Superfund Research Program Seminar – Organofluorine Chemicals: Commercial Applications and Human Exposure

Please join us for our final 2016-2017 Superfund Research Program Seminar on Friday, April 28, 2017, 12:00 – 1:00 in Barus & Holley room 190.  Jessica D’eon, Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto, will be discussing Organofluorine Chemicals: Commercial Applications and Human Exposure.


Organohalogens continue to dominate the persistent organic pollutants of regulatory concern.  In this talk I will discuss the role halogens play in commercial materials with an emphasis on fluorine.  Building on this framework I will discuss the puzzle of human fluorochemical contamination.  Determining the source of human exposure is complicated as the perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) typically measured in human sera are not the fluorosurfactants and polymers used commercially.  One approach to addressing this question is to scrutinize trends in human sera in the context of commercial activities.  This tactic is possible because fluorochemicals have been produced via two manufacturing processes, electrochemical fluorination (ECF) and telomerization, each with a distinct production history.  Temporal trends in human sera, together with isomer and congener profiles, all indicate some exposure to commercial materials or their building blocks followed by metabolism into the fluorinated acids that are observed in the body.  Understanding the connection between human contamination and current-use commercial materials is crucial for effective regulation.  It is also toxicologically relevant as certain biotransformation pathways produce reactive intermediates with demonstrated abilities to form protein adducts.

Robert Hurt to give invited talk at Gordon Research Conference on Environmental Nanotechnology

Robert Hurt, Director of the Brown Superfund Research Program, will be giving an invited talk at the Gordon Research Conference on Environmental Nanotechnology in Stowe, Vermont, June 18-23, 2017. The theme of the conference is The Next Generation of Nanotechnology: Materials, Applications, and Implications and talk is entitled:Back to Nature – Environmental Transformations of Nanomaterials and Their Implications for Risk”.

For more information on the meeting or to register, please visit:

Brown SRP paper wins award at SOT Meeting

A 2016 Brown University SRP paper, From the Cover: Sperm Molecular Biomarkers Are Sensitive Indicators of Testicular Injury following Subchronic Model Toxicant Exposure, won the Best Paper award for the Reproductive and Developmental Toxicology Specialty Section at the 2017 Society of Toxicology 56th Annual Meeting. The authors are Edward Dere, Shelby Wilson, Linnea Anderson, and Kim Boekelheide.

The paper can be found at:

Brown SRP Trainee Jennifer Guelfo spoke at ITRC Annual Meeting

Dr. Jennifer Guelfo, State Agency Liaison Postdoctoral Fellow, gave a talk entitled “Per AND Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs) in Groundwater: An Overview of Fate and Transport” at the annual meeting of the Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (ITRC), which took place March 27-30, 2017 in New Orleans, LA.

Dr. Guelfo is also a member of the recently initiated ITRC PFAS Team, which will work on research translation and technology transfer materials in six main areas: (1) History and Use of Environmental Sources, (2) Nomenclature Overview and Physicochemical Properties, (3) Fate and Transport, (4) Site Characterization Tools, Sampling Techniques, and Laboratory Analytical Methods, (5) Remediation Technologies and Methods, and (6) Regulatory Summary.  Dr. Guelfo will be contributing to the effort to write and review these fact sheets.

For more information, please see:

Brown SRP Trainee Ruben Spitz to speak at ACS National Meeting and Exposition

Brown Superfund Research Program Trainee Ruben Spitz will be giving an oral presentation at the 253rd American Chemical Society National Meeting and Exposition, which is being held in San Francisco, CA on April 2-6, 2017. His presentation, “Breathable graphene oxide toxicant barriers”, which is part of Novel Membrane Materials & Processes for Water Purification session in the Division of Environmental Chemistry, will take place on Wednesday, April 5, 2017 11:00-11:20am.
For more information on the meeting or to register, please visit:

What Fire Does

The Brown Superfund Research Program is a co-sponsor of the upcoming Institute at Brown for Environment and Society interdisciplinary program What Fire Does, an “Earth, Itself” event. What Fire Does will be held primarily from April 18-28, 2017, and will focus on the productive, creative, destructive, and transformative powers of fire.

For more information and to register, please visit:

We hope you can join us!

Robert Hurt invited to give nanosafety talk at ACS National Meeting

Robert Hurt, Director of the Brown Superfund Research Program, will be giving an invited talk at the 253rd American Chemical Society National Meeting and Exposition, which is being held in San Francisco, CA on April 2-6, 2017. Dr. Hurt’s presentation, “Formation and oxidative stability of metal sulfide nanoparticles and 2D nanosheets”, will be in the Environmental Chemistry Division as a part of a special session entitled: “Sulfidation of Metal-based Engineered and Natural Nanomaterials: Implications for their Fate and Effects in the Environment” on April 3rd.
Nanoparticles released to the environment are believed to undergo profound physical and chemical transformations that influence their fate and transport, and also determine their final form when they reach biological receptors in the natural environment, or return to humans in food, air, or water. These issues will be explored during this upcoming Brown Superfund Research Program talk.
For more information on the meeting or to register, please visit:

New SRP publication in Aquatic Toxicology

April Rodd and Agnes Kane have a new SRP-related publication in Aquatic Toxicology.  Dr. Rodd kindly summarized the article for us:

My recently accepted article in Aquatic Toxicology focuses on a new alternative toxicity testing platform targeted towards fish. Using 3D cell culture technology developed here at Brown, we formed 3D liver microtissues from a fish liver cell line. Compared to the 2D monolayer cells typically used in toxicology, these microtissues live longer and are better differentiated, meaning that they act more like real livers and allow us to better predict the response of fish. We used benzo(a)pyrene as a model compound to test out our new model and showed that our microtissues are sensitive over multiple exposures. This shows that our fish liver microtissues can be a valuable tool for evaluating environmentally relevant exposures for aquatic toxicology testing.

The article can be found at: