U.S. EPA Contaminated Site Cleanup Information (CLU-IN)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. EPA Technology Innovation and Field Services Division

New Approaches and Alternatives for Toxicity Testing: Session II - Tools for Assessing Exposure and Toxicity

Sponsored by: NIEHS Superfund Research Program

Archived: Wednesday, May 23, 2018
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The NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) is hosting a Risk eLearning webinar series highlighting research that may be useful as new approaches and methodologies for evaluating the safety of chemicals. Assessing environmental exposure and identifying health hazards are both important aspects of chemical safety evaluation, and rapid screening tools may be used to improve our understanding of both aspects. In the second session, speakers will discuss tailoring read-across methodology to address chemical evaluation challenges, explore analysis of environmental toxicants in the environment, and highlight genetic screening tools to examine mechanisms of toxicity.

This series coincides with recent initiatives found in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's New Draft Strategic Plan and the National Toxicology Program’s Strategic Roadmap.

James W. Rice, Ph.D., a senior environmental scientist at Gradient and former Brown University SRP Center trainee, will discuss chemical safety evaluation challenges of the Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act (LCSA) and potential ways to address these challenges. LCSA joins an array of regulatory schemes that require substantial data on chemical health hazard prior to chemical registration and sale. There are consumer product manufacturers, however, for whom product evaluation and associated chemical safety fall outside the scope of these large chemical registration programs, but who are interested in specific health endpoints related to use of their products or proposed products. In response, Rice and colleagues have developed and validated a read-across framework aimed specifically at filling dermal sensitization and irritation data gaps. The framework quantifies structural similarity between proposed surrogates and target chemicals and shows an expected common mode of action via structural alerts and relevant chemical properties.

Erin Baker, Ph.D., a bioanalytical chemist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Texas A&M University SRP Center grantee, will discuss novel approaches to rapid analysis of environmental samples. Surveillance of chemical exposure requires analytical platforms offering rapid measurements, high sensitivity, efficient separations, wide dynamic ranges, and applicability to a broad chemical space. Baker and colleagues have developed a platform and pipeline that meets these needs by combining solid phase extractions with ion mobility spectrometry and mass spectrometry (SPE-IMS-MS). This exposomics approach overcomes many challenges for large scale exposure assessments and is a viable way of screening environmental conditions and patient cohorts for insight into human exposure and disease mechanisms.

Chris Vulpe, M.D., Ph.D., a professor at the University of Florida, Gainesville, in the Center for Environmental and Human Toxicology, will describe his work on the application of CRISPR-Cas9 genome-editing tools in the evaluation of chemical hazards. An ongoing revolution in gene editing capabilities is enabling new approaches to assess the biological effects of chemical exposure. The interrogation of the functional role of genes in response to a chemical through CRISPR-Cas9 targeting provides a new, potentially transformative, approach to chemical hazard assessment.

Brittany Trottier, an SRP health specialist, will moderate the session.

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It is EPA's policy to make reasonable accommodation to persons with disabilities wishing to participate in the agency's programs and activities, pursuant to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. 791. Any request for accommodation should be made to Sara Amolegbe at 919-213-4906 or, preferably one week or more in advance of the webinar, so that EPA will have sufficient time to process the request. EPA would welcome specific recommendations from requestors specifying the nature or type of accommodation needed. Please note that CLU-IN provides both alternate phone call-in options and closed captioning for all webinars, and requests for these specific accommodations are not necessary.

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A photograph of James W. Rice, Ph.D.James W. Rice, Ph.D., Gradient ( or 617-395-5000)
James W. Rice, Ph.D., is an environmental scientist specializing in contaminant transport and source identification, read-across assessment, and the evaluation of organic compound contaminants. He applies his expertise to environmental cost allocation, site remediation, groundwater assessment, insurance cost recovery, litigation support, and chemical compliance.

Before joining Gradient, Rice was a postdoctoral research associate and state agencies liaison at the Brown University SRP Center, where he served as a knowledge broker between the Brown SRP Center and its government and business stakeholders. During his doctoral and postdoctoral work, Rice evaluated the thermodynamics and phase behavior of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) mixtures and used passive samplers to monitor petroleum hydrocarbons in an oil-contaminated river. He received his Ph.D. in chemical engineering and Sc.M. in engineering from Brown University, and his B.S. in chemical engineering from Northeastern University.

A photograph of Erin Baker, Ph.D.Erin Baker, Ph.D., Pacific Northwest National Laboratory ( or 509-371-6219)
Erin Baker, Ph.D., is a bioanalytical chemist with more than 18 years' experience and >100 publications utilizing ion mobility spectrometry in conjunction with mass spectrometry (IMS-MS) to study environmental and biological systems. In the last 12 years, she has worked primarily to develop high-throughput multi-dimensional analyses to quickly study numerous samples in a short time period without losing valuable information. Baker is also working with various informatics teams to design and implement software tools that automatically analyze these complex datasets.

A photograph of Chris Vulpe, M.D., Ph.D.Chris Vulpe, M.D., Ph.D., University of Florida ( or 352-294-5821)
Chris Vulpe, M.D., Ph.D., is a Professor at the University of Florida, Gainesville in the Center for Environmental and Human Toxicology. Dr. Vulpe’s group uses systems level approaches in eukaryotes from yeast to people to identify the functional components that respond to and modulate the consequences of environmental stressors. Currently, his laboratory has been utilizing genome-wide CRISPR screens to understand the mechanisms of toxicity of environmental chemicals. Dr. Vulpe is an author or co-author on more than 125 papers in peer-reviewed journals and books. Dr. Vulpe received his M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of California, San Francisco.


A photograph of Brittany TrottierBrittany Trottier, Superfund Research Program, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (
Brittany Trottier received her Master's in Public Health from George Washington University and her BA in Chemistry from Adrian College. She is currently a Health Specialist with the Superfund Research Program (SRP) at the NIEHS. For the SRP, she is the lead for the CareerTrac system, oversees the community engagement cores, is co-lead for the NIEHS-WHO Coordinating Center (WHOCC) e-waste focus area, and supports the lead for the children's environmental health focus area for the NIEHS WHOCC.

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If you have a suggested topic or idea for a future CLU-IN internet seminar, please contact:

Jean Balent
Technology Integration and Information Branch

PH: 202-566-0832 | Email:
Michael Adam
Technology Integration and Information Branch

PH: 202-566-0875 | Email: