This Month in EPA Research

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June 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.
Recently in EPA Science
Permeable Parking Lot Ft Riley

Green Infrastructure at Fort Riley

Researchers with EPA’s Net Zero Program are working with the U.S. Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas Unified School District 475, and others to test and demonstrate green infrastructure technology, such as permeable pavement, at Fort Riley in Kansas. Read more in the Science Matters article Leaving the Gray Behind.

EPA diver taking a sample

Underwater Science

Did you know that EPA has a team of scientists that work underwater? The EPA scientific diving program helps Superfund sites go from contaminated to clean – and keeps them that way! Read about what it’s like to be on the EPA Dive team in the blog Over 30 years of Wyckoff Superfund Site Diving Science.

Photo of a wildfire

Wildfire Smoke Guide

EPA has updated a draft of Wildfire Smoke: A Guide for Public Health Officials, which provides information on the health effects of wildfire smoke and populations potentially at greatest risk from wildfire smoke exposure. The guide provides recommendations for public health action to reduce risks. EPA researchers provided their expertise on health effects from air pollutants generated by wildfires. The guide is available on the AirNow web site, which provides air quality forecasts and includes information on Smoke and Your Health.

Green roof in Denver

Evaluating Urban Resilience to Climate Change

EPA is releasing an external peer review draft report that describes an assessment tool to help cities identify climate change risks. The tool to eight sectors managed by municipalities: water, energy, transportation, public health, economy, land use, natural environment and telecommunications. A Federal Register notice of the report titled Evaluating Urban Resilience to Climate Change: A Multi-Sector Approachprovides information for public comment.

Marine ecosystem

Exceptional Scientific Publication (external link)

A paper by EPA researcher Robert M. Burgess, Ph.D. and co-authors entitled “The Gellyfish: An in situ equilibrium-based sampler for determining multiple free metal ion concentrations in marine ecosystems (external link)” was honored as one of 2015’s “Exceptional Papers” by Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

Honey bee pollinating a flower

Promoting Pollinator Health

Last week was National Pollinator Week. One of EPA’s labs is promoting pollinator health by creating an amazing habitat for honey bees and other pollinators right in their backyard. Read about it in the blog Promoting Pollinator Health at the EPA Western Ecology Division.

subway sign

Homeland Security Research in New York City (external link)

EPA researchers recently collaborated with the Department of Homeland Security to study what would happen if terrorists introduced pathogenic spores, like anthrax, into the New York City subway system. This study is part of the DHS and EPA collaborative Underground Transport Restoration Project. The overall goal of the project is to develop capabilities to enable the rapid return to service of subway systems following a chemical or biological attack. BBC wrote about the study in the article Meet New York City’s Anthrax Detectives (external link).

EPA's Dr Gayle Hagler

, conducting field and modeling studies of air pollution near sources, developing a data visualization tool supporting citizen science, and outreach efforts like the Village Green Project. To learn more about Dr. Hagler and the award, read the press release. Also listen to Dr. Hagler’s recent interview with Federal News Radio: EPA project promotes grassroots pollution monitoring (external link).

Contents of a time capsule from EPA's Ada lab

50th Anniversary of Lab

Earlier this month at EPA’s Robert S Kerr Environmental Research Center, a cornerstone box was dusted off and unsealed in honor of the lab’s 50th anniversary. The time capsule included artifacts representing the Center’s major milestones and key accomplishments in the last 50 years. Read more about the event in the blog Another Trip Back in Time: Kerr Lab Time Capsule Reopened in Honor of 50th Anniversary.

healthy heart

Linking Air Pollution and Heart Disease

EPA-supported researchers at the University of Washington recently completed the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis Air Pollution Study (MESA Air). This decade-long study revealed a direct link between air pollution and atherosclerosis, a buildup of plaque in the coronary artery. Read more about the study in the Science Matters article Linking Air Pollution and Heart Disease.

Elwha River

Elwha River Dam Removal (external link)

The recent National Geographic article River Revives After Largest Dam Removal in U.S. History (external link) is about the Elwha River dam removal. The goal was to remove unneeded, outdated dams and restore a natural river system. The project was completed in 2014, and now fish are thriving and the environment has been reshaped. EPA’s Scientific Dive Team studied the impact of the Elwha River removal and wrote about the research in these blogs.

Goats

Goatscaping!

EPA enlisted some volunteers to help clear overgrown landscaping at our facility in Narragansett, Rhode Island—a tribe of goats! “Goatscaping” uses goats to consume poison ivy and invasive vegetation from the area, creating space for new pollinator-friendly species to grow—and all without the roar and air pollution of small gas engines. See a bigger image on the blog.

kids outdoors Environmental Health Disparities

EPA, in partnership with the National Institutes of Health, is awarding $25.5 million to five universities to create Centers of Excellence on Environmental Health Disparities Research. Over the next five years, the centers will conduct research to understand environmentally driven health disparities and improve environmental conditions surrounding disadvantaged communities. Read more about these efforts in the blog Supporting Research to Address Environmental Health Disparities

White House Science Fair - President Obama

White House Science Fair

For the last six years, President Obama has invited the best and brightest young minds to come show off their original and innovative projects at the White House Science Fair. EPA’s Kacey Fitzpatrick attended and wrote about it in the blog The White House Science Fair (So Cool!).

Antony Williams

The iCSS Chemistry Dashboard

EPA has released the Interactive Chemical Safety for Sustainability Chemistry Dashboard—or the iCSS Chemistry Dashboard—a new web application to support scientists in chemical research. iCSS project lead Antony Williams wrote about this new tool in the blog The iCSS Chemistry Dashboard – The First Step in Building a Strong Chemistry Foundation for 21st Century Toxicology.

Lisa Donahue

What Does a Scientist Look Like?

EPA Scientist Lisa Donahue recently shared what it’s like to be a scientist with a group of elementary school students at their Girls in Science Day. Read about the experience in her blog What Does a Scientist Look Like?

Meet the Researcher!

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

Chris Impellitteri Meet EPA Researcher Chris Impellitteri

Undiscovered rockstar and bug whisperer-in-training Chris Impellitteri has worked in a lab since he was 20 years old. As the Associate National Program Director for EPA’s Safe and Sustainable Water Resources program, he leads the Green Infrastructure and Water Systems initiatives which serve to improve and protect the nation’s water infrastructure through sustainable solutions. Read more.

Richard Judson Meet EPA Researcher Richard Judson

Dr. Richard Judson develops computer models and databases to help predict toxicological effects of environmental chemicals at EPA’s National Center for Computational Toxicology (NCCT). His work has been published in many fields including computational biology and chemistry, bioinformatics, genomics, human genetics, toxicology, and applied mathematics. Read more.

Kim Rogers Meet EPA Research Chemist Dr. Kim Rogers

Dr. Kim Rogers is a research chemist and has been conducting research with the Agency for 25 years. He has extensive experience in bioanalytical chemistry and nanomaterials science. 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!

Tox Testing Robot Transform Tox Testing Challenge Semi-Finalist Workshop

Friday, July 8, 8:00AM-5:00PM ET

On July 8th, the Transform Tox Testing Challenge organizers will host a workshop in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina to bring together Stage 1 winners, agency experts, and other leaders in the field to discuss the Tox21 and ToxCast programs, the semi-finalist proposals, and feasible expectations for the remainder of the challenge.

The goal of the challenge is to develop a practical design that will help the cells in toxicity lab tests behave more like they would in the human body when evaluating chemical toxicity. The successful design will offer information that can be used to review and evaluate lab results and will also ensure better quality data, transparency, and overall confidence in assay results.

The workshop is divided into public and closed sessions. For more information, visit Transform Tox Testing Challenge Semi-Finalist Workshop or read last month’s blog about it.

Water tower

Small Drinking Water Systems Webinar: Lead and Copper Tap Sampling

Tuesday, July 26, 2:00-3:00PM 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. July’s webinar is about lead and copper tap sampling requirements and techniques. Learn more.

Photo of a finger touching a computer chip

EPA Tools and Resources Webinar Series

Wednesday, July 20, 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. Learn more.

RETIGO Map

RETIGO Training Webinar

Tuesday, July 26, 3:00-4:00PM ET

RETIGO (Real-Time Geospatial Data Viewer) is an interactive web-based tool that allows users to upload field data they have collected while in motion (walking, biking, or on a vehicle) and explore it visually by plotting the data on a map and/or graph to observe air quality trends. Their local data can be integrated with air quality data available on AirNow, a multi-agency online resource provided by EPA and others that offers air quality data and the Air Quality Index. This webinar will provide an introduction to RETIGO. Learn more and register here. Read more about RETIGO in this Science Matters article.

Comptox COP

Computational Toxicology Communities of Practice Webinar: Non-Targeted Screening Research

Thursday, July 28, 11:00AM ET

EPA’s Computational Toxicology Communities of Practice is composed of hundreds of stakeholders from over 50 public and private sector organizations who have an interest in using advances in computational toxicology and exposure science to evaluate the safety of chemicals. The Communities of Practice is open to the public. Monthly webinars are held at EPA’s RTP campus, on the fourth Thursday of the month from 11am-Noon EST/EDT, and remote participation is available.

The topic of July’s webinar is non-targeted screening research, presented by EPA’s Jon Sobus. Because quantitative exposure data are available for only a small fraction of the tens of thousands of chemicals registered for use in the U.S., EPA scientists are collaborating with researchers from across the globe to develop new methods and tools that are needed to generate measurement data for chemicals for which there are no data. These non-targeted measurement methods have the potential to offer a unique means to screen for xenobiotic chemicals in a variety of environmental and biological media. 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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