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Pathfinder Innovation Projects: Awardees 2015

Stage 1 (Awarded November 2015) 

A Window to the Airway
Team: James M. Samet (PI), Rory Conolly, David Diaz-Sanchez (NHEERL)

Building a Network to Measure the Totality of Chemical Exposures
Team: Jon Sobus (PI), Mark Strynar, Elin Ulrich, Matthew Scott Clifton, Kristin Isaacs (NERL); Antony Williams, Ann Richard, John Wambaugh (NCCT)

Development of a Novel Method to Estimate Children’s Dust Ingestion
Team: Nicolle Tulve (PI), Jon Sobus, Elin Ulrich, Kent Thomas, Timothy Buckley, Dan Stout, Myriam Medina-Vera (NERL); Linda Phillips, Jackie Moya (NCEA); Chris Lau, John Rogers (NHEERL)

Did mom make you fat? Fetal Origins of Life Stage Disease
Team: Michelle Angrish (PI), Brian Chorley, Stephanie Padilla (NHEERL)

Make a Beeline to a Sustainable Future
Team: David Lehmann (PI), Eugene Flournoy-Gibbs (NHEERL); Thomas Steeger (OPP)

Metabolomics to Differentiate Amphibian Responses to Multiple Stressors
Team: Marcia Snyder (PI), S. Thomas Purucker, Matthew Henderson (NERL)

Treatment of Emerging Contaminants Using UV Light, Percarbonate and Peracetic Acid
Team: Mallikarjuna Nadagouda, Vasudevan Namboodiri (NRMRL)

Urban Green Spaces, Chronic Stress, and Allostatic Load – Pilot Project
Team: Shannon Griffin (Co-PI, NERL); Andrey Egorov (Co-PI), Tim Wade (NHEERL)

Using Pluripotent Stem Cells to Transform High-throughput Screening of Inhaled Toxicants
Team: David Diaz-Sanchez (PI), Shaun McCullough, Robert Devlin (NHEERL)

Water Utility Lime Sludge – An Environmental Sorbent for Power Utilities
Team: Craig Patterson (PI), Michael Elovitz (NRMRL)

Watershed Aggregate Effects and Spatial Predictions on Stream Networks
Team: Michael McManus (PI), Philip Morefield (NCEA); Jay Christensen, Drew Pilant (NERL); Jeff Hollister, Marc Weber (NHEERL)

Stage 2 (Awarded July 2016) 

A Window to the Airway
James M. Samet (PI), Rory Conolly, and David Diaz-Sanchez (NHEERL)

This project explores a method to observe changes occurring in cells of the human airway (HAEC) as they are exposed to pollutants in vitro. Using microscopy results in higher temporal and spatial resolution of data. However, currently there is no way to use HAEC in microscopy studies because conventionally grown cell lines lack important characteristics of HAEC. This project aims to formally test the performance of a prototype chamber to generate data that can be used to create a model for the effects of pollutants on HAEC.

Building a Network to Measure the Totality of Chemical Exposures
Jon Sobus (PI), Elin Ulrich, Mark Strynar, Matthew Scott Clifton, Kristin Isaacs (NERL); Antony Williams, Ann Richard, Chris Grulke, John Wambaugh (NCCT)

Currently, scientists know very little about the totality of chemical exposures. The overwhelming majority of existing analysis methods have focused on less than one percent of all chemicals. “Non-targeted” methods identify chemicals without prior knowledge of their identity. With an integrated laboratory network using cutting-edge non-targeted methods, tremendous strides can be made in understanding chemical exposures. This project lays the foundation for designing, building, and evaluating a non-targeted analysis network.

Treatment of Emerging Contaminants Using Sodium Percarbonate or Peracetic Acid with UV light
Mallikarjuna Nadagouda, Vasudevan Namboodiri (NRMRL)

This project investigates the use of UV light, percarbonate, and peracetic acid for the first time as alternatives for hydrogen peroxide in the destruction of selected contaminants of emerging concern in water. Current practices use very high intensity UV light to treat waste discharge, and therefore have a higher cost and carbon footprint. Percarbonate and peracetic acid are inexpensive, easy to handle, effective over a wide range of pH conditions, and environmental friendly. The introduction of these chemicals, along with UV light, can reduce the cost and carbon footprint of this process.

Using Pluripotent Stem Cells to Transform High-throughput Screening of Inhaled Toxicants
David Diaz-Sanchez (PI), Shaun D. McCullough, Robert Devlin (NHEERL)

The majority of in vitro and high-throughput screening depends on the use of cell lines derived from cancerous tissues that were collected years ago. These cells do not often resemble the tissue that they are used to model. During the past several years, methods have been developed that allow for the production of inducted pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) from any cell within the body. Studying the effects of environmental exposures on groups that are susceptible to inhaled toxicant exposure has been extremely limited due to the lack for a relevant model and the inability to collect primary cells. This project will determine whether it is feasible to utilize iPSC as a replacement for primary airway cells in high throughput screening of inhaled toxicants.

Water Utility Lime Sludge Reuse in Power Utilities
Craig Patterson (PI), Michael Elovitz (NRMRL)

Huge amounts of lime sludge waste, generated from hundreds of water treatment utilities across the U.S., is currently disposed in landfills. This project evaluates a sustainable approach to use lime sludge waste as a valuable resource for power generation utilities.  This project can provide a transformative approach for recycling waste materials from water treatment utilities at power generation utilities for environmental cleanup, saving both water and power utilities millions of dollars and making both water treatment and power generation more sustainable.

Stage 3 (Awarded July 2016) 

Gut microbiome influence on developmental toxicity – Does the microbiome modify chemical toxicity during brain development?
Tamara Tal (PI), Charles Wood, Charlene McQueen, Jeanene Olin (NHEERL); Nichole Brinkman, Scott Keely, Jon Sobus, Mark Strynar (NERL); Doris Betancourt (NRMRL)

Changes with bacteria in our gut, known as the “microbiome”, have been associated with disease. This project is using zebrafish to model gut bacteria during early stages of life to identify how changes in our gut affect brain development. Zebrafish are used because of their small size and because they are 70% similar to human genes. This project will expand our understanding of the microbiome and how it relates to early brain development.