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May 2016
EPA’s Science Matters newsletter delivers the latest from EPA’s Office of Research and Development straight to your inbox. Keep scrolling to read recent news and upcoming events.
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MESA Air Study Confirms Air Pollution Contributes to the #1 Cause of Death in the U.S.

This month we took a giant leap forward in our understanding of the relationship between air pollution and heart disease with the publication of results from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis Air Pollution Study (MESA Air) in the leading medical journal The Lancet. Learn more about the study and its implications in the blog EPA’s MESA Air Study Confirms that Air Pollution Contributes to the #1 Cause of Death in the U.S.

Photo of a wildfire

Wildfires Research

EPA researchers are testing how different fuel and different stages of fire (e.g., hot blaze vs. smoldering) emit different types/amounts of smoke and particulate matter. This research will help health officials and air quality managers protect public health. Learn more about this research in the blog Simulating Wildland Fires in a Tube to Protect Public Health.

Kids playing the Generate Game

Generate! A Game for All Ages

EPA’s Rebecca Dodder, who received a Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineering award this month, does research that connects the dots between climate change, energy, and air quality. One of her creative approaches to sharing science is a game called Generate! Learn more about the game, and how you can download it for free, in the blog Gamify the Grid!

Silhouette of kids playing outside

Improving Environmental Conditions in Disadvantaged Communities

EPA and the National Institutes of Health are funding research centers at five universities—Harvard, Boston University, Johns Hopkins, University of New Mexico, University of Arizona, and University of Southern California—to work with local communities to better understand ways to improve environmental conditions for vulnerable populations. Learn more about the centers in this press release.

Photo of bottles

Improved Methods for Estimating Chemical Exposure

EPA researchers are using new technology to improve computational exposure science, which helps create a more complete picture of how and in what amounts chemicals enter our bodies. Learn more about this research in the Science Matters article Improved Methods for Estimating Chemical Exposure.

Photo of clouds

Air Research Centers

EPA is funding three university-based Air, Climate and Energy Research Centers through the Science to Achieve Results program. The centers will tackle pressing air quality issues for many communities across the U.S. still overburdened by air pollution. Read more about the new centers in the blog Air Quality Awareness: A New Generation of Research.

Starburst spiral graphic

Small Business Innovation Research

EPA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is a competition that, for over 30 years now, has served as a source of early-stage funding for innovative small companies in the green tech field. Learn more about the program and what it’s like to work on the team in the blog First Impressions: an Introduction to EPA’s Small Business Innovation Research Program.

Alexis D'Alessandro

NY High School Student Wins EPA’s Patrick H. Hurd Sustainability Award

EPA announced the winner of its Patrick H. Hurd Sustainability Award on May 13 at the Intel International Science & Engineering festival. High School Student Alexis D’Alessandro was honored with the award for her project that is providing affordable clean drinking water to a community in the Turkana Basin of Kenya. Learn more in this press release.

Satellite View of Great Lakes

Stormwater Management in Response to Climate Change Impact: Chesapeake Bay and Great Lakes Regions

EPA and NOAA led workshops and other community efforts across the Chesapeake Bay and Great Lakes regions to discuss how projected land use and climate change could impact local water conditions. On May 19, EPA released a final report containing findings from these workshops. Read the report: Stormwater Management in Response to Climate Change Impacts: Lessons from the Chesapeake Bay and Great Lakes Regions.

Photo of the Tox21 Robot

Semi-Finalists in the Transform Tox Testing Challenge

EPA and partners launched the Transform Tox Testing Challenge in January. Now we are thrilled to announce that we are awarding a total of $100,000 to ten semi-finalists for their amazing ideas. Learn more about the challenge and the semi-finalists in the blog When Robots and Metabolism Collide.

Photo of dust storm in Death Valley

Grants to Combat the Impacts of Climate Change

Climate change is affecting air quality by influencing the type and amount of pollutants in the air. EPA is taking action to protect air quality by awarding grants to 12 universities to study the implications to air quality from a changing climate. Read about this research in the blog Particulate Matter in a Changing World: Grants to Combat the Impacts of Climate Change.

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Funding Opportunity: Science to Achieve Results

Do you want to study how air pollution contributes to the development of cardiovascular disease? Then check out our latest Science to Achieve Results funding opportunity. You can learn more by looking at the Long-term Exposure to Air Pollution and Development of Cardiovascular Disease research grants page.

Graphic of a plant growing from a book Supporting Undergraduate Research

For more than 30 years, EPA has been supporting and encouraging undergraduates in environmental-related fields through the Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) Fellowship program. EPA just announced that GRO fellowships were awarded to 34 students who are majoring in environmental science, engineering, mathematics, and technology all across the nation. Read more about the fellowships in the blog GROing Above and Beyond.

Meet the Researcher!

Learn more about what it’s like to be a scientist at EPA in our Researchers at Work profiles.

Photo of EPA researcher Linda Harwell Meet EPA IT Specialist Linda Harwell

Linda’s love for the ocean started at a very early age. As a Navy brat, Linda moved around a lot but she never lived far from a coast. Even now, working at EPA’s research laboratory in Gulf Breeze, Linda gets to see the ocean right outside her office every day. Read more.

Photo of EPA researcher Steve Paulsen Meet EPA Ecologist Steve Paulsen

Steve works on National Aquatic Resource Surveys –a collaborative program designed to assess the quality of the nation’s coastal waters, lakes and reservoirs, rivers and streams, and wetlands. Read his profile to learn why he thinks of his science as a combination of accounting and exploration. Read more.

Upcoming Events: Get Involved and Learn More!

Interested in getting involved or learning more? Try to catch one of the following webinars or events going on in June.

Check out our Events page for even more!

Clear sky in a field Clean Air Research Centers Final Progress Review Webinar

Monday, June 6, 8:30AM-4:30PM ET

STAR grantees and EPA scientists will discuss the results from their research on the health effects of air pollution. Over the past five years, these Centers have used a combination of epidemiology, toxicology, biostatistics, air quality modeling, and detailed measurements of levels of atmospheric pollutants. Among their research accomplishments, the centers contributed to improved understanding of the impacts of exposure to pollution from roadways (either while driving or while living nearby busy roads), of impacts varying across life stages and beyond cardiovascular health endpoints, and of susceptibility and interaction with metabolic disorders. Learn more and find out how to attend.

Water tower

Small Drinking Water Systems Webinar: Disinfection Byproducts

Tuesday, June 14, 3:30PM ET

EPA’s Small Systems Webinar Series provides a forum for EPA to communicate directly with state personnel and other drinking water and wastewater small systems professionals. Through this series, EPA provides training, fosters collaboration, and helps the community share information. June’s webinar is about disinfection byproducts (DBPs) regulatory issues and solutions. Register here.

Photo of a finger touching a computer chip

EPA Tools and Resources Webinar Series: Air Quality Monitoring and Community Science

Wednesday, June 15, 3:00-4:00PM ET

EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) hosts a Tools and Resources webinar the third Wednesday of each month to share our research, demonstrate tools, and seek input from our partners. These webinars are geared for representatives of state environment and health agencies, tribes, local governments, communities, and others interested in learning about EPA tools and resources available to help inform decision-making. June’s webinar topic is air quality monitoring and community science. Learn more.

Graphic of a faucet

Water Research Webinar: Contaminants of Emerging Concern in Source and Drinking Water

Wednesday, June 29, 2:00-3:00PM ET

Every other month, EPA hosts a webinar covering innovative research and sustainable solutions for complex, 21st century water issues. These solutions will help ensure that clean and adequate supplies of water are available to support human health and resilient aquatic ecosystems, now and into the future. June’s topic is contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) in source and treated drinking water. Learn more.

Line of microphones at a table

IRIS Public Science Meeting

Wednesday and Thursday, June 29-30 in Arlington, VA

At IRIS Public Science Meetings, the IRIS Program encourages the scientific community and the public to participate in discussions of draft materials for IRIS assessments under development. The scientific information and perspectives from the meeting will be considered as the assessments progress. At the June meeting, the IRIS Program is inviting public discussion on draft assessment materials for tert-Butyl Alcohol (tert-butanol) and Benzo[a]pyrene (BaP). Learn more.

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Science Matters is produced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development. All content is copyright free and can be reprinted without permission.

Comments, feedback, and suggestions for future Science Matters articles are welcome. Please contact Samantha Linkins (linkins.samantha).

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