MIT Superfund Friday Forum

By Bevin P. Engelward

MIT Superfund 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. His presentation provided new members of the MIT SRP with a concise description of our community partners and the motivation for our research. Prof. Essigmann also presented the foundational work upon which Project 3 is based, which is focused on identification of high-resolution mutational signatures induced by chemical exposure.

The second Superfund Friday Forum was presented on November 17, 2017 by Prof. Akram Alshawabkeh, Director of the Puerto Rico Testsite for Exploring Contamination Threats (PROTECT) Superfund Research Center based at Northeastern University. Prof. Alshawabkeh presented an overview of the PROTECT program, providing an inspirational model of effective environmental research. This seminar helped contextualize the goals of their environmental and toxicological research with examples of research progress and implementation in Puerto Rico.

At the most recent Superfund Friday Forum, Prof. Benjamin Kocar of MIT’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Department presented an overview soil research being done in his laboratory. The Kocar group integrates geology, chemistry, and biology to study the transport of contaminants, nutrients and gases in aqueous and soil systems.

Taken together, the MIT Superfund Friday Forum Series is off to a great start with talks providing valuable context and inspiration.