CEC Boston team presents Metals & Environmental Justice summer camp curricula

July 25, 2022
The MEMCARE-SRC CEC Boston team partnered with the Boston Nature Center and the Bethel Social Justice Institute to conduct two Metals and Environmental Justice summer camp curricula designed by our team for grades 4th through 12th.  These were two highly successful educational and community engagement events that allowed us to partner with Projects 1, 3, and our MEMCARE trainees to do community science, having students and community members collect soil samples, measure them for metals, learn about health, and evaluate the social and environmental determinants of both metals exposures and health using an environmental justice lens.  We also partnered with our Harvard NIEHS P30 Center for this community engagement work.  We were able to evaluate environmental health literacy pre- and post- the two sessions to ensure that our curriculum and program had impact on teaching these topics, as well as to gain awareness of other critical areas of interests and community need from a youth perspective.

Tracy Pushton presents at European Workshop on Laser Ablation in Bern, Switzerland

July 12, 2022
Tracy Pushton

Tracy Pushton of MEMCARE-SRC Project 1, and the Dartmouth Trace Element Analysis Core and the Biomedical National Elemental Imaging Resource at Dartmouth, attended the European Workshop on Laser Ablation in Bern, Switzerland July 12-15, 2022, where she gave a platform presentation entitled, Deciduous Teeth as Retrospective Biomonitors of Fetal Metal Exposure. This work is key to evaluating the early life metal exposure and later life cognitive function that is at the core of Project 1.

Nathan Huey presents at new Data Science conference

May 25, 2022
Nathan Huey presents at new Data Science conference
Photo by Zetong Li on Unsplash

DMAC trainee Nathan Huey traveled to the New Advances in Statistics and Data Science Conference (May 24th - 26th) in Honolulu, HI, where he I presented a poster entitled, "Inference for Sparse Canonical Correlation Analysis". The 3-day conference was the first to focus on novel interdisciplinary research combining statistics, machine learning, econometrics, computer science, and biology. Nathan is a doctoral student in the Biostatstics Research group at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health working with mentor Brent Coull.


Westerhoff speaks at Stanford

May 2, 2022
Paul Westerhoff in lab

Paul Westerhoff gave a presentation entitled “Filling the gaps…. Metals in Water: Machine learning fills critical gaps in co-occurrence, removal by point of use adsorbents and recovery as Industrial catalysts” at Stanford University's Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering seminar series. Paul is co-investigator on Project 4 and Regents Professor and Fulton Chair of Environmental Engineering at Arizona State University Scholl of Engineering's School of Sustainable Engineering and The Built Environment.


Tamarra James-Todd honored at BWH Boston

April 22, 2022
Tamarra James-Todd

Tamarra James-Todd was honored as the 2022 Estrellita and Yousuf Karsh Visiting Professorship in Women’s Health at the Brigham and Women's Hospital Division of Women’s Health, Boston. This Visiting Professorship in women’s health brings in renowned leaders in women’s health to present to, and discuss with, medical staff the most significant and recent advances in women’s health.  Tamarra gave a   lecture entitled “Environmental Justice and Women’s Health: A Novel Lens for Understanding Reproductive Health Disparities Across the Life Course

Xihong Lin receives prestigious Marvin Zelen Leadership Award in Statistical Science

April 15, 2022
Xihong Lin

DMAC Co-Leader, Xihong Lin is this year's recipient of the prestigious 2022 Marvin Zelen Leadership Award in Statistical Science. Dr. Lin is Professor of Biostatistics & Coordinating Director of the Program in Quantitative Genomics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Described by colleagues as "a force of nature", "a major star", and "one of the most influential statistical scientists of our time", Dr. Xihong Lin has distinguished herself as a world leader in statistical methods and applications who has dedicated her career to advancing biostatistics, medicine, and public health. See website for her career highlights.

Dr. Lin will receive the award and present a virtual lecture entitled, Lessons Learned from the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Statistician’s Reflection” on 
Thursday, May 5, 2022 1-2pm,  Via Zoom

Register in advance for this meeting

Lessons Learned from the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Statistician’s Reflection

In this talk, I will discuss my experience as a statistician involved in COVID-19 research in multiple capacities in the last two years, especially in the early phase of the pandemic. I will reflect on the challenges and the lessons I have learned in pandemic research regarding data collection and access, epidemic modeling and analysis of the Wuhan and US data, open science and real time dissemination of research findings, implementation science, media and public communication, and partnerships between academia, government, industry and civil society. I will also make several recommendations on preparing for the next stage of the pandemic and for future pandemics.

Talking About Tox - Interview with Charlotte Wirth

April 8, 2022
Wirth interview

What are EV’s and why do they matter? Hint: we are not talking about electric vehicles! Watch our interview with Charlotte Wirth, a doctoral student in Quan Lu’s lab at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (MEMCARE-SRC Project 2) as she explains how she is culturing microglia in the lab to better understand how metals are influencing cellular communication using EV’s. While medical advances have increased life expectancy, living longer has led to an increase in age-related neurodegenerative disorders. metal exposure and EVsUnfortunately, almost all of us know at least one elderly person with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s Disease, or have watched an older friend or family member struggle with cognitive decline or generalized dementia. What role might early-life exposures to metals play in these later-in-life cognitive outcomes? Charlotte gives us a terrific description of how extracellular vesicles – EV’s – package up lead and other metals for delivery into neurons. Understanding this mechanism can help lead the way to potential therapeutic approaches. Charlotte takes what feels like an incredibly complicated topic and makes it readily understandable. 
Watch now

Zunwei Chen co-authors review on mixture health assessments

April 1, 2022
Zunwei Chen

This review introduces the recent progress and tools for the chemical composition and bioactivity/toxicity characterization of environmental mixtures. The paper, entitled, Chemical and biological assessments of environmental mixtures: A review of current trends, advances, and future perspectives, appears in the March 10 issue of the Journal of Hazardous Materials, and was written with collaborators from the National Taiwan University, Texas A&M University, and National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University.  Dr. Chen is a postdoctoral trainee in Project 2 working with Quan Lu. 


Emily Briese selected as ARCS Foundation Theresa F. Jennings Memorial Scholar

March 4, 2022
Emily Briese

Emily Briese was selected as the Theresa F. Jennings Memorial Scholar as part of the ARCS Foundation, Inc., Phoenix Chapter. She will receive an award of $8,500 from the Phoenix Chapter of ARCS Foundation, Inc. for the 2022-2023 academic year and be eligible for renewals in subsequent years. This is a super competitive process across life sciences, engineering and more at ASU. Emily is part of the NSF NEWT ERC and NIEHS MEMCARE Superfund Centers, where in addition to fabulous research advancements she is active in leadership and outreach activities. Emily is a Project 4 trainee and PhD student in SEBE Environmental Engineering at Arizona State University in the Westerhoff Sustainable Water Lab group.



Tamarra James Todd shares CEC's Boston activities at NIEHS workshop

March 1, 2022
Tamarra James-Todd

Tamarra James-Todd, MEMCARE-SRC CEC director presented a talk about the work we are doing in our CEC here in Boston at the NIEHS' Advancing Environmental Health Equity Through Implementation Science Workshop held virtually on Feb 28 through Mar 1 . The title of her talk was Superfund Community Engagement: An Opportunity for Advancing Implementation Science. Read more about the workshop here.

Emily Briese wins honors at ASU Research Symposium

February 11, 2022
Emily Briese

Congratulations to Emily Briese for winning 2nd Place honors at the Arizona State University’s 12h Annual School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment's Graduate Research Symposium " src="/profiles/openscholar/modules/contrib/wysiwyg/plugins/break/images/spacer.gif" title="<--break-->">(February 11, 2022 ) for her poster entitled, "Informed Bottom-Up Sorbent Design Using Chemical Equilibrium Modeling linked with Pore Surface Diffusion Modeling". Emily is a Project 4 trainee and doctoral student in Environmental Enginnering at ASU.

Talking About Tox - Interview with Holly Rudel

February 1, 2022
Holly Rudel

Safe drinking water is fundamentally a scientific problem. We have self-driving cars, but we don’t have safe drinking water? We need water treatment options that are sustainable in every sense of the word and this is a problem that can be solved! Watch our interview with Holly Rudel, a doctoral student and trainee in the Environmental Engineering program at Yale University, working on Project 4 with Dr. Julie Zimmerman. Holly is part of the Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering, and she works on exploring the correlation between structure and function and how they influence the absorption efficiency of nano-metal oxides, with the goal of developing an inexpensive, local point-of-use filtration option. Hear how Holly went from working at an environmental health nonprofit focused on drinking water and outreach in local Maine communities to chemistry and engineering researcher!
Watch now

What Does a Tooth Know?

February 1, 2022

It turns out, a lot! Project 1 is using baby teeth collected during the 1950s under the St. Louis Tooth Study. That project was established to look at the impacts of radiation on children from nuclear testing occurring at the time – probably one of the first examples of Citizens Science in action. Nearly 320,000 teeth were collected nationwide to support the study, and in 2001, some 90,000 “leftover” teeth were accidentally found and given to Dr. Joe Mangano, founder of the Radiation and Public Health Project.


In 2015, Dr. Mangano, now a collaborator on Project 1, was talking to Dr. Marc Weisskopf, PI for Project 1, at a conference, and mentioned the remaining teeth in storage. That led to an idea. What if we could track down the owners of those teeth, and ask them to participate in a study on cognitive outcomes using simple-to-use and administer tools available on the internet (enter Dr. Laura Germine, Technical Director, McLean Institute for Technology in Psychiatry and creator of one of the first online teeth in storage closet neuropsychological laboratories in 2005, which later became, a platform that has attracted over 2.3 million research participants, including those in Project 1). We could then use the teeth to measure exposures to mixtures of metals, and, in fact, define quite precisely pre-and early post-natal exposures (enter Dr. Brian Jackson and colleagues at the Dartmouth Trace Element Analysis Laboratory using laser ablation technology.

What starttooth cards in storageed as a side discussion at a conference became Project 1 under our MEMCARE SRP Center. As of this writing, trainee Kayleigh McAlaine has completed the cataloguing of some 100,000 teeth representing approximately 36,000 unique individuals. As of January 2022, 546 men and 671 women have completed the online survey and cognitive testing and the teeth sent to Dartmouth for metals analysis. Stay tuned for an upcoming interview with researcher Tracy Punshon, who will describe how it is possible to very clearly distinguish pre- and post-natal exposures from baby teeth!  


Zunwei Chen receives travel award to present at SOT 2022

January 31, 2022
Zunwei Chen

Zunwei Chen received a Postdoctoral Association Travel Award from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health to present his poster  entitled, “Role of arrestin domain containing protein 1 (ARRDC1)-mediated microvesicles (ARMMs) in metal-induced neurotoxicity” at the 2022 Society of Toxicology (SOT) Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA in March, 2022. Dr. Chen is a post doctoral fellow in the Molecular and Integrative Physiological Sciences (MIPS) program at HSPH, working with Quan Lu on MEMCARE-SRC Project 2. 

Holly Rudel awarded American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute fellowship

January 31, 2022
Holly Rudel

Holly Rudel was awarded the Joseph Breen Memorial Fellowship Award (Dec 2021) from the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute. The award sponsors the participation of one graduate or post-graduate international green chemistry scholar in a green chemistry technical meeting, conference or training program. She will present her research at the 2022 Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference. Holly is a doctoral candidate at Yale and MEMCARE-SRC Project 4 Trainee with Dr. Julie Zimmerman.

Obinna Nwokonkwo receives AICE Travel Award

November 10, 2021
Obinna Nwokonkwo

Obinna Nwokonkwo, was the recipient of a Travel Award from the Minorities Affairs Committee of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers to attend the 2021 AIChE annual meeting in Boston (November 2021), where he presented a poster entitled "Effects of transition-metal crosslinked chitosan for selective removal of arsenic from drinking water". Obinna is a graduate student in Chemical Engineering at Arizon State University working with Chris Muhich on MEMCARE-SRC Project 4.






CEC, Project 4 team up with Headwaters Alliance

November 8, 2021
researchers in Creede CO

Paul Westerhoff (Project 4) and Kathy James (CEC) visited the Creede, CO field site in November, where they met with the Executive Director of Headwaters Alliance and community organizer, Healther Greenwolf, to discuss opportunities for water sampling, installation of treatment technologies and trends in local public opinion regarding water quality. Headwaters Alliance is a community organization that works to reclaim, cleanup and restore many sites in the upper Rio Grande basin of Mineral County that have been impacted by decades of mining.




Holly Rudel named to Yale's Advanced Graduate Leadership Program

November 5, 2021
Holly Rudel

Holly Rudel was awarded a place in Yale University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences' (SEAS) Advanced Graduate Leadership Program. The highly competitive program is designed to provide outstanding doctoral students with experiences & training beyond the research lab, to better prepare them for the wealth of opportunities available to them, including careers in academia, policy & public service, and business. Holly is a doctoral student in Environmental Engineering and a MEMCARE-SRC trainee working with Julie Zimmerman on Project 4. 

Srishti Gupta presents research at 3rd ASU PhD Student Seminar

November 1, 2021
Srishti Gupta

Srishti Gupta presented her work on "Using Density-Functional Theory for Material Development for Selective Water-Remediation Processes" at the ASU 3rd PhD Student Seminar Series. Srishti is a doctoral student in Chemical Engineering at the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University and a MEMCARE-SRC Trainee working with Dr.  Chris Muhich on Project 4.

Srishti Gupta receives travel award from ASU GPSA

November 1, 2021
Srishti Gupta

Srishti Gupta received a travel award from the Arizona State University Graduate and Professional Student Association to attend the AIChE Annual Meeting in November, 2021 in Boston where she presented a poster and three oral presentations! Srishti is a doctoral student in Chemical Engineering at Arizon State University working with Chris Muhich on MEMCARE-SRC Project 4

CEC members teach community about metals exposures at Zoo Howl

October 31, 2021
Zoo Howl

CEC trainee Marissa Chan and other members of the James-Todd Lab participated in the Zoo Howl Halloween event at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston. This outdoor event included activities throughout the zoo, all themed around environmental and ecological stewardship and Halloween of course! In conjunction with the HSPH NIEHS Center for Environmental Health, the MEMCARE-SRC's booth focused on informing community members about metals exposures from soils and strategies for limiting exposure to metals from community gardens and dust that we might bring into our homes.

zoo howl 2Our group presented a hands-on activity for community members that included a variety of backyard and garden soil samples from all over Boston. We used an XRF from Project 1 to measure elements/metals in the soil. We provided guests with a resource about sunflowers, raised garden beds, and even how doormat use can help reduce metals exposures and discussed where these metals are coming from in the communities. We provided materials to community members, as well as hand out a treat for children that stopped by the booth.

Obinna Nwokonkwo receives prestigious Dunn Fellowship from ASU

October 1, 2021
Obinna Nwokonkwo

Obinna Nowknokwo was awarded the Harold & Lucille Dunn Fellowship from Arizona State University for the 2021-2022 academic year in recognition of his  academic achievements and in support of his academic progress. Obinna is a graduate trainee in Chemical Engineering working on Project 4 with Chris Muhich.