LSU SRP Team Members Participate in National Superfund Conference
The LSU SRP team was well represented at the 35th Anniversary Annual Meeting of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Superfund Research Program. After two years of virtual-only meetings, Superfund investigators from across the nation met in person in Raleigh, North Carolina, on December 14–16, 2022, around this year’s meeting theme of “System Approaches for Innovative and Inclusive Environmental Health Solutions.” Stephania Cormier, PhD, LSU SRP Director, commented on the importance of this meeting:
"For the past few years, the significant shift to virtual meetings has greatly impacted our lives. The NIEHS Superfund Research Program, unlike most NIH programs, is a truly multidisciplinary program bringing together biologists, chemists, engineers, and community health researchers. Our research programs, and most importantly our trainees, felt isolated during this time. With over 500 attendees—the largest Annual Meeting of the NIEHS Superfund Awardees there’s been—it is clear others felt the same way. I was thrilled by the strong attendance of our LSU Superfund researchers, from trainees to faculty! Feedback during and after the meeting demonstrated the value of in-person meetings like this for the resilience of ongoing collaborations and the development of new relationships and collaborations, which are critical for advancing our research for the environment and health of the population."
Co-hosted by the Superfund Programs at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the meeting aimed to build connections and stimulate discussion among Superfund researchers involved in different university programs in service of the objectives of the overall National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Superfund Research Program. The program currently funds over 20 interdisciplinary university-based research centers, along with additional smaller research projects and education programs. Centers focus on understanding health and environmental impacts due to specific types of hazardous waste and are tasked with identifying practical, scientific solutions to protect health, the environment, and communities located near these sites.
Reflecting on the 2022 meeting following two years of online-only meetings, Jennifer Irving, MPH, LSU SRP Research Translation Coordinator and graduate student trainee, remarked,
"After attending the SRP Annual Meeting virtually in 2020 and 2021, being able to connect and network in person at the 2022 meeting was so refreshing and inspiring. As a trainee pursuing community-engaged research, learning how other students and researchers are addressing the unique challenges this type of research presents is vital."
Throughout the three-day meeting, sessions focused on issues related to various aspects important for each research center, including conducting multiple types of research, analyzing and sharing data, research translation, community engagement, and training coordination. In total, over 500 attendees involved in various aspects of the university-based Superfund research programs participated in the meeting.
The following seven LSU SRP trainees presented their research at meeting poster sessions:
Liana Baconguis, graduate student in comparative biomedical sciences at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine: “Increased Cardiovascular and Respiratory Disease-related Hospitalizations and Mortality in an Area Surrounding a Hazardous Waste Incinerator”
Chuqi Guo, PhD, postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources at North Carolina State University: “A Community-engaged Study of Toxic Particulate Matter Near an Open-burn/Open-detonation Hazardous Waste Thermal Treatment Facility”
Farhana Hasan, PhD, postdoctoral researcher: “Formation of Environmentally Persistent Free Radicals in Flavoring Compounds of Electronic Cigarette”
Jennifer Irving, MPH, LSU SRP Research Translation Coordinator and graduate student in LSU’s Department of Environmental Sciences: “Cumulative Environmental Health Impacts in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana”
Divine Nde, PhD, postdoctoral researcher in LSU’s Department of Chemistry: “Urea Inhibits Formation of EPFRs”
Avinash Kumar, PhD, postdoctoral researcher at LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center: “Role of Interleukin-22 in Environmentally Persistent Free Radical-Exposure Exacerbated Influenza Infection”
Martine Mathieu, graduate student in geospatial analytics at North Carolina State University: “Spatial Predictive Dispersion Modeling of PM2.5 Concentrations as Surrogates for Exposure in Colfax, LA”
Several LSU SRP trainees also served as session chairs at the meeting: Drs. Guo and Kumar jointly chaired a session on “Exposure Science and Detection Technologies: Methods and Technologies to Detect Hazardous Substances in the Environment.” Ms. Irving co-chaired the “Addressing Environmental Justice through a Systems Approach: Equitable Resilience”