March SRP Seminar Series with Dr. Scott Frickel

March 6, 2015 at 12:00 p.m., Dr. Scott Frickel, associate professor of sociology and environmental studies, will be speaking about “The Hazardous Legacies Project: Towards a Comparative Environmental Sociology of Cities.” This lecture is part of the on-going Superfund Seminar Series here at Brown University. This talk provides an overview of The Hazardous Legacies Project, which is premised on the idea that cities are fundamentally outcomes of socio-environmental changes that unfold recursively over time on the same local lands.  We develop a synthetic theoretical framework that links historical and spatial processes of urban succession, industrialization and risk management to identify local mechanisms driving the iterative intertwining of society and nature in urban areas. Empirically, the Project is grounded in a spatially informed, historically comparative analysis of hazardous waste site accumulation in four major U.S. cities (Minneapolis, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Portland, OR) over five decades, from 1955 to 2008.  Data for the analysis include detailed site-, tract-, and city-level information gathered for thousands of current and former industrial sites – most of which remain unacknowledged in government reports and hazardous site lists.  Results show how industrial churning, residential churning, and risk management intersect to produce cumulative socio-environmental transformations of urban space. Ideas for future research include extending the study to Providence, RI.

Join us! Friday, March 6 at 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. in Barus and Holley, room 190 (182 Hope Street, Providence, RI). 

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SRP Seminar Series: February 6, 2015, Dr. Melvin Andersen, The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences

Join us on Friday, February 6 for our first seminar of 2015. Dr. Melvin Andersen, chief science officer at The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences, will be at Barus and Holley, room 190, to speak about “Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century: Increasing the Emphasis on Modern Biology in the Transition from Traditional Practice.”

Testing to assess the safety of commercially important chemicals is in transition from in-life studies conducted in various animal species to cell-based assays that probe modes of action of chemicals in short-term assays that can move to higher throughput platforms for more rapid screening.  Over the past 10 years the US EPA has focused on developing broad coverage of modes-of-action using large numbers of commercially available assays and applying them to large numbers of chemicals.  Other tools developed collaboratively by EPA/Hamner staff assisted in vitro to in vivo extrapolation (IVIVE) to compare the concentrations active in the test tube with human exposures expected to give similar plasma concentrations in exposed populations.  The integration of these methods produced provisional pathway based risk assessments and suggestions of the manner in which these results might move into a tiered approach to support testing of large numbers of compounds. At Hamner, we are using case study approaches for compounds with specific modes-of-action to show new approaches in action. Our efforts over the past 5 years highlight the need to maintain close cooperation between test methods and emerging biological knowledge of signaling pathways and response networks to improve assay development and support realistic risk assessment extrapolations  across platforms and from high doses to lower doses.  This talk looks at the factors propelling change in test methods, the contributions from core biological disciplines in these endeavors, and progress toward these goals from multiple sectors.

February 6, 2015, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Barus and Holley, Room 190
Brown University, 182 Hope Street, Providence, RI

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CEC Co-leader Marcella Thompson presented her research at USEPA/NIEHS/ATSDR National Fish Advisories Information Network (FISHNET) Working Group telemeeting on December 3, 2014.

Dr. Thompson’s research focused on multiple environmental chemical exposures among US childbearing-aged women (i.e., lead, mercury and PCBs). Her presentation provided an overview of her research and its findings with special emphasis on the statistically significant relationship between fish consumption and having two or more xenobiotic blood levels at or above the median. The discussion that followed the presentations centered around implications for future research and public health practice.

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EPA New England Regional Administrator, Curt Spalding presents, “Superfund in the 21st Century: Emerging Challenges and a Path Forward” at a Superfund Seminar on Friday, December 5, 2014

Curt Spalding, EPA Regional Administrator, discussed EPA priorities, especially regarding the Agency’s approach to Climate Change.  He then discussed Superfund and some emerging and ongoing challenges related to such topics as cleanup approaches and emerging contaminants.

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Provost Vicki Colvin presents, “Nanotechnology and the Environment” at SRP Research Seminar

Dr. Vicki Colvin, former Vice Provost for Research and Pitzer-Schlumberger Professor of Chemistry and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Rice University is the new Provost at Brown University. She presented an SRP Research Seminar on November 7, 2014 at Brown describing her research on applications of nanotechnology for environmental remediation.

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State Agencies Liaison James Rice and Trainee Megan Creighton co-chaired a session entitled “Transport of Environmental Contaminants Related to Energy Processes” at 2014 AIChE Annual Meeting

State Agencies Liaison James Rice and Trainee Megan Creighton co-chaired a session entitled “Transport of Environmental Contaminants Related to Energy Processes”at the 2014 AIChE Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA on 11/18/14. Session description: The environment is contaminated by an array of pollutants stemming from energy-related activities such as the acquisition, refinement, combustion/utilization, and accidental release of fuels. This session emphasizes the understanding of contaminant transport in environmental media (e.g., air, groundwater, oceans, soil, etc.) and industrial operations. Papers are invited on topics including the physical, chemical and biological processes that pollutants undergo upon release; the effects of interacting mixtures and complex systems on contaminant fate and transport; remediation methods; release prevention; and other issues, challenges, and solutions on which laboratory, pilot, or field-scale studies shed light.

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Trainee Megan Creighton Receives First Place Prize at annual meeting of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers

On November 18, 2014 at the annual meeting of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Nanoscale Science and Engineering forum hosted an award session to honor graduate students whose research achievements, in the broad area of carbon nanomaterials, demonstrate a high level of excellence. Finalists were selected based on their abstract submissions and their CVs to present their work in this award session. At the end of the session, a panel of judges determined 1st-3rd place. Megan Creighton was awarded the first place prize.

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Nanotubes Carcinogenicity Assessment at IARC

In October 2014, Brown SRP Project and Training Core Leader Dr. Agnes Kane chaired a meeting of 21 experts from ten countries at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC; Lyon, France) to assess the carcinogenicity of fluoro-edenite, silicon carbide (SiC) fibres and whiskers, and carbon nanotubes (CNTs) including single-walled (SWCNTs) and multi-walled (MWCNTs) types. These assessments will be published as Volume 111 of the IARC Monographs. A pdf of the summary of IARC Monographs Volume 111 now published on-line in The Lancet Oncology is available at AND

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Dr. Julie Zimmerman Seminar

Professor Julie Zimmerman, Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Yale University, presented her work on “Designing Safer Chemicals and Nanomaterials for Enhanced Applications and Minimized Implications” on Oct. 17, 2014 as part of the Brown SRP seminar series.

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Community Engagement Co-leader Bob Vanderslice speaks at Northeastern SRP PROTECT Webinar Series

Dr. Robert Vanderslice (RI Dept of Health Team Lead and Brown University SRP RTC & CEC co-leader) presented “Careers in Environmental Health: Toxicology,” at the Northeastern University SRP PROTECT Webinar Series held on Monday, October 27th, from 1:00 – 2:00pm.

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