Adaptation of an Animal Mutation Model to Cell Culture Enables Rapid In Vitro Mutagenicity Testing

Adaptation of an Animal Mutation Model to Cell Culture Enables Rapid In Vitro Mutagenicity Testing

2021-07-08 10:23
By Bevin P. Engelward
MIT SRP Program Director

There is much interest in understanding the mechanisms underlying the complex patterns displayed in mutational spectra, because these spectra will help to illuminate the molecular etiology of genetic diseases, such as cancer. The lambda gpt delta C57BL/6J mouse is an extraordinarily useful model for the probing underlying mechanisms of human cancer, and the mutational spectra of dozens of environmental carcinogens have been characterized using this transgenic animal model.

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All About NDMA

All About NDMA

2019-01-10 10:14
By Jenny Kay
Research Translation Core Leader

If you’ve been following MIT-SRP, then you’ve probably heard about the chemical N-dimethylnitrosamine (NDMA), but as a lesser-known contaminant, you may not know what it is or why it’s important. NDMA causes liver, lung, and kidney cancer in rodent models, and it is classified as Group 2A probable carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) (EPA class B2). These class designations basically mean that there is strong evidence for NDMA causing cancer in animal models, but there’s insufficient evidence to say for sure that NDMA causes cancer in humans. Since humans and animals often respond similarly, things that cause cancer in animals are generally thought to be risky to people. I’ve introduced how NDMA causes cancer in the earlier blog entries, so here I’ll describe more about the chemical itself.

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Brown University SRP Director Prof. Robert Hurt Presented at Friday Forum Seminar Series

Brown University SRP Director Prof. Robert Hurt Presented at Friday Forum Seminar Series

2021-07-08 10:18
By Bevin P. Engelward
MIT SRP Program Director

On February 21, 2020, Prof. Robert Hurt (Program Director and Project 4 PI for the Brown University SRP) visited MIT to give a lecture as part of the Friday Forum seminar series. This lecture was co-sponsored by the MIT SRP and Center for Environmental Health Sciences (CEHS).

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Carbon Nanotube-Based Sensor Detects Nitrosamines in Air

Carbon Nanotube-Based Sensor Detects Nitrosamines in Air

2021-07-08 10:18
By Bevin P. Engelward
MIT SRP Program Director

A collaboration between environmental science and engineering researchers and biomedical researchers from the MIT SRP has led to the development of a carbon nanotube (CNT) based sensor that enables detection of nitrosamines in air. The sensor was developed by Dr. Maggie He of Prof. Timothy Swager’s laboratory in collaboration with Prof. John Essigmann and Dr. Robert Croy.

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Celebrating John Essigmann, Winner of the 2021 ACS Founder’s Award in Chemical Toxicology

Celebrating John Essigmann, Winner of the 2021 ACS Founder’s Award in Chemical Toxicology

2021-04-21 09:57
By Lee Pribyl
Research Translation Core Leader and Project 4 Postdoc

It was recently announced that Professor John Essigmann is this year’s winner of the American Chemical Society (ACS) Division of Chemical Toxicology (TOXI) Founder’s Award. Prof. Essigmann is the William R. (1956) and Betsy P. Leitch Professor in Residence of Chemistry in the MIT Department of Chemistry and Professor of Toxicology and Biological Engineering in the MIT Department of Biological Engineering. He is also the Deputy Director of the MIT Center for Environmental Health Sciences and a project and core leader for the MIT Superfund Research Program. Previous winners of this award at MIT include our colleague, Dr. Peter Dedon. The award was established in honor of the founders of the ACS Division of Chemical Toxicology and recognizes scientists whose work exemplifies the founders’ vision for excellence in the field of chemical toxicology.

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Center Highlights

Center Highlights

2021-07-08 10:11
By Bevin P. Engelward
MIT SRP Program Director

Predicting health impact of environmental contaminants for environmental justice communities in Eastern Maine: The longer mercury-controlling policies are delayed, the less effective they will be. Furthermore, the current administration is proposing to roll back existing regulations on mercury emissions. Mercury (Hg) is emitted into the atmosphere by multiple natural and anthropogenic sources (e.g., coal-fired power plants). Mercury is of global concern owing to its persistence in the environment, its ability to be transported far away from emission sources, and its bioaccumulation to toxic levels in food webs. Mercury emissions are addressed under the global 2017 Minamata Convention, which requires that countries control emissions from specific sources. Policymakers typically use models t

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Chemistry Cleanup: Desirée Plata Devises New Methods for Decontaminating Air, Water

Chemistry Cleanup: Desirée Plata Devises New Methods for Decontaminating Air, Water

2021-04-29 09:43
By Catherine Caruso
Senior Reporter, Cancer Discovery News

FOR DESIRÉE PLATA PHD ’09, THE DECISION to become an environmental chemist was inspired not only by an interest in science but also by her personal experience with the health effects of environmental contamination. Growing up in Maine, Plata noticed a spike in disease among people in a neighboring town—including members of her family. Later she learned the illnesses were linked to water contamination caused by years of improper industrial waste disposal.

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DNA Repair and Cancer

DNA Repair and Cancer

2018-05-10 10:20
By Jenny Kay
Research Translation Core director and Project 4 Postdoc

This month we’re going to discuss why some people are more likely to get cancer than others. As you may recall from our previous post, Introduction to Mutations and Cancer, cancer generally arises from mutations in the genetic code. Mutations can happen randomly, even in healthy cells, but they become more likely if DNA has been damaged. To prevent DNA damage from causing mutations, every organism has evolved DNA repair mechanisms to fix damage and preserve the genetic sequence. Humans have at least six different DNA repair pathways (depending how you count), each of which is particularly suited to certain types of damage.

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EAC Meeting

EAC Meeting

2021-07-08 10:07
By Bevin P. Engelward
MIT SRP Program Director

On October 4th and 5th, MIT SRP welcomed its External Advisory Committee and shared updates on trainee research and leadership activities. Prof. Akram Alshawabkeh of Northeastern, Prof. Ian Blair of UPenn, Prof. Rebecca Fry of UNC, Prof. John Durant of Tufts, Dr. Ljiljane Pasa-Tolic of PNNL, and Captain Michael Stover of the EPA formed the expert team to help guide ongoing development of the MIT SRP. Current research efforts were showcased at a trainee poster session,

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Edgerton Award Citation for Desiree Plata

Edgerton Award Citation for Desiree Plata

2021-05-03 09:41
By Tami Kaplan
MIT Faculty Governance Administrator

“Doc Edgerton” was a remarkable innovator and leader, and he was dedicated to the successes of junior faculty. MIT has a special annual award in his memory for junior faculty who have an outstanding record in research, teaching and service. On April 21, it was announced that Desiree Plata is one of the winners of the Edgerton Award for 2021. This is one of the Institute’s highest honors and the granting of the award includes a citation that highlights the award winner’s accomplishments. Dr. Tami Kaplan organizes the Edgerton Award nomination process, and she writes the citation that is read at an Institute Faculty Meeting. Members of the committee in 2021 included Professor Bevin Engelward (Chair), Professor Alessandro Bonatti, Professor Amy Glasmeier, Professor Tim Swager, and Professor TL Taylor.

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EPA Region 1 Tribal Environmental Conference

EPA Region 1 Tribal Environmental Conference

2021-07-08 10:08
By Bevin P. Engelward
MIT SRP Program Director

Community Engagement Core leader Dr. Kathleen Vandiver and Research Translation Core leader Dr. Jennifer Kay attended the EPA Region 1 Tribal Environmental Conference in Jackman, ME on October 31-November 1, 2018. Goals of the visit included gaining an improved understanding of tribal environmental concerns, listening to tribal perspectives and histories, and learning about the future of New England climate, ecology, and environmental hazards. Drs. Vand

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Epidemiological Study links NDMA to Cancer

Epidemiological Study links NDMA to Cancer

2021-09-21 09:04
By Bevin P. Engelward
MIT Superfund Research Program Director

Wilmington Massachusetts is a leafy suburb just north of Boston. With classic New England homes and maple trees it provides an idyllic setting for family life. Nevertheless, in the 1990s, mothers started noticing that many of their children had cancer. When a proper study was done, it was discovered that 24 children out of a town of approximately 18,000 had cancer, which is six times higher than the national average. People living in Wilmington wanted to know what had caused so many cases of childhood cancer in their town, and they turned their attention to their drinking water. Knowing that the Olin chemical company had operated in Wilmington for many years, and that the site was used for many other chemical companies prior to Olin, town members wondered if it was possible that chemical waste had made its way from the Olin site to their drinking water wells.

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HepaCometChip Enables SRP Research and Chemical Safety Testing

HepaCometChip Enables SRP Research and Chemical Safety Testing

2021-07-08 10:26
By Bevin P. Engelward
MIT SRP Program Director

A blind spot for high throughput genotoxicity assays is the inability to detect bulky lesions on DNA that have the potential to be carcinogenic. To overcome this limitation, Drs. Lizzie Ngo and Norah Owiti from the Engelward laboratory developed new methodologies for the CometChip, a high throughput comet assay developed at MIT. By incorporating hepatocytes, the platform can detect bulky lesions that are formed as a consequence of metabolic activation.

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High Throughput Toxicity Assay

High Throughput Toxicity Assay

2021-09-14 12:08
By Bevin P. Engleward
MIT SRP Program Director

Cell survival assays are routine in many life science laboratories, yet direct measurements of cell growth are rarely performed due to the fact that the gold standard colony forming assay is slow and laborious. A novel adaptation to the traditional colony forming assay was developed by Postdoc Lizzie Ngo of the Engelward and Samson laboratories.

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Inaugural MIT Superfund Research Program Poster Session

Inaugural MIT Superfund Research Program Poster Session

2021-07-08 10:01
By Bevin P. Engelward
MIT SRP Program Director

The MIT Superfund Research Program teamed up with the MIT Center for Environmental Health Sciences (CEHS) to offer their first joint poster session on April 10th. Nine SRP trainees showcased their research. For the SRP awards, James Rowe won first place, Maggie He and Lennon Luo shared second place, and Ishwar Kohale won

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Introduction to MIT’s Superfund Research Program

Introduction to MIT’s Superfund Research Program

2018-03-06 10:25
By Jenny Kay
Research Translation Core Director and Project 4 Postdoc

Welcome to the MIT Superfund Blog!

We will be using this platform to share perspectives from our research team, whose work focuses on the impact of environmental exposures on health, in terms that are accessible to a broad audience. Our goal is to explain big picture concepts with minimal jargon and technicalities.

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Introduction to Mutations and Cancer

Introduction to Mutations and Cancer

2018-04-06 10:23
By Jenny Kay
Research Translation Core Director and Project 4 Postdoc

We have quite a variety of scientists and research projects in our program, so over time you’ll have the chance to hear many different perspectives in this blog. Since I have the privilege of writing the first few posts, I’m going to begin with my specialty, the development of cancer. I want to start this conversation with the basics: where does cancer come from?

This is a HUGE question with lots of facets, more than I can address in one post, so let’s take it one step at a time.

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Leona D. Samson, The Pioneer

Leona D. Samson, The Pioneer

2021-04-23 09:53
By Bevin P. Engelward
MIT Superfund Research Program Director

On April 22, 2021, Dr. Leona D. Samson was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Samson is exceptionally deserving of this recognition. Her innovative research has truly been groundbreaking, with a consistent string of pioneering work that has not only moved her research field forward, but that has also opened doors to personalized medicine and a deeper understanding of cancer etiology. Her work has consistently focused on aspects of DNA damage and repair. With the knowledge that DNA damage has the potential to lead to mutations, and that accumulated mutations can drive cancer, she set out to discover genes that modulate susceptibility to DNA damage and to uncover their molecular mechanisms. Importantly, and somewhat ironically, DNA damaging agents are also used to treat cancer when they are delivered at a high concentration. As such, her work impacts both our understanding of the causes of cancer and our ability to effectively treat cancer. Here, a subset of her remarkable contributions are summarized.

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Leventhal City Prize for Equitable Resilience

Leventhal City Prize for Equitable Resilience

2021-07-08 10:27
By Bevin P. Engelward
MIT SRP Program Director

A team led by CEC Director Dr. Kathy Vandiver won the Norman B. Leventhal City Prize, a $100,000 award offered by MIT’s Leventhal Center. The objective of the ‘Malden River Works for Waterfront Equity and Resilience’ project is to create a public open space to improve opportunities for community recreation and health. It is envisioned the river will become a place where people can gather or walk, and also enjoy being out in nature where the surroundings are healthy for both the mind and body.

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Manuscript from the Engelward Lab Demonstrates that the Level of a Key DNA Repair Enzyme acts as a Toggle Between NDMA-Induced Cancer and Toxicity

Manuscript from the Engelward Lab Demonstrates that the Level of a Key DNA Repair Enzyme acts as a Toggle Between NDMA-Induced Cancer and Toxicity

2021-04-02 09:59
By Lee Pribyl
Research Translation Core Leader and Project 4 Postdoc

Recent work from the Engelward Lab has been published in Cell Reports and featured in the MIT News on March 16, 2021. This research highlights increased concerns of the contaminant, N-nitrosodimethylamine or more commonly known by its abbreviation NDMA. NDMA is a probable carcinogen identified in exceedingly high levels at the Olin Chemical Superfund Site in Wilmington, MA. This chemical is also present in food that is known to be carcinogenic (namely, processed meat), and is sometimes present in heavily chloraminated municipal drinking water. Coincidently, last week the Massachusetts Department of Public Health released its findings from a 20 year study that showed an association between exposure to NDMA in utero and a childhood cancer cluster in Wilmington. Additionally, over the past couple of years several types of drugs were found to be contaminated with NDMA or to contain precursors that break down to form NDMA. Tens of millions of people in the United States alone were exposed to high levels of NDMA from taking Zantac, Metformin and Valsartan. In fact, the public health crisis that has stemmed from NDMA contamination is alarming enough that the FDA held a two-day public workshop focused on addressing this issue this past week.

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Mapping and Monitoring Toxicants Using Carbon Nanotube Sensors

Mapping and Monitoring Toxicants Using Carbon Nanotube Sensors

2021-07-08 10:06
By Maggie He

MIT Superfund Research Program scientists and engineers are studying N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), chemicals that can be harmful to the environment and also to our health. Both NDMA and PAHs undergo secondary chemical reactions to produce alkylating agents that damage DNA, and consequently they have the potential to cause cancer. NDMA arises in the environment as a result of reactions among legacy contaminants that were released to the environment by previous industrial processes. It is also a contaminant with emerging importance, since it is produced by chlorination of water and by carbon capture. As a result, the contamination of NDMA in drinking water is a significant health concern. PAHs are intrinsic products of combustion. The chemical structure of PAHs varies in their polycyclic skeleton as well as their exocyclic functional groups. PAHs and their breakdown products by atmospheric oxidation have different levels of carcinogenicity.

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MIT / Passamaquoddy Tribe Engagement

MIT / Passamaquoddy Tribe Engagement

2021-07-08 10:23
By Bevin P. Engelward
MIT SRP Program Director

On August 2, 2019, a team from MIT SRP visited stakeholders in Maine, including A.E. Hodsdon Consulting Engineers in Waterville, ME, the group that oversees the drinking water treatment facility for the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point. The district is known as the Passamaquoddy Water District (PWD) and facility’s water source, Boyden Lake, has been known for years to be very challenging.

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MIT SRP in the News

MIT SRP in the News

2021-07-08 10:16

MIT Homepage News Spotlight: Work from MIT SRP trainees Hélène Angot and Nicholas Hoffman was featured on the MIT Homepage. The article discussed their research with Prof. Noelle Selin (Project 2), studying the atmospheric transport and transformation of mercury and the impacts of mercury bioaccumulation in fish. MIT SRP Citizen Science in the News: Abigail Harvey and Tchelet Segev, two Master’s students trained by Dr. Kathy

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MIT SRP Labs Collaborate on Study of NDMA Susceptibility

MIT SRP Labs Collaborate on Study of NDMA Susceptibility

2021-09-20 12:54
By Bevin P. Engelward
MIT SRP Program Director

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MIT SRP Leaders Share Superfund Advances with Congressional Staff

MIT SRP Leaders Share Superfund Advances with Congressional Staff

2020-03-01 10:06
By Bein P. Engelward
MIT Superfund Research Program Director

A group of Superfund Research Program Center leaders from MIT, Northeastern University, University of Kentucky, and Louisiana State University went to Washington DC to engage with Professional Staff from the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. This was a great opportunity to share the good news about the many strengths of the NIEHS Superfund Research Program with people who play a direct role in deciding which programs to support.

The group was led by Akram Alshawabkeh (Prof. of Engineering, Director of the Northeastern University SRP Center) and included Bevin Engelward (Prof. of Biological Engineering, Director of the MIT SRP Center), Lindell Ormsbee (Prof. of Civil Engineering, Associate Director of the University of Kentucky SRP Center) and Margaret Reams (Prof. of Environmental Sciences and Leader of the Community Engagement Core for the Louisiana State University SRP Center). They met with Professional Staff Members Dr. Kusai Merchant, Kristin Clarkson, Kathryn Solmon, Melissa Zimmerman, and Lucas Agnew.

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MIT SRP Supports Citizen Science in Collaboration with Native Americans in Maine

MIT SRP Supports Citizen Science in Collaboration with Native Americans in Maine

2021-07-08 10:00
By Bevin P. Engelward
MIT SRP Program Director

Five years ago, Drs. Kathy Vandiver and Robert Croy, along with Prof. John Essigmann, reached out to Passamaquoddy Tribe located in the vicinity of Eastport Maine, who had asked for advice regarding news stories and publications warning of high arsenic levels in drinking water. The MIT group represented the Community Outreach, Education and Engagement Core of the Center for Environmental Health Sciences (CEHS). This initial contact led to a robust bi-directional interaction that serves as a platform upon which some of the Superfund community programs are based. Indeed, Superfund and CEHS now work closely together with the Sipayik Environmental Department of the Passamaquoddy Nation to address an ever widening suite of environmental questions and problems. 

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MIT SRP Visits Malden High School STEM Classes

MIT SRP Visits Malden High School STEM Classes

2021-07-08 09:59
By Bevin P. Engelward
MIT SRP Program Director

Malden is an Environmental Justice community located on the historically industrialized Malden River. The Malden River is part of the Mystic River Watershed, within which three Superfund sites are located. Despite recent remediation efforts along the Malden River, many Malden residents are unaware or skeptical of their river’s accessibility for recreation.

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MIT Superfund Friday Forum

MIT Superfund Friday Forum

2021-07-08 10:03
By Bevin P. Engelward
MIT SRP Program Director

Three Superfund Friday Forum Seminars have been held since the MIT SRP began. The inaugural Superfund Friday Forum, on October 6, 2017, began with an introduction by Director Prof. Bevin Engelward, who provided an overview of the program, as well as descriptions of the relevant Superfund sites and contaminants of interest. Program Co-Director Prof. John Essigmann then presented the main research seminar. He discussed the history of industrial activity in the Mystic River Watershed in Massachusetts and described the former Loring Air Force Base in Maine.

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NextGen Protocols

NextGen Protocols

2021-07-08 10:17
By Bevin P. Engelward
MIT SRP Program Director

The MIT SRP Research Translation Core is pleased to share NextGen Protocols. Detailed experimental protocols used in SRP research are being shared so that the exact methods of each experiment can be linked to data sets produced by those experiments. The MIT SRP invites trainees from all SRP centers to use the website. The protocols on NextGen Protocols are intended to be fully descriptive of the experimental process to make it easier to reproduce results.

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NIEHS Superfund Research Program Pioneers FAIR Play in Research

NIEHS Superfund Research Program Pioneers FAIR Play in Research

2020-01-07 10:10
By Bevin P. Engelward, MIT Superfund Research Program Director
Amy L. Nurnberger, MIT Data Management Services Program Head

Under the leadership of Director Dr. William Suk, the NIEHS Superfund Research Program is playing a pioneering role in enabling the development of novel tools for leveraging big data in new and exciting ways. Big data comes in many forms, ranging from life-science based data sets for measuring which genes are turned on and off, to engineering modeling of the spatiotemporal dynamics of contaminants in our environment. Not only are large data sets being created faster and more efficiently, but so are innovative tools for combining data sets. To fully leverage these large data sets, we need to be able to find them, access the data, and manipulate the data. In essence, the goal is to reuse data to gain new and deeper understanding and greater predictive capacity. In recognition of the importance of these activities, the NIEHS SRP is adopting innovative strategies for making data findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable; in other words, making data FAIR.

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Northeast Regional SRP Meeting in Woods Hole

Northeast Regional SRP Meeting in Woods Hole

2021-07-08 10:02
By Bevin P. Engelward
MIT SRP Program Director

Thirteen members of the MIT Superfund Research Program team attended the Northeast SRP meeting in Woods Hole on March 26-27, organized by Boston University’s SRP. This meeting was an excellent opportunity to strengthen connections with other Superfund Research Centers, inspiring future efforts and fostering collaborations. Program Director Prof. Bevin Engelward gave a presentation that

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Outreach Publication in Scientia

Outreach Publication in Scientia

2021-09-14 12:06
By Bevin P. Engelward
MIT SRP Program Director

Program Director Prof. Bevin Engelward and RTC leader Dr. Jenny Kay collaborated with editors of the science outreach journal Scientia to produce an article about the MIT SRP and its biological research projects. The article describes the NIEHS Superfund Research Program and MIT SRP’s chemicals of interest, N-nitrosamines, probable human carcinogens t

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Partnership with the Wilmington Environmental Restoration Committee

Partnership with the Wilmington Environmental Restoration Committee

2021-07-08 10:13
By Bevin P. Engelward
MIT SRP Program Director

The Olin Chemical Superfund Site is located in Wilmington, MA. At Olin, from 1953 to 1970 wastes were discharged into lagoons, ponds, and a man-made area called Lake Poly. Prof. Bevin Engelward (Program Director) and Dr. Kathy Vandiver (Director of the Community Engagement Core) met with leadership from the Wilmington Environmental Restoration Committee (WERC) on July 26th 2018. Representatives from WERC included Suzanne Sullivan, Martha Stevenson, Liz Harriman, and Gary Mercer. WERC has been meeting regularly for over 15 years, so they have a great depth of knowledge

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Public Interest in Environmental Issues from Massachusetts to Missouri

Public Interest in Environmental Issues from Massachusetts to Missouri

2018-09-14 10:16
By James Rowe
Project 2 Grad Student

Recently I found myself staying in St. Louis, Missouri to attend a conference for researchers who focus on atmospheric science. The conference was located downtown near the river, which gave ample opportunity to check out the St. Louis Arch and the recently dedicated National Park that surrounds it. From here I was able to gaze upon the gushing waters of the Mississippi, watch the sun cast its light on the heartland of America, and listen to the symphony of cicadas that sounds so sweet to someone from the south like me. Needless to say, I was struck by such natural beauty residing in the middle of a bustling urban center. And, in my opinion, I think the residents of St. Louis were as well. I was never alone at the park, there were always crowds lounging on the open grassy spaces or running along the river paths.

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Research Highlight: Modeling Atmospheric Transformation of PAHs

Research Highlight: Modeling Atmospheric Transformation of PAHs

2021-07-08 10:09
By Bevin P. Engleward
MIT SRP Program Director

One of the goals of Project 2 for the MIT SRP is to analyze the chemical evolution of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the air near Superfund Sites. PAHs are common pollutants formed from incomplete combustion processes, and many are known or probable carcinogens. Their structure consists of two or more aromatic rings, an example of which is shown in Figure 1.

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Scouting Out Sampling Locations Near Olin Chemical Superfund Site

Scouting Out Sampling Locations Near Olin Chemical Superfund Site

2021-07-08 09:58
By Bevin P. Engleward
MIT SRP Program Director

The Olin Chemical Superfund site in Wilmington, MA is heavily contaminated with N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), an emerging contaminant that is carcinogenic in animal models. As a first step, Program Director Prof. Bevin Engelward, Co-Director Prof. John Essigmann, RTC director Dr. Jenny Kay, and NDMA expert Prof. John Durant of Tufts University joined MIT Masters students Abby Harvey and Tchelet Segev to visit the Olin site in Wilmington and collect initial samples in the area. 

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Spotlight | Dr. Kathy Vandiver

Spotlight | Dr. Kathy Vandiver

2021-09-21 12:50
By Bevin P. Engelward
MIT SRP Program Director

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Study Links Childhood Cancer to NDMA Exposure

Study Links Childhood Cancer to NDMA Exposure

2021-09-14 12:04
By Bevin P. Engelward
MIT SRP Program Director

The Olin Chemical Superfund Site in Wilmington, MA, contains high levels of NDMA, a probable human carcinogen that traveled nearly a mile underground, contaminating town wells that had been used by thousands of people. After the discovery of a childhood cancer cluster, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health did an epidemiological study, and the results show an association between exposure to NDMA in utero and cancer in children.

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The Data Management and Analysis Core Takes Off at MIT

The Data Management and Analysis Core Takes Off at MIT

2021-07-08 10:22

With support from the NIEHS, MIT SRP is developing new infrastructure that enables data to be combined in new ways and that ensures FAIR practices. An exciting development is the ability to upload metadata in real time for wide ranging data sets, including environmental as well as biological data. The new Data Management Core will build off of the open access SEEK platform to create a system where researchers from vastly different f

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Timothy Manning Swager, the Inventor

Timothy Manning Swager, the Inventor

2021-01-07 10:04
By Bevin P. Engleward
MIT Superfund Research Program Director

This blog is to celebrate the accomplishments of Timothy M. Swager on the occasion of his being named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. Tim is the John D. MacArthur Professor of Chemistry and the Director of the MIT Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation. Tim is also a project leader for the MIT Superfund Research Program, a program that is focused on environmental health with an emphasis on serving environmental justice communities.

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Trainee Highlights

Trainee Highlights

2021-07-08 10:14
By Bevin P. Engelward
MIT SRP Program Director

Project 1 trainee Irene Hu successfully defended her thesis and will continue working with the SRP program as a postdoc.  In the laboratory of Prof. Harry Hemond (Project 1), her research focused on the development and testing of a novel in situ sensor to measure benthic fluxes of key biogeochemicals, including pollutants at contaminated sites. Read more in her Trainee Spotlight here.

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Trainee Spotlight |  Dr. Amanda Armijo

Trainee Spotlight | Dr. Amanda Armijo

2021-07-08 10:25
By Bevin P. Engelward
MIT SRP Program Director

Amanda Armijo, a postdoctoral fellow at MIT Professor John Essigmann’s group in the Department of Biological Engineering and Dr. James Fox’s group in the Division of Comparative Medicine, is studying the genotoxic signatures caused by environmental contaminants and how these mutations result in development of liver cancer. Specifically, her research focuses on the mutational patterns induced by the probable human carcinogen, N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA).

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Trainee Spotlight | Dr. Jennifer Kay

Trainee Spotlight | Dr. Jennifer Kay

2021-09-29 07:32
By Bevin P. Engelward
MIT SRP Program Director

One of MIT’s former SRP trainees, Jennifer Kay, was named the 23rd winner of the Karen Wetterhahn Award. This SRP-established annual award recognizes an outstanding graduate student or post-doctoral researcher that best demonstrates the qualities of scientific excellence exhibited by Dr. Wetterhahn. Kay says: “I aspire to her enduring legacy of research excellence, environmental concern, scientific mentorship, and social justice.” For more about Kay’s focus of studies, see the NIEHS Factor.

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Trainee Spotlight | Hélène Angot

Trainee Spotlight | Hélène Angot

2021-07-08 10:04
By Bevin P. Engelward
MIT SRP Program Director

Currently, Dr. Angot contributes to Project 2 of the MIT Superfund Research Program, aimed at modeling the atmospheric transport and fate of carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and their degradation products (oxy- and nitro-PAHs). These compounds are present in Superfund and other contaminated sites, such as the Loring Air Force Base near Limestone, ME, making an understanding of their lifecycle especially relevant to the MIT SRP Center. While degradation products can be more toxic and harmful than their primary precursors, their atmospheric reactivity and fate is poorly understood. A fully coupled scheme is currently under development within the global chemical transport model GEOS-Chem. The ultimate outputs are model estimates of PAHs and degradation products’ atmospheric levels, which are crucial for improving estimates of potential exposures and public health impact. This work is done in close collaboration with Prof. Mathew Evans’ group at the University of York’s Chemistry Department (UK) and Prof. Jesse Kroll’s group at MIT.

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Trainee Spotlight | Jessica Beard

Trainee Spotlight | Jessica Beard

2021-09-19 12:55
By Bevin P. Engelward
MIT SRP Program Director

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Trainee Spotlight: Irene Hu

Trainee Spotlight: Irene Hu

2021-07-08 10:11
By Bevin P. Engelward
MIT SRP Program Director

Irene Hu, a former graduate student in Professor Harry Hemond’s group at MIT in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is studying the flux of contaminants between sediments and water. Specifically, her research focuses on the development and testing of novel in situ instrumentation to study the fate and transport of environmental biogeochemicals. As part of Project 1 of the MIT Superfund Research Program, Irene is developing a sensor to measure benthic (sediment-water) fluxes of chemicals in aquatic ecosystems, su

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Transport and Transformation of Chemicals in the Atmosphere

Transport and Transformation of Chemicals in the Atmosphere

2018-07-03 10:18
By Hélène Angot
Project 2 Postdoc

Have you ever wondered how we can trace the fate of toxic pollutants in the atmosphere and forecast air pollution in a given region? If so, this blog post is for you! We are going to focus on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), one of the MIT Superfund Research Program’s chemicals of interest, but keep in mind that the principles discussed here can be applied to other pollutants.

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Visit to Loring AFB Superfund Site

Visit to Loring AFB Superfund Site

2021-07-08 10:15
By Bevin P. Engelward
MIT SRP Program Director

In August 2018, MIT SRP Program Director Prof. Bevin Engelward, Co-Director Prof. John Essigmann, and Community Engagement Core Leader Dr. Kathleen Vandiver traveled to the Loring Air Force Base Superfund site. The former Loring AFB is contaminated with a variety of harmful chemicals, including PCBs, PAHs, and PFAS at different sites around the property. Following extensive remediation, the land was divided into parcels, one of which was given to the Aroostook Band of Micmacs. However, subsequent testing revealed that contamination remains at unsafe levels for foo

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Awards and Honors

Awards and Honors

2024-03-15 01:09

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