The Commonwealth of Kentucky is home to 20 (14 active) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency National Priorities List Superfund hazardous waste sites and to more than 500 federal and state Superfund sites. By participating in the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences nationwide family of Superfund Research Programs (SRP), the University of Kentucky meets its land grant institution mandate and continues a strong tradition of cross-disciplinary collaboration. This grant represents the continuing effort of the University of Kentucky to pursue national prominence in environmental and health research while addressing issues of extreme importance to Kentuckians. The University of Kentucky Superfund Research Center (UK-SRC) supports both biomedical and environmental science research on reducing the health and environmental impacts related to chlorinated organic compounds found at Superfund sites across the country. UK-SRC biomedical research focuses on potential roles for nutritional components and lifestyle choices to reduce negative human health effects related to chemical exposures. UK-SRC environmental research examines potential uses of nanotechnology for detecting and remediating such sites. Together, UK-SRC investigators and trainees translate research findings for and with academic audiences, federal and state policymakers and regulators, and affected communities to contribute to real-world improvements in environmental health.
Currently, UK-SRC researchers are working to discover:
- Better ways to remediate groundwater contaminated with harmful chlorinated organics through membrane-based pollutant degradation systems
- New pollutant capture/sensing systems using biology-inspired materials for sensitive and inexpensive monitoring and removal of PCBs from contaminated sites
- How certain plant-based bioactive food components with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties can lessen the cardiovascular toxicity of PCBs
- If PCB exposure affects fat cell functioning in ways that contribute to obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease
- Molecular mechanisms involved in postnatal complications following perinatal PCB exposure, and how diet and exercise can be used as health interventions to minimize these impacts