mesothelioma," "Chemoprevention of Asbestos-Induced Lung Diseases," and "Biomarkers of Asbestos Exposure" The Cores comprise an Administrative Core (Core A), the Community Engagement Core (Core B), the Research Translation Core (Core C), the Biostatistical Research Support Core (Core D), and the Interdisciplinary Training Core (Core E). The goals of the Penn SRP Center will be accomplished through the leadership of two senior highly accomplished investigators, Dr. Ian A. Blair (Director) and Dr. Trevor M. Penning (Deputy Director). The Penn SRP is underpinned by four highly significant entities. First, the Penn Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology (CEET) provides an academic home, with enormous resources to draw upon. Second, the CEET Translational Biomarker Core provides instrumentation and resources for conducting sophisticated biomarker discovery and validation studies. Third, the CEET Integrative Health Sciences Facility Core will provide support for human subject study design and storage of annotated biospecimens. Fourth, the existing CEET Certificate Program and T32 Training Program in Environmental Health Sciences provide a resource of potential students and postdoctoral fellows who could be recruited into the Penn SRP Center. Advanced techniques for the detection, assessment, and evaluation of the effect on human health of hazardous substances will involve the development of a new animal model of asbestos-induced mesothelioma. Methods to assess the risks to human health presented by hazardous substances will involve novel metabolomics methodology using high resolution liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry will be developed to identify human populations that are exposed to asbestos. Methods and technologies to detect hazardous substances in the environment will involve two quite separate approaches. One will involve the use of earth science-based methodology to monitor the movement of asbestos within dump sites and the other will involve a sociological study to identify how asbestos exposure can occur and whether this can explain the cluster of asbestos-induced mesotheliomas in Ambler. A basic biological method to be employed for reducing the amount and toxicity of a hazardous substance will involve the remediation of asbestos by mycorrhizal fungi-mediated conversion it to a non-toxic molecular form. Therefore, although these projects evolved in response to the Ambler community's concerns (EPA Region 3), the results can be readily translated to the fifteen other asbestos sites that are present in five of the other EPA Regions (2, 5, and 8-10).
The University of Pennsylvania Superfund Research and Training Program Center (Penn SRP Center) evolved as a direct consequence of concerns from the community living proximal to the BioRit Asbestos Superfund site in Ambler, PA. The community at Ambler has actively participated in the design of projects to be tackled by the Center. As a result, the Center will consist of two Environmental Science Projects and four Biomedical Science Research Projects, which will be underpinned by one research Core and four Service Cores. These Projects and Cores will explore various aspects of asbestos fate, exposure, remediation, and adverse health effects.
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