About MIT Superfund

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Superfund Research Program (MIT SRP) brings engineering and scientific innovation to bear on critical problems relevant to stakeholders in Maine and Massachusetts. Their problem-oriented program centers around two pervasive contaminants, N-nitrosamines (potently carcinogenic to animals) and PAHs (carcinogenic to people). Both these contaminants are present in multiple Superfund Sites and they continue to be produced by ongoing industrial activities today. Native Americans in Maine and people living in the Mystic River Watershed in Massachusetts have expressed serious concerns about contaminants in their environments. In both locations, people are negatively impacted by legacy contaminants, and in both cases, there are Environmental Justice communities of concern. To address their concerns, the MIT SRP aims to develop novel sensors and engineering tools to predict the distribution and composition of pollutants. This work will guide decision making regarding safety and remediation. By also studying cellular and physiological responses (in terms of cell signaling, mutations, and cancer), the team will help to reveal what makes some people more susceptible to cancer than others, and will develop tools to predict and mitigate disease. The bi-directional program is based on established relationships with stakeholders. The team continues to grow relationships with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the NIEHS, and Tribal Leaders. Embedded in all of the MIT SRP activities are training opportunities for undergraduates, graduate students and postdocs, thus supporting the next generation. Taken together, the MIT SRP enables risk reduction, guidance for remediation, and support for policy decisions, thus having a direct and measurable impact on public health.