About Our Program

The Superfund Research Center at Duke University focuses on early, low-dose exposures to environmental contaminants and their developmental impacts, changes usually only evident later in life. Research at the Center has shifted during the 20 years of funding, as knowledge of Superfund chemicals and remediation techniques have improved. Though the basic research questions have changed, the focus on developmental impacts of environmental toxicants has been a constant.

The Duke Superfund Research Center is supported through the NIEHS P42 Multiproject Center Grant program, grant number P42ES010356, and is currently supported through March, 2022. The NIEHS P42 grants generally provide support for 5 years and consist of several research projects and support cores working collaboratively to shed light on the overall focus of the Center.

Find out more about:

Who we are
Our Funding/Support
Partnering Organizations

Research Projects

Our Center is made up of five distinct, but connected research projects. There are three biomedical research projects:

Project 1: Neurodevelopment & Chemical Exposure (Principal Investigator: Edward Levin)
Project 2: Impacts on Developmental Pathways (Principal Investigator: Heather Stapleton)
Project 3: Mitochondrial Toxicity and Epigenetics (Principal Investigator: Joel Meyer)

And two applied environmental and engineering projects:

Project 4: Evolved Adaptations to Environmental Pollution (Principal Investigator: Richard Di Giulio)
Project 5: Enhancing Bioremediation of Contaminated Sites (Principal Investigator: Claudia Gunsch)

Support Cores

The Center has five support cores that aid the research in different ways:

Neurobehavioral Toxicity Core (Principal Investigator: Edward Levin)
Analytical Chemistry Core (Principal Investigator: Lee Ferguson)
Administration Core (Principal Investigator: Richard Di Giulio)
Training Core (Principal Investigator: Joel Meyer)
Research Translation Core (Principal Investigator: Charlotte Clark)
Community Engagement Core (Principal Investigator: Elizabeth Shapiro-Garza)

History of Duke Superfund Research Center

There have been three previous iterations of the Center funded by NIEHS:

2011 – 2017 “Early Life Exposures, Later Life Consequences”

  1. Developmental Neurotoxicants: Sensitization, Consequences, and Mechanisms
  2. Thyroid Metabolism Disruption in Toxicant-Induced Developmental Impairment
  3. Developmental PAH Exposures in Fish: Mechanisms of Toxicity, Adaptation, and Later Life Consequences
  4. Metal-based Nanoparticles for Groundwater and Surface Water Remediation: Limitations, Concerns, Synergies, and Antagonistic Effects in Bioremediation

2006 – 2011 “Superfund Chemicals’ Impact on Reproduction and Development”

  1. Developmental Neurotoxicity of Superfund Pesticides: Biomarkers and Mechanisms
  2. Neurobehavioral Mechanisms of Cognitive and Affective Impairment from Fetal Exposure to Superfund Chemicals
  3. Zebrafish as a Detector and Discriminator of Organophosphate Exposure
  4. Mechanisms of Environmental Stress-Induced Developmental Abnormalities
  5. Developmental Effects of Superfund Hydrocarbon Mixtures in Fundulus heteroclitus
  6. Microbial and Photolytic Transformations of Superfund Chemical

2000 – 2005 “Superfund Chemicals’ Impact on Reproduction and Development”

  1. Developmental Neurotoxicity of Chlorpyrifos: Mechanism and Consequences
  2. Fate, Transport, and Exposure Risk of Superfund Chemicals
  3. Markers for Chemical Mixtures in Fundulus Heteroclitus
  4. Mechanism of Stress-Induced Developmental Abnormalities
  5. Transgenic Fish as Biosensors for Superfund Chemicals