University of Kentucky Superfund Basic Research Program Overview
The overall goal of the University of Kentucky Superfund Basic Research Program (UK SBRP) centers on the toxicology of Superfund chemicals, with chlorinated organics as model toxins, and how health effects of exposure can be modulated by both intrinsic and extrinsic factors, namely genetics and nutrition. A major objective of our program is to explore the paradigm that nutrition can modify Superfund chemical toxicity and thus modulate health and disease outcomes associated with Superfund chemical insult. Studies are underway to investigate mechanisms of adverse health effects of chlorinated organic compounds and to explore novel techniques for the detection and removal of these pollutants from the environment.
There are five programs that compose the UK SBRP. Project #1 entitled "Superfund Chemicals, Nutrition, and Endothelial Cell Dysfunction" focuses on the role of lipid rafts (caveolae) as a critical regulatory platform for the protective mechanisms of bioactive food components (e.g. flavonoids) against PCB-induced endothelial cell dysfunction and to determine if dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids can differentially modulate PCB-induced endothelial cell dysfunction as well as change the cellular lipid milieu to alter the protective actions of flavonoids. Project #3 entitled "Vascular Mechanisms of PCB-Induced Brain Metastases" is investigating the molecular mechanisms of metastatic events induced by exposure to PCBs and how nutrition can modulate and protect against dissemination of tumor cells. Project #4 entitled "The Impact of Obesity on PCB Toxicity" investigates the mechanisms of coplanar PCB-induced regulation of lipid deposition and proinflammatory gene expression in adipocytes and the role of AhR in these processes. Project #6 entitled "Sensing Superfund Chemicals with Recombinant Systems" is designing and developing genetically engineered whole-cell biosensors using bacterial resistance operons and protein-based molecular switches for toxic compounds as well as incorporating these switches into miniaturized microfluidic platforms and investigate the use of spores as rugged storage elements. Project #7 entitled "Chloro-Organic Degradation by Nanosized Metallic Systems and by Chelate-Modified Hydroxyl Radical Reaction" is advancing the development of bimetallic/catalytic, nanostructured metal systems for reductive platform, and the influence of both hydroxyl and superoxide anion radical on the oxidative platform for the dechlorination of halogenated organics to remediated products with lower toxicity.
There are five cores available to assist the research project teams. The Research Support team provides material assistance through equipment and analysis, while the Research Translation and Community Outreach cores assist with informing and educating the population, making technology transfer possible, and providing the most up-to-date data possible available to policymakers in Kentucky and throughout the United States. The Interdisciplinary Training Core helps assure that young researchers participating in the UK-SBRP will be well equipped to continue their own research in the future, whether through the UK-SBRP or in other academic, industrial, or medical settings.
KRCEE is a collaborative effort of Kentucky universities and is administered by the University of Kentucky.