The Dartmouth Toxic Metals Superfund Research Program includes scientists, postdoctoral and graduate students, and technical and support staff from Dartmouth College and Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, New Hampshire. We also collaborate with researchers at other universities and government agencies.
Our Program investigates the ways arsenic and mercury in the environment affect ecosystems and human health. As part of our work, we provide students with opportunities to participate on interdisciplinary research teams, and we communicate our research results to state and federal agencies, and grass-roots organizations. Through the partnerships established between our investigators and our stakeholders, we also create opportunities to engage local communities in our research.
The Dartmouth Toxic Metals Superfund Research Program currently focuses on arsenic and mercury, number one and three on the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency priority list of hazardous substances. Arsenic and mercury are commonly found in Superfund sites around the U.S., as well as other areas that result in exposures to certain communities. All of our research projects are examining these two metals in detail.
In particular, we want to know:
the natural and man-made sources of arsenic and mercury in the environment and their relative contribution to human exposure; how arsenic and mercury move through ecosystems; precisely how arsenic affects the cellular processes that are known to contribute to cancer, lung disease and heart disease; whether arsenic at levels found in drinking water and food in the U.S. raises the risk of cancer and other diseases in humans; how methylmercury is taken up in aquatic ecosystems and ends up in the fish most commonly consumed by humans; how best to communicate risks concerning toxic metals to affected communities; how scientific research would best inform public policy on mercury.
Our Research Team includes individuals who specialize in more than two dozen fields of study. Our principal areas of expertise include:
pharmacology toxicology analytical chemistry molecular biology aquatic ecology human epidemiology
The Research Translation Core communicates the Programs' research results in user-friendly formats that will benefit federal and state agencies, non-profits and help grass-roots organizations make informed decisions on issues that affect the health of their communities.
The Community Engagement Core (CEC) ensures that the Program's research is meaningful to communities by creating opportunities for researchers to interact with communities, grass-roots organizations, and those impacted by hazardous waste. The goal of the CEC is to build bi-directional partnerships with diverse communities in Northern New England to enhance their ability to understand and address the health risks posed by arsenic, mercury, and other environmental contaminants.
Our Training Core supports and directs interdisciplinary training in environmental health sciences at the postdoctoral, graduate and undergraduate level within (and between) the biomedical and non-biomedical projects of the Dartmouth Toxic Metals Superfund Research Program.
The Administrative Core serves as the central organizing structure for the program. Its primary roles are to provide administrative support for planning and coordinating research activities, integrating cross-discipline research, and maintaining quality management and to oversee fiscal and resource management. In addition, the core provides administrative and liaison support and assists with coordination and facilitation of translation and training core activities.